THE political attitudes of the people of western Pennsylvania during the eighteenth century were essentially those of frontiersmen and consequently had much in common with the attitudes of the inhabitants of the other new settlements that extended along the back of the older settlements from Maine to Georgia. This frontier region, which still included much of the "Old West" between the coastal settlements and the mountains as well as the transmontane settlements, was, during the later colonial and revolutionary periods, the seat of a society democratic in fact as well as in convictions, and its inhabitants frequently found themselves at odds with the more conservative easterners. The settlers west of the mountains were, as a rule, even more radically democratic than the frontiersmen of the Old West, for their settlements were newer and their isolation from the centers of conservatism was greater. As new territories and states were created in the interior, their inhabitants were enabled, in a considerable measure, to govern themselves; but the people of western Pennsylvania suffered under the disability of living in the western section of an eastern state and could achieve their desires only through political coöperation with like-minded people east of the mountains.
Sectionalism explains much of the political history of Pennsylvania in the eighteenth century. Prior to the Revolution the Quaker aristocracy, firmly seated in the southeastern counties and linked in political alliance with the eastern Germans, who belonged mainly to the pacifist sects, dominated the province through control of the assembly. This control was maintained, in spite of the rise of a more numerous non-Quaker population in the interior and in the city of Philadelphia, by restricting the representation from the new counties and by property qualifications for voting. The natural dissatisfaction of the west
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: The Planting of Civilization in Western Pennsylvania. Contributors: Solon J. Buck - Author, Elizabeth Hawthorn Buck - Author, Clarence McWilliams - Illustrator. Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press. Place of publication: Pittsburgh. Publication year: 1939. Page number: 454.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.