During the period of the 15th and 16th century, America was highly divided, along the basis of location, religion, ethnicity, and economic station. The most prominent of the divisions was that of geographical location, for the most part, people in a certain region would have similar lifestyles and beliefs; people would also be more likely to settle near others of their race.  Even when separated physically, different groups were still held together by common traits.  Religion and race were able to transcend geographic boundaries, forming many disconnected communities.  Although social class might not have formed communities, it certainly worked to separate people into even more groups, those who had their freedom, slaves and indentured servants formed three separate groups as well.  These defining features caused people to form in to many distinct groups, as Walt Whiteman said it was "not merely a nation, but a teeming nation of nations."  

Geography was the greatest factor in creating "nations" within the greater whole. The location of a settlement would often define the lifestyle of those living there.  In the backcountry, cheap land allowed families to tend to a farm, with the only goal being subsistence, and because most of the east had already been settled, recent immigrants, mostly German and Scots-Irish, were able to find land that had not yet been accounted for.  Large farmland isolated people, and a lack of transportation cut those living in the backcountry off from the rest of the nation.  "From many farmsteads, it was a days ride to the nearest courthouse; taverns and churches were often just as distant" Because the settlers were unable to market their goods, few of them were able to hire workers or buy slaves, and thus they were forced to continue to tend farms only as large as their families were capable of.

 The isolation also produced a lack of religion, communities were not able to finance the building of churches, and preachers would not be able to make a living in such a climate, also distance between communities made it ineffective for preachers travel. The backcountry had the most equality of any region at the time.  Nearly everyone was free, as few families could afford slaves, so unlike other communities; there was no aristocracy where the rich owned the largest farms.  Even so, a lack of government caused the frontier to be plagued by crime.  Dissatisfaction with this relative anarchy led to several violent protests, eventually, the court system was extended into the backcountry, bringing relative stability.  The primary defining feature of the backcountry was that it was cut of from the rest of the nation, this exemplifies that the location of a region can largely define it as a distinct nation, as part of a larger nation.

In the southern colonies, social class primarily defined the culture.  Unlike in the north, where many of the inhabitants immigrated to find a better life for themselves, most of the landowners in the south immigrated because they had been granted a large amount of land, by virtue of having the right friends.  This was the plan of Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper, the Earl of Shaftsbury.  "Coopers utopia was one in which few landed aristocrats would rule with the consent of many smaller property holders".  This lead to the creation of many large farms, unlike in the north, where few people could afford to hire or buy workers, thus keeping the farmers to a small size, those in the south were able to afford many workers, allowing them to create expansive farms which were able to turn large profits, with such crops as tobacco, and later, cotton. 

Another sub-nation, which was shaped by social class, was that of the slaves.  This group was not physically united, but was united by the common bond of slavery, even though it was disconnected, the slaves were still influenced by the factors of geography and religion, just as any other physical community was at the time.  Many slaves converted to Christianity, they were drawn to the fact that it gave them hope for a life after death where they were repaid for their hard labor.  Those who converted created a rift between Christian slaves and those who kept to the old ways, who felt betrayed. 

The location to which a slave was either sold or born into impacted the life they lead, just as a freeman was impacted by where they chose to settle.  Different crops, and attitudes about slavery influenced the scrutiny under which the slaves were watched.  Plantations in the south who had a large population of slaves, and used the task system allowed the slaves to live in relative freedom.  Theses slaves were not watched as closely, and once they had completed their job for the day, they were done working.   Free blacks formed yet another minor nation, as regardless of their location and religion, they still remained distinct from both free whites and enslaved blacks.  Both the southern aristocracy, as well as free and captive blacks formed Sub-nations unrestricted by locality.

Religion was another creator of large sub-nations not formed by geography, or restricted to those of a certain social class.  Some communities, such as the Quakers, in Philadelphia, were located around one central location; even so, most religions had their followers relatively spread through out the land.  A puritan belief states that even though there are different sects of Christianity, they can form one group.  This did not seem the case, with each denomination forming its own communities across the nation.  The differences in beliefs between Christians created animosity, which was only heightened as several groups tried to convert both Native Americans and Africans, which by doing so, they hoped to "civilize" these people, which they considered savage. 

It was generally believed that there was a greater amount of separation between the church and the state in the New World than there was to be found in England; even so, it was not hard to find a connection.  In many early New England towns, a small degree of inequality was thought necessary in order to maintain stability in society.  Those selected for this special treatment were most often ministers, or other clergymen.  In nearly all of New England, residents were required by law to attend church on the Sabbath, as well as pay taxes in support of Congregationalism.  Churches clearly formed an important part of New England life.  "Most settlers formed churches as quickly as they founded towns, and each congregation ran its own affairs".  The church played an important role in New England life, and although unable to punish citizens, it could still keep order by using the threat of expulsion.  Even though nearly everyone attended church, membership was not compulsory, and those who wished to join had to prove to the church that they were worthy. 

Differences in forms of Christianity were the cause of many conflicts, which at times, worked to help bring progress to society.  The first settlement in Connecticut was founded by Thomas Hooker, who left his job as the minister in Cambridge, Massachusetts after a disagreement.  William Penn founded Pennsylvania, his goal being to create a refuge for Quakers.  In the 1730s, a period referred to as the Great Awakening, caused to strengthen the divides between different religious groups.  Many ministers preaching about the wrath of God, and the importance of being "reborn" marked this movement.  "The drama of such performances appealed to people of all classes, ethnic groups, and races".  Even though the Awakening served to cause more fighting between groups, it also shows how religion is a unifier that was able to create many sub-nations, which people of all walks of life became a part of.

It is clear that within the colonies, there were many groups, which formed nations as part of a larger nation.  These groups were the product of many factors, which caused to both divide and unite people.  Such things as class, race, religion and locality separated people into many different groups, but acted to unite those within the same group.  When Walt Whiteman said that the United States was "not merely a nation, but a teeming nation of nations", it was these groups that he has referring to, he was correct when he said it, and it still holds true today.

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