High Life Below Stairs

The rapidly expanding volume of transatlantic trade in the eighteenth century meant that Britain and its colonies increasingly shared contemporary tastes in literature, art, architecture, and music. Historians have often referred to this as a process of "Anglicization" that drove a general convergence of American and British cultures in the eighteenth century. However, some regions, such as the Virginia Tidewater, were so dominated by metropolitan English styles throughout the colonial period that it is difficult to see them as part of any process that brought different cultures closer together. Moreover, other regions were shaped by Scottish, Irish, and other European influences, depending on the direction of their particular trading networks, all of which were adapted in important ways to the colonial experience. Nevertheless, broadly speaking, the British Atlantic appears to have held a vibrant, coherent culture, in which style represented a shared vocabulary of taste that strengthened ties amongst its peoples.

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