The Middle Colonies

Start Free Trial

How did the Middle Colonies differ from the New England colonies?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

One difference was their demographic makeup. While both colonies were largely English, the Middle Colonies of Pennsylvania and New York had more nationalities in them due to their religious tolerance. Pennsylvania had a substantial German population even after the Revolutionary War. The colony of New Amsterdam was as religiously tolerant as the mother country and boasted many different religions, including Judaism. New England was populated by Calvinists, who disagreed with the Church of England.

Another difference pertained to the economies of the colonies. New York was known for its trade, as the Hudson River provided one of the best ports on the continent. Pennsylvania was known as the breadbasket of the colonies thanks to its Quaker inhabitants' large farms. New England, on the other hand, had a shorter growing season and thinner soil. Farmers practiced subsistence agriculture. More people turned to trade, whaling, fishing, and timber in order to grow the economic future of the colony.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

How did the New England and Middle colonies differ politically?

The Middle Colonies and the New England Colonies had some political differences. Two of the New England Colonies were charter colonies. The people in Connecticut and Rhode Island were able to elect their legislature and the governor. In the Middle Colonies, this condition did not exist. There was more religious freedom in the Middle Colonies than in the New England Colonies. Some of the Middle Colonies were known for their religious and political tolerance. As we moved closer to the Revolutionary War, there were more loyalists in the Middle Colonies than in the New England Colonies. New York, a Middle Colony, was known as an area where many loyalists lived and therefore were more supportive of the British.  While the colonies and many colonists were supportive of each other (and eventually the war effort), there were some political differences between the Middle Colonies and the New England Colonies.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Last Updated on