The wealthy speculator, if one was involved, usually remained at home, so that ordinarily no one of wealth was a resident. The great majority were landowners, most of whom were also poor because they were starting with little property and had not yet cleared much land nor had they acquired the farm tools and animals which would one day make them prosperous.
Few artisans settled on the frontier except for those who practiced a trade to supplement their primary occupation of farming.
Land ownership brought a degree of independence as well as a vote for local and provincial offices.
The typical New England settlements were quite compact and small—under a square mile.
English, French, Spanish and Dutch patterns of expansion and settlement were quite different.Historian Frederick Jackson Turner in his "Frontier Thesis" (1893) theorized that the frontier was a process that transformed Europeans into a new people, the Americans, whose values focused on equality, democracy, and optimism, as well as individualism, self-reliance, and even violence.Thus, Turner's Frontier Thesis proclaimed the westward frontier to be the defining process of American history.Although French fur traders ranged widely through the Great Lakes and mid-west region they seldom settled down.French settlement was limited to a few very small villages such as Kaskaskia, Illinois as well as a larger settlement around New Orleans.