Life in the Thirteen Colonies

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What major factors contributed to the demographic changes in the English colonies during the eighteenth century?

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One major demographic change was that the colonies became more populated. Cheaper ocean travel along with better conditions in Britain led to a decline in indentured servitude—more people could afford the voyage. American colonial cities such as Boston and Philadelphia were rapidly growing places with a need for laborers. Immigrants from Ireland, Scotland, and Germany also came to the New World—this is in contrast with the mainly English immigration of the previous century. Many of these immigrants moved West in search of cheap land. The first British settlements west of the Appalachian Mountains date from this period. American colonists also had high birthrates; this made the American colonies "younger" than the British islands. This youthfulness would fuel the push to explore westward as more young people desired to have their own farmland. This youthfulness would also help to fuel an "American" identity as the young people who had never visited Britain had stronger ties to...

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