In colonial America, the land was divided into three regions: New England, the Middle Colonies, and the South. Each region had different features that affected the way of life there. In particular, the geographical features of each region played a large part in how the people there earned a living. In New England, the Middle Colonies, and the South, it was geographical features that affected the success of different ways to earn a living. The geographic conditions of New England influenced the way its colonists earned a living. Throughout New England, there were many tree-lined hills of very poor, rocky soil.

The poor soil was not suitable for farming, and combined with the cold weather present most of the year, presented a short growing season, therefore distinguishing farming as an unprofitable living. However, with New England's many trees, shipbuilding would prove itself to be a productive way to earn a living. Shipbuilding, along with gun production, printing, making rum, and other forms of manufacturing, was most successful in New England. Colonists could manufacture these goods, then easily ship them out to England to be sold, since New England was right on the coast.

Therefore, most colonists were either manufacturers or traders who would take the goods out to England to be bought or traded. Although manufacturing was the best way to earn a living in New England, other ways were used in the Middle Colonies. The Middle Colonies had distinctive geographic features that influenced the way its colonist earned a living as well. The land of the Middle Colonies was characterized by flat land with fertile soil and many rivers. The fertile soil and flat land made the Middle Colonies suitable for farming. Throughout Pennsylvania, grain was planted, and New Jersey also did a notable amount of farming.

In the Middle Colonies, farming was one way to earn a living, since it would produce profitable results because of the good soil. Also, because of the many rivers throughout the Middle Colonies, it was very easy to access seaports in New York and Pennsylvania. The rivers would allow traders and farmers who wanted to sell their farm products, to get to different cities, as well as the ports with some ease. Therefore, because of good soil and rivers, most colonists were either farmers or traders.

Although that was the best way to earn a living in the Middle Colonies, there were different ways in the South. The different way of earning a living in the South was influenced by the geographic features there. The land in the South was mostly broad, marshy coastal plain. The marshy flat land provided excellent soil for planting. All of the southern colonies were farming colonies, and this was rightfully so, because of the quality of the soil. In Virginia, tobacco thrived and in South Carolina, rice was abundant.

Planting was the main way of life in the South, and most colonists were either farmers or wealthy plantation owners who would ship their tobacco or rice to England or other colonies. All three regions of the thirteen colonies had different ways their colonists earned a living, affected by the geography of the region. Those in New England became manufacturers because they had poor soil to farm. The colonists in the Middle Colonies became farmers and traders because of the good soil and easy access to ports. Finally, the southern colonists became farmers because their land provided them with superb soil. While these different ways of earning a living allowed the colonists in the regions success in their beginnings, it would be their variety of things produced that would determine their success in the long run.