Associate Professor of History
UNC at Chapel Hill
National Humanities Center Fellow
About the Seminar
Benjamin Franklin thought America had an immigration problem in 1751. Too many Germans. “Why,” he lamented, “should Pennsylvania, founded by the English, become a Colony of Aliens?”
Actually, Pennsylvania and the other colonies were home to lots of people Franklin probably considered aliens in one way or another: not only Germans but Dutch, French, Scotch-Irish, Native Americans, and Africans. If Franklin resented “aliens,” many of them loathed people like him, whom they considered British, and they resisted the cultural and political dominance the British claimed.
Who were these “aliens?” How did they relate to the British and the British to them? How did they shape the political and social life of the colonies?
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- Two British-Americans Observe Their Neighbors
- William Clarke, Observations on the late and present Conduct of the French, with Regard to their Encroachments upon the British Colonies in North America, 1755, excerpts
- Benjamin Franklin, Observations concerning the Increase of Mankind, Peopling of Countries, &c., 1751
- New Netherland to New York
- Dr. Benjamin Bullivant, A Journal with Observations on my Travel from Boston in N.E. to N.Y., New-Jersies & Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, 1697, excerpts
- Sarah Kemble Knight, Travel journal, 1704–1705, excerpts
- Dr. Alexander Hamilton, Itinerarium, 1744, excerpts
- Peter Kalm, Travels into North America , 1770, English edition, excerpts
- Rev. Andrew Burnaby, Travels through the Middle Settlements in North-America. In the Years 1759 and 1760, 1775
- Servitude in Pennsylvania and New Jersey
- Gottlieb Mittelberger, Journey to Pennsylvania in the Year 1750, trans. Carl Theo Eben, excerpt
- Maria Christina Martin’s Case Before the German Society of Pennsylvania, 1772
- The Last Speech, Confession, Birth, Parentage and Education, of John Grimes
- Scots-Irish in South Carolina
- Robert Witherspoon, memoir of 1734, written 1780
- An African in New England
- They’re All Aliens to Us