History Notes

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* William Byrd
* In 1728, at the height of his political influence in Williamsburg, the capital of colonial Virginia, Byrd accepted a commission to help survey a disputed boundary with North Carolina. *

* On his trip he kept a journal which is now regarded as a classic in early American literature. *
* As the boundary commissioners pushed farther into the backcountry, they encountered highly independent men and women of European descent, small frontier families that Byrd regarded as living no better than savages. *

* Colonial America
* Colonial Americans of this period were less isolated from one another than the colonists had been during the 17th century. *
* After 1690, men and women expanded their cultural horizons, becoming part of a larger Anglo-American empire. *
* Colonists now purchased from European manufactures, read English journals, participated in imperial wars, and sought favors from a growing number of resident royal officials. NO ONE COULD ESCAPE BRITIANS INFLUENCE. *

* Pre-revolutionary sources indicate that the total white population of Britain’s 13 mainland colonies rose from about 250,000 in 1700 to 2,150,000 in 1770. An annual growth rate of 3% *
* More families had children who would live long enough to have children of their own. Because of this, the colonial population was young. About one half at any given time was under the age of 16 *

* Unlike those 17th century English settlers in search of religious sanctuary or instant wealth, the newcomers hoped to obtain their own land and become independent farmers. *
* These people often traveled to the backcountry, a region stretching approx. 800 miles from Pennsylvania to Georgia. *
* Scots-Irish Flee English Oppression
* During the 17th century, English rulers thought they could dominate Catholic Ireland by transporting thousands of lowland Scottish Presbyterians to northern Ireland. These settlers became known as the Scots-Irish. *

* The planned failed and Anglican English officials discriminated against the Presbyterians. They taxed them exorbitantly. *
* After poor harvests in the 1720s, many Scots-Irish began to emigrate to America. *
* An estimated 150,000 migrated to the colonies before the revolution. *
* They carved out farms on Pennsylvania’s western frontier. The colony’s proprietors welcomed the new settlers, for it seemed they would provide a barrier between the Indians and the older, coastal communities. *

* They squatted on whatever land looked best and wherever they located, they challenged established authority *
* Germans Search for a better life
* More than 100,000 people came from the upper Rhine Valley, the German Palatinate. *
* Some of the migrants, especially those who came to America around 1700, belonged to small pietistic Protestant sects whose religious views were similar to the Quakers. *
* Under the guidance of Francis Daniel Pastorius, Mennonites established a prosperous community in Pennsylvania known as Germantown. *
* Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, helped German Lutherans through a difficult adjustment. In 1748, Muhlenberg organized a meeting of local pastors and lay delegates that ordained ministers of their own choosing, an act of spiritual independence that has been called “the most important single event in American Lutheran history.” *

* By 1766, persons of German stock accounted for more than one-third of Pennsylvania’s population. *
* After 1730, the Germans and the Scots-Irish pushed south from western Pennsylvania into the Shenandoah Valley, thousands of them settling in the backcountry of unclaimed fertile land. By contrast, the Scots-Irish often moved 2 or 3 times acquiring a reputation as a rootless people. *

* Native Americans Stake Out a Middle Ground
* The remnants of Native...
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