Family and Servants: Critical Links in the 18th-Century Chain to the Delaware Valley

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"IT IS A TRUISM BY NOW that, generally, migrants are attracted to those countries, regions, and localities that appear to offer opportunities better than those affecting life and expectations for improving it at home. The middle colonies, foremost among them the Delaware Valley, were a region that expanded economically in the eighteenth century.

James Logan characterized Pennsylvania as the ‘best poor man’s country’ – a phrase that has captured the imagination of historians because it expresses the attraction of the Delaware Valley that drew a steady, and at times spectacular, stream of immigrants"

This article examines how the characteristic flow of German and Irish families into the Delaware Valley contributed to the ethnic mix that became typical for Pennsylvania, and how that presaged the cultural diversity of later immigration to the United States.

Marianne Wokeck

Marianne S. Wokeck is Chancellor’s Professor of History at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, where she teaches early American history and directs the Institute for American Thought.

She was educated in Germany and the United States. Her major research interests in the history of the North Atlantic World focus on immigration and ethnicity, including the role of religion in defining identity, and also on scholarly editing.

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