WASP problem

WASP problem

The above was found on a Tumblr blog, though I can’t cite the exact source. I saved it  for my own files a while back,  just because it was so true.

Some years ago on my other blog I was haughtily informed by a commenter who said she was in Europe — Italy, I think — that Americans in general had ‘no race and no culture.’ In a sense that is true now, because the very meaning of the name ”American” has been purposely stripped of all meaning, and our culture has been so muddled by ”multiculturalism” and the forced, artificial introduction of alien ways and customs that it really has very little content anymore.

But despite that sad fact, it is not true that English-descended Americans or ‘WASPs’, which term I don’t really like, have no culture or traditions. Everything that used to be considered quintessentially American was for the most part based in the original culture of the colonists — who were English. Our culinary customs, our language, our childhood games and nursery rhymes, the old-time dances and ‘traditional’ songs, most had roots in England, or to a lesser extent, in Scotland.

For instance, my mother, who had New England colonial roots, always cooked roast beef dinners on Sundays. The games she taught us when we were children were games that have a long tradition in England: ”I spy with my little eye…” or ”Heavy, heavy hangs over thy head”. And with my Southron family, a lot of their idioms and quaint phrases — so often ridiculed by Northerners who thought them to be just ignorance, did in fact come from various English dialects. Maybe that will be the subject of a future post or two, as I especially love language in general, and our English language particularly.

I do mean to make a case that we do have a particular culture and a set of traditions here and that it’s part of a concerted propaganda effort to make Anglo-Saxon Americans feel alienated and to believe there is no Anglo-American culture.

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The Telegraph asks: When is St. George’s Day?

No, today isn’t St. George’s Day in England, but the UK Telegraph has a piece here explaining about St. George and the history (and myth) which centers on him.

I remember being taught in school about St. George and the dragon, though it’s very unlikely that schoolchildren today are taught anything of that. They are more likely to hear about Cinco de Mayo or Diwali or Eidh or any number of other things which are not part of the heritage of most of the people of the United States.

 

St. George and Plantagenet Earl of Lancaster_socialengland02trai_0010.jpg

St. George and the Plantagenet Earl of Lancaster

But the Telegraph Article seems to be written either for children or possibly for immigrants with a basic command of the English language. Maybe it’s aimed at encouraging immigrants to ‘assimilate’ to English or British culture. It does address the controversy over the alleged ‘racism’ of the Cross of St. George, unfortunately with a hint of the standard liberal insinuation — ”some say” the flag is ‘racist.’ Even phrasing things in the ‘some say’ tone is introducing the idea that the flag may be ‘racist’ and thus keeps the controversy in the public consciousness.

Still, I give the writer of the article credit — and surprisingly , the writer has an English-sounding name, a rare thing to be found on a newspaper byline today — for taking a less shrill tone than most of the articles on ‘touchy’ subjects like English traditions.

Once upon a time

Britannia and Uncle Sam 1918

The old symbols, Uncle Sam and Britannia, are seldom seen these days, and rarely are Britain and the USA seen as close allies or cousins.

The Great Rapprochement

Here we see the English counterpart of Uncle Sam, “John Bull” as shown shaking hands with Uncle Sam above. I suppose Sam and cousin John Bull have now joined that disgraced group, ‘dead old White guys.’

The “special relationship”

From the England Calling blog:

 There is a special relationship between England and America but it is not the one beloved of politicians. The special  relationship is one of history and culture. American culture is an evolved Englishness, much added to superficially but  still remarkably and recognisably English.”

The quote above is from a piece on that blog entitled Ultimately the USA is the child of England: no England, no United States.

Obviously I agree with that sentiment, because that is the gist of what this blog is meant to impart, and it’s only necessary to do so (though it shouldn’t be) because the current view of history is one that tries to diminish or deny the English origins of America.

As to the “special relationship” between England (or the United Kingdom) and the USA, unfortunately that phrase has been invoked in recent years only to refer to some kind of ideological kinship or agreement on principles between the two countries. We heard it invoked by Tony Blair and George Bush during the early days of the Iraq War. For some of us, that whole episode is best not spoken of. But the quote at the top of this post is right: the ‘special relationship’ is one of history, language, and culture. I would add: at least at the inception of this country, a relationship of blood.

The current administration made quite a point, in its early days, of repudiating, in act if not in word, the ‘special relationship.’ And not surprisingly. As fewer and fewer people of English descent have any real power in any branch of government.

I know that there is a certain type of American who bristles at any mention of our owing a cultural or historical debt to England, and usually this is because the offended person was brought up with a skewed view of history in which the English were seen not as our cousins, our kinsmen, but as some kind of foreign occupying power, and as our oppressors, as enemies of ”freedom” and “liberty”. In fact our very conception of liberty is one that developed in England and was transplanted to this country.

The first ten amendments which form  the American Bill of Rights draw their inspiration from the English Bill of Rights granted by William of Orange. The  American Revolution was conducted by men whose whole thought was in the English political tradition.”

Another kind of American objects to the statement that America is the offspring of England by saying that ”this is a nation of immigrants and most of us are descended from immigrants from other countries, therefore we outnumber the descendants of the colonists” or ”more Germans (or Scots-Irish, depending on the objecting person’s ancestry) settled here than English people. Did you know German almost became our official language?” But there is an objective truth at stake here, and other ethnic groups tend to take it as personal attack if anyone cites the English roots of this country.

As for the ethnic makeup of early America, the writer says

The English were the numerically dominant settlers from the Jamestown settlement in 1607 until the Revolution. Moreover, and this is the vital matter, they were overwhelmingly the dominant settlers for the first one hundred years. Even in 1776 English descended settlers formed, according to the historical section of the American Bureau of Census, nearly sixty percent of the population and the majority of the rest of the white population was from the non-English parts of Britain.”

Yes, and natural increase alone, in the early days of the colonies up to independence, meant that the original stock had multiplied impressively, having very large families as a rule. They may have been few in number, those early colonists, but more arrived and population increased without the ”benefit” of mass immigration, which did not in fact happen until the 19th century on any scale.

I do encourage reading the whole blog piece linked above. In fact the blog England Calling is a very good resource for anyone who is interested in the theme of this blog, or even of the early history of America, and the England-America connection.

Edwin Mims on the old South

Edwin Mims, (d. 1959), professor of English Literature at Duke University:

 

English Influence in the South.

The most striking European influence in the South —extending even to the war—was naturally that of England. The close contact between Virginia and the mother country may best be seen in the career and personality of William Byrd, the brilliant merchant and publicist of the middle of the Eighteenth century. Descended, like so many other Virginians, from distinguished English ancestors, he was educated in London, lived there for a number of years on intimate terms with some of the most prominent men of Queen Anne’s reign, established himself at Westover, which was one of the most picturesque reproductions of English rural estates, and collected the largest and most significant library in the colonial era. The catalogue of his library indicates that he was familiar not only with the classical writers, but with the contemporary writings of Swift, Addison, and other writers of the Augustan age. His own charming style—the perfection of good breeding—derives from English contemporaries. His daughter, Evelyn Byrd, was one of the social lights, not only of colonial Virginia, but of London, where she is reputed to have been beloved by the dashing Earl of Peterborough.

English culture thus typified in William Byrd was characteristic of all the most prominent families of Virginia, many of whose sons were educated at Eton, Oxford or Cambridge. Rich old mahogany furniture, finely wrought silverware, portraits by London artists, and mellow Elzevirs and Lintots are precious heirlooms in many Virginia homes.

The same may be said of Charleston. Travelers were impressed with the cosmopolitan air of that city. Duke La Rochefoucault wrote in 1796: “In no town of the United States does a foreigner experience more benevolence or find more entertaining society than in Charleston. * * * Many of the inhabitants of South Carolina, having been in Europe, have in consequence acquired a greater knowledge of our manners and a stronger partiality to them than the people of the northern states. Consequently, the European modes of life are here more prevalent.”

As Virginia’s social life was a reproduction of English rural life, so that of Charleston was modeled after that of London, the rich planters of the surrounding country making the city their headquarters during the winter. Many of these men had amassed enough wealth to travel through Europe as gentlemen of leisure. Out of 114 American students in the various law schools of London during the colonial period forty-four were from South Carolina. The young doctors generally went to Edinburgh, and the merchants to France and Holland. Hence we have in the first year of the Nineteenth century a group of highly cultured leaders. Hugh S. Legare, himself a graduate of the University of Edinburgh and for a while the leader of social and literary circles in Charleston, was editor-in-chief of the Southern Review (1828-1832), modeled after the Edinburgh Review. He was justified, perhaps, in claiming, in one of the early numbers of his magazine, that the attainments of Charlestonians in polite literature were far superior to those of their contemporaries in the North, and the standards of scholarship in Charleston were much higher than any other city on the continent.”

The rest may be read at the Abbeville Institute blog, here. However much of the rest of the essay consists of what we would today call a ”multicultural and diverse” interpretation of Southern culture and life, including various other European influences as (by implication) being perhaps equally important as the English influence. The French Huguenot influence, the German influence, and the ”cosmopolitan” character of New Orleans — at least the New Orleans of a much earlier time — are given just as much if not more space than the passages on the English influence.

From my perspective, I think that Mims was simply reflecting the spirit of the times in that it was considered a matter of fairness and courtesy to ”include” the various melting-pot ingredients. Now, however, the English have all but been crowded out of the official storyline, being included usually in the role of whipping-boys: ‘WASP elites’ and so on.

Nevertheless I include Mims’ passages on English roots, for what they are worth.

The ‘Anglo-Saxon Philosophy of Liberty’

Bill Flax writes, in a piece from several years ago, on the way in which the Anglo-Saxon philosophy of liberty shaped the United States.  He also notes the fact that America developed “decisively within the Anglo-Protestant mold”, a fact which is not emphasized in today’s society of imposed multiculturalism.

Flax notes how, as government has expanded in recent years to unprecedented levels, freedom has diminished.

America’s diminished freedom is thus alarming. Historically, America’s unparalleled liberty shone hope across the seas. Our independence was essentially a counter-revolution. America, as Mark Steyn writes, “derives its political character from eighteenth-century British subjects who took English ideas a little further than the mother country was willing to go.”

Consider that the colonists, in the days of the struggle to attain independence from the mother country, England, asserted their rights as being simply “the rights of Englishmen.” In those days the colonists were still conscious of, and willing to assert, their English roots and ties. Somehow the story has been changed to show the Founding Fathers as being in rebellion against some alien power in London, when in fact the colonials acknowledged their kinship with those back in the mother country.

“Thomas Jefferson was particularly enamored with Anglo-Saxon culture; seeing the American Revolution as an historical step to restore liberties lost under Norman rule. He reminded King George, “America was not conquered by William the Norman, nor its lands surrendered to him.

As I quoted earlier, Jefferson made reference to Hengist and Horsa, the semi-legendary leaders of the first Anglo-Saxon settlers arriving in England, alluding to them as being our forebears also.

Flax mentions that ironically, it is America’s very Anglo-Saxon heritage that is the one least permitted to be praised, or even to be mentioned.

Political correctness has so infected American thought that we recoil reflexively at the mere hint of Western brilliance. To the multiculturalists, the only culture that can’t be unequivocally praised is the very Anglo-protestant heritage which spurred America’s greatness. Ironically, it is often guilt laden WASPs, heirs of their wealth, leading the slanderous denunciations of their forbears.”

I recommend reading Flax’s essay in full. He does sound the alarm, saying that multiculturalism jeopardizes the Anglo-Saxon tradition of liberty which we enjoyed for so long. I hope with this blog to provide one small voice in favor of our forgotten roots.

 

English-American ancestry

EnStatePerc

The map above shows reported percentages of Americans of English ancestry by state.

The Wikipedia page on which the above map appears also has two other maps which show English ancestry among Americans. As the Wikipedia article rightly points out, though, the data may represent an undercount, based partly on self-reporting, and as the article says, many Americans who are partly of English ancestry, maybe even predominantly so, identify with more recent immigrant ancestry, especially if that ancestry is of a type considered more ”vibrant” and colorful. The more exotic or far-removed from Northwest Europe, it seems, the more likely the individual will identify as that ancestry first.

Considering the fact, too, that most Americans have rather insubstantial data on their ancestry, except of course for those whose forebears arrived in this country more recently. Until or unless most people get DNA testing done (and I am not wholly convinced that the private DNA testing firms are reliable) we can’t be sure of the ethnic makeup of this country.

Oddly enough, Utah appears to be the state which has the greatest percentage of English descent, and I would surmise that is because the Mormons who settled that state were often people of Midwestern origin whose forebears moved West from New England when that area began to be settled by the 19th century immigration wave. And many of Utah’s original White settlers came directly from New England.

The area which should have higher percentages of English ancestry is probably the South. It used to be an accepted fact that the South was primarily Anglo-Saxon, or Anglo-Norman, as the old families of the South asserted, but in recent years it has become more popular to claim Scots-Irish ancestry.

There are fads and fashions in ancestry as well, it seems. Sometimes it’s just not ”in” to be of a certain ancestry.

 

On American origins

“Where was there ever a confederacy of republics united as these states are…or, in which the people were so drawn together by religion, blood, language, manners, and customs?” – John Dickinson, Delaware delegate to the Philadelphia constitutional convention

“Quality of mind and body suggests that observance of ethnic law is as great a necessity to a nation as immigration law.” – Calvin Coolidge, “Whose Country Is This?” Good Housekeeping, February 1921

“Thicker than water in one rill,
Through centuries of story,
Our Saxon blood has flowed, and still
We share with you the good and ill,
The shadow and the glory.”
– John Greenleaf Whittier, 1874

“…Hengist and Horsa…the Saxon chiefs from whom we claim the honor of being descended, and whose political principles and form of government we assumed.” – Thomas Jefferson