Historians often emphasize the differences between the developing identities of early New England and Southern United States colonists. While both groups initially considered themselves British subjects first, and only secondarily as residents of their particular geographic region, local identities had clearly gained primacy during the 18th century. While many factors contributed to this emerging identity, certain economic and cultural factors are perhaps the easiest on which to elaborate.
Throughout the colonial period, New England maintained a remarkably homogeneous population. Its economy was broad based, consisting mainly of fishing, shipbuilding, manufacturing and farming. Most farming was for subsistence, not profit. On the other hand, the Southern colonies relied mainly on the farming of wealthy large estates known as plantations. These plantations were worked principally by slaves brought from Africa. In the late 18th century, these slaves nearly equaled the number of white colonists in Virginia. In South Carolina, they outnumbered the whites by nearly two-to-one. Not only did the plantations create a class system unknown in New England, but they also changed the nature of local government. In New England, people associated in compact villages, while in the South, plantations spread over so wide an area as to make villages impossible. In New England, the town was the natural unit of government; in the South, the county was all-important. The largely rural character of the South had a pronounced effect on its cultural development. Boston possessed a newspaper as early as 1690, but it wasn't until 1736 that the Virginia Gazette was founded.
The passage suggests that, in the colonial period, the economies of New England and the South differed in which of the following ways?
A. The diversity of the New England economy was not matched by that of the South.
B. The crops grown on plantations in the South could not be grown in New England.
C. The slower cultural development of the South impeded its ability to move beyond an agrarian economy.
D. New England residents did not own slaves, while plantation owners in the South relied on them.
E. The New England economy was structured around manufacturing textiles from the raw materials grown in the South.
(A) The passage begins by discussing economies in the second paragraph. It compares the two regions in the second, third, and fourth sentences. The choice that matches those sentences is (A), since the New England economy is said to have been “broad based,” while the Southern economy relied mainly on farming. All of the other choices may be true, but we’re looking for something directly supported by the passage. Choice (A) is the only one that fits the bill.
Hi – why is D wrong? Thanks.