The Peopling of British North America: An Introduction
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The Peopling of British North America: An Introduction

3.5 of 5 stars 3.50  ·  rating details  ·  137 ratings  ·  17 reviews
In this introduction to his large-scale work The Peopling of British North America, Bernard Bailyn identifies central themes in a formative passage of our history: the transatlantic transfer of people from the Old World to the North American continent that formed the basis of American society. Voyagers to the West, which covers the British migration in the years just befor...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published April 12th 1988 by Vintage (first published 1986)
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I first got word of this book as I began listening to Jack Rakove's recorded lectures for his colonial and revolutionary America course, which is available for download on ItunesU. If I remember properly, Dr. Rakove classifies Bailyn's book as an early example of "Atlantic history" (a familiar term to most American history professors/students/nerds). He also juxtaposes it with David Hackett Fisher's book "Albion's Seed" (which, seeing as I haven't read it, I'll say no more about).

Having read the...more

This is a brief introduction to Bailyn's highly regarded "Voyagers to the West". The book is, as it states, a serious of transcribed lectures that Bailyn delivered to college undergrads. You can tell that these are lectures, but Bailyn has provided ample footnoting at the back of the book.

Understand that this is a short book. It should only take about a couple of hours (maybe less) to read. "Voyagers to the West" runs about 800 pgs, so you'd probably want to read this before that, just to make...more
Dec 17, 2010 Vera rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: own-it
On so many levels this was extremely Anglocentric, and to a lesser degree plain old misogynistic. The "peopling" of North America by British "men and their families" actually depopulated the continent of 8 million people whom Bailyn barely mentions. Even if he wants to make a case that he's only concerned with the early modern migrations, it's disturbing that the stream of (forced) African migrants that numerically dwarfed that from Europe is only discussed in relation to the decline of indentur...more
Tom Darrow
A worthwhile introduction to some overarching theories about the nature of population movement in the colonial era. I read this for a grad school class and thought he did a good job at making clear generalizations about the periods, although some are obviously lacking a bit of backup. He makes four propositions, which essentially form his thesis...

1) that movement of Europeans to American was just part of a lifestyle of movement that already existed in Europe.
2) That there was a large variety of...more
This small volume (a collection of three essays) offers a few propositions that Bailyn argues will help clarify our understanding of this massively complex and important transition in world history. Bailyn considers the forces driving the invaders, from those producing patterns of domestic mobility (which just extend naturally to the New World), to those explaining the heterogeneity of the development patterns in different parts of New World, to the contributions of the labor market and land spe...more
I assigned it to my US I Honors students, so I think I have to read it too! A nice synopsis of the current (at least in the late 1980s) historiography related to the question of why did people migrate to British North America - not only from the English Empire, but also from western Europe. An easy read. Bailyn, a dean among US scholars of the colonial period, puts forward and examines a wide variety of interpre-tations, facts, but also prepositions on what forces were at play in bringing such a...more
Roger Critchlow
This is a trailer or highlight reel for the rest of Bailyn's studies of the invasion of british north america.
Clear, concise and thoroughly enjoyable history of the European and African settlement of North America. Bailyn does not discuss the uprooting of Native civilizations so much as he discusses the peopling from overseas, but that is the stated purpose of this book; anything else would be a very different title.

The three essays which make up this slender volume are candid and chatty - and very illuminating. An excellent introduction to his much larger and more difficult 1987 Pulitzer Prize-winning...more
The amount of information crammed into such a relatively small book is very impressive. The author's support of his propositions with historical facts and data was also a very nice touch (the fourth proposition was my favorite.) However, there were some problems with the book. The obvious disregard for mentioning the impact of the African slaves and any in depth detail on the natives is a problem. Some of the propositions were just the author repeating his point and this made me star to loose at...more
Thomas McConnell
This collection of three lectures from Bernard Bailyn is an excellent introduction to the Peopling of North America. Bailyn provides a fantastic overview based on four specific concepts for the movement of people from Europe and Africa to the North American continent. At times, Bailyn veers from an established point to introduce a somewhat incoherent fact, but this happens only rarely.
Interesting, but brief, look at many of the issues covered in David Hackett Fischer's "Albion's Seed", but with more focus on what led the various colonists to cross the Atlantic in the first place. Bailyn stresses the importance of London as a stepping-stone to migration far more than does Fischer.


Also it doesn't really mention the influence of Africans or American Indians. WTF?!

Also, also, the narrative is weirdly Hegelian.
Eunice Schroeder
Good intro to peoples and populations of early American history by one of the greatest historians in the field.
Glenn Street
The Peopling of British North America - An Introduction by Bernard Bailyn (1986)
Not as interesting as the title made it sound.
Used in H337 Colonial America
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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...more
More about Bernard Bailyn...
The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution The Barbarous Years: The Peopling of British North America: The Conflict of Civilizations, 1600-1675 The Debate on the Constitution : Federalist and Antifederalist Speeches, Articles, and Letters During the Struggle over Ratification : Part One, September 1787-February 1788 (Library of America #62) To Begin the World Anew: The Genius and Ambiguities of the American Founders The Debate on the Constitution : Federalist and Antifederalist Speeches, Articles and Letters During the Struggle over Ratification, Part Two: January to August 1788 (Library of America #63)

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