Why were the southern colonies better than the other two regions of colonies (New England, Middle Colonies)?

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jerseygyrl1983 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If, by chance, you are asking why the Southern colonies were "better" off financially, this was due to agriculture, as the previous educator mentioned. However, fields were tended largely by slaves, which allowed planters to reap maximum profits without paying a work force.

During the colonial period, there were slaves in the New England and Middle Colonies as well, though not as many. As was mentioned, New England soil was rocky and stubborn; additionally, both regions had colder climates. This created little demand for slave labor. 

In the southern colonies, particularly Virginia and South Carolina, numerous cash crops were harvested and sold: tobacco, cotton, and rice. With the invention of the cotton gin in 1793, more Southern states focused on raising cotton, which had become a very lucrative cash crop and could more conveniently be cleaned with the help of Eli Whitney's machine. 

Virginia was the wealthiest colony and would later become the wealthiest state. 

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I assume that this question is asking why the southern colonies were better than the Middle Colonies or New England for agriculture.  Agriculture is the only way in which the southern colonies were clearly better than the other two regions. 

Climate and soil were the two main reasons that the southern colonies were better suited to agriculture than the other colonies.  New England had a cold climate and poor soil.  The Middle Colonies did have good soil and strong agricultural economies.  However, their agriculture was not as productive as the southern colonies’ because their climate was not as good.

The southern colonies had very rich soil.  They also had a much warmer climate than the other regions because they were farther south.  Because their climate was so mild, their growing season was longer and farms there could be more productive.  This is why they were better than the other regions in terms of agriculture.