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The northern and southern colonies were essentially English, "between 1607 and 1642 -a time of political and religious troubles in England - some 65,000 adventurous spirits went out to the British West Indies and the [American] mainland colonies." Ultimately there came to pass such a broad range of ethnic variety, that the burgeoning colonies slowly gained an identity of being American. While the northern colonies of Plimoth (Plymouth) and Massachusetts Bay, "were Englishmen of roughly similar social origins." Moreover, the colonial charters of Sir Walter Raleigh, the first and second charters of Virginia, explicitly state that all and any would be "persons native to England

Pennsylvania and New York "came to represent the full ethnic range of Western Europe, while New England and the seaboard South remained essentially English in background." Of the political, economic, and religious (spiritual) motivations that brought so many to the New World not one was more or less important than the other. If we look to colonial charters, we find foundations of civil society and government, supporting the English heritage of religion, education, manners and customs that they brought with them.1

"...speaking of 'our ancestors' before emigration, possessed a right which nature has given to all men..., establish new societies, under such laws and regulations as to them shall seem most likely to promote public happiness. That their Saxon ancestors...had established there [in Britain] that system of laws which has so long been the glory and protection of that country."2 "The colonists...carry out with them, too, the habit of subordination, some notion of the regular government which takes place in their own country, of the system of laws which support it, and of a regular administration of justice; and they naturally establish something of the same kind in the new settlement."3 The colonists who came to America carried with them much more than common law. They brought with them their peculiar civilization that was to be a foundation of English civil society in colonial America

1Marvin Meyers, eds., et al., Sources of the American Republic: A Documentary History of Politics, Society, and Thought; rev.ed., (Glenview, Ill: Scott Foresman and Co., 1967), Vol. 1, 7. Hereinafter cited as Meyers, eds., et al., Sources of the American Republic.

2[Thomas Jefferson], A Summary View of the Rights of British America, (Virginia, 1781), in Thomas Jefferson: Writings, (N.Y.: Literary Classics of the United States), 105-106. Notes and text selected by Merrill D. Peterson.

3Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and the Causes of the Wealth of Nations, (Chicago: William Benton, 1776, 1952), Book IV, Ch. VII, Of Colonies: Causes of Prosperity of New Colonies. Of Systems of Political Economy, 243.

Excerpt from my book, The Never Realized Republic:Political Economy and Republican Virtue. See more on

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16y ago
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14y ago

What revolution? The upheaval which saw the U.S. north battle the south or the battle between the immigrants against the native U.S. Americans? I know the first permanent settlers to the U.S.A. came from England about the year 1492 and settled in Virginia.

EDIT: Whoa - the above is confusing at best and completely inaccurate at worst. 1492 is the year Christopher Columbus arrived in the "New World." Essentially, he ended up in the Bahamas off the Southeast coast of Florida, including what is now Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic. The first permanent settlement in the New World was St. Augustine, settled by the Spanish in Florida in 1565. And the first permanent English settlement was Jamestown, in Virginia, founded in 1607.

Clearly, the colonists you are referring to are the ones who fought for Independence against the British in the Revolutionary War (1775 - 1783).

The simplest answer is that the majority of Europeans came from England, though many came from the Netherlands and France. To a lesser extent, colonists came from Spain, Sweden, Russia, and other European regions and countries.

Don't forget that the African slave trade was a huge source of immigrants during the American Colonial Era. They were certainly unwilling colonists, but they represented a huge segment of the population. For example, in 1720 African slaves in South Carolina made up almost 65% of the population.

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16y ago

England, France, Scotland, Switzerland, Africa, and Britain, mostly from Africa & England.

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13y ago

Well it would help if you said which country, i am assuming it is Australia.

Mostly Europeans.

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Q: Where did most of the colony 's settlers come from?
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