What were Bailyn's thoughts on population movements during the 1770s?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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The Peopling of British North America by Bernard Bailyn offers a somewhat radical hypothesis about the peopling of British North America. Rather than seeing it as something to be understood sui generis, he argues that it should be viewed within the context of migrations within Europe itself, from the densely populated centers to the periphery, for example as similar to the migration of the Scots into Northern Ireland. He sees much of transatlantic migration as a sort of overflow from migration within Europe.

He assesses the motives of the migrants as following different patterns depending on the conditions from and to which they were migrating. He argues that there were two very different types of migration, the first responding to the demand for labor, and thus appealing to people seeking jobs, and the other motivated by land speculation, attracting those interested in investing capital. 

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