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Pennsylvania were two groups that practiced religious tolerance. Because of this diversity, the various religious groups had to learn to accept, or at least tolerate, one another. The tolerance that developed in the Middle Colonies would one day serve as a model for the nation.
Religious tolerance was an important but often misunderstood contribution of the colonial era. Groups such as the Pilgrims and Puritans who left Europe to escape religious persecution often were intolerant of religious diversity themselves once they established themselves in the New World.
Farm land was both productive and much less expensive than in Europe. Later settlers included members of various Protestant denominations, which were protected in the Middle Colonies by written freedom of religion laws. This tolerance was very unusual and distinct from the situation in other British colonies.
The Middle Colonies were not as cohesive as the New England colonies because colonists in this region were not united by single religion or code of beliefs. The Middle Colonies were settled by different nationalities so there is greater emphasis on religious toleration and cultural diversity.
Besides wheat, farmers harvested rye and corn, earning them the nickname “The Breadbasket Colonies.” Farmers also raised livestock, including pigs and cows.
In the North, the economy was based on industry. They built factories and manufactured products to sell to other countries and to the southern states. They did not do a lot of farming because the soil was rocky and the colder climate made for a shorter growing season.
The Union’s industrial and economic capacity soared during the war as the North continued its rapid industrialization to suppress the rebellion. In the South, a smaller industrial base, fewer rail lines, and an agricultural economy based upon slave labor made mobilization of resources more difficult.