The New England Colonies

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What was life like in the New England colonies?

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At first, life was rough in the New England colonies as settlers struggled to establish a foothold in a new land. There were very few of them, they didn't necessarily know how to farm or survive the terrain, and Native Americans posed a threat to their wellbeing. However, the colonies in that region, settled primarily for religious reasons, were also imbued with a sense of hope and animation, for the settlers no longer had to face imprisonment, fines, corporal punishment, and even death for violating British religious laws.

As time went on, the colonies became economically prosperous, especially the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and the per capita income was very high, as wealth was distributed more evenly than in Europe. At the same time, however, the religious atmosphere that had once animated such hope that the Massachusetts Bay Colony would be a beacon to the rest of the world came to be perceived by some as repressive and stifling. This led to dissent and to the founding of new colonies in New England such as Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Hampshire.

The colonists very much wanted to replicate the life they knew in England, only without the religious persecution they had suffered. The Plymouth Colony pilgrims, for example, had left the Netherlands because they didn't want their children assimilating into Dutch culture. Therefore, even when it would have been more convenient to adopt Native American dress, housebuilding, or other customs, the colonists stubbornly insisted on keeping to their own way of life.

People largely lived in small villages and farmed as they had in England. They sent their children to school. For men of the correct religious faith, a somewhat flattened hierarchy gave them a voice in the political world.

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Describe life in the New England colonies.

The New England colonies included Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. Puritans with varying degrees of religious intensity dispersed in the region and inhabited the various colonies. The activities and lifestyle of New England’s colonies can be easily tied to the geography and climate of the region. With lots of access to the coast, the region relied heavily on fishing, shipbuilding, and other naval-based activities.

Due to poor (rocky) soil conditions, farming was not easily done. Additionally, the moderate summers and cold winters didn’t favor actually attaining high yields. Therefore, since the farming industry wasn’t profitable, they focused their energies on industries related to the plentiful water resources and those that were indoors, such as the work of artisans, tradespeople, and shopkeepers.

Civil society was also an integral part of daily life. From village events to religious events, colonists were actively engaged and participating alongside their neighbors in day-to-day life. Life in the colonies revolved around church activities and events as well as meetings and other civic gatherings, which contributed to modern-day democracy.

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