Foundations of New England, Middle, and Southern Colonies Economic Structures

Colonists were steadily progressing in developing fundamental structures to have a successful society. Economic structure in each region took some time to be revised, refined, and be effective to allow growth along with expansion of society. Natural resources in each region were discovered to grow and harvest for profit. There were different measures taken when it pertains to which type of workers were utilized in each region. This also lead to population diversity and social class. As colonies discovered their economic infrastructure, it solidified their future growth for prosperity.

The colonies had different resources and goods to farm for profit. New England’s main source of crops were corn, beans and squash. Many farmers who owned land did not grow crops for profit, but farmed for sustainable living. It seems that any crop that was successfully grown by families were for personal use and consumption for every day needs. Most of their profit for gain came from the trading and selling of fur. It originated from bargaining and trading from the Natives. Approximately 95% of fur was exported from New England and imported to other countries for capital gain. The middle colony had developed a successful supply chain that boosted their economy for profit.

There had been a select group of commercial farmers who solely grew and gathered grains. Once the grains had been harvested, it gets transported to a flour mill factory where the grain gets converted to flour. Primarily, the packaged flour gets distributed to other colonies and countries including the West Indies and southern Europe. Southern colonies were most productive as there were four crops that kept a steady income year-round. Most profitable crops consisted of: wheat, rice, corn and tobacco. Tobacco was a highly desirable crop that it became the primary crop to produce and sell. Exported grains and tobacco were sent to Great Britain as they were highly favored. Production was thriving in various regions, colonies needed to expand their workforce labor to meet the demands of production.

Workforce labor differed from region to region as it was dependent on production of crops. Northern colonies did not seek out indentured servants, slaves or waged labors to help with their production. For what it seemed, farmers in this region were very family orientated and relied on other members in the household to help with labor on the farm. Essentially, with all the sweat equity and labor that families worked, it was deemed as a contribution to the economic system in New England. Middle colonies on the other hand, the labor workforce solely depended on indentured servants, slaves and waged labor workers. It was intended to supplement most of the farmer’s family portion of labor to contribute to society. New England and middle colonies set a precedence that family members were required to contribute to society. Contribution to society was deemed by gender roles and age.

Woman’s work consisted of daily chores such as: cooking, laundry, cleaning, and tend after children. In some cases, woman looked for work outside of the home such as a job in a textile factory. Men’s work was out in the field and tending to crop(s) and preparing for harvest. In contrast, southern colonies extensively had slaves, which composed a majority of their workforce labor. Since southern colonies had the ability to grow various crops as seasons changed over the year, slaves were effectively worked for all that they were worth. This eventually lead slave owners forcing slaves to longer work days to the point of exhaustion. With the abundance of corn grown, it was used to feed slaves. Indentured servants over time were less utilized in the workforce. As the workforce became fully developed to support the economic structure, it has also set the tone of social status along with diversity in each region.

While colonies establishing their economic structures, migrators from other countries came and helped with population growth. During the 18th century, approximately 425,000 Europeans made the journey to the established colonies. About half of the Europeans were Scottish-Irish descent. Other groups like Germans, Africans, Dutch and English families had also migrated to the colonies as well. During this period, due to the Translantic Slave Trade, there was a vast number of African slaves that were brought to the colonies to be worked extensively in the workforce.

Slave woman and most Europeans reproduced children frequently also contributed to the growth of colonies. Population grew quickly, which caused consumer consumption to increase which created a supply and demand of goods. When goods were purchased by consumers, this gave the production companies the ability regulate prices to where it is feasible for consumers and profit gain for production companies. In due time, this transformed the colonies to a capitalist society. As time progressed, workers became dedicated to work efficiently and diligently to ensure that goods were produced and sold.

This yielded higher pay and gave workers the ability to have sustainability in society. While individuals in the colonies have extra income to spend, gentility was implemented into society. Gentility was the factor in creating social class which was based on wealth. Families that were classified as gentility were civilized, polite, and had fashionable appearances. As these families had disposable income, this allowed them to indulgence in expensive items such as: tea, tobacco and sugar.

In conclusion, economic structure in each region was well adapted to aid with population growth. Natural resources in each region were discovered to grow and harvest for profits. Primary goods like vegetation, grains, fur and tobacco were desirable high price items that other countries were willing to purchase. There were different measures taken when it pertains to which type of workers were utilized in each region. Each region had different ideas on what the labor workforce should look like. This also lead to population diversity and social class. Individuals desired to work harder in the workforce to receive higher pay, which eventually lead to gentility and distinguished social classes. As colonies discovered their economic infrastructure, it solidified their future growth for prosperity. 

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