Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America (America: a cultural history)
David Hackett Fischer
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This fascinating book is the first volume in a projected cultural history of the United States, from the earliest English settlements to our own time. It is a history of American folkways as they have changed through time, and it argues a thesis about the importance for the United States of having been British in its cultural origins.
While most people in the United States today have no British ancestors, they have assimilated regional cultures which were created by British colonists, even while preserving ethnic identities at the same time. In this sense, nearly all Americans are "Albion's Seed," no matter what their ethnicity may be. The concluding section of this remarkable book explores the ways that regional cultures have continued to dominate national politics from 1789 to 1988, and still help to shape attitudes toward education, government, gender, and violence, on which differences between American regions are greater than between European nations.
the conditions within which their special sort of libertarian consciousness flourished. To a modern mind, hegemonic liberty is an idea at war with itself. We think of it as a contradiction in terms. This is because we no longer understand human relationships in hierarchical terms, and can no longer accept the proposition that a person’s status in the world is determined and even justified by his fortune. But in Virginia during the seventeenth and eighteenth century, The noblest product of
was a strong “tendency of the Friends to delimit the area of supernatural action and thus to widen the realm in which natural causes operated.”9 White magic, no less than black magic, was equally condemned by them. A Friend who turned to a conjurer or fortune teller could be disowned by the meeting. Quakers were also intensely hostile to astrology. For a believing Friend, the brightest heavenly stars paled against the shining of the light within.10 But the Quakers were not entirely liberated
culture. It derived in large part from the British border country, where anarchic violence had long been a condition of life. The natural liberty of the borderers was an idea at once more radically libertarian, more strenuously hostile to ordering institutions than were the other cultures of British America. In 1692, for example, a British borderer named Thomas Brockbank, who had been born and raised in the county of Westmorland, sent a letter to his parents on the subject of natural liberty.
Women’s suffrage, 868, 894 Woodbridge, 40 Woodhouse family, 216 Woodman, Goodman, 97 Woodmason, Charles, 387, 617, 651, 655, 666, 688, 703, 716, 723, 731, 732, 733, 754 Woodthorp, Jonathan, 78 Woodward, C. Vann, 862 Woolman, Abner, 602 Woolman, John, 516, 517, 519, 520, 536, 548, 555, 564, 571, 572, 573, 602 Woolston, Elizabeth, 504 Woolston, John, 504 Woolston, Jonathan, 504 Woolston, Mary, 504 Woolston, Mercy, 504 Woolston, Sarah, 504 Worcester v.
Kokeritz, “The Juto-Kentish Dialect Boundary,” AS 16 (1941), 270-77. On the Norfolk whine, see R. Forby, The Vocabulary of East Anglia (2 vols., 1830); G. J. Chester, “Norfolk Words Not in Forby’s Vocabulary,” NA 5 (1859), 188-93; W. G. Waters, “Norfolk Words Not Found in Forby’s Vocabulary,” NA 8 (1879), 167-74; H. Orton and P. M. Tilling, Survey of English Dialects: III, The East Midland Counties and East Anglia (Leeds, 1969-71). Also related was the dialect of east Lincolnshire. In the