English American

From Metapedia

Jump to: navigation, search

English Americans (occasionally known as Anglo-Americans, although this may have a less precise meaning) are citizens of the United States whose ancestry originates wholly or partly in England. According to 2000 U.S census data, English Americans form the third largest European ancestry group, after German Americans and Irish Americans.

The earliest English settlers in America inhabited the Protestant Colony and Dominion of Virginia, founded by the Tudors. The Catholic Province of Maryland was founded by the Stuarts, in between the two halves of Virginia. The later Quaker Province of Pennsylvania was founded for the professed purpose of Christian friendship, influential under the Hanoverians.

As with most immigrant groups, the English later sought economic prosperity and began migrating in large numbers without state support, particularly in the 19th century [1]. English people make up between 8.7% and 19.5% of the total U.S. population, and the English language is spoken by 82% of the U.S. population as their only language (with 96% of the population speaking it fluently).


Number of English Americans

Census Data

In the 2000 Census, 24.5 million Americans reported English ancestry, 8.7% of the total U.S. population. This estimate may be a serious undercount by 30 million given the fact in the 1980 census 50 million claimed to be of English ancestry. 23,748,772 Americans claimed wholly English ancestry and another 25,849,263 claimed English along with another ethnic ancestry. [2] 80 million people in the 2000 census were listed under 'other ancestries' and 20 million as 'American.' In 1860 an estimated 11 million or almost 35% of the population of the United States was wholly or partly of English ancestry. The population has increased by almost ten times the numbers in 1860. As with any ethnicity, Americans of English descent may choose to identify themselves as American if their ancestry has been in America for many generations, or for the same reason may be unaware of their lineage.


Early Settlement and Colonisation

English settlement in America began with Jamestown in the Virginia Colony in 1607. With the permission of James I, three ships (the Susan Constant, The Discovery, and The God Speed) sailed from England and landed at Cape Henry in April, under the captainship of Christopher Newport,[3] who had been hired by the London Company to lead expeditions to what is now America.[4]

The second successful colony was Plymouth Colony, founded in 1620 by people who would later become known as the Pilgrims. Fleeing religious persecution in the East Midlands in England, they first went to Holland, but feared losing their English identity[5]. Because of this, they chose to relocate to the New World, with their voyage being financed by English investors.[6] In September 1620, 102 passengers set sail aboard the Mayflower, eventually settling at Plymouth Colony in November.[7] This story has become a central theme in the United States cultural identity.

A number of English colonies were established under a system of proprietary governors, who were appointed under mercantile charters to English joint stock companies to found and run settlements.

England also took over the Dutch colony of New Netherland (including the New Amsterdam settlement), renaming it the Province of New York in 1664[8]. With New Netherland, the English came to control the former New Sweden (in what is now Delaware), which the Dutch had conquered from Sweden earlier[9]. This became part of Pennsylvania.

English immigration after 1776

An estimated 3.5 million English emigrated to the USA after 1776. English settlers provided a steady and substantial influx throughout the nineteenth century. The first wave of increasing English immigration began in the late 1820s and was sustained by unrest in the United Kingdom until it peaked in 1842 and declined slightly for nearly a decade. Most of these were small farmers and tenant farmers from depressed areas in rural counties in southern and western England and urban laborers who fled from the depressions and from the social and industrial changes of the late 1820s-1840s.

While some English immigrants were drawn by dreams of creating model utopian societies in America, most others were attracted by the lure of new lands, textile factories, railroads, and the expansion of mining. During the last years of 1860s, annual English immigration increased to over 60,000 and continued to rise to over 75,000 per year in 1872, before experiencing a decline. The final and most sustained wave of immigration began in 1879 and lasted until the depression of 1893. During this period English annual immigration averaged more than 80,000, with peaks in 1882 and 1888.

The building of America's transcontinental railroads, the settlement of the great plains, and industrialization attracted skilled and professional emigrants from England. Also, cheaper steamship fares enabled unskilled urban workers to come to America, and unskilled and semiskilled laborers, miners, and building trades workers made up the majority of these new English immigrants. While most settled in America, a number of skilled craftsmen remained itinerant, returning to England after a season or two of work. Groups of English immigrants came to America as missionaries for the Salvation Army and to work with the activities of the Evangelical and Mormon Churches.

The depression of 1893 sharply decreased English immigration, and it stayed low for much of the twentieth century.This decline reversed itself in the decade of World War II when over 100,000 English (18 percent of all European immigrants) came from England. In this group was a large contingent of war brides who came between 1945 and 1948. In these years four women emigrated from England for every man.

In the 1950's, English immigration increased to over 150,000.and rose to 170,000 in the 1960's[2] While differences developed, it is not surprising that English immigrants had little difficulty in assimilating to American life. The American resentment against the policies of the British government was rarely transferred to English settlers who came to America in the first decades of the nineteenth century.

During all of American history English immigrants and their descendants were prominent on every level of government and in every aspect of American life. Eight of the first ten American presidents and more than that proportion of the 42 presidents, as well as the majority of sitting congressmen and congresswomen, are descended from English ancestors. The acronym WASP, for White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, is used to describe the dominant political and cultural demographic. While they are the third largest ethnic nationality identified in the 1990 census, they retain such a pervasive representation at every level of national and state government that, on any list of American senators, Supreme Court judges, governors, or legislators, they would constitute a plurality if not an outright majority.reference required

English influence in the United States

The English have contributed greatly to American life. Today, English is the most commonly spoken language in the U.S[10], where it is estimated that one third of all native speakers of English live. Much of American culture also shows influences from English culture. For example, popular American sports such as baseball and American football have their origins in sports played in England in the 19th century[11][12]. Another area of cultural influence, the American national anthem takes its melody from the 18th century English song To Anacreon in Heaven and lyrics written by an English American called Francis Scott Key[13][14].

Places in the United States named after those in England include New York (after York[15]), New Hampshire (after Hampshire[16]), Manchester[17], Boston[18], Southampton[19], Gloucester and the region of New England. New Jersey was named after the isle of Jersey in the English Channel[20]. In addition, some places were named after the English royal family. Virginia and West Virginia were given these names in honor of Queen Elizabeth I of England[21] (popularly known in England as the "Virgin Queen"), the Carolinas were named after King Charles I and Maryland named so for his wife, Queen Henrietta Maria (Queen Mary). [22]

Architecture such as the United States Capitol building in Washington D.C which was first designed by English-educated American Architect William Thornton.

The American legal system also has its roots in English law.[23] For example, elements of the Magna Carta were incorporated into the United States constitution[24]. English law prior to the revolution is still part of the law of the United States, and provides the basis for many American legal traditions and policies. After the revolution, English law was again adopted by the now independent American States.[25]


  1. English Emigration
  2. World Culture Encyclopedia [1]
  3. English Emigration
  4. Christopher Newport at Infoplease
  5. Bassetlaw Museum
  6. Thanksgiving on the Net
  7. Pilgrims - Learn English
  8. Digital History
  9. US History - New Seden
  10. Languages Spoken in the United States.
  11. History of Baseball.
  12. American Football.
  13. Star-Spangled Banner origins
  14. Star Spangled Banner
  15. 50 States - NY.
  16. Netstate - New Hampshire.
  17. Manchester History.
  18. Boston History.
  19. Southampton, Massachusetts.
  20. The U.S 50 - New Jersey
  21. Queen Elizabeth I - The Golden Age
  22. Introduction to Maryland
  23. Sources of United States Legal Information
  24. Magna Carta
Part of this article consists of modified text from Wikipedia, and the article is therefore licensed under GFDL.
Personal tools