Americans’ English roots

In this post, we will see Americans described from an outsider’s perspective, by French writer Philarète Chasles, back in 1851. Remember, this was at a time when mass immigration had not yet begun its work of changing the nature of the people, and hence, the country. It is true that the great mid-19th century wave of immigration had already begun, and was under way in one original bastion of English-America: New England.

But despite the waves of immigrants which began arriving around that time, there was still much of the original English or Anglo-Norman culture left.

Chasles notes how the several European nationalities which were part of America at the beginning became subsumed within the Anglo-Saxon and Dutch original colonist stock, with the resultant mix of nationalities: ‘a grey and nameless tint’.  But he, as one familiar with England and her people, recognized commonalities:

”Still, in all this, the ancient nationalities may be traced: the enterprising energy and patient audacity of the Saxon, the indomitable temerity of the Norman, the exaggerated Cockneyism and vulgarity of Wapping, the calm sterility and cipher-egotism of Leadenhall Street, the adventurous smartness of the blackleg, the outward and formal rigor of the Puritan. The Old English nationality has not yet had time to get quiet and refined, nor to transform itself thoroughly, but this will take place, and soon one will no longer recognize its source. Every day furthers the metamorphosis, and few see what is going on under their very eyes.”

And as Chasles wrote those words, in the mid-19th century, a real change was about to be wrought by the unprecedented (at that time) numbers of immigrants from disparate nations: eastern Europe, Ireland, Southern Europe, and in parts of the U.S., Asian immigrants also.  After a century and a half, are we still the same people, or are we completely metamorphosed? I think the original stock has been marginalized, but has not disappeared; after all, the British original stock (along with some Dutch and French settlers also) created the America to which the 19th century immigrants were required to assimilate.

The established American culture and its institutions bore the stamp of the English colonists.

Although very imperfectly and incompletely, we did assimilate the 19th century immigrants, some of them even now persist in identifying with ‘the old country’, and claim their identity through the old-country origins of generations ago.

Have we reached the stage where Chasles’ prediction has come true, that we ‘no longer recognize the source’ of our nationality? I think we are close to having forgotten our roots, if not completely amnesic.

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The beginning

The beginning:

Jamestown_capture_02252016_011733

The above is from the book Jamestown [1607-1907], A Sketch of the History and Present Condition of the Site of the First Permanent English settlement in America, written by Edward Hagaman Hall.

The second paragraph says something important: Jamestown, being the first permanent English settlement in America, became “the first successful planting of Anglo-Saxon civilization in the New World”, and the garden of our people’s infancy in the Western Hemisphere.”

Why is this important? Because of the fact that during the last century, after Hall’s book was published, new interpretations of American history began to appear in greater numbers, books which proposed alternate, ideologically-driven views of the origins of the European colonies, and ethnocentrically-driven theories meant to cloud the very story of the origins of Anglo-Saxon civilization in North America, diminishing the role of the English in the founding of this country. These alternate, counterculture views have grown more dominant in recent years, what with the popularity of multiculturalism, so that it has become necessary to re-assert what was for so long taken for granted: the idea that the United States of America originated with English colonists, and that American culture was derived solidly from Anglo-Saxon or Anglo-Norman roots.

With this blog I hope to simply re-iterate what has been forgotten or purposely obscured and denied, and I intend to refer to neglected older sources, works which to my mind have more validity and credibility than the later 20th century writings which have too much of the taint of multiculturalism and its ”diverse and inclusive” dogma.

I will also touch on current events here and in other Anglosphere countries, as we all face the same existential threat, and as, in my view, we need to re-discover that we have common ground with our cousins across the world. We have all become demoralized by the constant drumbeat, telling us that we of the Anglosphere countries have ”no culture” or the slander that our forefathers were oppressors simply by virtue of having been so successful at exploration and conquest.

I hope to focus on Anglo-America but also our ancestral country, England, and our kindred in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and southern Africa.