Puritan descendants in New England?

There’s an idea going around the Internet that the liberal/progressive politics of New England are attributable to the fact that the people there are the descendants of the old Puritan colonists.

This strikes me as incorrect. I’ve long noticed the frequency in New England, even in some rural areas, of surnames which are Irish, French, Italian or Portuguese, when one might expect English surnames to far outnumber them.

Statistics indicate that people of English (presumably Colonial-stock) descent are in a minority in much of New England. The Census records from back in 2000 for the state of Vermont showed that the percentage of people of English descent was 18.4%, followed closely by Irish at 16.4 percent, followed by German and French(Canadian). Obviously in the last couple of decades, mass immigration and the shifting of native-born populations (urban people moving to suburbs or rural areas due to ‘ethnic cleansing’ and other causes) has changed the makeup of many parts of America.

A relevant fact: the scarcity of old-stock ‘Yankee’ Congressmen.

As for New England in general, of the top ten European ancestries in that region, Irish was at the head of the list, with 21.1%. English ancestry was fourth, with a mere 13.7%. Other ethnicities in the top ten included French, Italian, Portuguese, (as I expected) and in the tenth spot, Russian — which I didn’t expect.

13.7% is just not a very significant number.

Yet we have people insisting that the descendants of the old Puritans inhabit New England, and it’s they who are to blame for the politics of that area, including the recent violence at a speech by Charles Murray at a college in Vermont. Why are some people on the right so determined to blame the Puritan influence from centuries ago?

A more plausible explanation, and a simpler one,  would be that as New England received a lot of immigration, starting in the early to mid-19th century, from more ‘diverse’ countries, countries which did not share the English idea of liberty or representative government. Many of the immigrants, who arrived in the Ellis Island era, brought more socialistic ideas. Generally the ethnic groups named in the lists above are groups who tend to have ‘liberal’ beliefs and tend to vote heavily Democratic.

The idea that somehow there is a lingering ‘Puritan’ spirit in New England that explains the politics of that region is absurd. Do the ghosts of the old Puritans haunt the place? Does New England have ‘magic dirt’ that transformed the later ethnic immigrants into leftists?

If we want to find ‘flesh-and-blood’ descendants of those Puritans, we’d have better luck finding them in Utah, for instance, which has the highest percentage of English-descended Americans of any state, according to some information. Many of those people in Utah are in fact direct descendants of colonial stock Puritans; many are descended from Mormons who migrated there in the 19th century.

Actually there is probably a greater percentage of Americans of English descent in parts of the South; that area was spared from mass immigration for a good while. And the South is not known for its liberal politics; quite the contrary.

And no, the Puritans were not of a different ethnicity than the English colonists of the South. This idea that the two groups are different peoples is silly, and I doubt that DNA tests would show any such divide. A case could be made that some of the aristocratic colonists, such as the ‘FFV’, or First Families of Virginia, tended to have more Norman ancestry, but otherwise there is no big genetic gulf between the Northern colonists and the Southern, despite the urban legend to that effect.

Playing ‘pin-the-tail-on-the-Anglo-Saxon’, whether Puritan or otherwise, is so trite, so lazy, and so politically correct. Look instead to the Ellis Island-era immigrant stock in New England to explain the culture and politics there.

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#american-freedom, #ancestry, #anglo-saxon, #english, #genetics, #mass-immigration, #multiculturalism, #puritans, #scapegoating, #southern-states

America’s heritage and ‘ancestral stocks’

Clinton Stoddard Burr wrote a book, published in 1922, which is very pertinent today. In the foreword, he indicates just how important he believed the subject he wrote on would be in the near, and more distant future. It seems he was prescient:

“The author of the following discourse is an average citizen of this Republic who perceives that the American People are on the threshold of the greatest crisis in their history. This volume, then, is intended primarily as a study of the significant facts respecting the population of the nation. The time is ripe to co-ordinate the essential data derived from a multitudinous variety of national records, for the edification of the present generation and those to come.

[…]A wide vista of fascinating fields of historical, anthropological and statistical research is open to those of us who would gain a deeper insight of the problem that faces the American people today and in the future. The writer feels that in imparting these views his motive is wholly a patriotic one, and he can only invoke the reader to peruse these lines in the same spirit. We all know how futile are learned discourses in appealing to the preoccupied business, professional, trades or agricultural men of the nation. Yet it is just these influential elements that can bring pressure to bear on our lawmakers to save the United States in its great crisis.

[…]In fact it is high time that we should comprehend the primary cause of the loathsome plague of anarchy and Bolshevism. It is time that we should be alive to the fact that most of the hordes of immigrants who have been pouring into the United States from countries of Southern and Eastern Europe, from lands inhabited by races impregnated with radicalism, Bolshevism and anarchy, belong for the most part to the lower strata of humanity from those regions, who prove to be most susceptible to the wiles of the radical agitator. Surely this view, in itself, is a logical plea in advocating restriction of a certain class of immigration.

[…] All thinking people are awakened to the realization that we must choose our future entrants to this country from such as show assimilable qualities of mind as well as favorable physical attributes. The callous exploiters of cheap labor and the incurable sentimentalists stand alone in their misplaced loyalty to our fatuous boast in the past that America was the haven of the down-and-out, the dependent, the oppressed, the pauper, the foreign agitator, the unassimilable and what not.”

In our day, the ‘callous exploiters of cheap labor and the incurable sentimentalists’ are legion, and their voices are drowning out those of the thinking citizens of this country. However there is at least now a chance for the concerns of native-born citizens of this country, especially the posterity of the founders, to be heard. The State of the Union address, and the discussion around possible curbs on immigration, however, has brought a new onslaught from the Open Borders zealots and their immigrant or would-be immigrant clients. There is a new chorus of importunate voices asserting the ‘right’ of everyone to claim a piece of America. Brazen Hispanic spokesmen insist that this country is theirs by rights, and that we, the progeny of the original colonists and Founders, have no right to object. I wonder if Burr could have imagined such gall.

But back in 1922, as Clinton Stoddard Burr was writing his book, he describes how the recent (1920) celebrations of the Pilgrims’ Tercentenary jogged the memory of America, reminding Americans that this country was, in fact, settled by a particular group of people, and that the country bore the stamp of that group genetically and culturally.

“The [Pilgrim Tercentenary] celebrations commemorated…above all, our three hundred years of expansion over a vast continent; in the main an Anglo-Saxon conquest over savagery and natural forces. […] It must not be forgotten that English thought, laws and government permeated the land from the arrival of the Mayflower up to the present day. Anglo-Saxon civilization actually gained a new stimulus by the defiance of a weak and unscrupulous monarch in 1776, and today the Englishman and the American are approaching the goal of perfect mutual and reciprocal relations tending to the welfare not alone of Anglo-Saxon communities, but also of the whole world.

[…]The significance of three centuries of American growth was briefly, but aptly, described by the British Ambassador, Sir Auckland Geddes, in the following words: ‘We have, in fact, to maintain the heritage of freedom against assault from within and without, the priceless heritage of a great idea conceived by the Nordic people and slowly and painfully brought into practice in workable form in England, then brought here and developed and strengthened, then passed to British Dominions, then transplanted into countries that never have understood it. It is now in danger from its popularity. Even its enemies try to conceal their actions behind its phrases.’

[…]When one member of a household contracts a terrible disease, are not the other members of the household liable to contagion? Then why do we still allow the dregs of Southern and Eastern European nations to swarm into our community by the thousands every day, when we know that there are hundreds of potential Bolshevists among them who may not be discovered under our hurried and superficial mental and literacy tests?”

The book can be found here at Archive.org, where it may be downloaded or read. I recommend it to all who have an interest in America’s racial heritage. I may not agree 100 percent with Burr’s opinions — he’s perhaps too ‘civic nationalist’ and inclusive for me, but nonetheless the book is a refreshing change, a breath of fresh air in an atmosphere laden with lies about these crucial issues.

 

#american-freedom, #american-history, #ancestry, #anglo-saxon, #british-identity, #civic-nationalism, #english, #english-culture, #ethnicity, #ethnonationalism, #founding-fathers, #genetics, #kinship, #mass-immigration, #multiculturalism

What we owe to Britain

debt to GB-vert

From Our Debt to Great Britain, by Paul Revere Frothingham, 1918

#american-freedom, #american-history, #ancestry, #anglo-saxon, #english, #english-character, #ethnonationalism, #kinship

America: a poem

O, who has not heard of the Northmen of yore,
How flew, like the sea-bird, their sails from the shore;
How westward, they stayed not till, breasting the brine,
They hailed Narragansett, the land of the vine!

Then the war-songs of Rollo, his pennon and glaive,
Were heard as the danced by the moon-lighted wave,
And their golden-haired wives bore them sons of the soil,
While raced with redskins their feud and turmoil.

And who has not seen, ‘mid the summer’s gay crowd,
That old pillared tower of their fortalice proud,
How stands solid proof of the sea chieftains’ reign
Ere came with Columbus those galleys of Spain!

Twas a claim for their kindred: an earnest of sway,
By the stout-hearted Cabot made good in its day;
Of the Cross of St. George, on the Chesapeake’s tide,
Where lovely Virginia arose like a bride.

Came the Pilgrims with Winthrop; and, saint of the West,
Came Robert of Jamestown, the brave and the blest;
Came Smith, the bold rover, and Rolfe – with his ring,
To wed sweet Matoaka, child of a king.

Undaunted they came, every peril to dare,
Of tribes fiercer far than the wold in his lair;
Of the wild irksome woods, where in ambush they lay;
Of their terror by night and their arrow by day.

And so where our capes cleave the ice of the poles,
Where grooves of the orange scent sea-coast and shoals,
Where the forward Atlantic uplifts its last crest,
Where the sun, when he sets, seeks the East from the West;

The clime that from ocean to ocean expands,
The fields to the snowdrifts that stretch from the sands,
The wilds they have conquered of maintain and plain;
Those Pilgrims have made them fair Freedom’s domain.

And the bread of dependence if proudly they spurned,
Twas the soul of the fathers that kindled and burned,
Twas the blood of old Saxon within them that ran;
They held – to be free is the birthright of man.

So oft the old lion, majestic of mane,
Sees cubs of his cave breaking loose from his reign;
Unmeet to be his if they braved not his eye,
He gave them the spirit his own defy.

Arthur Cleveland Coxe

#american-freedom, #american-history, #ancestry, #english, #english-character, #first-families-of-virginia, #folklore, #jamestown, #kinship

Albion’s Seed, again

David Hackett Fischer’s book on Anglo-American origins continues to exercise inordinate influence on most discussions of American history and culture.

Of course the thesis of the book is that although the British Isles were the source of most of the colonists who settled this country (though Fischer, I think, unduly emphasizes other European colonists) there is not a unified culture nor a single people as the source of the American nation. There are, according to Fischer, several cultures which are at odds. From there, it’s an easy progression to making the claim that the South and the North, for example, constitute two distinct peoples, with their accompanying cultures — an  idea that has caught on for political reasons amongst some Southrons.

Other modern writers have used Fischer’s book as a jumping-off point for their own pet theories about the various “nations” contained within America. All this can only contribute to more dissension and animosity; some Southern nationalists find Fischer’s writings justification for a new-found hatred of “puritans” and Yankees generally. Some people, based on Fischer’s writings tend to blame not just those long-dead Puritans but Christians in general, or Protestants or Calvinists.

I have read Fischer’s book though it’s been some years since I waded through it.

This recent review of Albion’s Seed seems to emphasize many negative ‘facts’ about our colonist ancestors. Fischer, in my opinion, uses the usual post-modern, politically correct standards by which to judge the colonists. Once upon a time, historians actually did try to exercise some kind of objectivity in writing about history; no longer. Every history of America today seems to have to lean over backward to chastise the Southern colonists especially — the Cavalier class, specifically — for slavery/racism and elitism. Every history of today has to give blacks undeserved credit for some cultural accomplishment. For instance, did you know that the English spoken by my cavalier ancestors actually resembled so-called ”ebonics”, and that Elizabethan English sounded like African-American dialect?

INTERESTING CAVALIER FACTS:
1. Virginian cavalier speech patterns sound a lot like modern African-American dialects. It doesn’t take much imagination to figure out why, but it’s strange to think of a 17th century British lord speaking what a modern ear would clearly recognize as Ebonics.

Really, how could Fischer or anyone else back up such a statement? Can we exhume an English lord (English, not British; the Union did not exist till the next century) and compare his speech to that of an ”African American”? Until then, Fischer is just talking through his hat, just making things up.

10. Our word “condescension” comes from a ritual attitude that leading Virginians were supposed to display to their inferiors. Originally condescension was supposed to be a polite way of showing respect those who were socially inferior to you; our modern use of the term probably says a lot about what Virginians actually did with it.

In a lot of ways, Virginia was the opposite of Massachusetts. Their homicide rate was sky-high, and people were actively encouraged to respond to slights against their honor with duels (for the rich) and violence (for the poor).

Fischer seems to have thrown in such examples of good old class-warfare propaganda. Jacobinism by any other name.

From yet another blog post on Fischer’s book:

Among Cavaliers and corporatists, there is no morality beyond might makes right. There is no law — and no honor — beyond their own desire to expand their own sphere of power. There is no equality, no justice, and no universal freedom as we understand it. Theirs is the ancient plantation mentality we Americans have spent over 220 hard, bloody years trying to put behind us. It’s an outdated social system that has no place in a modern technological society — yet, in almost every detail, it’s the very world our new corporate royalists want to drag us back to.

In the back of their minds, they’re just Virginia gentlemen, taking the liberties such gentlemen have always rightfully enjoyed at the expense of others. It’s true that we owe a handful of Cavalier gentlemen a tremendous debt for so clearly articulating the principles of American liberty during the Revolution. But we should also remember that when these first men asserted their God-given right to life, liberty, and happiness, they had no intention of sharing those blessings with anyone else.”

Oh, if only we could go back in time and share our superior wisdom with those benighted ignoramuses! Wouldn’t this world be perfect if only David Hackett Fischer and his fan club could enlighten us all.

This Biblical passage comes to mind:

And Job answered and said,
No doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom shall die with you.”

Fischer’s book, I think, impresses people simply because it is so very long and so extensively footnoted and bibliography-ed. The sheer size and weight of the book intimidates people.

An old history prof/mentor of mine in college informed me, when I was a naive and idealistic history student, that all historians have some agenda, whether they are aware of it or not; nobody can be completely bias-free, but today even a pretense of objectivity and impartiality is missing. Fischer, though seemingly regarded as the Voice Of Authority on early American history now, is human like the rest of us, prone to his own biases (which seem to be the PC, egalitarian biases of our time) and also prone to human fallibility. I only wish that people would stop the uncritical acceptance of everything Fischer writes, as if he is the last word.

Similarly with lesser-known writers like Colin Woodward. Even many Southern readers skeptical of ‘Yankees’ still accept Woodward’s writings as absolutely true, and even very right-wing readers seem oblivious to the fact that Woodward is a liberal with a liberal’s presuppositions.

As always, my advice is to read mostly older sources. Today there are a good many old (and sound) books on history which are available online, free. Unfortunately our politically corrected public libraries are purging the old books and replacing them with inferior, dumbed down, ideologically correct ‘history’,which is invariably tainted by today’s PC shibboleths and cliches.

We should learn about the past from people of the past. Their books are still there to be found and used.

#albions-seed, #american-freedom, #american-history, #ancestry, #anglo-saxon, #english-culture, #ethnicity, #first-families-of-virginia, #jamestown, #nations-of-north-america, #wasps

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.

#american-freedom, #american-history, #anglo-saxon, #bill-of-rights, #english, #founding-fathers, #jamestown, #kinship