How the English Became Americans
Author: Malcolm Gaskill
Publisher: OUP Oxford
Between Two Worlds is a story teeming with people on the move, making decisions, indulging or resisting their desires and dreams. In the seventeenth century a quarter of a million men, women, and children left England's shores for America. Some were explorers and merchants, others soldiers and missionaries; many were fugitives from poverty and persecution. All, in their own way, were adventurers, risking their lives and fortunes to make something of themselves overseas. They irrevocably changed the land and indigenous peoples they encountered - and their new world changed them. But that was only half the story. The plantations established from Maine to the Caribbean needed support at home, especially royal endorsement and money, which made adventurers of English monarchs and investors too. Attitudes to America were crucial, and evolved as the colonies grew in size, prosperity, and self-confidence. Meanwhile, for those who had crossed the ocean, America forced people to rethink the country in which they had been raised, and to which they remained attached after emigration. In tandem with new ideas about the New World, migrants pondered their English mother country's traditions and achievements, its problems and its uncertain future in an age of war and revolution. Using hundreds of letters, journals, reports, pamphlets and contemporary books, Between Two Worlds recreates this fascinating transatlantic history - one which has often been neglected or misunderstood on both sides of the Atlantic in the centuries since.