Colonial Pennsylvania: A History

By Joseph E. Illick | Go to book overview
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PREFACE

Pennsylvania is a large state; and from the policy of its founder and the government since, and especially from the celebrity of Philadelphia, has become the general receptacle of foreigners from all countries and of all descriptions, many of whom soon take an active part in the politics of the state; and coming over full of prejudice against their government -- some against all governments -- you will be enabled without any comment of mine to draw your own inference of their conduct.

GEORGE WASHINGTON

An observing traveler, without the aid of the quadrant may always know his latitude by the character of the people among whom he finds himself. It is in Pennsylvania that the two characters seem to meet and blend and to form a people free from the extremes both of vice and virtue.

THOMAS JEFFERSON

Perhaps these seemingly contradictory statements by two venerated Americans are better indices to their characters than to the personality of Pennsylvania. But, after struggling with the writing of this book, I would prefer to think that the combined wisdom of the Founding Fathers bears unmistakable testimony to the complexity of their subject and mine. Certainly my own personal experience admits of two Pennsylvanias, for the small German Protestant community where I grew up never acknowledged the existence of a polyglot steel town only ten miles away. Nevertheless, I have tried in this volume to treat all the people of Penn's province, and if I have seemed to pay excessive attention

-xvii-

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