American Colonial Life: North Vs. South

985 Words4 Pages
North vs. South

The northern colonies badly needed the services their isolation denied them. The people needed doctors and surgeons and carpenters and blacksmiths. And although they could survive without many of the manufactured goods available only at high prices, they dreamed of owning these things. They dreamed also of luxury items-perfume, spices, silk cloth.

It became obvious very early in the colonial experience that Spain would not make goods available to the northern colonies. It was, therefore, natural that the colonists should welcome foreigners who might provide them with the things they wanted. Thus began the first really severe threat to Spanish sovereignty in the American possessions.

In the northern colonies the settlers made most of the things they needed. They did not have the money or credit to import items from England. The southern colonists exported tobacco and more of them had credit with England and were able to import much of what they needed.

In the North they learned to supply their own needs. Grease was saved--it was used for lighting and making soap.

They learned to use wood in place of iron for many years. Clothing was made in the North, which involved weaving the cloth as well as fitting, cutting, and sewing the garments. In the South they imported garments from England (although some feared catching the bubonic plague from hidden fleas).

In the New England colonies, where the Puritans were, the church was the center of everything. The clergy was in complete political control.

The Puritans believed in punishing sin. When someone was caught in sin they were publicly punished. Puritans believed strongly in humiliation. They locked the guilty people in the stocks or the pillory (a frame with holes for head and hands) with a sign on them describing the sin--where everyone could see it. This was a big event. Schools were let out and people came from all around to see such sights. They would also dunk a person who was a gossip (or guilty of other such sins) from the end of a long log into a pond or lake.

Other more cruel punishment was carried out--not only in the North, but throughout the other colonies as well. The idea was that the criminal should be marked and humiliated. Whipping posts were used, flesh was branded with hot irons, and ears and hands were cut off.

One sad series of events of the early colonists involved the Puritans and their "witch hunts".
Open Document