Master of Arts (M.A.)
The papers presented in this Master's thesis describe two varying experiences of migration and transition in colonial Pennsylvania. The first paper focuses on a group of roughly 400 Acadian migrants who were forcibly removed from their homes in Nova Scotia and exiled to Philadelphia in 1755. The Acadians were a distinct ethnic enclave of Francophone Catholics living in British Canada that developed a policy of neutrality in order to guarantee their own freedom of worship on the cusp of the French and British empires. When the Seven Years' War commenced, British officials finally achieved a strategic military advantage in the region which allowed them to act on preexisting anti-Catholic and anti-French sentiments and deport the Acadians around the Atlantic world. When the 400 Acadians exiled to Philadelphia arrived in the Quaker City, they encountered a government and populous that was just as distrustful and prejudiced towards the exiles as the British in Nova Scotia. Fueled by fears of the French empire, the Pennsylvania Provincial government refused to treat the Francophone Catholics as British subjects or French prisoners. While the Acadian exiles attempted to manipulate their identities in order to guarantee their safety and security, they could not overcome the government's antipathy toward their plight. The case of the Philadelphia Acadians highlights the role imperial competition played in creating new ethnic enclaves, shattering ethnic enclaves, and propelling Atlantic migration. The second paper describes how an Irishman named George Croghan migrated to colonial Pennsylvania and developed an adaptive set of skills that allowed him to become one of the most successful frontier traders and Indian agents of the mid-eighteenth century. as an Anglican from southern Ireland, Croghan was an outsider among the outcast population of Scots Irish Presbyterians that settled in western Pennsylvania. Devoid of any supportive kinship or economic networks, Croghan learned to maneuver and adapt among the varied populations of Pennsylvania and the Ohio country as he developed a trading business that included Philadelphia merchants, non-elite frontiersmen, and Indigenous tribe members. After utilizing the connections he made as a trader to attain recognition as an Indian agent and negotiator for the Pennsylvania colony, Croghan continued to utilize his adaptive skillset to personally enrich himself while nominally serving the Pennsylvania Provincial government. Although officials in Philadelphia often questioned whether Croghan was a trustworthy representative of the colonial government, their inability to punish or terminate him from his post highlights the decentered nature of colonial and imperial power on the frontiers of North America. George Croghan's success as an Indian envoy conveys the key roles non-English migrants played in enacting and driving imperial expansion during the eighteenth century.
© The Author
Langton, Ryan P., "Who Have Always Been Secret Enemies/King of the Irish Traders" (2018). Dissertations, Theses, and Masters Projects. William & Mary. Paper 1550153859.
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