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Why did New York, Pennsylvania, and the other middle colonies become so ethnically,...

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golfwang24 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 24, 2011 at 12:09 PM via web

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Why did New York, Pennsylvania, and the other middle colonies become so ethnically, religiously, and politically diverse?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 24, 2011 at 12:27 PM (Answer #1)

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The most important reasons for this are the facts that New York was settled first by the Dutch and that Pennsylvania was explicitly founded on the basis of religious tolerance.  These factors helped to make the middle colonies more diverse than other areas.

The New England colonies were settled by Puritans.  Their societies were not particularly hospitable to those who were different from them so people who were not English Puritans did not tend to settle there.  The Southern colonies were dominated by a plantation economy and did not attract many immigrants.

By contrast, the middle colonies were more welcoming.  New York and New Jersey already had Swedes and Dutch and Finns who had been the first settlers.  Pennsylvania was founded on religious tolerance and advertised itself in Europe on that basis.  Penn advertised in the German language (in Germany, of course), thus attracting many Germans who were from religious minorities such as the Mennonites and the Moravians.

For these reasons, the middle colonies became more diverse than other areas in a number of ways.

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