Why did the sourthern colonies develop an economic and social system based on large-scale plantaiton agriculture?
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How democratic as colonial American society? Why was it apparently becoming less equal?© BrainMass Inc. brainmass.com February 24, 2021, 2:27 pm ad1c9bdddf
<br>Why did the southern colonies develop an economic and social system based on large-scale plantation agriculture?
<br>From the very beginning of settlement the northern and southern colonies differed socially and economically. Basically the reason for this difference can be traced to the different physical environment and by the motives people had for settling in each region. The southern colonies had an advantage in the fact that the climate was better suited to growing market crops (i.e. tobacco) for which there was a great demand. In the northern colonies however, the growing season was much shorter and the soil was not hospitable for so-called "cash crops." Because tobacco was in such demand planters living in the southern colonies moved toward large-scale production. However, tobacco exhausted the soil after just a few years and this in turn created a huge demand for land. As a result southern planters began to acquire huge tracts of land in order to meet the demand for their crops. This was the beginning of the large-scale plantation system. It is also interesting to note that because tobacco required substantial land, southern settlements were much more dispersed than those the close-knit communities of New England.
<br>The tobacco economy created a heavy demand not only for land but for labor. Planters often paid for the passage of other immigrants to the colonies in return for a promise to work for a fixed amount of time. The workers were known as indentured servants and they accounted for about half of the new settlers to the colonies (outside of New England). Young men and women who wanted to start a new life in America would agree to work usually from 4 to 6 years in return for their passage across the Atlantic, for food, ...