Some of the most pressing concerns in modern society existed in colonial times. Economic inequality, the relationship between people and government, debates about trade, and nearly constant warfare are issues in the twenty-first century, and they were major issues in colonial times, as well. Of course, colonial society was over 90% agrarian, which is perhaps the most fundamental difference, but similarities existed as well. For example, in some colonies, elites, and even ordinary people, worried about the effects of immigration, and politicians rather cynically used it for political advantage. Benjamin Franklin, for example, very famously decried German, Scots-Irish, and Swedish influence in Pennsylvania, writing:
Why should Pennsylvania, founded by the English, become a Colony of Aliens, who will shortly be so numerous as to Germanize us instead of our Anglifying them, and will never adopt our Language or Customs any more than they can acquire our Complexion?
So xenophobia, an unfortunate aspect of today's political discourse, existed in colonial times as well. Colonial people also had to worry about the effects of their actions on the environment. In North and South Carolina, for example, hunters nearly exterminated whitetail deer by the late eighteenth century, a development that eliminated what had been a significant part of the economy. Like today, older colonists worried about what they perceived as dangerous social change. In New England, for instance, the founding generation of Puritans feared that material comfort and territorial expansion compromised the religious fervor that led to the colony's founding. So in many ways, people who lived in colonial society, although it was a vastly different world than our own, would have recognized some aspects of modern life, for better or for worse.