Leaving England: Essays on British Emigration in the Nineteenth Century

By Charlotte Erickson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FOUR
Emigration from the British Isles to the United States of America in 1831

Two scholars who pioneered the quantitative analysis of the timing of the great European migrations of the nineteenth century were Harry Jerome, in 1926, and Brinley Thomas, a generation later.1 Although it has used increasingly sophisticated models3, most of the work subsequent to these pioneering studies has been concerned with the era since 1870, when much-improved statistics of migration and economic indicators become available. Studying differently timed cycles of economic activity, Jerome and Thomas both found the American pull to have been significant in the timing of the movement into the United States after the Civil War. Perhaps because indicators of the business cycles or the longer-swing building cycle were not so relevant when land was the chief attraction to emigrants, they could not establish such a relationship in the period before 1860 or 1870.

Their work left both the timing and the causation of the emigration of the first part of the century up in the air. The great scholar of the Atlantic migration of these years, Marcus Hansen, who was not overly

I thank the California Institute of Technology for the opportunity to undertake the research on which this article is based while I was a Sherman Fairchild Scholar in 1976-77. 1 am also grateful to David Erickson Watt for unpaid research assistance on ship lists and the New Orleans data. The article was completed with the help of a grant from the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) and with the careful and cheerful help of Nick Tiratsoo as research assistant.

____________________
1
Harry Jerome, Migration and the Business Cycle ( New York: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1926); Brinley Thomas, Migration and Economic Growth ( Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1954).

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