Who are Americans

It is a common belief that Americans are the descendants of poor immigrants from Europe. Not correct. This error leads to business mistakes when dealing with Americans.

This idea of 'poor European' immigrants is wrong on two counts. First, many of the early settlers of America were not poor, they were merchants and middle class. Second, nearly all of the early American settlers came from four small parts of England, not Europe.

America, today, looks like a vast melting pot of the world. It only looks that way. Immigrants, who came after the first English, settled into well developed existing patterns of American life.

The first settlers who came to America, arrived in the 1600's from England. They established the future American nation. All immigrants who came later fit into the social, political and cultural patterns established by these first English settlers.

The exact migration data is published in a book Albion's Seed, by David H. Fischer, 1989, Oxford University Press. Americans came to the Boston area in the 1600's from Eastern England, settled in the Philadelphia area after coming from Middle England, settled on the Maryland to Georgia coast from Southern England and settled the Mississippi-Appalachian area from Northern England.

The Bostonians settlers were Puritans, usually business people, leaving East England for religious reasons.

Philadelphians settlers were Quakers, middle class migrants, leaving Central England to start new religious communities.

The Maryland to Georgia coastal settlers were the second and third sons of Southern English aristocracy looking for new opportunity with their families and servants. They left England because inheritance laws always gave property to the first son.

Only the Mississippi-Appalachian migrants were poor. They were defeated soldiers driven from Northern England by constant warfare on the English borders. These people still form the backbone of the American military.

Other settlers came to America after the first English settlers, but they always fit into the society that the first English settlers created.

Irish immigrants came to the Boston area and became like the earlier Puritans; Germans came to the Philadelphia area and became like the Quakers. African slaves were brought to the Maryland-Georgia coastal areas and became like the servants of the Southern English aristocracy.

Hundreds of years after the first English settlers, a wave of European settlers from many other parts of Europe came to America. They always integrated into the existing original English establishment.

When Americans began settling the rest of the American continent, they maintained the same separation that was evident in the original migration patterns. Much of the north-central United States was settled by people from the Philadelphia area, including later Germans and Scandinavians moving on from the first settlements. The central and southern U.S. were settled by the people who moved west from the Maryland-Georgia coastal areas and the Mississippi-Appalachian areas.

To this day, Seattle and Minneapolis still reflect the early Quaker and successive Scandinavian settler influence.

Only one small group that settled in America, retained their traditions and didn't come from England. They were the Dutch-Jewish settlers of New York City in 1609; still to this day they are an important influence in New York City. Some of this same Dutch-Jewish migrant group settled in Los Angles in 1912 and remain influential in L.A..

Americans still see themselves as a well-stirred pot of soup, a brew made up of people from all the world. Immigration continues into America at a healthy pace.

What is happening, today, is that scholars and sociologists are beginning to see America differently. America is recently being understood as a specialized English colony with distinct settlement patterns that are important to this day. America's multi-ethinic, multi-colored people are much more traditional 16th Century English than most people believe.

Japanese business people who have spent time in London will find much that is familiar when they are transferred to Boston. Business people who spent time with English public school graduates will find Washington D.C. and Atlanta more familiar than they expected. The same will be true for Japanese business people who are transferred from Amsterdam to New York or Los Angeles.