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Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America

Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America (America: a cultural history)

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.

PREFACE: An Idea of Cultural History



The Exodus of the English Puritans, 1629-1641

Religious Origins of the Great Migration

Social Origins of the Puritan Migration

Regional Origins of the Puritan Migration

Regional Origins: Names on the New Land

Origins of the Massachusetts Elite

The East of England before the Great Migration

A “New Paradise” for Puritans: Massachusetts Bay

The Colonial Mood: Anxiety and Nostalgia in Massachusetts Bay

Massachusetts Speech Ways: Yankee Twang and Norfolk Whine

Massachusetts Building Ways: East Anglian and Kentish Origins of New England Houses

Massachusetts Family Ways: The Puritan Idea of the Covenanted Family

Massachusetts Marriage Ways: The Puritan Idea of Marriage as a Contract

Massachusetts Gender Ways: The Puritan Idea of a Covenant Between Unequals

Massachusetts Sex Ways: Puritan Ideas of Flesh and the Spirit

Massachusetts Child-naming Ways: Puritan Onomastics

Massachusetts Child-rearing Ways: Breaking of Will

Massachusetts Age Ways: The Puritan Idea of the Elder-Saint

Massachusetts Death Ways: The Puritan Idea of Instrumental Fatalism

Massachusetts Religious Ways: The Puritan Meeting and Lecture Style

Massachusetts Magic Ways: The Puritan Obsession with Witchcraft

Massachusetts Learning Ways: The Puritan Ethic of Learning

Massachusetts Food Ways: Origins of New England’s “Canonical Dish”

Massachusetts Dress Ways: The Puritan Taste for Simple Clothes and “Sadd” Colors

Massachusetts Sport Ways: The Puritan Idea of “Lawful Recreation”

Massachusetts Work Ways: Puritan and East Anglian Economies

Massachusetts Time Ways: The Puritan Idea of “Improving the Time”

Massachusetts Wealth Ways: Puritan Ideas of the Material Order

Massachusetts Rank Ways: A System of Truncated Orders

The Massachusetts Comity: Patterns of Migration, Settlement and Association

Massachusetts Order Ways: The Puritan Idea of Order as Unity

Massachusetts Power Ways: The Politics of Town Meeting Government

Massachusetts Freedom Ways: The Puritan Idea of Ordered Liberty


Distressed Cavaliers and Indentured Servants, 1642-75

Sir William Berkeley and Virginia’s Elite

Virginia’s Great Migration: Social Origins

Virginia’s Great Migration: Religious Origins

Virginia’s Great Migration: Regional Origins

The Cradle of Virginia: The South of England

The Chesapeake Environment

The Colonial Mood: Virginia and the Mother Country

Virginia Speech Ways: English Origins of the Southern Accent

Virginia Building Ways: English Origins of Chesapeake Houses

Virginia Family Ways: The Anglican Idea of the Patriarchal Family

Virginia Marriage Ways: The Anglican Idea of Marriage as a Sacred Union

Virginia Gender Ways: True-born Englishmen and Spirited “She-Britons”

Virginia Sex Ways: Male Predators and Female Breeders

Virginia Naming Ways: Anglican Onomastics

Virginia Child-rearing Ways: Bending the Will

Virginia Age Ways: The Anglican Idea of the Elder-Patriarch

Virginia Death Ways: The Anglican Idea of Stoic Fatalism

Virginia Religious Ways: The Anglican Devotional-Liturgical Style

Virginia Magic Ways: The Cavalier Obsession with Fortune

Virginia Learning Ways: Anglican Traditions of Hierarchical Learning

Virginia Food Ways: Origins of Southern Cooking

Virginia Dress Ways: Cavalier Ideas of Clothing and Rank

Virginia Sport Ways: The Great Chain of Slaughter

Virginia Work Ways: The Ambivalence of the Cavalier Ethic

Virginia Time Ways: The Cavalier Idea of “Killing the Time”

Virginia Wealth Ways: Cavalier Ideas of the Material Order

Virginia Rank Ways: A System of Extended Orders

The Virginia Comity: Patterns of Migration, Settlement and Association

Virginia Order Ways: The Anglican Idea of Order as Hierarchy

Virginia Power Ways: The Politics of Court and Vestry Government

Virginia Freedom Ways: The Anglican Idea of Hegemonic Liberty


The Friends’ Migration, 1675-1725

The Friends’ Migration: Numbers and Proportions

The Friends’ Migration: Religious Origins

The Friends’ Migration: Ethnic Origins

The Friends’ Migration: Social Origins

The Friends’ Migration: Regional Origins

“The Quaker Galilee”: England’s North Midlands

The Quaker Canaan: The Delaware Valley

William Penn and the Delaware Valley: The Intent of the Founder

“Our Mob”: Origins of William Penn’s Delaware Elite

The Colonial Mood: Cultural Nostalgia in a New Environment

Delaware Speech Ways: English Origins of the American Midland Dialect

Delaware Building Ways: North Midland Origins of Quaker Houses

Delaware Family Ways: The Quaker Idea of the Family of Love

Delaware Marriage Ways: The Quaker Idea of Marriage as “Loving Agreement”

Delaware Gender Ways: The Quaker Idea of “Help-Meets for Each Other”

Delaware Sex Ways: “Not to Go into Her but for Propagation”

Delaware Child-naming Ways: Quaker Onomastics

Delaware Child-rearing Ways: Bracing the Will

Delaware Age Ways: Quaker Elders as “Nursing Fathers and Mothers”

Delaware Death Ways: The Quaker Idea of Optimistic Fatalism

Delaware Religious Ways: The Quaker Spiritist Style

Delaware Magic Ways: The Quaker Obsession with Spiritualism

Delaware Learning Ways: Quaker Ideas of Learning and the Light Within

Delaware Food Ways: Quaker Ideals and North Midland Traditions

Delaware Dress Ways: The Quaker Idea of “Going Plain in the World”

Delaware Sport Ways: The Quaker Idea of Useful Recreation

Delaware Work Ways: Quaker Ideas of Cumber and Calling

Delaware Time Ways: The Quaker Idea of “Redeeming the Time”

Delaware Wealth Ways: Quaker Ideas of the Material Order

Delaware Rank Ways: Stratification Within a Single Order

The Delaware Comity: Patterns of Migration, Settlement and Association

Delaware Order Ways: The Quaker Idea of Order as Peace

Delaware Power Ways: The Politics of Commission Government

Delaware Freedom Ways: The Quaker Idea of Reciprocal Liberty


The Flight from North Britain, 1717-1775

Motives for Migration

Social Origins: Poverty and Pride

Religious Origins: Militant Christianity

Ethnic Origins: “We Are a Mixed People”

The Borders of North Britain

The American Backcountry

Border Names for the New Land

The Backcountry “Ascendancy”: Border Origins of an American Elite

The Colonial Mood: Anxiety and Insecurity in the Back Settlements

Backcountry Speech Ways: Border Origins of Southern Highland Speech

Backcountry Building Ways: Border Origins of Cabin and Cowpen

Backcountry Family Ways: Border Ideas of Clan and Kin

Backcountry Marriage Ways: Border Origins of Bridal Customs

Backcountry Gender Ways: Border Rituals of Love and Violence

Backcountry Sex Ways: The Border Celebration of Sensuality

Backcountry Child-naming Ways: Border Onomastics

Backcountry Child-rearing Ways: Building the Will

Backcountry Age Ways: The Border Idea of the Elder-Thane

Backcountry Death Ways: The Border Idea of Nescient Fatalism

Backcountry Religious Ways: The North British Field-Meeting Style

Backcountry Magic Ways: The Border Obsession with Sorcery

Backcountry Literacy

Backcountry Learning Ways: North British Rituals of Schooling

Backcountry Food Ways: North British Origins of Southern Highland Cooking

Backcountry Dress Ways: Border Origins of Country Western Costume

Backcountry Sport Ways: North British Origins of Southern Highland Games

Backcountry Work Ways: Border Attitudes toward War and Work

Backcountry Time Ways: The Border Idea of “Passing the Time”

Backcountry Wealth Ways: Border Ideas of the Material Order

Backcountry Rank Ways: A System of Stratification Without Orders

The Backcountry Comity: Patterns of Migration, Settlement, and Association

Backcountry Order Ways: The Border Idea of Order as Lex Talionis

Backcountry Power Ways: The Politics of Personal Government

Backcountry Freedom Ways: The Border Idea of Natural Liberty


Four British Folkways in American History: The Origin and Persistence of Regional Cultures in the United States

Genesis: The British Reconnaissance of North America

Exodus: The Four Great Migrations, 1629-1750

British Origins: The Regional Factor

British Origins: The Religious Factor

British Origins: The Factor of Social Rank

British Origins: The Factor of Generations

American Development: The Environment

American Development: The Indians

American Development: Imperial Politics

American Development: Immigration and Race

The Expansion of Four Regional Cultures

Other Colonial Cultures

Rhythms of Regional Development

Regional Conflict in the Colonies

Regional Cultures and the Coming of Independence

The Revolution as a Rising of Regional Cultures

Regional Cultures in the New Republic: The Constitutional Coalition, 1787-95

The Persistence of Old British Cultures in the New Republic

The Hegemony of Four Cultural Regions

The Presidency as a Case Study

Four Regional Cultures in Washington’s Presidency: The Constitutional Coalition vs. the Backcountry, 1789-97

A National Experiment in Ordered Liberty: New England’s Hegemony in the Adams Presidency, 1797-1801

The Jeffersonian Coalition: Virginia, Pennsylvania and the Backcountry against New England, 1801-25

The Jacksonian Coalition: A Border Chieftain in the White House, 1829-37

The Whig Omnibus, 1840-52

From Regions to Sections

Regional Cultures and the Republican Coalition: Greater New England and the Midlands against the Coastal and Highland South, 1856-1924

The Civil War as a Conflict of Regional Cultures

Regional Cultures in Reconstruction, 1865-77

The Republican Coalition versus the Solid South, 1880-96

Regional Responses to Imperialism

Regional Origins of Populism and Progressivism

Woodrow Wilson: The Omnibus Reformer, 1913-20

The High Tide of Regional Politics, 1920-28

Old Folkways and the New Immigration

The New Deal Coalition: Ethnic and Regional Cultures

Regional Cultures in World War II

The Postwar Revival of Regional Politics, 1945-60

The Eisenhower Omnibus

The Revolution in Regional Alignments, 1960-68

The New Regionalism, 1968-86

Regional Identities: America’s Mental Maps

Regional Patterns of Cultural Behavior

Persistent Regionalism: Problems of Cause

The Cultural Determinants of a Voluntary Society




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