Alan Taylor is professor in the History Department of the University of California at Davis. This essay derives from parts of chapters 8 and 14 in his American Colonies (New York: Viking Penguin, 2001).
In 1776, a revolution created a new nation from the British colonies of the Atlantic seaboard. The first colonial revolution for independence followed the emergence of those colonies as the most densely settled region of North America. North of the Rio Grande, the British colonial population of 2.5 million eclipsed the number of native peoples (about 800,000 in 1776) and the small enclaves of French (about 75,000) and Spanish (25,000). Numbers and the relative prosperity of the British colonies gave colonial British leaders a confidence that they could and should achieve independence. But the ethnic, racial, and regional diversity of that colonial population also gave the leading revolutionaries pause. Although most of the Continental Congressmen came from families of English origin, they meant to govern a far more diverse population, which included thousands of Germans, Dutch, Scots, Scots-Irish and at least 500,000 enslaved Africans. With good cause, the Founding Fathers of the revolutionary generation wondered if a union of thirteen disparate states could endure without a greater sense of common identity among the constituent people.
To understand both the ultimate success and the immediate problems facing the American revolutionaries, we also need to examine the sources and divisions among British Americans. This examination must begin by noting the regional differences within North America, which can be divided into five distinct regions: New England, Middle Colonies, Chesapeake, Lower South, and the West Indies. In addition to differences in geography and climate, these regions assumed cultural differences that corresponded with the variations in the places of origin of the peoples each region attracted: their social background, the timing of their arrival, and their relative success at achieving population growth and prosperity.
The Atlantic Seaboard colonies gradually emerged during the seventeenth century as part of an English empire, which became “British” in 1707 with the formal union of Scotland and England. This union opened the colonies to Scottish emigrants; prior to it, the majority of the colonial emigrants came from England (including Wales), settling in the West Indies and the Chesapeake, rather than in New England. Indeed, the New England emigrants represented only 30 percent of all the English who crossed the Atlantic to the various colonies during the 1630s. 
By colonial standards, New England attracted an unusual set of emigrants: they were the sort of skilled and prosperous people who ordinarily might have stayed at home rather than risk the rigors of a transatlantic crossing and the uncertainties of colonial life. The majority of seventeenth-century English emigrants were poor, young, single men, lacking good prospects in the mother country, gambling their lives as indentured servants in the Chesapeake or West Indies, where the warmer climate permitted plantation crops that demanded—and generated the profits that permitted—the importation of laborers. In sharp contrast, most of the New England colonists could pay their own way and emigrated as family groups. They also enjoyed a more even balance between the sexes. At mid-century, the New England sex ratio was six males for every four females, compared to four men for every woman in the Chesapeake. This more even balance encouraged a more stable society and faster population growth. 
New England’s healthier population sustained a rapid growth through natural increase, while in the Chesapeake and West Indies, population growth depended on human imports. During the seventeenth century, New England received only 21,000 emigrants—a fraction of the 120,000 transported to the Chesapeake or the 190,000 who colonized the West Indies. Yet in 1700 New England’s colonial population of 91,000 exceeded the 85,000 whites in the Chesapeake and the 33,000 white residents in the West Indies.
During the eighteenth century, the British navy and its merchant marine dominated the Atlantic, to the benefit of the British colonies along the Atlantic seaboard of North America. A swelling volume of British shipping carried information, goods, and people across the Atlantic. The annual transatlantic crossings tripled from about 500 during the 1670s to 1,500 by the late 1730s. Increased shipping, accompanied by a decline in piracy, reduced insurance costs and freight charges, encouraging the shipment of greater cargos. More frequent voyages and larger ships, some dedicated to the emigrant trade, also cut in half the price of a passage from Europe to the colonies between 1720 and 1770. 
The ocean, formerly a barrier, now became a bridge between the two shores of the empire. Clustered close to the Atlantic, most colonists were oriented eastward toward the ocean and Europe, rather than westward into the interior. The continental interior, with its dense forests, native tribes, and immense but uncertain dimensions, was far more mysterious and daunting than an ocean passage. The Atlantic was regularly traversed, but few of the colonists ventured into the North American continent.
During the first two-thirds of the eighteenth century, both the ocean and the passage of time worked to draw the colonists closer to their mother country. They became significantly better informed about events and ideas in Britain, especially in London, than in earlier years. The swelling volume of shipping also led to more complex trading patterns, feeding an impressive growth in the colonial economy. Consequently, most free colonists enjoyed rising incomes that permitted increased consumption of British manufactures. This consumption reinforced the ties between the mother country and the colonies, especially for the colonial elite.
Paradoxically, as the Atlantic became more British in its shipping, information, and goods, it also became a conduit for a greater diversity of emigrants. Despite the proliferation of British shipping, the overall number of emigrants from the mother country declined during the early eighteenth century from its seventeenth-century peak.  During the early decades of colonization, when the English economy and state were weak, ruling opinion had regarded the realm as dangerously overpopulated. And to reduce unemployment and social discontent at home, England’s rulers had encouraged emigration to the colonies, where laborers could develop staple commodities for the mother country and dissidents could be exiled from political influence. Late in the seventeenth century, however, ruling opinion shifted, as the home government became more tolerant of religious diversity; English manufacturing expanded, increasing the demand for cheap labor; and the realm frequently had need of additional thousands for an enlarged military. Thereafter, English emigration became an economic and strategic loss to the mother country.
Hence, in the early eighteenth century, free colonists arrived from elsewhere in Europe, primarily Scotland, Ireland, and Germany. While discouraging English emigration, imperial officials wished to continue colonial development and bolster colonial defenses, and these obligations called for an alternative supply of colonists. Hence, they recruited for colonists from elsewhere in Europe, with the idea of strengthening the colonies without weakening the mother country. More than any other eighteenth-century empire, the British came to rely on foreign emigrants for human capital.
The new recruitment invented America as an asylum from religious persecution and political oppression in Europe—with the important proviso that the immigrants had to be Protestants. Colonial laws and prejudices continued to discourage the emigration of Catholics and Jews to British America, for fear they would subvert Protestantism and betray the empire to France or Spain. Moreover, during the eighteenth century even larger numbers of enslaved Africans poured across the Atlantic as the slave trade escalated, eclipsing the movement of all free emigrants to British America. In 1718 an English visitor remarked, “The labour of negroes is the principal foundation of riches from the plantations.” As a land of freedom and opportunity, British America was a limited venture, in reality. 
Thus, relatively few eighteenth-century emigrants came from England: only 80,000 between 1700 and 1775, compared to 350,000 during the seventeenth century. The decline is especially striking because, after 1700, the colonies became cheaper and easier to reach by sea and safer to inhabit. But England’s growing economy provided rising real wages for laboring families, enabling more to remain in the mother country, while the growing militarization of the empire absorbed more laboring men into the enlarged army and navy for longer periods. In wartime, many would-be emigrants also balked at the greater dangers of a transatlantic passage.
Especially depressed during wartime, colonial emigration partially revived during the intervals of peace, when the Crown quickly demobilized thousands of soldiers and sailors, temporarily saturating the English labor market. Unable to find work, some people entered indentures to emigrate and serve in the colonies. Other demobilized men went unwillingly as convicted and transported criminals. In England, crime surged with every peace as thousands of unemployed and desperate men stole to live. The inefficient but grim justice of eighteenth–century England imposed the death penalty for 160 crimes, including grand larceny, which was loosely defined as stealing anything worth more than a shilling.
In 1717, shortly after the military demobilization of 1713–14, Parliament began to subsidize the shipment of convicted felons to the colonies as an alternative to their execution. The Crown generally paid £3 per convict to shippers, who carried the felons to America for sale as indentured servants with especially long terms: usually fourteen years. The shippers’ profits came from combining the sales price (about £12) with the Crown subsidy, less the £5 to £6 cost of transportation.
Between 1718 and 1775, the empire transported about 50,000 felons, more than half of all English emigrants to America during that period. The transported were overwhelmingly young, unmarried men lacking marketable skills—the cannon-fodder of war and the jail-bait of peace. About 80 percent of the convicts went to Virginia and Maryland, riding in the English ships of the tobacco trade. Convicts provided a profitable sideline for the tobacco shippers, who had plenty of empty cargo space on the outbound voyage from England, and Chesapeake planters were willing to buy convict labor. At about a third of the £35 an African male slave cost, the convict appealed to some planters as a better investment. The majority of the purchasers were small-scale planters with limited budgets. In a pinch, however, large plantation owners including George Washington bought a few convicts to supplement their slaves.
In time, despite its profitability, colonial leaders regarded the convict trade as an insult that treated the colonies as inferior to the mother country. The colonists wondered why they should have to accept convicts deemed too dangerous to live in England and dreaded the possibility that white convicts would make common cause in rebellion with the black slaves. In a political satire, Benjamin Franklin advocated sending American rattlesnakes to England in exchange. But ultimately the colonists colluded in the convict trade. In 1725 Maryland’s governor conceded, “While we purchase, they will send them, and we bring the Evil upon ourselves.”
Meanwhile, Scots emigration to the colonies soared to 145,000 between 1707 and 1775. Generally poorer than the English, the Scots had greater incentives to emigrate and the British Union of 1707 gave them legal access to all of the colonies. The growth in Scots overseas shipping also provided more opportunities and lower costs for passage. After a few early emigrants prospered, their reports homeward attracted growing numbers in a chain migration. During a tour of northwestern Scotland, James Boswell and Samuel Johnson saw the locals perform a popular and symbolic new dance called “America,” in which a few original dancers gradually drew in the entire audience. 
The Scottish diaspora flowed in three streams: Lowland Scots, Highland Scots, and Ulster Scots. Assimilated to English ways, the Lowland Scots were primarily skilled tradesmen, farmers, and professionals pulled by greater economic opportunity in America. They usually emigrated as individuals or single families, then dispersed in the colonies and completed their assimilation to Anglo-American ways.
More desperate than the Lowland Scots, the Highlanders responded primarily to the push of their deteriorating circumstances. In 1746 the British army brutally suppressed a rebellion in the Highlands, and Parliament outlawed many of their traditions and institutions. At mid-century, the common Highlanders also suffered from a pervasive rural poverty worsened by the rising rents demanded by their callous landlords. The emigrants primarily came from the relatively prosperous peasants, who possessed the means to emigrate and feared remaining in the Highlands, lest they fall into the growing ranks of the impoverished.
After 1750 emigration brokers and ambitious colonial land speculators frequented the northwest coast of Scotland to procure Highland emigrants. The brokers and speculators recognized that the poor but tough Highlanders were especially well-prepared for the rigors of a transatlantic passage and colonial settlement. Confined to cheap (and often dangerous) lands, the Highland Scots clustered in frontier valleys, especially along the Cape Fear River in North Carolina, the Mohawk River of New York, and the Altamaha River in Georgia. By clustering, they preserved their distinctive Gaelic language and Highland customs, in contrast to the assimilation practiced by the Lowland emigrants.
Nearly half of the Scots emigrants came from Ulster, in Northern Ireland, which their parents and grandparents had colonized during the 1690s. Like the Highlanders, the Ulster Scots sought to escape from deteriorating conditions. During the 1710s–20s they clashed with the Irish Catholic and endured a depressed market for their linen, several poor harvests, and increasing rents. The Ulster emigration to the colonies began in 1718 and accelerated during the 1720s. The destitute sold themselves into indentured servitude, while the families of middling means liquidated their livestock to procure the cost of passage. Of course, most of the Ulster Scots remained at home, preferring the known hardships of Ireland to the uncertain prospects of distant America.
The Ulster Scots emigrated in groups, generally organized by their Presbyterian ministers, who negotiated with shippers to arrange passage. Once in the colonies, the Ulster Scots gravitated to the frontier, where land was cheaper, enabling large groups to settle together. In the colonies, they became known as “the Scotch-Irish.” At first, the Ulster Scots emigrated to Boston, but some violent episodes of New English intolerance persuaded most, after 1720, to head for Philadelphia, a more welcoming seaport in a more tolerant colony. More sparsely settled than New England, Pennsylvania needed more settlers to develop and defend the hinterland. It also became the haven for the other major group of eighteenth-century free emigrants, the Germans. 
Outnumbering the English emigrants, the 100,000 Germans were second only to the Scots as eighteenth-century immigrants to British America. Most were Protestants, but they divided into multiple denominations: Lutherans, Reformed, Moravians, Baptists, and Pietists of many stripes. Drawn from both the poor and the middling sort, they emigrated primarily in families. Almost all came from the Rhine valley and its major tributaries in southwestern Germany and northern Switzerland. Flowing north and east, the navigable Rhine channeled emigrants downstream to the great Dutch port of Rotterdam, their gateway across the Atlantic to British America. 
About three-quarters of the Germans landed in Philadelphia, the great magnet for colonial migration. About three ships bearing a total of 600 Germans arrived in Philadelphia annually during the late 1720s. By the early 1750s some 20 ships and 5,600 Germans landed every year. Most emigrants filtered into rural Pennsylvania seeking farms. From there, some families headed south to settle on the frontiers of Maryland and Virginia. A second, much smaller and less sustained migration flowed from Rotterdam to Charles Town, South Carolina, which served as the gateway to the Georgia and Carolina frontiers.
The colonial emigration was a modest subset of a much larger movement of Germans out of the Rhineland. Between 1680 and 1780 about 500,000 southwestern Germans emigrated, but only a fifth went to British America. Many more headed east, seeking opportunities in Prussia, Hungary, and Russia. Since they received subsidies from the eastern rulers but nothing from the British, the Rhineland princes actively discouraged colonial emigration.
Why, then, did so many Rhinelanders undertake such a daunting journey across an ocean to a strange land? There were many push factors. Germany was subdivided into many small principalities, frequently embroiled in the great wars of the continent. To build palaces and conduct war, the authoritarian princes taxed their subjects heavily and conscripted their young men. Most princes also demanded religious conformity from their subjects, inflicting fines and imprisonment on dissidents. In addition, a swelling population pressed against the limits of the rural economy, blighting the prospects for thousands of young peasants and artisans.
The push factors, necessary but not sufficient in themselves for emigration, became pressing only once an uneasy people learned of an attractive alternative. They had to begin to perceive a great shortfall between their probable prospects at home compared to their apparent opportunities in a particular elsewhere.
Good news from Pennsylvania pulled discontented Rhinelanders across the Atlantic. In 1682, William Penn recruited a few Germans to settle in Pennsylvania, where they prospered. Word of their material success in a tolerant colony intrigued growing numbers in their old homeland. Letters home reported that wages were high and land and food cheap. The average Pennsylvania farm of 125 acres was six times larger than a typical peasant holding in southwestern Germany. In addition, the soil was more fertile, yielding three times as much wheat per acre. Lacking princes and aristocrats or an established church, Pennsylvania neither demanded taxes nor conscripted its inhabitants.
But even pulls and pushes could not sustain a major migration. Potential emigrants also needed an infrastructure to facilitate and finance their passage: a network of information, guides, ships, and merchants willing to provide passage on credit. Such an infrastructure began with the couriers carrying the letters from Pennsylvania to Germany. Known as “Newlanders,” the couriers were former emigrants returning home for a visit, often to collect debts or an inheritance. For a fee, they carried letters and conducted business in Germany for their neighbors who remained in Pennsylvania. By recruiting Germans to emigrate, the Newlanders could earn a free return passage to Philadelphia, and sometimes a modest commission too, from a British shipper. By speaking from experience and guiding the new emigrants down the Rhine to Rotterdam and onto waiting ships, the Newlanders eased the decision and passage of thousands who had balked at a journey on their own into the unknown. The opponents of German emigration denounced the Newlanders as dangerous charlatans, and a few unscrupulous men earned that reputation, but most provided accurate information and valuable services.
The German emigration was organized by the British merchants at Rotterdam, who saw a profitable opportunity to ship Germans to the colonies. Because of the Navigation Acts, only British (including colonial) ships could transport emigrants to the colonies. The merchants could profit by filling a ship with 100 to 200 emigrants at a charge of ₤5–6 per head. About two-thirds of the emigrants had sufficient means to pay their own way; the poorer third came as indentured servants. Sometimes parents could afford their own passage and that of younger children but had to indenture their adolescents, who had the highest value as laborers.
The German emigrant trade developed a relatively attractive form of indentured servitude adapted to the needs of families. Known as “redemptioners,” the Germans contracted to serve for about four to five years. Unlike other indentured servants, the redemptioner families had to be kept together by their employers and not divided for sale. Most contracts also gave the emigrant family a grace period of two weeks upon arrival to find a relative or acquaintance who might purchase their labor contract. Often arranged by prior correspondence, these deals afforded the emigrants some confidence in their destination and employer. If the two-week period passed, the redemption became open to general bidding from any colonist who needed laborers. After serving out their indentures, the redemptioners became free to stake out their own farms, usually on the frontier, where land was cheaper.
And so as the origins of the free colonists changed, so did the destinations of choice. During the seventeenth century, most of the colonists had been English, and their three primary destinations the West Indies, the Chesapeake, and New England. During the next century, newer colonial districts offered greater opportunities in the form of more fertile and abundant farmland. Consequently, the eighteenth–century emigrants primarily went to the more recently settled Carolinas and Georgia, as well as to the Middle Colonies (New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania). The greatest magnet for emigrants was Pennsylvania, which enjoyed a temperate climate, fertile farmland, peaceful relations with its Native Americans, and a reputation for religious toleration derived from its quaker founder, William Penn. The new waves of Scotch-Irish and German emigrants helped to swell Pennsylvania’s population from 18,000 in 1700 to 120,000 by 1750. The quakers became a minority in their own colony, slipping to just a quarter of the population by 1750. The Scotch-Irish accounted for an equal share of Pennsylvania’s inhabitants, while the Germans became even more numerous, about 40 percent of the total.
Although the diverse groups often disliked one another and longed for a more homogeneous society, none had the numbers and power to impose their own beliefs or to drive out others. By necessity, almost all gradually accepted the mutual forbearance of a pluralistic society as an economic boom and the best guarantee for their own faith. But freedom was only part of the colonial American story; slavery was another part.
Contrary to popular myth, most eighteenth-century emigrants did not come to America by their own free will in search of liberty. Nor were they Europeans. Most were enslaved Africans forced across the Atlantic to work on plantations raising American crops for the European market. During the eighteenth century, the British colonies imported 1.5 million slaves—more than three times the number of free immigrants. The expanding slave trade and plantation agriculture jointly enriched the European empires—especially the British. The slave traders provided the labor essential to the plantations producing the commodities (sugar, tobacco, and rice) that drove the expansion of British overseas trade in North America. 
During the eighteenth century, the British seized a commanding lead in the transatlantic slave trade, carrying about 2.5 million slaves, compared to the 1.8 million borne by the second-place Portuguese (primarily to Brazil) and the 1.2 million transported by the third-place French. The British slavers sold about half of their imports to their own colonies and the other half to the French and Spanish colonies, often illegally. At first the West Indies consumed almost all of the slaves imported into British America: 96 percent of the 275,000 brought in the seventeenth century. During the next century, the West Indian proportion slipped as the growing volume and competition of the slave trade carried more slaves on to the Chesapeake and Carolinas.
The West Indies had the greatest demand because sugar plantations were both profitable and deadly places to work. The profits enabled the planters to pay premium prices for slaves to replace the thousands consumed by a brutal work regimen and tropical diseases. In addition to the high death rate, slaves suffered from a low birth rate, as the protein-deficient diet and harsh field work under the tropical sun depressed female fertility and increased infant mortality.  On the colonial mainland, slave births exceeded their deaths, enabling that population to grow through natural increase, especially after 1740. In the Chesapeake in particular, the slaves were better nourished and exposed to less disease. During the colonial era, the mainland colonists imported 250,000 slaves, but they sustained a black population of 576,000 by 1780. The British West Indies had only 350,000 slaves in 1780 despite importing 1.2 million during the preceding two centuries.
Where did the slaves come from? About three-quarters of the British colonial slave imports originated from Africa’s west coast between the Senegal River in the north and the Congo River to the south. Although they did not directly seize slaves, the European traders indirectly promoted African wars and kidnapping gangs by offering premium prices for captives. The traders provided guns that African clients could employ in raids for captives to pay for the weapons. Some kingdoms, principally Ashanti and Dahomey, became wealthy and powerful by slave-raiding their poorly armed neighbors. As guns became essential for defense, the people had to procure them by raiding on behalf of their suppliers, lest they instead participate in the slave trade as victims.
The shippers had two not entirely compatible goals: to cram as many slaves aboard as possible and to get as many as possible across the Atlantic alive and healthy. One school of thought, the “loose packers,” argued that a little more room, better food, and some exercise landed a healthier and more profitable cargo in the colonies. But most slavers were “tight packers,” calculating that the greatest profits came from landing the largest number, accepting the loss of some en route as an essential cost. Seventeenth-century slave voyages probably killed about 20 percent of the passengers. By the late eighteenth century, modest improvements in food, water, and cleanliness gradually cut the mortality rate in half to about 10 percent. By comparison, only about 4 percent of the English convicts died during their passages across the Atlantic.
Arriving with distinct languages and identities such as Ashantis, Fulanis, Ibos, Malagasies, Mandingos, and Yorubas, the slaves would find a new commonality as Africans in America. Within British America, that acculturation varied considerably by region, with the greatest assimilation in the northern colonies, where Africans were a minority, and the least in the southern, especially the West Indies, where slaves were the majority.
During the mid-eighteenth century, African slaves were small minorities in New England (about 2 percent) and the Middle Colonies (about 8 percent). Dispersed or living in cramped settings, the northern blacks often found it difficult to form families and raise children. Many northern masters actively discouraged slave marriages and childbearing, considering children an unwarranted expense. The shortage of women among northern slave imports also frustrated black men. Many found relief by marrying women of the Indian enclave communities, where service in colonial wars had disproportionately killed native men, skewing the Native American population in favor of women. As small minorities dispersed among many households, the northern slaves lived and worked beside and among whites, often sleeping and eating in the master’s house. By necessity, the northern slaves quickly absorbed Euro-American culture, including the English language and the Christian faith. In the process, they lost most of their African culture, including their native languages.
The slavery of the West Indies was far harsher. Sugar plantations enforced the most regimented and demanding work conditions of any crop grown in the empire. On the sugar islands, slaves outnumbered whites by about nine to one (with some variation between islands). That preponderance alarmed masters, as did the steady arrival of African newcomers, with alien ways and defiant attitudes.
Slave life in the marshy South Carolina and Georgia low country more closely resembled that in the West Indies than in the northern colonies. Directly imported from Africa by the hundreds to work on rice and indigo plantations, the low-country slaves outnumbered whites by more than 2:1. Dwelling in large concentrations on rural plantations, the Carolina and Georgia slaves could preserve (by adaptation) much of their African culture, including traditional African names. The low-country interplay of tradition and innovation led to the development of a new, composite language—Gullah—based on several African languages and distinct in grammar and structure from English.
But the low-country slaves paid a very heavy price for their cultural autonomy and measure of control over their work. Labor in the hot swamps and exposure to subtropical diseases killed blacks more quickly than they could reproduce. As in the West Indies, only continued imports from Africa kept the slave population growing. In turn, those regular infusions of “New Negroes” helped maintain the predominantly African culture of the lowland slaves.
Both the conditions and numbers of slaves in the eighteenth-century Chesapeake area fell, between the northern colonies at one extreme, and the West Indies or the Carolina-Georgia low country, at the other. In 1750 the Chesapeake hosted the great majority of slaves in mainland British America: 150,000 compared to 60,000 in the Low Country and 33,000 in the northern colonies. Slaves comprised about 40 percent of the population in Maryland and Virginia—large enough to concern, but rarely to terrify, their masters, and large enough to preserve some but not all African ways and words.
Chesapeake blacks enjoyed the best demographic conditions allowed slaves within the British empire. Cultivating tobacco was hard work, but less brutal than slogging in a rice field or broiling in a cane field—and less exposed to mosquitoes bearing malaria and yellow fever. Unlike many northern slaves, Chesapeake slaves also lived in sufficient concentrations to find marriage partners and bear children. Consequently, natural increase swelled the Chesapeake slave population, which enabled the planters to reduce their African imports after 1750. Thereafter, Creole slaves predominated in the Chesapeake.
As the African infusion shrank, the Chesapeake slave culture became more American. Compared to northern blacks, the Chesapeake slaves were less surrounded and watched by whites. Compared to West Indian or low-country slaves, the Chesapeake blacks were more exposed to the culture of their masters. Chesapeake blacks developed no distinct language and rarely preserved African names for their children, but they put their own content into the cultural forms that they selectively borrowed from their masters. In the slave dialect, English words were affixed to an African grammar and syntax. The blacks gradually adapted evangelical Christianity to their own emphasis on healing magic, emotional singing, and on raucous funeral rituals that celebrated death as a spiritual liberation and return to Africa. They also added European instruments to their banjos, rattles, and drums to craft a music that expressed the African emphasis on rhythm and percussion. In turn, the new African-American culture influenced the white children raised by black servants on Chesapeake plantations.
As the colonial population became less English, it assumed a new ethnic and racial complexity that increased the gap between freedom and slavery, privilege and prejudice, wealth and poverty, and white and black. Eighteenth-century America became simultaneously and inseparably a land of black slavery and white opportunity. Primarily on the discrimination of race, the colonies offered some emigrants greater liberty and prosperity, while others suffered the intense exploitation and deprivation of plantation slavery.
Enslaved Africans dominated the eighteenth-century human flow across the Atlantic to British America, but the colonial white population remained more than twice as large. This paradox reflected the demographic stress of American slavery for Africans and the demographic rewards to the descendants of Europeans. In 1780 the black population in British America was less than half the total number of African emigrants received during the preceding century, while the white population exceeded its emigrant source by 3:1 , thanks especially to the healthy conditions in New England and the Middle Colonies.
Far from becoming more homogeneous and united during the eighteenth century, Americans became ever more diverse. Historian Jill Lepore calculates that “the percentage of non-native speakers in the United States was actually greater in 1790 than in 1990.”  Consequently, the leaders of the American Revolution and the early republic faced a daunting task: to construct a sense of nationalism to unify an ethnically, racially, and linguistically disparate population. Contrary to the patriotic schoolbook version of the revolution, which depicts a homogeneous people united behind a confident elite, America’s leaders often expressed fears that the new nation was too big and its people too different to hang together for long. Thomas Paine noted:
If there is a country in the world where concord … would be least expected, it is America. Made up, as it is, of people from different nations, accustomed to different forms and habits of government, speaking different languages, and more different in their modes of worship, it would appear that the union of such a people was impracticable. 
Consequently, we must admire the Founders for crafting, under great duress, a collective identity and purpose defined by revolutionary documents and victories, a shared set of achievements that held the new nation together until the Civil War.
 For Chesapeake emigration and settlement, see Kathleen M. Brown, Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, and Anxious Patriarchs: Gender, Race, and Power in Colonial Virginia (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996); James Horn, Adapting to a New World: English Society in the Seventeenth-Century Chesapeake (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1994); John J. McCusker and Russell R. Menard, The Economy of British America, 1607–1789 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1985); Darrett B. Rutman and Anita H. Rutman, A Place in Time: Middlesex County, Virginia, 1650–1750 (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1984).
 For New England emigration and settlement, see Virginia DeJohn Anderson, New England’s Generation: The Great Migration and the Formation of Society and Culture in the Seventeenth Century (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991); Richard Archer, “New England Mosaic: A Demographic Analysis for the Seventeenth Century,” William and Mary quarterly, 3d. Ser., XLVII (Oct. 1990), pp. 477–502; David Cressy, Coming Over: Migration and Communication between England and New England in the Seventeenth Century (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987).
 For the British Atlantic of the eighteenth century, see Marilyn C. Baseler, Asylum for Mankind: America, 1607–1800 (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1998); Richard S. Dunn, “Servants and Slaves: The Recruitment and Employment of Labor,” in Jack P. Green and J. R. Pole, eds., Colonial British America: Essays in the New History of the Early Modern Era (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1984), pp. 157–194; and Ian K. Steele, The English Atlantic, 1675–1740: An Exploration of Communication and Community (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986).
 For eighteenth-century English emigration, see Bernard Bailyn, Voyagers to the West: A Passage in the Peopling of America on the Eve of the Revolution (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1986); A. Roger Ekirch, Bound for America: The Transportation of British Convicts to the Colonies, 1718–1775 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987); James Horn, “British Diaspora: Emigration from Britain, 1680–1815,” in P. J. Marshall, ed., The Oxford History of the British Empire, Volume II: The Eighteenth Century (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), pp. 28–52.
 For the transatlantic slave trade, see Robin Blackburn, The Making of New World Slavery: From the Baroque to the Modern, 1492–1800 (New York: Verso, 1997); Philip D. Curtin, The Atlantic Slave Trade: A Census (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1969); Herbert S. Klein, The Atlantic Slave Trade (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999); John Thornton, Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World, 1400–1680 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992); James Walvin, Black Ivory: A History of British Slavery (London: Harper Collins, 1992).
 For Scottish emigration to the colonies, see William R. Brock, Scotus Americanus: A Survey of the Sources for Links between Scotland and America in the Eighteenth Century (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1982); Ian C. C. Graham, Colonists from Scotland: Emigration to North America, 1707–1783 (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1956); Alan L. Karras, Sojourners in the Sun: Scottish Migrants to Jamaica and the Chesapeake, 1740–1800 (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1992); Ned C. Landsman, Scotland and its First American Colony, 1683–1765 (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1985); Ned C. Landsman, “The Provinces and the Empire: Scotland, the American Colonies and the Development of British Provincial Identity,” in Lawrence Stone, ed., An Imperial State at War: Britain from 1689 to 1815 (New York: Routledge, 1994), pp. 258–87; Ned C. Landsman, “Nation, Migration, and the Province in the First British Empire: Scotland and the Americas, 1600–1800,” American Historical Review CV (April, 1999), pp. 463–75; T. C. Smout, N. C. Landsman, and T. M. Devine, “Scottish Emigration in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries,” in Nicholas Canny, ed., Europeans on the Move: Studies on European Migration, 1500–1800 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994), pp. 76–112.
 For Ulster Scots emigration to the colonies, see R. J. Dickson, Ulster Emigration to Colonial America, 1718–1775 (London: Routledge, 1966); Maldwyn A. Jones, “The Scotch-Irish in British America,” in Bernard Bailyn and Philip D. Morgan, eds., Strangers within the Realm: Cultural Margins of the First British Empire (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1991), 284–313; James G. Leyburn, The Scotch-Irish: A Social History (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1962).
 For the German migration, see Georg Fertig, “Transatlantic Migration from the German-Speaking Parts of Central Europe, 1600–1800: Proportions, Structures, and Explanations,” in Nicholas Canny, ed., Europeans on the Move: Studies on European Migration, 1500–1800 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994), pp. 192–235; Aaron Spencer Fogleman, Hopeful Journeys: German Immigration, Settlement, and Political Culture in Colonial America, 1717–1775 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1996); A. G. Roeber, “In German Ways? Problems and Potentials of Eighteenth-Century German Social and Emigration History,” William and Mary quarterly, 3d Ser., XLIV (Oct., 1987), pp. 750–74; A. G. Roeber, “The Origin of Whatever is Not English among Us: The Dutch-speaking and the German-speaking Peoples of Colonial British America,” in Philip D. Morgan, eds., Strangers within the Realm: Cultural Margins of the First British Empire (Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press, 1991), pp. 220–83; Marianne Wokeck, “Harnessing the Lure of the ‘Best Poor Man’s Country’: The Dynamics of German-Speaking Immigration to British North America, 1683–1783,” in Ida Altman and James Horn, To Make America: European Emigration in the Early Modern Period (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991), pp. 204–43.
 For colonial slavery see, Ira Berlin, “Time, Space, and the Evolution of Afro-American Society on British Mainland North America,” American Historical Review LXXXV (Jan. 1980), pp. 44–78; Ira Berlin, Many Thousands Gone: The First Two Centuries of Slavery in North America (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1998); Barbara Bush, Slave Women in Caribbean Society, 1650–1838 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990); (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990); Sylvia R. Frey, Water From the Rock: Black Resistance in a Revolutionary Age (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991); Allan Kulikoff, Tobacco and Slaves: The Development of Southern Cultures in the Chesapeake, 1660–1800 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1986); Philip D. Morgan, “British Encounters with Africans and African-Americans, circa 1600–1780,” in Morgan and Bernard Bailyn, eds., Strangers within the Realm: Cultural Margins of the First British Empire (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1991); Philip D. Morgan, Slave Counterpoint: Black Culture in the Eighteenth-Century Chesapeake and Lowcountry (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998).
 For the economic development of the West Indies see Philip D. Curtin, The Rise and Fall of the Plantation Complex: Essays in Atlantic History (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998); K. G. Davies, The North Atlantic World in the Seventeenth Century (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1974); John J. McCusker and Russell R. Menard, The Economy of British America, 1607-1789 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1985); Richard B. Sheridan, Sugar and Slavery: An Economic History of the British West Indies, 1623–1775 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1973).
 Jill Lepore, A is for American: Letters and Other Characters in the Newly United States (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002), pp. 27–8.
 Ibid., p. 27.
On November 15th at the FPRI annual dinner Fouad Ajami was presented with the Seventh Annual Benjamin Franklin Public Service Award. The event was attended by over 360 people.
Dr. John M. Templeton, Jr. was dinner chairman.
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