Last Updated 03 Apr 2020

Apush Chapter Notes

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Although they shared similarities, the Northern and Southern colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries also had many differences. The diversity of the United States goes back to its beginning as a collection of northern and southern colonies. Their differences in religion, politics, economics, and social issues, and the way they dealt with them, are what shaped our country into what we are today. Religion in the southern colonies was not practiced with the enthusiasm that it was in New England. While most colonists of the south were Anglicans, they were more focused on their tobacco plantations.

The same was true for the Catholic founders of Maryland. As their population grew, Protestants began to outnumber Catholics, though the Catholics continued to hold the power and influence. Just as in the other southern colonies, religion eventually took a back seat to tobacco in Maryland. Politics in the colonies were as different as their religious preferences. Seventeenth century New England was governed by Puritans. They governed the colonies with a General Court. The southern colonies, like Virginia, were ruled by the House of Burgesses.

A large majority of the southern colonies followed the Virginia model of government. Northern colonial society was based on the Puritan religion. Community leaders attempted to form a completely pious society and to eliminate sin from within its boundaries. Those that did not conform were cast out or met with ridicule and violence, as is evident by the Salem witch trials. Southern colonists were mostly farmers with small plots of land that were maintained by family members and possibly a couple servants.

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Eventually, the mortality rate in the colonies began to decrease and most indentured servants survived long enough to be free. This caused a class system to develop that polarized the social structure of the south. Although they shared many similarities, and the prompt suggests that the Northern and Southern colonies were more similar than different, it seems clear that there were also many difference between the two. They had religious differences, they had political differences, they had economic and social differences. These differences prove the validity of the prompt’s statement to be wrong.

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