The religious motive is often emphasized as the predominant one in the migration of the early English colonizers to the New England, but economic motives were undoubtedly the most effective in promoting colonization. Economic considerations were greatly emphasized in the early settlements of the Southern Colonies. As for religious considerations were mainly found in the colonization of the New England Colonies. The Middle Colonies on the other hand were considered to be mainly established for religious motives, but economic motives were equally as strong. Economic considerations were undoubtedly the most important factors in promoting colonization.
Among these was the accumulation of a surplus capital and the profit motive which wealthy business men sought opportunities to invest their money in. Joint-stock companies sold shares of stock ventures and enabled them to share the great expense and risk of founding colonies as business enterprises. The economic theory of mercantilism stressed the need of a nation to accumulate precious metals. Thus, England wished to secure vital raw materials from their own colonies instead of paying other countries. For example, in the Southern Colonies South Carolina and Georgia had an economy based on the production of silk, wine, indigo, and rice.
The need for markets for England s surplus of manufacturers argued for the establishment of captive markets in the form of colonies. Among individual colonists the simple desire to own land and enjoy a better living motivated emigration. The Protestant Reformation gave rise to the dissenting sects who aggressively sought to worship according to their own ideas instead of conforming to the religious uniformity required by the Anglican Church. Since religious conformity was identified with political conformity, the kings sought to enforce obedience to the practices of the established church. The nonconforming sects were persecuted in the attempts to enforce the religious law of the land. The persecuted sought to escape to America where vacant land offered them an opportunity to settle and follow their own consciences in religious matters.
Among these religious groups were the Catholics, Puritans, and Quakers. The Massachusetts Bay Colony originated as a commercial (fishing) venture but was later populated by thousands of Puritan refugees who settled the land to become farmers. The Massachusetts government was heavily influenced by the Puritan clergy and only members of the church were permitted to vote and participate in government. Another example of a religion based colony was Maryland which was founded by Lord Baltimore in order to establish a refuge for Catholics and others who were persecuted religiously. Even though both the Southern and New England Colonies had either a predominating economic or religious motive in their colonies, the Middle Colonies originated with both motives equally. These colonies were founded by different people which resulted in creating very diverse colonies.
The most important colony from the Middle Colonies by far was Pennsylvania. It was founded by William Penn (Quaker) as a philanthropic experiment, but like Calvert in Maryland he also wished to make a profit. He did both. Penn called his colony the Holy Experiment, providing complete freedom of worship and established a democratic government.
The liberal nature of the Quaker colony attracted immigrants and Pennsylvania grew and prospered. The colony benefited from the fertile region by using it to harvest food and becoming the Bread basket of the colonies. Penn advertised the generous terms for acquiring land, his liberal government and policy of religious toleration which attracted various religious sects. English leaders for a long time and for various reasons had advocated the founding of colonies in America. Whether it was the Southern Colonies, New England Colonies or even the Middle Colonies they were all founded by either economic or religious motives. Even though the religious motive is often emphasized as the predominant one in the migration of the early England colonizers to New England, but the economic motives were undoubtedly far more effective in promoting colonization..