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An Essay On Becoming America

            In Becoming America, author Jon Butler persuasively argues that the late American colonial period of 1680-1770 was one of monumental change, the end result being an essentially "modern- culture. He defeats the notion that the period was one of economic and cultural dependence on the English, and he proves that a uniquely American culture was forged not from the fire of the Revolution, but instead from the dynamic changes that occurred during this often-overlooked period. Through detailed analyses of changes in demographics, the economy, politics, and religion, Butler explains the origins of American culture. .
             From its inception, American culture was tempered and enriched by ethnic pluralism. The first English colonists "homogeneous as they were "still had to learn to coexist with the Indians in the feral American wilderness. More than a century later, in 1680, the colonies would begin experiencing successive waves of immigrants from the countries of northwestern Europe and the arrival of African slaves, and the cultural and demographical impact would be enormous. .
             While some European immigrant groups lacked adequate numbers to avoid English assimilation (the Huguenots), others came to America in sufficient numbers to retain a unique ethnic identity that would impact American culture as a whole. During the period of 1680-1770, tens of thousands of Scots, Scots-Irish and Welsh came to the colonies. Though they emigrated for different reasons (pursuit of wealth or religious freedom) and were of different specific faiths, these three groups shared enough in common with the English colonists (Protestantism, the English language, similar geographic origins) to effectively fuse with the English, forming a new, pluralistic culture found nowhere else in the world. The only two European immigrant groups that remained isolated were the Germans and the Jews "the Germans being feared because their massive numbers and different language posed a threat to the dominance of the nascent pseudo-English culture, and the Jews being excluded because of their faith.

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