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Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in…

Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America (America: a Cultural… (original 1989; edition 1989)

by David Hackett Fischer

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Title:Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America (America: a Cultural History)
Authors:David Hackett Fischer
Info:Oxford University Press, USA (1989), Paperback, 972 pages
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Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America by David Hackett Fischer (1989)


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Tracing four American folkways from the English settlers who first established them, Fisher argues that many practices we now deem characteristically American were actually transplants from English cultures, preserved in immigrants’ practices longer than they survived in the mother country. He covers the Puritans, Virginia Cavaliers and the poorer people they brought along, the Quakers, and the Scotch-Irish back-country folks. It’s hard not to see the Quakers coming off best here—the Cavaliers and the back-country traditions involve a lot of violence and indifference to education/fetishization of hierarchy, and the Puritans are really protective if you’re one of them and really not if you’re not. A fascinating read. Whether Fisher’s repeated claims that “these practices persist today almost unchanged” are true, however, seems a bit dubious, though it is probably worth noting that Puritan Massachusetts kept trying to punish people for reading porn long into the twentieth century, after most of the country had given up. ( )
  rivkat | Jul 19, 2016 |
Now I know why American's behave the way they do. ( )
  ShelleyAlberta | Jun 4, 2016 |
This is the kind of book the word "magisterial" was made for. Fischer's synthesis of British and American folkways is stunningly illustrated and argued. It lags a bit in the concluding section where he struggles a bit in tying everything together, but the sheer weight of the research and Fischer's breadth of knowledge is overwhelming. I have a master's degree in history, a work like this one is why I never went any further - I feared not reaching work this outstanding. This book has changed how I view my own country, and what more can one ask from a work of scholarship? I hope that Fischer will be able to complete his planned second volume. ( )
3 vote waitingtoderail | Jan 25, 2014 |
Excellent analysis of folkways carried from Britain to Colonial America and how they have influenced regional traditions, preferences and politics into the current time.
  turtlesleap | Sep 21, 2013 |
Great history, great for genealogical background, too. ( )
  afinch11 | Aug 19, 2013 |
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David Hackett Fischerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Werner, HoniCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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On a blustery March morning in the year 1630, a great ship was riding restlessly at anchor in the Solent, near the Isle of Wight.
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Table of Contents (LOC):

The Determinants of a Voluntary Society, 3

The Exodus of the English Puritans, 1629-41, 13

Distressed Cavaliers and Indentured Servants, 1642-75, 207

The Friends' Migration, 1675-1725, 419

The Flight from North Britain, 1717-1775, 605

Four British Folkways in American History:
The Origin and Persistence of Regional Cultures
in the United States, 783

Acknowledgments, 899

Abbreviations, 903

Sources for Maps, 907

Index, 911
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0195069056, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:38 -0400)

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Given in memory of Lt. Charles Britton Hudson, CSA and Sgt. William Henry Harrison Edge, CSA by Eugene Edge III.

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