Great data density and bibliographic resource But a little under edited and repetitive David Hackett Fisher is engaging for the lay reader This book won the Pulitzer Prize, and in reading this massive, epic history of a narrow time range in American colonial history, it is easy to see why There is the usual wit and charm that comes from Bailyn s writing 1 There is a blend of different approaches of history that work amazingly well in tandem a discussion of broad social trends that become visible when one looks at the statistical resources of eighteenth century British officialdom that is combined with a look at the people involved in the late colonial exodus to British North America that is so granular as to be focused on specific key individuals who engaged in land speculation, sought to help or hinder the movement of people from London and Yorkshire Scotland to the colonies, or who participated in that movement and sought to make a better life in a strange new world for themselves and their families On all levels of this complicated and immensely interesting story Bailyn succeeds in weaving together the best of quantitative approaches with traditional narratives, and that sort of consummate achievement is worthy of all the awards it received.The narrative of this book is a large one and a complex one, coming in at than 600 pages of material that covers a small span of time between the French Indian War and the beginning of the American Revolution, with a focus on the last three to five years, when there is a great deal of data that was present to examine the composition and motivation of the move from the British Isles to the North American colonies from Florida to Nova Scotia This magnum opus is divided into five parts and sixteen chapters, with numerous subheadings as well The first part of the book provides a background to the study with a look at the West as a magnet to people in the British Isles I with a discussion of the expanded world of 1760 1776 1 , the dilemma of British policy of wanting to discourage emigration but also settle the empty lands of the colonies and profit from improvement and land speculation 2 , and the search for the facts in the register of emigrants and the limitations of that source 3 After that Bailyn masterfully discusses the dimensions of late colonial British migration II with a look at the magnitudes, locations, and flow of that emigration 4 , the identities and motivations of emigrants that show there was a dual flow between young male London indentured servants and convicts in the Chesapeake and intact Yorkshire Scottish nuclear families searching for freeholding land in the Carolinas Georgia and in New York Nova Scotia 5 , and the arrivals and destinations of those emigrants 6 Bailyn then turns his attention to the mobilization of the labor force that was flowing to the colonies through transportation III , including the demand for that labor and the importance of skills 7 , the sources of that labor among London, the provinces, or convicts 8 , the recruitment of that labor through broadsheets and register offices and even enticement and kidnapping 9 , as well as the sales and distributions of indentured servants, which reminded observers of the public sales that were associated with chattel slavery 10 At this point, Bailyn turns his attention to the peopling of the peripheral lands IV , showing the relationship between Yorkshire and the Maritime Northeast of Nova Scotia and neighboring provinces of the future Canada 11 , the failure of efforts to recruit Europeans to settle in the swamps of Florida 12 , and the greater success at building a future plantation society in the gulf coast of the future Redneck Riviera 13 Finally, the last three chapters of the book discuss the population of the Great Inland Arc V of North Carolina 14 , Georgia 15 , and New York 16 , where land speculation and the desire for freedom and free land brought fame and honor to some and ruin to others.If you have an interest in the patterns of British behavior and of the massive population surge of the colonies of British North America on the eve of the American Revolution, this book is certainly a worthwhile one There are multiple layers of achievement here that worth celebrating For one, Bailyn s skillful use of statistical procedures as well as the available source data on emigration and land ownership and speculation allows the data to serve a larger and fascinating narrative that would not have been obvious without his keen eye and sound historical judgement Additionally, this is a work that combines multiple types of historical approaches, with a look at political history as well as institutional history and economic history, that shows the breadth of Bailyn s expertise in Atlantic History, tying together concerns on both sides of the ocean in a narrow time window In addition to all of this, though, Bailyn s work allows the reader to understand the tensions and the ambiguities behind British imperial rule that would lead to a rupture between the periphery and the core of the British Atlantic Empire, because ultimately the British wanted too many things that were in conflict with each other and were unable to act in their best long term interests because their own self interest in profiting from land speculation as well as rack rents to fund their home improvements ultimately were in conflict with their desire to keep a quiescent population at home profiting them in industries and agriculture This is a story that Bailyn tells with immense expertise and a wide range of skills 1 See, for example This is really great, for what it is What I mean is, Bailyn does this job impeccably It is just the most targeted, data driven study here is the data we have, here are the conclusions I m drawing The data he is using comes from the records of migrants from the British Isles to the American colonies right before the revolution The migration, Bailyn concludes, was actually a dual process Young male laborers, who were already mobile around England looking for work, were indenturing themselves and heading to Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia Families looking to improve their situations were simultaneously migrating from Scotland and the north of England, to places like New York, North Carolina, and Nova Scotia These family units tended not to be destitute, starving masses, and neither were the laborers really The truth was that wages were high and rents low in the colonies, so moving from the London labor market to New York was smart And there was a huge land speculation boom going on that was drawing family units Anyway, there is a lot of fascinating stuff here You could criticize it for a small sample size I guess but I thought it was really worthwhile. This book was a challenge to read The first two hundred and fifty pages are as dull as any social science you re likely to read and the last hundred and fifty pages lack anything like a conclusion or summary chapter None the less, you have to give credit where credit is due and acknowledge the majesty of this work Bailyn, in exhausting detail, uses records maintained by the British crown between 1774 1776 to document the who, what, where and why s of British migration to the colonies in the years immedietaely proceeding the revolution His main thesis can be summarized by stating that there were, in fact, two parallel migrations The first was of unattached, single men from the area around London to the middle states of Maryland and North Carolina The second migration was of families from the british midlands and Scotland These migrants used Pennsylvennia and New York as a jumping off point for their population of the back country Baiyln backs up the thesis with tons of charts, graphs and maps This was a much heavier read then I expected. I liked it This book makes you work to find the conclusions under the mountains of statistics, but amazing to see how the English immigrants traveled and populated the colonies during the time period I really enjoyed seeing where everyone came from and traveled to, in addition to what drove them to go. an interesting analysis of emmigration records from the now UK in the early 1870 s However, very statistics heavy and sometimes redundant Not one I would recommend unless you really want to get down in the weeds on a very specific subject.revised edit I m bumping this down to 2 stars I didn t really pay attention to the charts in this book when I read it, but then I went to class and the professor showed us how horrible the charts in this book really are Confusing layouts, percentages that don t add up to 100, they re pretty bad. Very interesting and informative Winner Of The Pulitzer Prize And The Saloutos Prize Of The Immigration History Society Bailyn S Pulitzer Prize Winning Book Uses An Emigration Roster That Lists Every Person Officially Known To Have Left Britain For America From December To March To Reconstruct The Lives And Motives Of Those Who Emigrated To The New World Voyagers To The West Is A Superb Book It Should Be Equally Admired By And Equally Attractive To The General Reader As To The Professional Historian RC Simmons, Journal Of American Studies One of the most specific books I have ever read Great detail Was less interested in the sections on Florida, but found most of it very engrossing 25 Approx 60,000 Germans entered through Philly between 1727 and 1760.25 The draining of UK peasants.67 The Register of Emigrants recorded between 1773 and 1776 covered only England and Scotland.82 The ages of emigrants were recorded but often rounded to multiple of 5s.83 Scottish wives often used their maiden names on manifests.129 Most emigrants were age 14 30.134 Majority of emigrants traveled alone.153 Largest group of emigrants were artisans not farmers or laborers.154 Common artisan skills included clothing, food prep, metal work, wood work.160 More Scots were laborers that artisans.166 About half traveled as indentured servants.166 Paid their way by selling themselves for 4 to 5 years in exchange for transportation.196 Vast majority in the survey were lured note driven to emigrate.205 Vast majority of emigrants went to middle colonies of Md, NY, Pa 330 Many of the indentured servants were auctioned upon arrival.
Bernard Bailyn is an American historian, author, and professor specializing in U.S Colonial and Revolutionary era History He has been a professor at Harvard since 1953 Bailyn has won the Pulitzer Prize for History twice in 1968 and 1987 In 1998 the National Endowment for the Humanities selected him for the Jefferson Lecture, the U.S federal government s highest honor for achievement in the
- 720 pages
- Voyagers to the West: A Passage in the Peopling of America on the Eve of the Revolution
- Bernard Bailyn
- 22 July 2018 Bernard Bailyn