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Old 02-09-2017, 11:08 AM
Corry El Corry El is offline
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 2,524
"A History of Emigration from the United Kingdom to North America 1763-1912" by Stanley Johnson put the death rate of passengers on that route as around 1% in 1840, falling to 0.2% in 1863. That would include disease, etc not just shipwreck. It might have been higher for other routes, but gives a general idea. The odds were ones modern airline passengers would never accept, but death wasn't outright likely.

On crime, adventure fiction typically exaggerates it. Regular life is and was usually boring at least from the perspective of an outside viewer looking for action. A modern viewer of fiction set today is more able to correct for that by reference to the real world. And relatively speaking it's my impression more period pieces nowadays about the US in the 19th century project the very high violence rate of the frontier onto the rest of the country. Murder rates actually were astronomical in some frontier areas, in relatively very small populations. But in some other areas of the country the rate was lower than it is now. Even in big cities it was in some cases comparable and others lower than it is now. That was especially true prior to the Civil War.

Last edited by Corry El; 02-09-2017 at 11:10 AM.