On another board I post on someone wrote this:
I recently heard some British historian discussing American and British history. And he said something that I found interesting. In colonial times, the Brits spoke like we speak now. Our accent is a British accent. We brought this accent to America with us, and kept it. I suppose because they're so much smaller, a smaller population, they're susceptible to these kinds of cultural changes at a greater rate. Whereas we are like a massive lumbering ship that can't maneuver so quickly.
Then he said:
The accent that the pilgrims brought to America with them, is a lot like how Americans speak today. That's the point. It's how Europeans spoke back then. Because Britain is vastly smaller, with a much smaller population, these kinds of changes are amplified and accelerated.
And I really disagreed.
I can't think of any dialect or accent back then or now that was anything like or could have evolved that quickly into what we now know as the American accent.