English to American

I’ve always wondered, why if the majority of the first settlers were English, why did we not continue driving on the left? We use a different measuring system, monetary system, even our vernacular dropped the ‘u’ in such words as ‘favourite’ and ‘rumours’.
Regular wordings such as: apartment-is a ‘flat’ in England. Hood of a car- 'bonnet’an elevator is a ‘lift’ in England.
Was there a gradual change, or did just coming over here there was some mass decision to leave all the familiar and begin anew? Thanks for any help on this.
Judy Wright

Let’s see, there was this war, ya know?

There have been several attempts over the years to make the written American language simplified. The dropping of the "u"s and the reversal of the terminal “re” (theatre, centre) in many words is one of the results.

The “alternate words” almost invariably refer to objects which were not developed or named until well after the USAns had stopped thinkng of themselves as an extention of Great Britain. Lifts, bonnets, and flats are all well less than one hundred and fifty years old, quite a few years after the colonial period.

Decimal money and spelling reform were deliberate measures taken after the Revolution. IIRC, Benjamin Franklin was behind both movements. I wonder though when the convention about which side of the road traffic goes on was formalized.

Cecil had a pretty good article on why most of the civilized world drives on the right and the Brits (and Aussies and Japanese and a few others) drive on the left. It has something to do with narrow roads and teams of horses. Sorry, don’t know the link.

Why the British drive on the left

I appreciate ya’lls quick replies to my query, especially the follow up in Cecil’s column about driving on the left.

B. Franklin may have started spelling reform, but Noah Webster took it to the greatest heights. His American Dictionary of the English Languagehelped standardize American pronunciation.
Remember, too, that a significant number of early settlers were German and Scots-Irish. Their influence would be felt, too.

[WAG]Brits retain fancy spelling in accordance with their respect for the monarchy and similar meaningless fancy things. Americans went to simpler spelling as part of the drive for independence from such nonsense.[/WAG]