Craig White's Literature Courses

Critical Sources

Notes from

David Hackett Fischer

Albion’s Seed:

Four British Folkways in America.

NY: Oxford UP, 1989.

(Albion = ancient Gk. name for Great Britain)

Fischer, David Hackett. Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America. NY: Oxford UP, 1989.

6 Today less than 20 percent of the American population has any British ancestors at all.

7 “folkway”: normative structure of values, customs, and meanings that exist in any culture.


England, w/ East Anglia in red

New England, w/ Massachusetts in blue

EAST ANGLIA TO MASSACHUSETTS [i.e., English immigrants to New England]

14 The ship Arbella was one of seventeen vessels that sailed to Massachusetts in the year 1630. [Arbella = ship on which John Winthrop preached "A Model of Christian Charity" (1629)]

[The "Great Migration" of English Puritans to New England, 10 years after the Pilgrims]

16 Within a period of eleven years, some 80,000 English men, women and children swarmed outward from their island home. The great migration was a great flight from conditions which had grown intolerable at home. It continued from 1629 to 1640, precisely the period that Whig historians called the “eleven years’ tyranny,” when Charles I tried to rule England without a Parliament, and Archbishop William Laud purged the Anglican church of its Puritan members. These eleven years were also an era of economic depression, epidemic disease, and so many sufferings that to John Winthrop it seemed as if the land itself had grown “weary of her Inhabitants . . . .”

17 They [the Puritans] multiplied at a rapid rate, doubling every generation for two centuries. Their numbers increased to 100,000 by 1700, to at least one million by 1800, six million by 1900, and more than sixteen million by 1988—all descended from 21,000 English emigrants who came to Massachusetts in the period from 1629 to 1640.

18 The great migration developed . . . above all as a religious movement of English Christians who meant to build a new Zion in America. [Zion = Jerusalem or holy city]

23 . . . the covenant. The Puritans founded this belief on the book of Genesis, where God made an agreement with Abraham, offering salvation with no preconditions but many obligations. . . . They thought of their relationship with God (and one another) as a web of contracts. [covenant: see "Model of Christian Charity", paragraph 13]

25 To a remarkable degree, the founders of Massachusetts traveled in families—more so than any major ethnic group in American history. . . . The nuclear families that moved to Massachusetts were in many instances related to one another before they left England.

26 From the start, this exceptionally high level of family integration set Massachusetts apart from other American colonies.

Equally extraordinary was the pattern of age distribution. America’s immigrants have typically been young people in their teens and twenties. . .  . more than 40 percent of immigrants to the M B Colony were mature men and women over twenty-five, and nearly half were children under sixteen. . . .

26-7 Also unusual was the distribution of sexes, which differed very much from most colonial populations. The gender ratio of European migrants to Virginia was four men for every woman. In New Spain it was ten men for every woman; in Brazil, one hundred men for every Portuguese woman. Only a small minority of immigrants in those colonies could hope to live in households such as they had left behind in Europe. But in the Puritan migration to Massachusetts, the gender ratio was approximately 150 males for every 100 females. From an early date, normal family life was not the exception but the rule. As early as 1635, the Congregational churches of New England had more female than male members. Our stereotypical image of the Puritan is a man, but the test of church membership tells us that most Puritans were women. One historian infers from the gender ratio that “many Puritans brought their wives along”; it would be statistically more correct to say that many Puritans led their husbands to America.

28 The leaders of the great migration actively discouraged servants and emigrants of humble means.

28 The social status of these people also appeared in their high levels of literacy. . . . literacy was nearly twice as common in Massachusetts as in the mother country.

31 In summary, by comparison with other emigrant groups in American history, the great migration to Massachusetts was a remarkably homogeneous movement of English Puritans who came from the middle ranks of their society, and traveled in family groups. The heads of these families tended to be exceptionally literate, highly skilled, and heavily urban in their English origins.

36 Salem took its name from the Hebrew word for peace—Shalom.

49 East Anglia was also exceptional in its educational and cultural attainments. In the seventeenth century, rates of literacy were higher there than in other English regions.

52 The Puritans arrived in a period of the earth’s history which climatologists call the “little ice age.” Ocean temperatures off the coast of New England were three degrees centigrade colder in the eighteenth century than the mid-twentieth. . . . after the first few years, this cold climate proved to be a blessing. It created an exceptionally healthy environment for settlers from Northern Europe. Insect-born diseases such as malaria and yellow fever were less dangerous than in southern settlements. Water-borne infections including typhoid fever and dysentery were much diminished by the cold temperatures of Massachusetts Bay. . . . [The cold climate] proved to be exceptionally dangerous to immigrants from tropical Africa, who suffered severely from pulmonary infections in New England winters.

53 Both of these factors—the distribution of pockets of good soil and the configuration of the coastline—encouraged settlement in nucleated towns.

54 Cool temperatures and a variable climate created an immensely stimulating environment for an active population.

55 Many colonists felt desperately homesick, and regretted what Isaac Johnson called their “voluntary banishment” from the “mother country.” [Wonder-Working Providence 66]

56 Reformation meant going backward rather than forward, on the assumption that error was novel and truth was ancient in the world. The Protestant Reformation meant a reversion to primitive Christianity.

56 . . . a mood of cultural anxiety which developed in most colonies, no matter whether English, French, Spanish, Dutch or Portuguese. In all of these settlements there was an abiding fear of what Cotton Mather called “Criolian degeneracy.” Change of any sort seemed to be cultural disintegration. [Criollo or Creole originally referred to first generation born in colonies]

59 Governor Winthrop’s name was sometimes spelled as it was sounded—Wyntropp. The minister John Eliot was known as Eli’t.

69 Concern for the family in this culture was also given a special intensity by an attitude which historian Edmund Morgan calls “Puritan tribalism,” that is, the Hebraic idea that the founders of New England were God’s chosen people. [Puritan Family, 143]

70 Like most of their contemporaries, the Puritans thought of the family as a concentric set of nuclear and extended rings.

71 By comparison with other colonies, households throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut included large numbers of children, small numbers of servants and high proportions of intact marital unions.

77-8 [The Puritans of New England] believed that marriage was not a religious ceremony but a civil contract. They required that this covenant must be “agreed” or “executed” (not “performed” or “solemnized”) before a magistrate, and not a minister.

84 The Puritans often quoted the Pauline expression that the husband was “the head of the wife.” . . . This idea was summarized in one of Milton’s mighty lines: “He for God only; she for God in Him.”

On the other hand, the laws of Massachusetts gave women many protections. Every woman without exception was equally entitled to the physical protection of the law. Her husband could not beat her, or even verbally abuse her—a rule that was sternly enforced. There was also an elastic clause that forbade husbands to command their wives to do anything contrary to the law of God. Further, the common law of New England recognized that women both single and married could own property, and execute contracts.

85 There was no clear idea of “separate spheres” in this culture.

92 Puritan moralists condemned as unnatural any attempt to prevent conception within marriage. This was not a common attitude in world history. Most primitive cultures have practiced some form of contraception, often with high success. Iroquois squaws made diaphragms of birchbark; African slaves used pessaries of elephant dung to prevent pregnancy. European women employed beeswax disks, cabbage leaves, spermicides of lead, whitewash and tar. During the seventeenth and early eighteenth century, coitus interruptus and the use of sheepgut condoms became widespread in Europe. [Norman Himes, Medical History of Contraception (Baltimore 1936)]

98 The Puritans believed that in consequence of Adam’s sin, all infants were born ignorant and empty of all good things, and that small children were naturally disposed to do evil in the world. [doctrine of Original Sin]

113 “This was the constant message of Puritan preachers,” writes historian Edmund Morgan, “in order to be sure one must be unsure.” This attitude of cultivated insecurity, coming on top of the dangers of life itself, created a brooding darkness that hovered over the collective consciousness of New England for two centuries. [references to Reformed Protestant Christianity doctrine of election or predestination: in contrast to individual human's free will to choose salvation, God as ultimate sovereign has chosen some and not others to be saved.]

118 The Puritan meetinghouse was fundamentally a lecture room, intended for the hearing of the word.

121 not uncommon for a congregation sit through five or six hours of instruction every Sunday. These sermons were very austere. In stained-glass words, as well as stained-glass windows, Puritans saw only an impediment to light. The style of preaching was a relentless cultivation of the plain style. . . . the “text-and-context” sermon . . . .

127 A great many people were formally accused of witchcraft in New England—at least 344 individuals altogether. Of that number, 35 were actually executed, and another person who refused to testify was pressed to death with heavy stones.

130 By 1760, these rates of “signature-mark” literacy had risen above 84 percent for men and 50 percent for women.

131 . . . beyond doubt . . . literacy was higher in New England than in any other part of British America.

132 1647 Massachusetts statue called the “Old Deluder Law”:

It being one chief project of that old deluder, Satan, to keep men from the knowledge of the scriptures, as in former times keeping them in an unknown tongue [i.e., Latin], so in these later times by persuading from the use of tongues, that so at least the true sense and meaning of the Original might be clouded with false glosses of saint-seeming deceivers, and that learning may not be buried in the graves of our forefathers in Church and Commonwealth, the Lord assisting in our endeavors.

133 The Old Deluder Law compelled every town of fifty families to hire a schoolmaster, and every town of one hundred families to keep a grammar school which offered instruction in Latin and Greek . . . . This statute did not demand compulsory school attendance. But it did require compulsory maintenance of “public schools,” as the Puritans began to call them in the seventeenth century. These laws were enforced. A system of town-supported schools developed rapidly throughout Massachusetts. As a result, children in Massachusetts received more than twice as many years of schooling as did youngsters in Virginia.

The Puritans also actively supported higher learning in New England. Before the War of American Independence they founded four colleges—nearly as many as all other mainland colonies combined.

133 Every cultural region of British America gave some encouragement to formal learning. But New England, as we shall see, was unique in its strong support for both common schools and higher learning.

135 New England’s food ways also owed much to the Christian asceticism of its founders, who were among the earliest Americans to associate plain cooking with piety, and vegetables with virtue.

139 The austerity of New England’s food ways was softened by its abundance of baked goods. Even so, this culture made a virtue of sensual restraint. For a very long time it preserved a spirit of self-denial which was appropriate to a region that Samuel Adams described as a “Christian Sparta.”

153 From the start, the Puritans worked their American land with English ploughs—a method unlike the hoe husbandry that prevailed in other parts of British America.

156 This work ethic was a complex thing. It rested upon an idea that every Christian had two callings—a general calling and a special calling. The first was a Christian’s duty to live a godly life in the world. The second was mainly his vocation.

166 The liturgical calendar of Christian holidays was replaced by festivals which commemorated the founding purposes of New England.

167 Distinctions of social rank were carefully respected, but gross disparities were uncommon.

178 . . . the leaders of Massachusetts also made a concerted and highly successful effort to discourage immigration from the bottom of English society. They prohibited the entry of convicted felons (many of whom had been punished for crimes of poverty) and placed heavy impediments in the path of the migrant poor.

179 Even as the founders of Massachusetts sought to eliminate extremes of rank from their society, they were very far from being egalitarian.

181 The builders of the Bay Colony actively encouraged close-built towns.

191 By and large the system worked. Violent crime and disorder were comparatively uncommon in Massachusetts. Homicide rates in 17c NE were less than half of those of the Chesapeake colonies. Assaults against persons were also less frequent in New England than in any other part of British America. In the maS country courts, crimes against property were more common than crimes against persons. But crimes against order were the most common of all.

196 a regime that combined collective order and institutional violence in an exceptionally high degree.

199 Town meeting government in early New England was not really democratic in our majoritarian sense. The object was not rule by majority, but by consensus. The purpose of a town meeting was to achieve that consensual goal by discussion, persuasion and mutual adjustment of differences. The numbers of votes were rarely counted, but merely recorded as the “will of the town.”

200 This idea of collective liberty, or “publick liberty,” as it was sometimes called, was thought to be consistent with close restraints upon individuals.

201 One person’s “liberty” in this sense became another’s restraint. In Massachusetts, as in England, a person’s rank was defined by the liberties that he possessed, and vice versa.

Immigrants to early Virginia came mostly from Mercia, Wessex, & Sussex


212 Sir William Berkeley’s . . . recruitment of a Royalist elite for Virginia.

212 This cavalier migration continued throughout Berkeley’s tenure as governor (1642-76). Much of it occurred during the decade of the 1650s, when a Puritan oligarchy gained the upper hand in England and tried to impose its beliefs by force upon an unwilling people.

213 These “distressed cavaliers” founded what would later be called the first families of Virginia. . . . If most Yankee genealogies commenced within six years of 1635, the American beginnings of Virginia’s ruling families occurred within a decade of the year 1655.

214 Also in 1657 arrived Colonel William Ball, the ancestor of George Washington’s mother, and in 1659 the first Fairfax. Every year of that troubled decade brought a fresh crop of cavaliers to Virginia. Of seventy-two families in Virginia’s high elite whose dates of migration are known, two-thirds arrived between 1640 and 1669.  A Majority appeared between 1647 and 1660.

214 Nearly all of Virginia’s ruling families were founded by younger sons of eminent English families during [Berkeley’s] governorship. . . . The founders of Virginia’s first families tried to reconstruct from American materials a cultural system from which they had been excluded at home.

218 . . . the roots of all these men were in the English countryside, and Virginia offered a chance to return to the rural life which they preferred.

227 The great mass of Virginia’s immigrants were humble people of low rank. More than 75 percent came as indentured servants.

233 [The religious life of Virginia] was ceremonial, liturgical, hierarchical, ritualist—and very different from New England. Each individual was not expected to share the same opinions. But all were compelled to join in the same rituals.

233 The marriage of Pocahontas and John Rolfe was performed by Richard Buck, a staunch Puritan.

234 . . . persecution worked. Puritan congregations were virtually eliminated from Virginia, and Quakers were reduced to a few small meetings.

235 Later in the eighteenth century, this pattern rapidly changed with the increase of Presbyterians, Baptists and Methodists.

241 During the early middle ages slavery had existed on a large scale throughout Mercia, Wessex, and Sussex, and had lasted longer there than in other parts of England.

243 A smaller part of the population were freeholders in the south and west of England than in East Anglia.

246 There were many strong links between the character of the south and west of England and the culture of Virginia. Both regions were marked by deep and pervasive inequalities, by a staple agriculture and rural settlement patterns, by powerful oligarchies of large landowners with Royalist politics and an Anglican faith.

247 The James River is larger than London’s Thames; the Potomac is longer than the Seine.

251 This warm climate gave tidewater Virginia an asset in the length of its growing season, which was 210 days between heavy frosts—two months longer than in New England. But it also brought a liability in the relation between climate and disease. As the temperature rose, so did the death rate.

One part of the problem rose from the Bay itself. Fecal pollutants washed into swamps and stagnant pools. The estuary itself became an ideal breeding ground for typhoid fever and amoebic dysentery, trapping deadly organisms which ravaged the sickly population in the summer months. The “dying time” came mostly in the summer and early fall, when “fevers” took a heavy toll of young life. Every year this mortal season lasted much longer in Virginia than in New England.

Another part of the problem was malaria. The tidewater was a perfect nursery for mosquitos.

253 This conservatism was deepened in Virginia by the mood of cultural nostalgia that developed in most new colonies. . . . Six generations after settlement, Virginians still perceived the culture of England as a precious inheritance to be protected from change, and passed intact from one generation to the next.

For a very long time, the Chesapeake colonists thought of themselves as Englishmen apart from England—cultural exiles in a distant land.

255 [Traditional prejudices of English gentlemen] were reinforced in Virginia by the colonial mood of anxiety, nostalgia, and cultural loss.

Another symptom of the colonial malaise was a deep sense of uneasiness about present conditions and future events. These feelings grew steadily in mid-17c Virginia, reaching a flash point in Nathaniel Bacon’s Rebellion (1676), and the bloody repression that followed. The rebel Bacon himself was Governor Berkeley’s kinsman and protégé. Both men came from the same rank and shared similar Royalist ideals. Bacon’s “Declaration of the People” was far from a democratic document: he complained that Virginia was not hierarchical enough, and that its institutions had been corrupted by “vile” men.

258 In place of New England’s harsh, rapid, rasping, metallic whine, Virginia’s speech was a soft, slow, melodious drawl that came not from the nose but the throat. Virginians tended to add syllables where New Englanders subtracted them.

259 Virtually all peculiarities of grammar, syntax, vocabulary and pronunciation which have been noted as typical of Virginia were recorded in the English counties of Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire, Somerset, Oxford, Gloucester, Warwick or Worcester.

274 Among Virginians and New Englanders, ideas of the family were similar in strength, but different in substance. Virginians gave more importance to the extended family and less to the nuclear family than did New Englanders. . . . The word “family” tended to be a more comprehensive term in Virginia than in Massachusetts.

276 The pattern of consumption was very similar to great country houses in the south and west of England. No household in Massachusetts operated on such a scale.

Chesapeake households also tended to include more step-relatives and wards, fewer children in the primary unit and also many more servants than in New England. This was largely because the southern colonies had higher rates of illness and death. Children died young, and marriages were cruelly shattered at an early age.

279 When George Washington was at Valley Forge, he referred to his wife, servants and aides as his “family,” for they had placed themselves under his fostering hands. . . . In the great houses of the Chesapeake, as in the works of Filmer, “family” was fundamentally a sphere of authority, in which everyone was placed under a patriarch’s protection.

303 In the 18c, race slavery created other opportunities for planter predators, some of whom started at an early age to exercise a droit du seigneur over women in the slave quarters.

304 The same pattern had appeared in Virginia before slavery was widespread. It had also existed in rural England.

The cultural idea of the predatory male was carried very far in early Virginia—even to the point of condoning rape. The diaries recorded a complaisant and even jocular attitude toward rape that differed very much from prevailing mores in Puritan New England. The founders of New England made rape a hanging crime. In the courts of the Chesapeake colonies, it was sometimes punished less severely than petty theft—a different attitude from the Puritan colonies.

304 The people of Virginia thought less of the biblical commandment to increase and multiply and replenish the earth which so obsessed the Puritans, and more of breeding stocks and bloodlines. Children of the elite were bred to one another in a manner not unlike dogs and horses.

307 Virginians preferred to name their sons after Teutonic warriors, Frankish knights and English kings. Special favorites included William, Robert, Richard, Edward, George and Charles—choices rarely made in Massachusetts during the seventeenth century.

311 Roughly one-third of newborn babies perished within the first twenty months of life, and nearly half were dead before they reached adulthood.

311 [child-rearing] On the one hand youngsters were compelled to develop strong and autonomous wills. On the other hand, they were expected to yield willingly to the requirements of an hierarchical culture. These psychic tensions took a heavy toll.

314 For many generations in Virginia, the ritual of the dance became a school of manners where young people learned to bend gracefully in  more than merely a physical sense.

Another closely related child-rearing custom was the careful instruction of young people in formal rules of right conduct.

317 One of the few books that young George Washington is known to have owned and read was an English summary of Seneca’s dialogues. . . . Washington was never much of a reader. But in company with his friend Sally Fairfax he read Addison’s tragedy Cato, which became one of his favorite works. That Augustan classic, with its prologue by the poet Pope, celebrated the stoic virtues of the great Roman patrician who became a model for young George Washington. . . . At Valley Forge, Washington ordered that Addison’s Cato should be performed for all his officers, and he attended the production himself. He quoted Cato in his presidential papers, and in his last years returned again and again to this work. Washington’s character and conduct embodied Cato’s creed. This was Virginia’s ideal of an autonomous gentleman, with a character that was “severely bent against himself.”

334 One of the books in Ralph Wormeley’s library was Richard Allestree’s The Whole Duty of Man (London 1660), a devotional work which was found more often in Virginia libraries than any other book. Its ideal of quietism and practical piety contrasted sharply with the restless striving of the New England Puritans. Other favorites were Richard Allestree’s The Gentleman’s Calling (1660), Jeremy Taylor’s The Rule and Exercises of Holy Living and Holy Dying (1650, 1651), Lewis Bayly’s Practice of Piety (1613), and Edward Synge’s A Gentleman’s Religion (1693).

338 The religion of the cavaliers celebrated the holiness of beauty as well as the beauty of holiness.

340 This distaste for witchcraft persecutions had also appeared among the Royalist gentry of southern England.

345 In the 1   7c, most adult Virginians (white and black, male and female altogether) were unable to sign their own names. Disparities by wealth, race, class and gender were very great. Among Virginia’s gentry, literacy approached 100 percent. But of male property holders in general, about 50 percent were able to write. Among tenants and laborers that proportion fell to about 50 percent.

346 More women could read than write in Virginia—a condition of passive literacy which was the common lot of females in the 17c.

347 Disparities in literacy between rich and poor actually grew greater.

347 . . . visitors and natives both agreed that schools were few and far between, that ignorance was widespread, and that formal education did not flourish in the Chesapeake. This condition was not an accident. It was deliberately contrived by Virginia’s elite, who positively feared learning among the general population. The classic expression of this attitude came from Governor William Berkeley himself. When asked in 1671 by the Lords of Trade about the state of schools in Virginia, he made a famous reply: “I thank God,” he declared, “there are no free schools nor printing, and I hope we shall not have these [for a] hundred years; for learning has brought disobedience, and heresy, and sects into the world, and printing has divulged them, and libels against the best government. God keep us from both!”

348 Slaves were forbidden to read at all, on pain of savage punishment. The penalty for a slave who tried to learn how to write was to have a finger amputated. The riches of great plantation libraries made a dramatic contrast with the inaccessibility of books for ordinary people.

The same duality also appeared in regard to schooling. Virginia gentlemen cultivated the arts, sciences and education among themselves, but did not encourage schools for the general population. They hired private tutors for their own youngsters, sponsored schools of high quality for children of the elite, founded the college of William and Mary at Williamsburg, and sent their sons to Oxford. Altogether, the proportion of planters’ sons who were sent to college in England and America was similar to that of the gentry of southern England. But these same county oligarchies were largely responsible for the miserable condition of parish schools throughout Virginia, and for the long absence of printing in the colony.

349 . . . native American plants such as potatoes and tomatoes rarely appeared on the best colonial tables until they had become fashionable in the mother country.

350 The diet of ordinary Virginians in the seventeenth century was similar to black “soul food” in the twentieth. With the addition of Indian corn it was much like the diet of farm workers in the south and west of England.

355 Wealth was displayed by necklaces, brooches and even earrings for men. Charles I went to the scaffold in 1649 with a huge tear-shaped pearl in his ear.

362 English fox hunting was not easily introduced to the New World. Then, as now, Vulpes americanus made a more elusive quarry than his Old World cousin.

365 Many people who actually visited the colony of Virginia—natives, immigrants and casual travelers alike—testified that the ethic of work was very weak in this society. As early as 1622, John Martin observed that in the Chesapeake, even the Indians “work better than the English.” The Virginians themselves commonly agreed with this assessment. From the planter’s perspective, William Byrd wrote, “Nature is very indulgent to us, and produces its good things almost spontaneously. Men evade the original curse of hard labour, and sweat as much with eating their bread as getting it. . . . if plenty and a warm sun did not make us lazy and hate motion and exercise.

367 The economic consequence of this attitude [of wealth display and liberal spirit as ideal of gentleman] was debt. Most great families of Virginia fell deep into indebtedness.

369 Even among great planters the language of time was sometimes closer to that of American Indians than to English Puritans.

373 Very different was the temporal condition of servants and slaves. Their time was not their own. It belonged to their masters, who decreed that a field slave must work from “day clean” to “first dark.” A slave had very little control over daylight time except on Sundays and holidays which were days of riotous celebration.

379 Southern share-cropping was not an invention of the post-Civil War period. Before the end of Governor Berkeley’s administration, it was well established in tidewater Virginia, where it had been introduced from southern England.

380 Where New England towns spent most of their taxes for the support of churches and schools, southern parishes were compelled to contribute the bulk of their hard-won public funds in poor relief.

381 [primogeniture] When every child was given an equal share, the family tended to decline in status.

385-87 To condescend in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was to treat an inferior with kindness, decency and respect.

387 To the English system of social orders, Virginians added the even more rigid category of race slavery.

387-8 Slavery came late to Virginia. The first Africans appeared in the colony as early as 1619; a census of 1625 enumerated 23 blacks. But when Sir William Berkeley first arrived, there were fewer Africans in the Chesapeake than in New England or New Netherlands. Their legal status remained very unclear. The concept of chattel slavery was defined very gradually in a series of statutes throughout the late 17th and early 18c.

389 A slave was rarely called a slave in the American south by his master. Slaves were referred to as “my people,” “my hands,” “my workers,” almost anything but “my slaves.” They were made to dress like English farm workers, to play English folk games, to speak an English country dialect, and to observe the ordinary rituals of English life in a charade that Virginia planters organized with great care.

389 Wm Byrd, 1736 . . . what it did to their masters. “They blow up the pride, and ruin the industry of our white people.” (letter to Earl of Egmont, 1736)

400 The death penalty was very common in Virginia. As in the mother country, hundreds of felonies were capital crimes—which was not the case in the Puritan colonies.

400 use of nonjudicial violence . . . Virginia’s system of customary violence was hierarchical in its nature. . . . Violence was thought to be the legitimate instrument of masters against servants, husbands against wives, parents against children, and gentlemen against ordinary folk.

406 In this Virginia polity, the leading local institutions were the parish and county. Both were dominated by self-perpetuating oligarchies of country gentlemen—the parish through its vestry, and the county through its court. They were more complex in their structure than the town meeting system of New England, but less active in the life of the community. Levels of per capita public spending in Virginia tended to be less than half that of Massachusetts.

410 “How is it,” Dr. Samuel Johnson asked, “that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes?”

411 The English traveler Andrew Burnaby observed that “the public and political character of the Virginians corresponds with their private one: they are haughty and jealous of their liberties, impatient of restraint, and can scarcely bear the thought of being controlled by any superior power.” (Travels 1812)

Virgina ideas of hegemonic liberty conceived of freedom mainly as the power to rule, and not to be overruled by others. Its opposite was “slavery,” a degradation into which true-born Britons descended when they lost their power to rule.

416 So exalted was this ideal of hegemony over self that every gentleman fell short. But the ideal itself was pursued for many generations. At its best, it created a true nobility of character in Virginia gentlemen such as George Washington, Robert E. Lee and George Marshall. The popular images of these men are not historical myths. The more one learns of them, the greater one’s respect becomes.


421 In the year 1682 the scale of this migration suddenly increased when twenty-three ships sailed into Delaware Bay with more than 2,000 emigrants who founded the colony of Pennsylvania. One of these vessels was the ship Welcome, which carried William Penn himself and 100 other Quakers on a ghastly voyage where smallpox was also a passenger and thirty died at sea of that dread disease. The Welcome was followed by ninety shiploads of settlers in three years from 1682 to 1685.

422 During the early 18c, the number of American Quakers increased very rapidly—doubling every generation. By the year 1750 Quakers had become the third largest religious denomination in the British colonies. Their 250 meeting houses were more numerous than the churches of any other faith except Congregationalists (465) and Anglicans (289). After the mid-eighteenth century the number of Quakers in British America continued to rise in absolute terms, but began to fall relative to other religious groups.

425 For Quakers such as Jane Hoskins the Friends’ migration became a spiritual pilgrimage that differed very much from the secular movements of our own time.

427 They repudiated all sacraments, ceremonies, churches, clergy, ordinations and tithes, and maintained no ministers in the usual sense—only lay missionaries and exhorters whom they sometimes called ministers.

428 . . . a rigorous system of collective discipline which regulated marriage, sex, business ethics, dress, speech, eating and drinking, politics and law. Sp[ecial attention was given to the rearing of the young—an important factor in the survival of Quakerism, and in the culture that it created in the Delaware Valley.

429 religious freedom and social pluralism. They favored a weak polity and strong communal groups. Most came to share the Quakers’ concern for basic literacy and their contempt for higher learning.

429 After 1750, the Society of Friends turned inward, and distanced itself not merely from other people in the present, but also from its own past. It increasingly developed ideas of unyielding pacifism, withdrawal from politics, extreme sectarian discipline, and extravagant ways of “going plain” in the world.

429 From the start, European settlers in the Delaware Valley were very mixed in their ethnicity. Even before the first English Quakers arrived, a diverse population had already gathered there. William Penn wrote in 1685, “ . . . the people are a collection of Divers Nations in Europe: as, French, Dutch, Germans, Swedes, Danes, Finns, Scotch, French and English, and of the last equal to all the rest.”

430 Many spoke Welsh and took great pride in their ethnic origins, even as they were also strong converts to the Society of Friends.

Dutch and German Quakers were also recruited actively by William Penn, who had traveled as a missionary in the Rhine Valley.

431 After 1715, non-Quaker colonists began to arrive in growing numbers. Among them were North British Borderers who have been called Scotch Irish (inaccurately, we shall see). The Quakers heartily disliked these people and hurried them on their westward way. Other non-Quaker immigrants also arrived from Protestant communities in western Germany, Switzerland and Alsace mostly during the mid-18c; half of all German-speaking colonists in Pennsylvania arrived within a period of five years from 1749 to 1754.

By 1760, English Quakers were a minority in the colonies they had founded, and the Delaware Valley had become a cultural mosaic of high complexity. Some of these other ethnic groups, however, shared much in common with Quaker culture. Many had been recruited by William Penn because of this affinity, and had remained in the Delaware Valley because the Quaker colonies were congenial to their own ways.

432 B Franklin’s slur upon the Germans as a race of “Palatine Boors” was the attitude of a transplanted New England Yankee—not a member of the Society of Friends.

432 Many Pennsylvania Germans Anglicized their names. In Germantown, for example, the family of Zimmerman became Carpenter, Rittinghuysen became Rittenhouse and Schumacher became Shoemaker. Intermarriage frequently occurred between children of different nationalities who shared the same religious faith. English, Irish, Welsh, Dutch and German Quakers rapidly became an extended cousinage.

434 As to social rank, the same sources show that Pennsylvania’s immigrants tended to be men and women of humble origin, who came from the lower middling ranks of English society. Their social status was similar to that of English Quakers in general.

436 In the marriage records of Philadelphia, for example, only one man in ninety called himself a gentleman, and only one a laborer. The rest were mainly craftsmen, tradesmen, and merchants.

439 the Friends’ Library, a massive anthology of spiritual autobiographies.

452 Another feature of the Delaware Valley was specially important to the Quakers. The natives were friendly, and very different from the more militant tribes of the lower Chesapeake and upper New England.

453 In 1682, the colony of East Jersey was bought at auction from the widow of Sir George Carteret by another group of Quakers who included the ubiquitous William Penn. The colonists of East Jersey were people of many faiths—including many Dutch settlers from New Netherlands, and a large number of New Englanders whose major settlement was named New Ark (now Newark).

458 Penn was tempted to accept [a military post], but he was destined for a different life. Raised in a pious Protestant household to be a “chiristian and a gentleman,” he had begun to have deep mystic visions as early as the age of twelve. His father sent him to Christ Church, Oxford, to temper his faith. The effect was the reverse. Penn was deeply shocked by what he called the “hellish darkness and debauchery” of Oxford. He refused to wear a black gown or to attend compulsory chapel and was expelled for nonconformity.

458 In 1668 he was locked in the Tower of London for writing a Quaker book. Penn used his time in jail to write another book called No Cross, No Crown, which many take to be his greatest work.

458-9 In 1671 Penn was arrested once more. This time he was tried secretly in the Tower and sent to Newgate, where he refused the privileges of his rank and lived in a common cell. There he finished The Great Case of Liberty of Conscience, one of the noblest defenses of religious liberty ever written.

459-61 The cornerstone of this “holy experiment” was liberty of conscience—not for everyone, and never for its own sake. William Penn believed that religious liberty was an instrument of Christian salvation. It did not occur to him that liberty was to be desired as an end in itself. He excluded atheists and nonbelievers from his colony, and confined officeholding to believing Christians. Even so, Pennsylvania came closer to his goal of a non-coercive society than any state in Christendom during the seventeenth century.

461 He was no democrat, but believed deeply in the “ancient English constitution” of mixed or balanced government. Most of all he believed in the rule of law. “For the matters of liberty and privilege,” he wrote, “I propose . . . to leave myself and successors no power of doing mischief, that the will of one man may not hinder the good of an whole country.

461 In social terms, Penn envisioned a society where people of different beliefs could dwell together in peace. His dream was not unity but harmony—and not equality but “love and brotherly kindness.”

461 Some of Penn’s ideas for his colony have an aura of modernity about them. But he was not a modern man. He despised the material and secular impulses that were gaining strength around him, and dreamed of a world where Christians could dwell together in love. His vision for American looked backward to the primitive Church, and also to what he called England’s ancient constitution. These were not progressive ideas.

465 Even fewer [Quakers in the Delaware Valley] had been to a university—William Penn himself, his secretary James Logan, and a few others. But Quakers were unable to attend Oxford and Cambridge without abjuring their faith. The formal learning that was so important in defining New England’s elite had no place in the Delaware Valley.

466 This elite was more open than those of Massachusetts and Virginia. During the 18c, it demonstrated strong powers of regeneration.

467 It also admitted new members who were Anglican or Presbyterian or Free Thinkers such as Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Rush. But it expected them to marry suitably (as Franklin “married” a Read and Rush wed a Stockton). These newcomers were also expected to conform to established Delaware Valley customs of dress and demeanor.

469 . . . a Quaker schism in Pennsylvania, the so-called Keithian controversy (1690-93), which took its name from George Keith, a Scottish Quaker who led the movement for a creed.

474 The use of thee and thou as the standard second-person pronoun had long been customary in the North Midlands of England. It was taken up by Quakers and given a special egalitarian meaning. . . . Americans said “thee is” where London Quakers said “thou art.”

474 Quakers also cultivated what Richard Bauman has called the “rhetoric of impoliteness,” deliberately pruging their language of routine courtesies and ornaments which seemed “needless” in their special meaning of that word. [Richard Bauman, Let Your Words Be Few: Symbolism of Speaking and Silence among Seventeenth Century Quakers (Cambridge 1983); T. Edmund Harvey, Quaker Language (Philadelphia 1928).

481 Historian Barry Levy argues that the Quaker settlements were “the first scene of a major, widespread, obviously successful assertion of the child-centered, fond-fostering, nuclear family in early American and most likely in the Anglo-American world.”

484 Quakers repudiated the principle of fear as the cement of family relations. Puritans and Anglicans both regarded fear as a healthy emotion, and urged that it should be cultivated in relations between parents and children, and even husbands and wives. Members of the Society of Friends, however, actively condemned fear as an organizing principle of human relationships, except fear of God. They built their ideas of the family upon a radically different base.

In the words of founder George Fox, the Quakers believed that the family should “outstrip and exceeed the world, in virtue, in purity, in chastity, in godliness and iin holiness, and in modesty, civility, and in righteousness and in love.” They tended to think of the family as a spiritual communion which was a sanctuary of goodness and love in a world of sin and hatred. Here was another belief that flowed from the sectarian thrust of their faith, with its idea of “gathering out” from a sinful world.

484 . . . Quakers tended to believe that the primary role of the family was to raise its children and to promote the spiritual health of its various members. The special intensity of the Quaker family as a child-centered institution arose directly from a religious imperative.

485 Other family ways were also introduced to the Delaware Valley, by different ethnic groups—in particular by immigrants from Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Ideas of the family among German Pietists tend to be more hierarchical than those of English Quakers, but in other respects were very much the same. In both groups one finds the same ideas of the “family of God,” and similar conceptions of “the family of love.”

486 The rule against outmarriage was grounded not merely in a negative principle of sectarian exclusion, but in the positive idea that marriages should be founded in true Christian love. To the Quakers, love did not mean romantic attraction, sexual passion or even domestic affection. Their idea of “pure and true love” was not the Greek eros or Roman amor but the Christian caritas and pietas which were thought to be attainable only between true believers. . . . But Quaker moralists demanded that love must be a part of every marriage. They believed that marriage should be a union of “sweethearts,” a word which they often used. Further, they insisted that love should precede marriage, and not merely follow it. But this was to be the pure and undefiled love between Christians, and not a carnal appetite for the flesh.

488 Another consequence was that many Quakers never married at all. One study of the Society of Friends in New Jersey during the 18c found that 16 percent of women were still single at the age of fifty. By comparison with other colonies, these numbers of spinsters were large. In New England and Virginia, 95 to 98 percent of women married during the same period. The difference cannot be explained in terms of sex ratios. It was caused by different cultural ideas of marriage. . . . The rituals of marriage within the Society of Friends developed in reaction to the complexities of Episcopal and Congregational observances. But Quaker marriages became so fantastically elaborate that Puritan and Anglican practices seemed simplicity itself.

490 On subject of gender, the Quakers had a saying: “In souls there is no sex.” . . . Of all the English-speaking people in the 17c, the Quakers moved farthest toward the idea of equality between the sexes. Their founder George Fox set the tone , writing in his journal as early as the year 1647:

I met with a sort of people that held women have no souls, adding in a light manner, no more than a goose. I reproved them, and told them that was not right, for Mary said, “My soul doth magnify the Lord.”

491 From the start, female Friends preached equally with men, and became leading missionaries and “ministers” in their faith. The pattern was set by George Fox’s first convert, a grandmother named Elizabeth Hooten (1600-72) who also became the Quakers’ first woman preacher and died on a mission to America at the age of seventy-two.

492 These acts of violence against Quaker women arose in part from their headlong challenge to an entire system of gender relations.

494 Women’s meetings were introduced to the Delaware Valley by 1681. They kept their own records, enforced their own discipline, exchanged epistles with other meetings throughout the world, ran their own system of charity, and managed their own funds, independent of male control. They became institutions of high importance in the Quaker colonies.

495 Quakers also modified another biblical precept in the book of Genesis where woman was created as the help-meet for a man. Gorge Fox insisted that each gender was meant to help the other: “They are Helps-meet, man and woman,” he declared.

495 The laws of the Quaker provinces were the first in America to use routinely the double pronoun “he or she.”

497 In Scandinavian culture, women enjoyed positions of high social status, with full legal rights.

499 Quakers were specially interested in ending the sexual exploitation of social inferiors. George Fox in 1672 insisted that any master who had sexual relations with a female servant must marry her, “no matter what the difference in outward rank or race.” The meetings of Friends also specifically condemned the predatory attitude toward sexuality which had been so much a part of Virginia’s sexual customs.

500 On the question of sex within marriage, Quakers were not of one mind. Some carried their sexual asceticism to the point of condemning all carnal relations between husband wife. This was actually a prevailing view among Friends in New England for a brief period. When the missionary couple Joseph Nicholson and his wife came to Salem in 1660, they reported that most Quaker couples totally abstained from sexual relations; one couple had done so for four years; others for a year or more. The Quaker Mary Dyer who was hanged at Boston believed in total celibacy within marriage. This attitude survived among radical Quakers even to the late 18c, and gave rise to a sect of Quaker heretics called Shaking Quakers or simply Shakers, who seceded largely on the question of marital celibacy.

501 One unintended consequence of this attitude was that Quakers became the first people in Anglo-America who succeeded in controlling fertility within marriage.

507 But many Quakers rejected the idea that children were born evil, and some also denied the doctrine of original sin.

508 . .  . the special intensity of Quaker interest in the young.

508 They thought that small children should be sheltered from the world and raised within a carefully controlled environment.

509 David Cooper wrote in his memoir that he could “never remember receiving but one stroak from a master.” The idea and often the reality was a different method. Cooper himself wrote:

A strict obedience is so important that no head of a family can support their station with any degree of peace and satisfaction, without [it], and by timely and steady care is easily maintained, whereby a great deal of jarring, scolding and correcting is avoided.

524 The meeting itself sometimes responded to unwelcome remarks by standing silently in protest.

524 A striking feature of Quaker meetinghouses was the intensity of their illumination. Interiors were very bright. Windows were large, numerous, and set high in the walls. Interior walls and ceilings were frequently “whitened” for additional effect. Quakers preferred to worship in a room that was suffused with light—a symbol of their beliefs, and a sharp contrast with the gloom of Anglican churches and especially Puritan meetinghouses which were sometimes so dark that ministers complained they were unable to read their sermons.

528 Few believing Christians of any faith have ever shown so little interest in the black arts.

530 Even that most literate of Friends, William Penn, warned the young members of his family that “much reading is an oppression of the mind, and extinguishes the natural candle, which is the reason of so many senseless scholars in the world.’

531 By and large [the Quakers] favored literacy and feared learning but were painfully ambivalent about both attainments.

533 The egalitarian ideas of the Inner Light and liberty of conscience weakened the formal institutions of literacy.

533 In England’s North Midlands, as we have seen, many humble people who became Quakers regarded educational institutions as alien growths. Throughout that region, churches and schools were in the hands of a foreign elite. As a consequence, ordinary people tended to be strongly hostile to institutions of formal education. This attitude contributed to the Quakers’ suspicion of a learned clergy, and indeed of learning itself. It was reinforced by their religious beliefs.

536 Of all the major Christian denominations in early America, the Quakers were the slowest to found colleges. . . . The Quakers had no requirement for a learned ministry, and little respect for higher learning.

540 Food and drink were not to be consumed for pleasure but only for subsistence.

542 Edward Shippen wrote, “We eat so moderately . . . that the whole day seems like a long morning to us.”

544 Quakers believed that clothing in all its forms was an emblem of Adam’s fall . . . .

545 . . . costly costumes created envy in the world and divided one Friend from another.

546 . . . one person’s extravagance caused the impoverishment of another.

547 . . . when Mary Penington had a vision of Jesus, the Saviour appeared before her as “a fresh lovely youth, clad in grey cloth, very plain and neat.”

548 In the 18c, Quakers discouraged the use of dyes, particularly indigo, because it was produced by slave labor. Bright dyes were condemned as excessively proud, and dark dyes were forbidden because they were thought to hide dirt.

550 In 1724 a German printer noted that affluent Quakers in Pennsylvania wore plain clothing “except that the material is very costly, or even is velvet.” “Plain” did not mean cheap. Many Quakers, including William Penn himself, combined exceptionally refined taste with the plain style and were willing to spend large sums for clothing of good quality.

552 Benjamin Franklin, an immigrant from Puritan Massachusetts, adopted the Quakers’ idea of “going plain,” and conformed to so many articles of their dress that he was often mistaken for a Quaker himself. So also did the Presbyterian Benjamin Rush, the Freethinker Thomas Paine, and others of various denominations. In more moderate forms, the idea of simple dress spread westward from the Delaware Valley into the American midlands, and for many generations became part of the culture of an American region.

556 The Quakers, more than any major Protestant denomination, fostered a style of life which Max Weber called worldly asceticism—the idea of living in the world but not of it. Work itself became a sacrament, and idleness a deadly sin. Wealth was not to be consumed in opulent display, but rather to be saved, invested, turned to constructive purposes.

556 An important theme in Quaker journals, even of highly successful merchants and manufacturers, was that business should not be overvalued.

557 . . . Quakers also insisted that business ethics must be maintained at the highest level of honesty.

558 In all of these ways, the ethics of the Quakers condemned unrestrained capitalist enterprise, and put narrow limits upon its operation. . . . It is interesting that Quakers also developed systems of insurance against commercial risks, and played a major role in the development of the insurance industry.

558 In all of these ways, the Quakers provided an ethical and cultural environment which strongly supported industrial and capitalist development.

560 Both the North Midlands of England and the middle colonies of Pennsylvania and New Jersey became the industrial heartlands of their nations.

563 More than their neighbors, the Quakers were morning people.

566 The wealth ways of the Quakers revealed a deep irony int heir system of social values. On the one hand, these good people had an abiding belief in spiritual equality. On the other, their ideals and institutions slowly created a system of material inequality which was increasingly at war with their own intentions.

572 Probably no other English culture was so strongly committed to philanthropy.

577 The ideal settlement in the Delaware Valley was one where every family lived separately upon its farmstead, but was not entirely isolated from others. Houses were to be built in small clusters which became the nuclei of rural neighborhoods—a pattern still to be seen throughout the Pennsylvania countryside.

580 Today Big Valley is Pennsylvania Dutch territory. The names on the mailboxes are Zook and Peachey and Hostetler. An 18c Swiss-German dialect is still spoken from one end of the valley to the other. North of Big Valley across Stone Mountain lies Nittany Valley, which has a very different culture. In the 18c its settlers were Presbyterians and Anglicans who came mainly from the borderlands of North Britain. Today, the young people of Nittany Valley still unconsciously pronounce some of their vowels in the old north British ways.

586 These [county] justices were assisted by another set of public officers who were unique to the Quaker colonies. They were called peace makers. Disputes of a noncriminal nature were referred to them for arbitration under the direction of the court.

594 In 1751 the Assembly of Pennsylvania celebrated an anniversary. The charter of Privileges, which William Penn had granted the settlers in 1701 to guarantee their liberty, was exactly half a century old. To mark the occasion, the legislature ordered that a great bell should be purchased for the Pennsylvania State House.

Today, that building [Pennsylvania State House] is better known as Independence Hall, and the great Quaker Bell is called the Liberty Bell.

598 [Penn’s] own sufferings convinced him that the coercion of conscience was not merely evil but futile, and deeply dangerous to true faith. “They subvert all true religion,” Penn wrote, “ . . . where men believe, not because ‘tis false, but so commanded by their superiors.”

601 Many Quakers bought slaves. Even William Penn did so. Of the leaders of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting for whom evidence survives, 70 ercent owned slaves in the period from 1681 to 1705.

601 As antislavery feeling expanded steadily among Friends, slaveowning declined among leaders of the Philadelphia yearly meeting—falling steadily from 70 percent before 1705, to only 10 percent after 1756.

602 The turning point came in 1758. The Philadelphia Yearly Meeting recorded a “unanimous concern” against “the practice of importing, buying, selling, or keeping slaves for term of life.” This was the first success for the cause of abolition anywhere in the Western world. “The history of the early abolitionist movement,” writes historian Arthur Zilversmit, “is essential the record of Quaker antislavery activities.

602 When Abner Woolman (the brother of John Woolman) in 1767 freed two slaves his wife had inherited, he decided to pay them a sum equal to the amount that the estate had been increased by their labor, and asked the Haddonfield (NJ) meeting to help him compute a just sum.

602 In 1773, non-Quakers joined Friends within the Pennsylvania legislature in trying to stop the trade in human flesh by imposing a prohibitively high duty on slaves. Once again it was disallowed by British imperial authorities. In January 1775, one of the first acts of Pennsylvania’s Provincial Convention, when freed from British oversight, was to prohibit the importation of slaves. After a protracted legislative process, the Assembly also passed a bill in 1780 for the gradual abolition of slavery. Here was yet another expression of the idea of reciprocal liberty which Quakers made a part of the political folkways of the Delaware Valley.


non-scale map indicating 1700s routes from Northern Ireland to North America

"Greater Appalachia" as center
of Scotch-Irish settlement

BORDERLANDS TO THE BACKCOUNTRY [i.e., Northern Ireland, England, and Scotland immigrants to Appalachian mountains and foothills]

606 The magnitude of this movement was very large—more than a quarter-million people altogether. This was truly a mass migration, on a scale altogether different from movements that had preceded it. . . . Its rhythm was different too---not a single migration but a series of wavelike movements that continued through much of the eighteenth century. It also drew from a different part of Britain. Many of these people came from territories that bordered the Irish Sea—the north of Ireland, the lowlands of Scotland, and the northern counties of England.

606 In New England a group of 140 Irish Calvinists had arrived from Belfast as early as the year 1636, on board an immigrant ship nicely named Eagle’s Wing. [Exodus 19.4-5]

611 These new emigrants came mainly in search of material betterment. In the early 18c, many surveys of their motives found the same pattern of concern about high rents, low wages, heavy taxes and short leases. In northern Ireland, conditions were so very hard that famine and starvation were often mentioned as a leading cause of migration.

612 The process of migration itself also became more materialist in the 18c. Much of it was organized for profit by shipping agents who scoured the countryside in search of likely prospects.

612 The transatlantic journey became more dangerous in the 18c than it had been in the seventeenth. Mortality in ships sailing from North Britain approached that in the slave trade.

614 Remarkably few came in bondage. From 1773 to 1776, indentured servants were only 1 percent of Scottish border emigrants, and less than 20 percent of those who had left the six northern counties of England. . . . This was so in part because Irish servants were not much wanted in America. They were thought to be violent, ungovernable, and very apt to assault their masters. Buyers were discouraged by lurid accounts of Irish servants who rioted in Barbados, “straggled” in Bermuda or ran away on the mainland, sometimes with their masters’ wives and daughters in tow. In the Leeward Islands, 125 unruly Irish servants were deliberately marooned on the desolate Isle of Crabs. Throughout British America, purchasers complained of the “proud” and “haughty” spirit of these people.

615 Their humble origins did not create the spirit of subordination which others expected of “lower ranks.” This fierce and stubborn pride would be a cultural fact of high importance in the American region which they came to dominate.

615 Many Scottish and Irish Presbyterians called themselves People of the New Light before coming to America. They believed in “free grace,” and before emigrating they had formed the habit of gathering in “field meetings” [cf. camp meetings in 2nd Great Awakening] and “prayer societies,” a custom which they carried to America and established in the backcountry.

616 In Scotland some were of a militant sect called “Society People” or “Cameronians.” Their founder, Richard Cameron, was a field preacher who advocated a particularly uncompromising form of covenanted Christianity.. . . The authorities hunted the Cameronians like animals across the countryside, and hanged several of their leaders. But many survived, worshipping defiantly with a Bible in one hand and a weapon in the other, and slaughtering the forces that were sent to suppress them. After 1689, the authorities conceded defeat, and adopted the typically North British solution of recruiting these Protestant rebels to fight against Roman Catholic Jacobites in the Highlands. The result was the creation of a great fighting regiment in the British army called the Cameronians, the only regiment in the army list to bear the name of a religious leader. It appointed the Elder in every company of infantry, and required each enlisted man to carry a Bible in his kit. Even in the twentieth century this Presbyterian regiment carried arms to worship and posted sentries at the four corners of the church.

616 In 1743, the followers of Richard Cameron reorganized themselves as the Reformed Presbyterian Church.

617 . . . the border variant of the golden rule—do unto others as they threatened to do unto you.

618 Military metaphors abounded in backcountry sermons and hymns. Prayers were invoked for vengeance and the destruction of enemies. When these Christian warriors were not battling among themselves they fell upon the Indians with the same implacable fury.

618 Some historians describe these immigrants as “Ulster Irish” or “Northern Irish.” It is true that many sailed from the province of Ulster in northern Ireland, but these labels are not accurate when applied to the movement as a whole. The immigration was part of a much larger flow which drew from the lowlands of Scotland, the north of England, and every side of the Irish Sea.

Many scholars call these people “Scotch-Irish.” That expression is an Americanism, rarely used in Britain and much resented by the people to whom it was attached. “We’re no Eerish but Scoatch,” one of them was heard to say in Pennsylvania. Some preferred to be called Anglo-Irish, a label that was more commonly applied to them than Scotch-Irish during the eighteenth century. Others were called “Saxon-Scotch.” One scholar writes: “ . . . some Ulster Protestants derived from families that were not Scottish at all, but English or Irish.” He adds, “ . . . some immigrant groups that historians have labeled as Scots-Irish never lived in Ireland but came directly from Scotland.” [Ned C. Landsman, Scotland and Its First American Colony, 1683-1765 (1985).

A student of Appalachian culture in the early twentieth century reached the same conclusion:

Inquiries . . . as to family history and racial stock rarely bring a more definite answer than that grandparents or great-grandparents came from North Carolina or Virginia or occasionally from Pennsylvania, and that they “reckon” their folks were “English,” “Scotch,” or “Irish,” any of which designations may mean Scotch-Irish. [[John C. Camell, The Southern Highlander and His Homeland (1921).

620 Before the Roman invasion of the north, the dominant people in the north of England were a loose confederacy of Celtic warrior tribes called in Latin Brigantes.  . . . Thereafter, many other people invaded and colonized the region—the Romans themselves in the first century, the Saxons in the sixth century, the Vikings and Irish in the tenth century, and the Norman French in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. . . .

620 By the 18c, the culture of this region bore little resemblance to the customs of the ancient Celts. The dominant language was English—unlike that of Gaelic-speaking irish Catholic peasants, Scottish highlanders, Welsh Cottagers, and Cornish minners.

620 Few Gaelic-speaking people emigrated from Ireland, Cornwall or Wales to the American colonies before the 19c. Celtic Irish immigrants were excluded by law from some American colonies. A South Carolina statute of 1716 forbade “what is commonly called native Irish, or persons of Known scandalous character or Roman Catholics.”

620-1 Gaelic-speaking Scottish highlanders also were ethnically distinct from the borderers. There was no love lost between lowland and highland Scots, who differed in language, politics, religion, and culture. In America, Scottish highlanders tended to settle apart in North Carolina’s Cape Fear Valley, where Gaelic continued to be spoken even into the late 20c.

621 “We are a mixed people,” a border immigrant declared in America during the 18c. “We are a mix’d medley,” said another. So they were in many ways. They were mixed in their social rank, mixed in their religious denominations, and most profoundly mixed in their ancestry, which was Celtic, Roman, German, English, Scandinavian, Irish and Scottish in varying proportions. They were also very mixed in their place of residence—coming as they did from England, Scotland and Ireland.

But in another way, these immigrants were very similar to one another. No matter whether rich or poor, Anglican or Presbyterian, Saxon or Celt, they were all a border people.

622 The [Irish] sea united its surrounding lands in a single cultural region.

623 The border derived its cultural character from one decisive historical fact. For seven centuries, the kings of Scotland and England could not agree who owned it, and meddled constantly in each other’s affairs. From the year 10409 to 1745, every English monarch but three suffered a Scottish invasion, or became an invader in his turn.

624 The border fell quiet after 1567, when James VI became King of Scotland and later King of England as well. But in the reign of Charles I, English and Scots went to war again, and hostilities continued under the Commonwealth and Protectorate.

626 On both sides of the border, and especially in the “debatable land” that was claimed by both kingdoms, powerful clans called Taylor, Bell, Graham and Bankihead lived outside the law, and were said to be “Scottish when they will, and English at their pleasure.”

626 On the border, forms of tenancy were designed to maintain large bodies of fighting men.

628 For centuries the region remained in the grip of a vicious cycle. Poverty and violence caused much poverty and more violence.

628 Border violence also made a difference in patterns of association. In a world of treachery and danger, blood relationships became highly important. Families grew into clans, and kinsmen placed fidelity to family above loyalty to the crown itself.

629 Borderers placed little trust in legal institutions. They formed the custom of settling their own disputes by the lex talionis of feud violence and blood money. There was also a system which the borderers called “blackmail,” involving the payment of protection money to powerful families.

 . . . endemic violence shaped the culture of this region in many other ways—in attitudes toward work, sport, time, land, wealth, rank, inheritance, marriage and gender. This culture was much the same on both sides of the border. “English and Scots Borderers had everything in common except nationality,” writes historian George Fraser. “They belonged to the same small, self-contained, unique world, lived by the same rules and shared the same inheritance.” [The Steel Bonnets 66]

629 In ireland they found another environment of endemic violence. There the old folkways survived for centuries after they had disappeared on the border itself, and still go on today in northern Ireland, with its Protestant drums and Catholic bombs and save knee-cappings and tortures in the Maze.

629 The two warring kingdoms gradually became one, in a long consolidation that began when Scotland’s James VI inherited the English throne in 1603, and ended in the Act of Union in 1706-7.

630 The so-called Scotch-Irish who came to America thus included a double-distilled selection of some of the most disorderly inhabitants of a deeply disordered land. [note 19: A case in point was the “robber clan” of Graham, forcibly “transported beyond the seas.” . . . ]

631 Many emigrants brought to America an indelible memory of oppression which shaped their political attitudes for generations to come.

633 The North Britons brought with them the ancient border habit of belligerence toward other ethnic groups. As early as 1730, Pennsylvania officials were complaining of their “audacious and disorderly manner.”

633 Among Quakers there was talk of restricting immigration as early as 1718 . . . . But this idea cut against the grain of William Penn’s holy experiment, and was not adopted. Instead, the Quakers decided to deal with the problem in a different way, by encouraging the borderers to settle in the “back parts” of the colony. In 1731, James Logan informed the Penns in England that he was deliberately planting the North Britons in the west, “as a frontier in case of any disturbance.” Logan argued that these people might usefully become a buffer population between the Indians and the Quakers. At the same time, he frankly hoped to rid the east of them.

634-5 The largest of the non-English-speaking groups were the Germans, who swarmed into the west-central parts of Pennsylvania and Maryland, and also in the northern reaches fo the Valley of Virginia. But altogether, the Germans made up only about 5 percent of the population in North and South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky in 1790. They remained a very small minority in the southern highlands.

635 But 90 percent of the backsettlers were either English, Irish or Scottish; and an actual majority came from Ulster, the Scottish lowlands, and the north of England.

635 Numbers alone, however, were not the full measure of their dominion. These emigrants from North Britain established in the southern highlands a cultural hegemony that was even greater than their proportion in the population. An explanation of this fact may be found in the character of this American environment, which proved to be exceptionally well matched to the culture of the British borderlands.

638 This abundance of water became a social fact of high importance in the back country, for it allowed small family farms to flourish independently without the aid of any earthly power, and encouraged a sense of stubborn autonomy among the farming folk who settled there.

639 To the first settlers, the American backcountry was a dangerous environment, just as the British borderlands had been. Much of the southern highlands were “debateable lands” in the border sense of a contested territory without established government or the rule of law. The borderers were more at home than others in this anarchic environment, which was well suited to their family system, their warrior ethic, their farming and herding economy, their attitudes toward land and wealth and their ideas of work and power. So well adapted was the border culture to this environment that other ethnic groups tended to copy it. The ethos of the North British borders came to dominate this “dark and bloody ground,” partly by force of numbers, but mainly because it was a means of survival in a raw and dangerous world.

642 President Jackson’s Irish grandfather, Hugh Jackson, was a rich man who called himself a “weaver and merchant” of Carrickfergus, Ireland, and left his American grandson a legacy later reckoned at three or four hundred pounds sterling. The future President’s immigrant father had been a well-to-do farmer who held a large property near the town of Castlereagh in Northern Ireland, and led an entire party of emigrants to America in 1765.

644 A third example of the backcountry Ascendancy was the Calhoun clan, which moved from Scotland to Ireland in the 17c, and thence to America in 1733.

650 . . . the prevailing cultural mood in the back settlements, which were profoundly conservative and xenophobic. . . . All the world seemed foreign to the backsettlers except their neighbors and kind.

The people of the southern highlands would become famous in the 19c for the intensity of their xenophobia, and also for the violence of its expression. In the early 19c, they tended to detest great planters and abolitionists in equal measure. During the Civil War some fought against both sides. In the early 20c they would become intensely negrophobic and anti-Semitic. In our own time they are furiously hostile to both communists and capitalists. The people of the southern highlands have been remarkably even-handed in their antipathies—which they have applied to all strangers without regard to race, religion, or nationality.

652 In the United States, a distinctive family of regional dialects can still be heard throughout the Appalachian and Ozark mountains, the lower Mississippi Valley, Texas and the Southern Plains. It is commonly called southern highland or southern midland speech.

652 . . . has become familiar throughout the western world as the English of country western singers, transcontinental truckdrivers, cinematic cowboys, and backcountry politicians.

653 Southern highland speech also has its own distinctive vocabulary in words such as . . . fixin (getting ready to do something), . . . swan (swear), . . . cute (attractive), . . . and honey as a term of endearment. [Wylene P. Dial, “The Dialect of the Appalachian People,” WVAH 30 (1969), 463-71.]

654 . . . man was “the term by which a Cumbrian wife refers to her husband,” as in “stand by your man.” [W. Dickson, Glossary of Words and Phrases Pertaining to the Dialect of Cumberland (London, n.d.)]

662 . . . the architecture of cabin and cowpens persisted for many generations in the American backcountry. As late as 1939 there were 270,000 occupied log cabins in the United States. Many were in the southern highlands. In the country of Halifax, Virginia, 42 percent of all houses were log cabins as recently as World War II.

Even today an architecture of impermanence survives in new forms such as prefabricated houses and mobile homes, which are popular throughout the southern highlands.

663 [Clans of] the Scottish lowlands, northern Ireland, and England’s border counties . . . were a highly effective adaptation to a world of violence and chronic insecurity.

663 They had no formal councils, tartans, sporrans, bonnets or septs. But they were clannish in the most fundamental sense: a group of related families who lived near to one another, were conscious of a common identity, carried the same surname, claimed descent from common ancestors, and banded together when danger threatened.

665 Historian Ned Landsman [Scotland and its First American Colony, 46] writes, “ . . . among the distinctive features of clan organization was the emphasis on collateral rather than lineal descent. In the theory of clan relationships, all branches of the family—younger as well as older, female as well as male—were deemed to be equal importance. This fit in well with the mobility of the countryside, which prevented the formation of “lineal families” in which sons succeeded to their fathers’ lands.

665 Elaborate customs regulated the relationship between the wife and the family she had joined by marriage. These customs were highly complex, but by and large they established the principle that marriage ties were weaker than blood ties.

666 Landsman writes: “The patterned dispersal of the Scots, rather than isolating individual settlers from their homes and families, served instead to bind together the scattered settlements through a system of interlocking family networks. Rather than a deterrent, mobility was an essential component of community life.” The effect was reinforced by exchanges of land, by rotations of children, and by chain migrations. The clan was not an alternative to the nuclear family, but its nursery and strong support.

667 These clans fostered an exceptionally strong sense of loyalty, which a modern sociologist has called “amoral familism” . . . . In its own time and place, it was not amoral at all, but a moral order of another kind, which recognized a special sense of obligation to kin. That imperative was a way of dealing with a world where violence and disorder were endemic.

668 An example was the persistence of the family feud, which continued for many centuries in the southern highlands. These feuds flowed from the fact that families in the borderlands and backcountry were given moral properties which belonged mainly to individuals in other English-speaking cultures. Chief among these were the attributes of honor and shame.

674-5 Age at marriage in the backcountry was different from / every other American region. Both brides and grooms were very young. . . . Historian Mark Kaplanoff finds that in three districts of upcountry South Carolina during the eighteenth century, women married at the average age of nineteen; men at twenty-one. In no other region of British America did both sexes marry so early. Nowhere else were the ages of males and females so nearly the same.

676 . . . men were warriors. . . . women were workers.

680 One is occasionally tempted to abandon the role of the historian and to frame what social scientists call a theory. Whenever a culture exists for many generations in conditions of chronic insecurity, it develops an ethic that exalts war above work, force above reason, and men above women. This pattern developed on the borders of North Britain, wand was carried to the American backcountry, where it was reinforced by a hostile environment and tempered by evangelical Christianity. The result was a distinctive system of gender roles that continues to flourish even in our own time.

681 Rates of pre-nuptial pregnancy were very high in the backcountry—higher than other parts of the American colonies.

687 The rearing of male children in the back settlements was meant to be positively will-enhancing. Its primary purpose was to foster fierce pride, stubborn independence, and a warrior’s courage in the young. An unintended effect was to create a society of autonomous individuals who were unable to endure external control and incapable of restraining their rage against anyone who stood in their way.

688-9 In the 18 and 19cs, travelers such as Charles Woodmason complained constantly about the forward-/ness and freedom of backcountry children.

689 Corporal punishment of children was condemned in the abstract, but much practiced in an intermittent way.

689 This problem of promiscuous violence in child rearing was compounded by alcohol.

690 Honor in this society meant a pride of manhood in masculine courage, physical strength and warrior virtue.

690 Mothers were expected to teach domestic virtues of industry, obedience, patience, sacrifice and devotion to others. Male children were taught to be self-asserting; female children were trained to be self-denying.

690 [These backcountry child ways] were also similar to systems of socialization which have existed in warrior castes throughout the world.

This system of child rearing flourished in its new American environment. This backcountry held a different set of dangers, but they operated in the same way. Indians, bandits, regulators, weak governments and wars all combined to reinforce the warrior ethic of the backsettlers.

703 . . . a central paradox in backcountry Christianity—its intense hostility to organized churches and established clergy on the one hand, and its abiding interest in religion on the other.

705 . . . the camp meeting. This was an outdoor gathering, commonly convened in some sylvan setting, where a large number of people worshiped together for several days. Many historians have mistakenly believed that the camp meeting was invented on the American frontier. In fact it was transplanted to American from the border counties of Britain, where it was well established by the 18c.

705 . . . Scottish Presbyterians . . . held frequent “Holy Fairs,” which were camp meetings by another name.

707. . . the “Kentucky style” which was marked by close cooperation among denominations, careful preparation and much advance work, a bettery of skillful preachers, the use of anxious seats, and fellowship meetings.

708 Here were the major ingredients of backcountry religion: the camp meeting, the Christian fellowship, the love feast, the evangelical preacher, the theology of Protestant fundamentalism and born-again revivalism. . . . Altogether, this form of reformed religion—intensely emotional, evangelical and personal—was a central part of backcountry culture.

718 This culture was impoverished in its written literature, but it was rich in ballads and folktales which were carefully handed down from one generation to the next.

723 Backcountry education occurred mostly in small “neighborhood schools” maintained by private subscription and taught by itinerant masters for a few weeks each year.

735 These various dress ways spread through the southern highlands and onto the southwestern frontier. Many elements survive to this day, in the clothing style that is called “western dress” in the United States. . . . The whirl of fashion has modified this costume in many ways with the introduction of Spanish elements in the 19c and a touch of Hollywood glitz in the twentieth.

736 Special importance was given to wrestling . . . .These events often began with a contest in “bragging and boasting” between men who had been drinking heavily beforehand.

738 The young Andrew Jackson first came to eminence for his skill in running and leaping.

738 Athletic competitions of this sort were introduced to America mainly by borderers and Scots, whose traditional “Caledonian Games” became the ancestor of track and field in the United States.

740 Where the warrior ethic is strong, the work ethic grows weak.

745 Easter Monday was a day of wild revelry, with much cockfighting.

748 . . . a system of landholding characterized by a large landless underclass of tenants and squatters, a middle class that was small by comparison with other colonies, and a few very rich landlords.

By far the largest individual holding in the backcountry was Granville District in North Carolina, which had been granted to John Carteret, Earl of Granville (1690-1763) in settlement of a proprietary claim.

749 Every region of Great Britain has been marked by deep and pervasive inequalities. But some regions have been more unequal than others, and among the most inegalitarian of all were the borderlands of North Britain.

750 The pacification of the borders was followed by the eviction of tenants in both England and Scotland. Large numbers of landless poor were created by this process.

753 In 1983, the top 1 percent of owners possessed half of the land in Appalachia. The top 5 percent owned nearly two-thirds. This pattern of wealth distribution in the southern highlands in the 20c was much like that which had existed two hundred years earlier.

754  . . . fundamental differences in social manners and expectations. In the backcountry, rich and poor wore similar clothing, and addressed each other by first names. They worked, ate, laughed, played, and fought together on a footing of equality.

755 In the American backcountry this elite rapidly acquired a firm hold on wealth and power throughout the region. They owned a large part of the best lands and held most of the top military and political offices. Their manners tended to be very rough, and were not much refined by their new environment. But they knew who they were, and instantly recognized one another, and cemented their status by ties of marriage and friendship.

756 . . . a highly materialistic system of social rank. Wealth alone became more important as a determinant of status than in New England, Pennsylvania or Virginia.

758 Another term for this rural proletariat was redneck, which was originally applied to the backsettlers because of their religion. The earliest American example known to this historian was recorded in NC by Anne Royall in 1830, who noted that “red-neck” was “a name bestowed upon the Presbyterians.” It had long been a slang word for religious dissenters in the north of England.

759 The borderers were a restless people who carried their migratory ways from Britain to America. There had been many folk movements in their history before the Atlantic crossing, and many more were yet to come. The history of these people was a long series of removals—from England to Scotland, from Scotland to Ireland, from Ireland to Pennsylvania, from Pennsylvania to Carolina, from Carolina to the Mississippi Valley, from the Mississippi to Texas, from Texas to California, and from California to the rainbow’s end.

759-60 Frequent removals were encouraged by low levels of property owning and by characteristic attitudes toward wealth and land and work in this culture.

760 The backcountry ideal was a scattered settlement pattern in isolated farmsteads, loosely grouped in sprawling “neighborhoods” that covered many miles. . . . North Carolina Congressman Nathaniel Macon startled his Yankee colleagues by arguing than “no man ought to live so near another as to hear his neighbor’s dog bark.” That attitude was widely shared in the backcountry. In this culture, a house became a hermitage, beyond sight and sound of every human habitation. Once again, Andrew Jackson personified his culture. Jackson’s home in Tennessee was actually called the Hermitage. When he was away from it he wrote home to his wife expressing his longing for “sweet retirement,” apart from other people.

763 Unlike the road-bound settlements of New England or the fluvial patterns of Virginia, the backsettlers built their houses near creeks or springs.

763 There was always a welcome for kin and friends, but an intense suspicion of strangers.

765 In the absence of any strong sense of order as unity, hierarchy, or social peace, backsettlers shared an idea of order as a system of retributive justice.

766 There were official sheriffs and constables throughout that region, but the heaviest work of order-keeping was done by ad hoc groups of self-appointed agents who called themselves regulators in the 18c, vigilantes in the nineteenth, and nightriders int eh twentieth.

769 This ethic of violence in the backcountry was far removed from the chivalric ideals of the tidewater elite.

770 These backcountry order ways created an exceptionally violent world. In the 18c, travelers often commented upon the frequency of murders and assaults in that region.

775 The politics of the backcountry consisted mainly of charismatic leaders and personal followings, cemented by strong and forceful acts . . . .

775 Historian Thomas Abernethy observes that Andrew Jackson never championed the cause of the people; he merely invited the people to champion him.

776 For many generations, backcountry politics were mainly a collision of highly personal factions and followings, rather than ethnic blocs or ideological parties or social classes.

777 “They shun everything which appears to demand of them law and order, and anything that preaches constraint,” Schoepf [Travels] wrote of the backsettlers. “They hate the name of a justice, and yet they are not transgressors. Their object is merely wild. Altogether, natural freedom . . . is what pleases them.”

778 The remoteness of the population from centers of government and the absence of any material necessity for large-scale organization created an environment in which natural liberty flourished.

A leading advocate of natural liberty in the 18c was Patrick Henry, a descendant of British borderers, and also a product of the American backcountry. Throughout his political career, Patrick Henry consistently defended the principles of minimal government, light taxes, and the right of armed resistance to authority in all cases which infringed liberty.

780 . . . the intolerance for contrary opinions which was part of the backcountry’s idea of natural liberty.

780 In 1788, Patrick Henry led the opposition to the new national Constitution, primarily on the grounds that strong government of any sort was hostile to liberty . . . .

781 Thomas Jefferson said of Patrick Henry with only some exaggeration that “he read nothing, and had no books.”

781 This idea of natural liberty was not a reciprocal idea. It did not recognize the right of dissent or disagreement.



842 During the presidency of John Adams, New Englanders and their allies responded to the great questions of the French Revolution by attempting to create a national system of ordered liberty, such as had long existed in their own region. This idea meant an active role for government, increased taxation, a strong navy, an expanded national judiciary with broad common law jurisdiction, a more active regulation of commerce, narrow restriction of immigration, an active attempt to suppress dissent, and a moralistic tone of government that was deeply resented by others oof different persuasions.

851 This omnibus strategy succeeded brilliantly for the Whigs, not only in 1840 with William Henry Harrison’s election, but again in 1848 for Zachary Taylor. Both men were military heroes, Virginia gentlemen, western settlers and unknown soldiers who ran strongly in every cultural region.

859 With the success of the Republican coalition in 1860, the southern regions lost control of the Senate, House of Representatives and presidency altogether for the first time since the eighteenth century. New England had often been in that position before, but its culture had discouraged violent responses. Southern folkways caused a different reaction. The Republican victory was seen not only as a challenge to southern interests, but as an affront to southern honor and a threat to southern freedom—that is, to its special ideas of hegemonic liberty and natural liberty.

860 There were many military academies below the Mason-Dixon line and few above it.

860 In defense of their different cultures, the two sections also fought differently. The armies of the north were at first very much like those of Fairfax in the English Civil War; gradually they became another New Model Army, ruthless, methodical and efficient. The Army of Northern Virginia, important parts of it at least, consciously modeled itself upon the beau sabreurs of Prince Rupert. At the same time, the Confederate armies of the southwest marched into battle behind the cross of St. Andrew, and called themselves “Southrons” on the model of their border ancestors.

861 The greatest figure of the war, Abraham Lincoln, perfectly represented the Republican coalition of regional cultures. Lincoln’s abiding sense of morality in politics, his lifelong defense of ordered liberty, the simplicity and strength of his biblical prose, his plain style and egalitarian manner were all derived from the folkways of his Puritan and Quaker ancestors, and personified the high moral ideals that lent power and seriousness to the Union cause.

867 The Progressive movement was very different from Populism in its political style and cultural base. Progressivism developed mainly in the northern and northeastern states. A large proportion of its leaders were men and women of Yankee stock, who traced their ancestry to the Puritan great migration. Progressivism tended to be rationalist and moralist. Its approach to social problems was intellectual; its solutions were institutional. Generally it adopted an idea of ordered liberty which was consistent with New England’s Puritan past.

870 As late as 1900 nearly 60 percent of Americans had been of British stock. The old English-speaking cultures still maintained their hegemony in the United States. But that pattern was changing very rapidly. By 1920 the proportion of Americans with British ancestry had fallen to 40 percent. Still, three-quarters of the nation came from northwestern Europe, but other ethnic stocks from eastern and southern Europe were growing at a formidable rate.

872 By 1980, the proportion of the American population who reported having any British ancestors at all had fallen below 20 percent. . . . The largest ethnic stock in the United States was no longer British but German.

874 . . . product[s] of both an ethnic and a regional culture.

874 Hispanic Americans in Texas and southern California combined the legacy of Latin America with the culture of the backcountry.

875 The political economy of laissez-faire and the Protestant ethic had been discredited by the Depression. The “noble experiment” of ordered freedom in national prohibition was regarded as a social disaster. This was a period when “puritanism” became a pejorative term in American speech.

877 [New Deal] The south received strong material support, but was not required to change its folkways. The ethnic cultures of new immigrants in northern cities were given economic aid in many forms, but legislative challenges to their culture were abandoned.

879 [FD] Roosevelt was Dutch only in name. By birth and breeding he was a Yankee. More than three-quarters of his ancestors were New Englanders, and he had been educated in New England schools (Groton and Harvard).

889 The southern highlands and the southwestern states had extremely high murder rates—14.7 in the west south-central states, and 16.1 [per 100,000] in Texas. Homicide rates were also high in northern cities with large populations of southern immigrants, both black and white.