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.
Judiciary Act of 1801, and the new tax measures all were overturned. Support for the Federal party dwindled everywhere except New England. The purchase of Louisiana (1803) and the annexation of West Florida (1810) vastly enlarged the backcountry, and promised to shift the balance of regional power toward the south and west. Now it was New England’s turn to think about disunion. In the period from 1804 to 1814, a separatist movement gathered strength in that region. It was very different from
Anderson, “Migrants and Motives,” 195, 339-83; E. A. Wrigley and R. S. Schofield, The Population History of England, 1541-1871 (Cambridge, 1981), table A3.1. 6 Computed from shipping lists in John C. Hotten, The Original Lists of Persons of Quality; Emigrants and Religious Exiles … Who Went from Great Britain to the American Plantations, (rpt. Baltimore, 1962); slightly different estimates appear in Herbert Moller, “Sex Composition and Correlated Culture Patterns of Colonial America,” WMQ3 2
Cumberland (2 vols., 1977), I, cxviii-cxxi; and Spence, “The Pacification of the Cumberland Border,” 59-160. 20 Edward Hughes, North Country Life in the Eighteenth Century: The North East, 1700-1750 (London, 1952), 1, 3, 5, 11, xx; see also J. D. Marshall, “The Rise and Transformation of the Cumbrian Market Town, 1660-1900,” NH 19 (1983), 128-209; and idem, “Kendal in the Late Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries,” CWAAS 75 (1975), 188-257. 21 J. V. Beckett, “Absentee Land Ownership in the
Humberside); West. Midlands (Salop, Staffs., W. Mid., Here, and Worcs., Warw., Glocs.); East Midlands (Derby, Notts., S. Humber, Lines., Leics.); South Midlands (Northants., Oxon., Beds., Bucks., Herts., NW London); Eastern Counties (Norf., Suff., Essex., Cambs., NE London); South West (Devon., Cornwall); Wessex (Avon, Wilts., Berks., Hants., Dorset, Somerset); South East (Surrey, Kent, E. and W. Sussex, S. London); see Nick Higham, The Northern Counties to AD 1000 (London, 1986), xv. 11“The
Nomini Hall, and six oxen were needed every day to haul in the wood. 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.11 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