Albion's Seed and much more

Laura

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
I recently began reading a book entitled "Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America" by David Hackett Fischer. My original intention was just to get a better background on immigrants to America as a possible help to my genealogy hobby, but I got a lot more than that.

Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America is a 1989 book by David Hackett Fischer that details the folkways of four groups of people who moved from distinct regions of Great Britain (Albion) to the United States. The argument is that the culture of each of the groups persisted, to provide the basis for the modern United States. Fischer explains "the origins and stability of a social system which for two centuries has remained stubbornly democratic in its politics, capitalist in its economy, libertarian in its laws and individualist in its society and pluralistic in its culture." ~ Wikipedia
The four migrations are discussed in the four main chapters of the book:

1) Puritans were people from East Anglia (strongly influenced and complemented by people from the Netherlands); these people wen to Massachusetts and in course of time, influenced the Northeastern United States' corporate and educational culture. You could say that they are the root of the Left and its Elites.

2) The Gentry of Southwestern England and a lot of indentured servants mainly went to Virginia and influenced the Southern United States' plantation culture. This was a strange group and you really have to read the whole section to get how schizophrenic they were. They had powerful ideas of personal liberty and honor and self-mastery, but it was combined with a sense of superiority and almost unconscious cruelty that was totally repellent. Their ideas of liberty (but only for their own class!) eventually became the main idea of liberty held by many Americans and which led to the Revolution, and wasn't a bad idea at all, but their ideas of class superiority led to a lot of suffering for others.

3) People of the North Midlands of England were the Quakers who emigrated to the Delaware Valley. The Quaker discussion is truly fascinating because it seems that it was the basis for the Middle Atlantic and Midwestern United States' industrial culture, i. e. capitalism. Capitalism as the Quakers practiced it was very much dominated by ethical concerns and thus was not the "dog-eat-dog" version we experience today. The Quaker society was truly set up on principles of freedom that were underpinned by the golden rule: don't do to anybody else what you wouldn't want done to yourself. The discussion of how the Quakers came to their ideas and implemented them is fascinating and well worth reading. Though one may not agree with some of the personal restrictions Quakers put on themselves, there is a LOT of value in their whole approach to life. I really identified with them more than any other group and what they did was amazing and admirable.

4) Borderers from North Britain and Southern Scotland as well as Ireland fled to the US Southern/Appalachians and then went West. They strongly influence the Western United States' ranch culture and the Southern United States' common agrarian culture.

Fischer examines each cultural milieu in question via what are called "Folkways" as follows:

Speech Ways: "Conventional patterns of written and spoken language; pronunciation, vocabulary, syntax and grammar."

Building Ways: "Prevailing forms of vernacular architecture and high architecture, which tend to be related to one another."

Family Ways: "The structure and function of the household and family, both in ideal and actuality."

Marriage Ways: "Ideas of the marriage-bond, and cultural processes of courtship, marriage and divorce."

Gender Ways: "Customs that regulate social relations between men and women."

Sex Ways: "Conventional sexual attitudes and acts, and the treatment of sexual deviance."

Child-Rearing Ways: "Ideas of child nature and customs of child nurture."

Naming Ways: "Onomastic customs including favoured forenames and the descent of names within the family."

Age Ways: "Attitudes towards age, experiences of aging and age relationships."

Death Ways: "Attitudes towards death, mortality rituals, mortuary customs and mourning practices."

Religious Ways: "Patterns of religious worship, theology, ecclesiology and church architecture."

Magic Ways: "Normative beliefs and practices concerning the supernatural."

Learning Ways: "Attitudes toward literacy and learning, and conventional patterns of education."

Food Ways: "Patterns of diet, nutrition, cooking, eating, feasting and fasting."

Dress Ways: "Customs of dress, demeanor, and personal adornment."

Sport Ways: "Attitudes toward recreation and leisure; folk games and forms of organized sport."

Work Ways: "Work ethics and work experiences; attitudes toward work and the nature of work."

Time Ways: "Attitudes toward the use of time, customary methods of time keeping, and the conventional rhythms of life."

Wealth Ways: "Attitudes towards wealth and patterns of its distribution."

Rank Ways: "The rules by which rank is assigned, the roles which rank entails, and the relations between different ranks."

Social Ways: "Conventional patterns of migration, settlement, association and affiliation."

Order Ways: "Ideas of order, ordering institutions, forms of disorder, and treatment of the disorderly."

Power Ways: "Attitudes toward authority and power; patterns of political participation."

Freedom Ways: "Prevailing ideas of liberty and restraint, and libertarian customs and institutions."

I'm nearly at the end of the book and I thought I would look around and see what other people thought of it. Apparently, Left/Liberals went after Fischer saying things like: "Fischer is a racist trying to promote the Teutonic germ theory". That was so ridiculous that I wondered what kind of mind would even think that. Were we even reading the same book?

Well, obviously, the Puritan mind. Those Puritans were something else!

I poked around a bit more and came across this: https://slatestarcodex.com/2017/02/08/albions-seed-genotyped/

And that led to a bunch of other links on genetics that were fascinating, if pretty much materialistic in perspective. See the following:


All Human Behavioral Traits are Heritable



Apparently, some researchers have used the genomes analyzed by the ancestry.com company that are matched to genealogies and where families started and ended up and clustered, and it appears that:

While not exactly matching Albion’s Seed, it at least clearly shows its New Englander and Pennsylvania Quaker migrations (more realistically the Germans who came along with the Quakers), with less distinct signals for Borderers and Virginians. It shows how they spread directly west from their place of origin in almost exactly the way American Nations predicted. It even confirms my own conjecture that the belt of Democrat voters along southern Michigan corresponds to an area of New Englander settlement there. And it confirms Razib Khan’s observation that the Mormons are just displaced New Englanders and that their various unusual demographic features make sense in that context.
Anyway, it has been an interesting bit of research and I hope some of you will take a look at the genetics articles that this book led to; fascinating stuff.
 

Jones

Dagobah Resident
FOTCM Member
I recently began reading a book entitled....
Hahaha! Ooh boy, off on another adventure!
I'm about a gazillion books behind in a clear case of the Joneses not keeping up to the Knights :lol:, but the topic certainly peaks my curiosity.

I can't remember what the word is for the practice of only marrying within a religion or culture, but this topic might shine a light on why that was practiced - that there is real, even if misguided, knowledge behind that. And the bit about homosexuality being caused by a virus is very interesting!
 

DianaRose94

Jedi Master
Hahaha! Ooh boy, off on another adventure!
I'm about a gazillion books behind in a clear case of the Joneses not keeping up to the Knights :lol:, but the topic certainly peaks my curiosity.

I can't remember what the word is for the practice of only marrying within a religion or culture, but this topic might shine a light on why that was practiced - that there is real, even if misguided, knowledge behind that. And the bit about homosexuality being caused by a virus is very interesting!
There are practical reasons why people would want to only/ mostly marry within their own religion, culture, or even racial group. There is an element of comfort, someone within the same clan as yours would share the same beliefs and broad worldview. Besides, they could have similar lived experience which people outside this particular group may not be able to understand or relate to. Also, humans are clannish. This means that if you choose to marry outside your group, you would never be able to become part of the group your new spouse belongs to. You would be tolerated, but not accepted. Hence, you would become something in between and depending on how far apart your original group and your spouse are, it could become an uncomfortable situation. Then, you would need to decide if what you gain by "breaking" with your group outweigh the loss. That is why generally people remain within their own culture, racial group, or religion. From what I've observed so far, mixing often leads to friction, so I think people are generally better off remaining within their own group. However, some culture or ethnic group may view a specific group as superior and hence marrying within them as advancement. In this case, branching out would be a "good" thing.
 

adam7117

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
Interesting summary, thanks for posting it. I was surprised by the influence of Qakers in the development of capitalism.

I also followed the links you have provided and quickly browsed their content. It is perhaps because of the shallow scan that I found the following declarations troubling.

This is underappreciated because this means that all human characteristics, including the things we feel are products of “free choice” or “free will” are infact heavily dependent on genetic forces. This includes life circumstances, such as where and how you live – even how you grew up. Free will doesn’t exist. Political, religious, and moral views are themselves partly enshrined in the genes. This (or, more specifically, additive heritability) is responsible for continuity within families and within social and ethnic groups. And this is why human societies and behavioral quirks persist, resistant to change.
Also under appreciated, the Second Law talks about the “shared environment” – parents, peers, schools, neighborhoods – all the things children growing up in the same household share. The effect of all those things on any behavioral trait or other phenotype is nil. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Zero. All the things people (especially in the modern West) think matter to children’s development have no effect at all. This includes expensive schools, nice homes, strict discipline, religious indoctrination – none of it matters. No adult outcome shows any effect of shared environment, this includes criminality, marital stability, income, adult happiness, and substance abuse (though note, educational attainment seems to be affected by shared environment, but even here, the effect of education goes away when you look at income). It just doesn’t matter. This strikes squarely against popular belief, making the second law the most vehemently denied of them all.
According to this person, in essence, there is no free will and nobody can change in any fundamental way.

Are we truly prisoners of our genetic profile, without the ability to grow and progress in ethical and spiritual aspects of our existence? That would then belie the purpose of The Work and we all might as well give up and enjoy beer.

Can a person change or do we remain fundamentally the same? Statically aligned with the positive or negative soul profiles, with minor attitudinal adaptations on the boundary.
 

Laura

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
I also followed the links you have provided and quickly browsed their content. It is perhaps because of the shallow scan that I found the following declarations troubling.

According to this person, in essence, there is no free will and nobody can change in any fundamental way.

Are we truly prisoners of our genetic profile, without the ability to grow and progress in ethical and spiritual aspects of our existence? That would then belie the purpose of The Work and we all might as well give up and enjoy beer.

Can a person change or do we remain fundamentally the same? Statically aligned with the positive or negative soul profiles, with minor attitudinal adaptations on the boundary.
Keep in mind those are Darwinists and thus intellectually handicapped. You have to "critically correct" as you read.
 

domivr

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
4) Borderers from North Britain and Southern Scotland as well as Ireland fled to the US Southern/Appalachians and then went West. They strongly influence the Western United States' ranch culture and the Southern United States' common agrarian culture.
Definitely true and some of those folks of Scottish/Irish extraction ended up in East Texas via the Appalachians.

In California, though, more so than Oregon and other western states where the above is certainly still visible, there was a lot of Spanish influence that still remains.

Thanks for the recap of this book. Fascinating and it rings true.
 

Laura

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
What is so bizarre is that it was this group and their ideology/ways that became the foundation of the Left/Libs/Dems:

1) Puritans were people from East Anglia (strongly influenced and complemented by people from the Netherlands); these people went to Massachusetts and in course of time, influenced the Northeastern United States' corporate and educational culture. You could say that they are the root of the Left and its Elites.

You really have to read the book and understand this Puritan culture to understand how they went from being Puritans to Gay Pride and "everything goes" as long as you do it the way we tell you to. It all has to do with how they viewed "freedom". The Puritans viewed freedom as the freedom to be Puritan and to run the show completely. You will be shocked at how totally they controlled their society and environment.

Towards the end of the book, Fischer talks about how these different cultures interacted with each other around the time of the Revolution, how there was actually Four Revolutions, each occurring for different reasons. Then, he talks about the Constitutional Convention and how the Southerners were actually left out of the deliberations and how that eventually led to the Civil War.

He also writes about politics of the Left, Right, Center, presidential elections, etc. Curiously, more presidents have come from the Borderers group, the last migration, than any other group.

The Puritans and the North were Republicans for a long time, and the South were Democrats, especially after the Civil War. It was John Kennedy, apparently, who turned the North into Democrats by championing Equal Rights. At that point, some sort of switcheroo happened that Fischer kind of elides over, and presto!

It's all obviously pretty complicated, but this book is just loaded with all kinds of interesting tidbits and demographics - everything you always wanted to know about Puritans but didn't know who to ask - and some pretty graphic descriptions of what the colonials were getting up to in different places.
 

DianaRose94

Jedi Master
It was John Kennedy, apparently, who turned the North into Democrats by championing Equal Rights.
Indeed, that's something people often forget. Interestingly, MLK's father was a lifelong Republican, but JFK made him him vote for Democrat for the first time in his entire life. To be honest, most black people are generally very conservative, more so in my opinion than some other race. For example, feminism, LGBT excess, veganism...etc are really looked down. Heck, even if you look at extreme leftist organisation such as Antifa or things like Socialist Alliance and such, there is no real support from black community. That's particularly noticeable if you watch their videos. Anyway, if it was for the Republican party explosive rhetoric regarding race and racism over the years, I think there would be much more black Republicans in the US and I've heard Afro-Americans say as much.
 

miguel angel

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
if it was for the Republican party explosive rhetoric regarding race and racism over the years, I think there would be much more black Republicans in the US and I've heard Afro-Americans say as much.
Do you mean “if it wasn’t for the Republican party explosive rhetoric regarding race and racism over the years...”?
 
I recently began reading a book entitled "Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America" by David Hackett Fischer. My original intention was just to get a better background on immigrants to America as a possible help to my genealogy hobby, but I got a lot more than that.

The four migrations are discussed in the four main chapters of the book:

1) Puritans were people from East Anglia (strongly influenced and complemented by people from the Netherlands); these people wen to Massachusetts and in course of time, influenced the Northeastern United States' corporate and educational culture. You could say that they are the root of the Left and its Elites.
This book sounds fascinating!

I have only quoted part of your post, Laura, because this is something I know a little about. I was born and raised and have lived all my life in Norfolk which is one of the three counties that comprises East Anglia. Much of this area is rich in history and placenames as a result of widespread settlements of Norse folk. Indeed Norfolk is clearly derived from 'Nor' + 'folk'. Much of the culture and worldview here is influenced heavily by those settlers from what we would now call Northern Europe, I think. I read a discussion online about an American who spent some time working and living in Finland and how they were struck by the contrast in behavioural norms. For example, they found that everyone gave everyone else a great deal of personal space. If there were people waiting at a bus stop, for example, people would stand yards apart from each other. I had to smile when I read this because this is typical of Norfolk folk. We are also (in)famous for being hesitant to embrace 'outsiders'. The joke is that someone may move to Norfolk and live there for twenty or more years before being accepted as 'one of us'. There is quite a lot of truth to that!

The connection to the Puritans is completely news to me though. I was always under the impression that the Puritans claim that they moved to the Americas to escape oppression. However, I have also heard that they moved there so that they could more freely practice their repressive ways. I would like to think that the latter is nearer the mark and that the Nor folk gave them a good kick as they went out the door!
 

Laura

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
This book sounds fascinating!

I have only quoted part of your post, Laura, because this is something I know a little about. I was born and raised and have lived all my life in Norfolk which is one of the three counties that comprises East Anglia. Much of this area is rich in history and placenames as a result of widespread settlements of Norse folk. Indeed Norfolk is clearly derived from 'Nor' + 'folk'. Much of the culture and worldview here is influenced heavily by those settlers from what we would now call Northern Europe, I think. I read a discussion online about an American who spent some time working and living in Finland and how they were struck by the contrast in behavioural norms. For example, they found that everyone gave everyone else a great deal of personal space. If there were people waiting at a bus stop, for example, people would stand yards apart from each other. I had to smile when I read this because this is typical of Norfolk folk. We are also (in)famous for being hesitant to embrace 'outsiders'. The joke is that someone may move to Norfolk and live there for twenty or more years before being accepted as 'one of us'. There is quite a lot of truth to that!

The connection to the Puritans is completely news to me though. I was always under the impression that the Puritans claim that they moved to the Americas to escape oppression. However, I have also heard that they moved there so that they could more freely practice their repressive ways. I would like to think that the latter is nearer the mark and that the Nor folk gave them a good kick as they went out the door!
Well, you'll definitely want to read the book because the author did a lot of research not only in America, but in UK as well, which was the basis for his many comparisons and describing "folkways". He points out that Americans conserved old folkways from England for a very long time because of "immigrant anxiety" so to say, while in England, people moved on and changed somewhat. It's really fascinating.
 
Well, you'll definitely want to read the book because the author did a lot of research not only in America, but in UK as well, which was the basis for his many comparisons and describing "folkways". He points out that Americans conserved old folkways from England for a very long time because of "immigrant anxiety" so to say, while in England, people moved on and changed somewhat. It's really fascinating.
That makes sense and is something I have assumed for many years. I heard a linguist being interviewed on the radio once and they were discussing the differences between (British) English and (American) English. The linguist said that the latter is much more like the English the settlers came with but the former had evolved the language over the years in the way that language tends to. That made a lot of sense to me because people would naturally want to cling to what they know and feel secure in when they have transplanted themselves to an environment that is alien to them and lacks the social structures that they are used to. By contrast, the people who live in a culture that has been existent for hundreds of years are far more likely to stomach subtle changes in language or cultural norms.
 

Laura

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
That makes sense and is something I have assumed for many years. I heard a linguist being interviewed on the radio once and they were discussing the differences between (British) English and (American) English. The linguist said that the latter is much more like the English the settlers came with but the former had evolved the language over the years in the way that language tends to. That made a lot of sense to me because people would naturally want to cling to what they know and feel secure in when they have transplanted themselves to an environment that is alien to them and lacks the social structures that they are used to. By contrast, the people who live in a culture that has been existent for hundreds of years are far more likely to stomach subtle changes in language or cultural norms.
Those are exactly the points that Fischer makes. Early Americans began their culture formation in a "conservative mood" in respect of their different English origins, conserving speech, family ways, ideologies, ways of rearing their children, cooking, concepts of freedom, etc.

The concepts of freedom appear to me to have most directly influenced the ways children were reared and how they were brought up strongly influenced the culture they formed, and that is one of the most fascinating parts of the book. That's where you find the seeds of differences between conservatives and liberals. And it actually may not be what you would suspect exactly because there were some bizarre twists and turns.
 
Top Bottom