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"The Gaelic and Indian Origins of the American Revolution:" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP18 Nov 2022 7:53 p.m. PST

… Diversity and Empire in the British Atlantic, 1688-1783

"How did an unlikely group of peoples--Irish-speaking Catholics, Scottish Highlanders, and American Indians--play an even unlikelier role in the origins of the American Revolution?

Drawing on little-used sources in Irish and Scottish Gaelic, The Gaelic and Indian Origins of the American Revolution places these typically marginalized peoples in Ireland, Scotland, and North America at the center of a larger drama of imperial reform and revolution. Gaelic and Indian peoples experiencing colonization in the eighteenth-century British empire fought back by building relationships with the king and imperial officials. In doing so, they created a more inclusive empire and triggered conflict between the imperial state and formerly privileged provincial Britons: Irish Protestants, Scottish whigs, and American colonists. The American Revolution was only one aspect of this larger conflict between inclusive empire and the exclusionary patriots within the British empire…"


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Lieutenant Lockwood19 Nov 2022 1:46 p.m. PST

An excellent suggestion; go raibh mheile maith agat, a Armand a grah.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP19 Nov 2022 3:02 p.m. PST



doc mcb20 Nov 2022 8:56 a.m. PST

Of course, the colonies were both refuges and dumping grounds for all sorts of riffraff. This is not exactly news.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP20 Nov 2022 11:35 a.m. PST

This might be helpful:


Apparently, the ethnic makeup of the colonies was along the following lines:

Ethnic Percentages in Colonial North America (ca 1785)

English and Welsh: 66%
Scottish: 6%
German: 4.5%
Dutch: 2%
Irish: 1.5%
French: .5%
African: 20%

doc mcb20 Nov 2022 1:35 p.m. PST

Yes, and many of the .5% French were Huguenot Protestants. The Scots included the pardoned survivors of the 45, in NC, and the Germans included several radical sects. The English were divided among Anglicans and Presbyterians and Congregationalists/puritans. Which is to say religious diversity was at least as great as ethnic, and perhaps roughly paralleled it.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP20 Nov 2022 3:02 p.m. PST



dapeters21 Nov 2022 12:40 p.m. PST

Actually if you look at some of the other data you see some other things. The Lutheran population 200,000 or 8% the map next to it shows Swedish Lutherans and German protestants(including Lutherans.) The Swedes are interesting as, are they being counted as English?

doc mcb21 Nov 2022 3:21 p.m. PST

The Puritans and the early settlers of Jamestown were equally "English." Ponder that.

dapeters22 Nov 2022 8:22 a.m. PST

Slaves too?

doc mcb22 Nov 2022 3:00 p.m. PST

No slaves at either place for a good many years. Not even clear that was the status of the Africans landed in 1619. Pretty much every worker was unfree, being indentured. Whites (more) and blacks (fewer) worked side by side in tobacco fields. Slavery eventually developed as a legal system, but did not become the main labor system until after 1676.

The main differences were social class, not color. The Virginians were poor and desperate, willing to risk a 90% death rate. Tne P's and P's were solid middle class, and driven as much by ideals as desperation.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP22 Nov 2022 3:12 p.m. PST

The beginning of African slavery in the English colonies in North America:

'On August 20, 1619, "20 and odd" Angolans, kidnapped by the Portuguese, arrive in the British colony of Virginia and are then bought by English colonists. The arrival of the enslaved Africans in the New World marks a beginning of two and a half centuries of slavery in North America.'

'Founded at Jamestown in 1607, the Virginia Colony was home to about 700 people by 1619. The first enslaved Africans to arrive in Virginia disembarked at Point Comfort, in what is today known as Fort Monroe. Most of their names, as well as the exact number who remained at Point Comfort, have been lost to history, but much is known about their journey.

'They were originally kidnapped by Portuguese colonial forces, who sent captured members of the native Kongo and Ndongo kingdoms on a forced march to the port of Luanda, the capital of modern-day Angola. From there, they were ordered on the ship San Juan Bautista, which set sail for Veracruz in the colony of New Spain. As was quite common, about 150 of the 350 captives aboard the ship died during the crossing. Then, as it approached its destination, the ship was attacked by two privateer ships, the White Lion and the Treasurer. Crews from the two ships kidnapped up to 60 of the Bautista's enslaved people. It was the White Lion which docked at Virginia Colony's Point Comfort and traded some of the prisoners for food on August 20, 1619.'


doc mcb23 Nov 2022 6:50 p.m. PST

Read Winthrop Jordan's WHITE OVER BLACK. Detailed history of early Virginia. Slavery as an institution and as a legal status was slow to develop. The mere arrival of unfree labor from Africa, while welcomed given the high death rate and chronic labor shortage, was NOT seen or regarded at the time as a fundamental shift of any sort. White indentured servants far outnumber the Africans for decades.

doc mcb23 Nov 2022 6:56 p.m. PST

Here's a fairly recent review, reflecting a new generation of more "woke" historians. My recollection of it, from 1972, is somewhat different. But it is one of the books one MUST read to have an opinion on this topic.


doc mcb23 Nov 2022 6:59 p.m. PST

It was Bacon's Rebellion in 1676 that made chattel African slavery the preferred labor system. After that plantation work forces were increasingly Africans.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP24 Nov 2022 10:06 a.m. PST

It would be greatly appreciated if anyone could provide a definition of 'woke historian.'

Whether or not chattel African slavery became the 'preferred labor system' by 1676, it still began in 1619 at Jamestown.

doc mcb25 Nov 2022 4:55 a.m. PST

In terms of demography, yes, of course. In terms of legal institutions, not so much. IT is perfectly appropriate to recognize their arrival, but when 99% of the workforce -- unfree -- was white Englishmen, it is a minor part of the story. Of course it later becomes the major part.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP25 Nov 2022 5:45 a.m. PST

The problem is that the purchase of those African slaves began an immoral system whose effects in the US are still felt today.

Do you have any statistics of the composition of the colonial workforce from 1619 to the beginning of the Revolution?

doc mcb25 Nov 2022 9:51 a.m. PST

Began it, yes.

South of Mason-Dixon, the PLANTATION workforce was mainly black slaves by 1750 or earlier. Poor white farmers predominated numerically and the planter class whites had to respect their interests to a degree. (They were the bulk of the militia.)

Northwards, almost all white workers, with a significant percentage of indentures.

Maybe a third of the population, almost entirely white, lived on the frontier in the subsistence economy, self-regulating and politically inert unless messed with.

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