How are the Middle and New England colonies similar and different?

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There were differences and similarities between the New England colonies and the Middle colonies. 

In terms of similarities, we will see that in some of the Middle colonies, the jobs were similar to those in the New England colonies.  In New York and New Jersey, there was a lot of manufacturing and trade, just like there was in the New England colonies.  Business was an important job.  This is because the climate and soil in New York and New Jersey was similar to the climate and soil in New England.  While there was farming in both regions, there were some significant differences between the regions when it comes to farming.  Another similarity is that both regions were very active in the movement for independence.  Lots of significant events occurred in both the Middle and New England colonies.

These colonies were also different. There was more religious freedom in the Middle colonies than in the New England colonies. This was especially true in Pennsylvania. The Middle colonies had some slaves while the New England colonies had very few slaves.  This is true because there was more large scale farming in the southern part of the Middle colonies where the soil was more fertile and the climate more suited for farming.  Thus, another difference is the kind of farming done.  In the New England colonies, subsistence farming was practiced. These farmers grew enough for their family, but didn’t have too much left to sell to other people. In the Middle colonies, farmers grew crops for sale.  The main cash crop was wheat. 

The Middle colonies and New England colonies had both similarities and differences.

jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Unlike the colonies in the Chesapeake and the Deep South, the Middle and New England colonies had relatively fewer slaves and smaller farms. While the economies of the Chesapeake and Deep South colonies were based on agriculture, the Middle and New England colonies had more diversified economies based on small farms (wheat was grown in the Middle Colonies and squash, beans, and other crops were grown in New England). In addition, the Middle Colonies and New England had some rudimentary forms of industry, including fur trapping and textile manufacturing in the Middle Colonies and shipbuilding and logging in New England.

The Middle Colonies and New England were different in that New England was largely Puritan, and, save for Rhode Island (which practiced a form of religious tolerance), the government was a kind of theocracy run by the Puritans. There was little religious tolerance, and family life was built around the Puritan church. The Middle Colonies had greater religious diversity, and Pennsylvania, for example, was a haven for Quakers; the Quakers also offered others religious tolerance. In addition, while New England discouraged settlement by people other than Puritans, the Middle Colonies encouraged immigration from different types of people (for example, Germans in Pennsylvania).