How did settlement patterns, beginning in Massachusetts and Virginia, impact American society between 1600-1800?I need specific examples, including how settlement patterns impacted economic,...

How did settlement patterns, beginning in Massachusetts and Virginia, impact American society between 1600-1800?

I need specific examples, including how settlement patterns impacted economic, political, and social relationship within and between colonies/states.

Expert Answers
marilynn07 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the most basic occurred because of the geography and weather patterns of the two principal areas of the early British colonial presence.  In the North, due to the geography, weather and the social interaction of the type of colonies (religious groups, first Puritans, then other dissenters, then Quakers, etc.) the pattern early on became towns.  The increasing population and influx of more people spread out, but remained a town-oriented culture, ending in cities with vigorous group-oriented social and mercantile lives, such as Boston, New York, etc.

In the South, towns gave way quickly to large farms and plantations.  Farms in the North, because of geography, weather and the large populations of Native American nations such as the Iroquois and Abinaki, tended to be smaller and stay clumped in small groups.  In the South, where colonists were usually (though not always) on better terms with the Natives (and the native populations were smaller) people spread out more.  The weather gave the Southerners the opportunity to expand their economy into large working plantations of money crops, such as tobacco and cotton.  This left the South with a more scattered population and a less intensive social life, and also with a need for mass labor, hence the rise of slavery in the South.

You can easily see from this the developement of the intense social life of churches, merchant groups and political associations which grew up in places like Boston, and the large patrician society of wealthy landowners in the South.  This is rather simplified, but it gives the general idea.