Geography was a major factor in the way people lived in the three mayor areas of English settlement in North America. New England's thin rocky soil and cold winters contrasted with the mid- Atlantic region's fertile plains and mild climate and the South's rich soil and tropical climate. However geography is not the only factor which determines the way people lived. The types of people and their reasons for settlement, their religion, and their economic skills were are also factors. .
The majority of people who settled in the New England colonies were Puritans who came in the seventeenth century to what is now Massachusetts in order to gain religious freedom. United States abolitionist Wendell Phillips said, "What the Puritans gave the world was not thought, but action." The Puritans were work-driven people and believed that in return for their hard work God would give them success. Therefore, the New Englanders energetically used their resources: lumber, fish, and their harbors to create a vibrant diversified economy. They became lumbermen, merchants, shipbuilders and fishermen. New England was heavily involved in its church. They believed in it so heavy that it had political control. Their religion caused them to work together as a community. The community helped each family if their crops failed, or if there was a field fire. Neighbors also helped others build barns or farm equipment. If the population was too large they would divide and make a new town. Working together through religion was a foundation for substance farms. Because of the geography, substance farms were created formulating profit making the New England colony the wealthiest.
Quakers also looking for religious freedom founded Pennsylvania at a time of economic prosperity. The Quakers believed in equality and community and provided goods and charity to the poor. People from many different countries also came to the mid- Atlantic region because they wanted to make money and to farm.