The biochemical activation of amino acids by adenosine triphosphate (ATP) drives the synthesis of proteins that are essential for all life. On the early Earth, before the emergence of cellular life, the chemical condensation of amino acids to form prebiotic peptides or proteins may have been activated by inorganic polyphosphates, such as tri metaphosphate (TP). Plausible volcanic and other potential sources of TP are known, and TP readily activates amino acids for peptide synthesis. But de novo peptide synthesis also depends on pH, temperature, and processes of solvent drying, which together define a varied range of potential activating conditions. Although we cannot replay the tape of life on Earth, we can examine how activator, temperature, acidity and other conditions may have collectively shaped its prebiotic evolution. Here, reactions of two simple amino acids, glycine and alanine, were tested, with or without TP, over a wide range of temperature (0-100 °C) and acidity (pH 1-12), while open to the atmosphere. After 24 h, products were analyzed by HPLC and mass spectrometry. In the absence of TP, glycine and alanine readily formed peptides under harsh near-boiling temperatures, extremes of pH, and within dry solid residues. In the presence of TP, however, peptides arose over a much wider range of conditions, including ambient temperature, neutral pH, and in water. These results show how polyphosphates such as TP may have enabled the transition of peptide synthesis from harsh to mild early Earth environments, setting the stage for the emergence of more complex prebiotic chemistries.