Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade December 2001

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In the 17th century two completely different societies emerged in America, one in New England and one in the Southern. Both societies had coalesced together to seek independence but both the colonies came out completely opposite from each other after gaining independence from the British.

Life in the Southern colonies was very unhealthy, the earliest Chesapeak settlers had to deal with diseases such as, Malaria, dysentery, and typhoid which took cruel tolls usually cutting ten years of the average life expectancy of newcomers coming from England. Half the people born in Virginia and Maryland did not survive to celebrate there twentieth birthdays. In most Southern colonies the men outnumbered the women, in 1650 the ratio was 6 to 1 but, by the end of the century it changed to 3 to 2. The main trading source in the southern colonies was the tobacco economy, profit hungry settlers often planted tobacco before corn.

The annual export of tobacco was around 40 million pounds by the end of the century. More tobacco meant more labor so the colonies had to import tremendous amounts of slaves from Africa and there were many indentured servants ( work in exchange for transatlantic passage and "freedom dues"). There was also a great deal of racial discrimination against black people that molded the American slave system. Slave codes came about which made blacks and their children the property for their white masters, and that they weren't even allowed to read and write. The rich planters and farmers basically ruled the regions economy and virtually monopolized politcal power. The wealthiest people were the planters and famers. The small farmers who didn't have much land consisted of the largest social group, they usually lived a rough life due to much competion. Below the small famers in the social system...