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Thread: What is an American? (Definition of the American People)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Soten View Post

    There is really only one legitimate group I can think of that is still separate and that is the Pennsylvania Dutch. However, they are quickly losing all touch with that culture (which is really a shame, especially at this point in history where they will only be assimilating to a globalized culture). The Amish and Mennonites are the only sub-group which have much of a chance of continuing to maintain a separate identity
    I don't know how well you know the mid-West or plains states, but this statement is very false. Just in the county I was raised and the county I live in now it is hard to find someone who does not have a German last name. People in the rural areas did not start mixing outside of their ethnic groups until recently. This also holds true to most of the mid-West and plains states. If you look at the map posted in this thread. This will explain what ethnic group populates the heartland of the US. As far as maintaining a identity is concerned the map and others also explains that rural Americans have a different culture than those living in the cities. Voting maps, crime maps, education maps, and prosperity map almost all look the same. I have traveled to every corner of this country and there is no place like the heart land. Some of you remember obama saying that rural Americans "cling to their bibles and their guns" well that statement is very true, and the leftist are working hard to change that.

    People like Robert Reiss would like to tell everybody that Germanic Americans are blended in, but that statement is false. To prove it all one has to do is drive state by state and county by county and see for themselves. The rural farming areas are very Germanic racially and culturally. The only problem is that most Germanics don't even know it.

    signed,
    Hopelessly Mid-Western

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    Quote Originally Posted by Soten View Post
    Tell me why you think the founding population groups are still too separate to constitute an ethnicity. There is really only one legitimate group I can think of that is still separate and that is the Pennsylvania Dutch. However, they are quickly losing all touch with that culture (which is really a shame, especially at this point in history where they will only be assimilating to a globalized culture). The Amish and Mennonites are the only sub-group which have much of a chance of continuing to maintain a separate identity.
    Well I think maybe at one point in time there was a group of people who were becoming pretty thoroughly mixed, but I think that this was sort of side-lined when huge numbers of others came after say 1780. Only half of White Americans have ancestors from before America became a republic (who lived in America), at least according to what I've read somewhere. If we're looking at an "Anglo-American" type ethnicity that existed 200 years ago but not today, then I agree that there was one forming. It seems like a lot of settling was done in blocks (the north east is more English/Irish, the midwest and west are very German, etc.)

    But I don't think there is any one existing American ethnicity more than there is a European one. Different groups settled in different places, as evidenced by that map as well, so even if they have been here a good while, the plurality of people in certain areas are probably pretty different depending on where you go (not to mention that some new-comers were probably reluctant to wed outside their little groups. You even see this on the television, with italian or greek characters loving it when their children date another italian or greek or what have you). White Americans form a lingusitic group to me, but not an ethnic one, really. I mean, I guess what you consider an ethnic group can be pretty arbitrary. I think that if things were left to the way they are in the US the ethnic groups that exist there now would probably start to mix pretty well, especially as a lot of people don't really care about that sort of thing now.

    People designate their ethnicity as "American" throughout all 50 states. It is only that the highest density of those doing so is in the South. That's because later immigrants came to other regions and largely avoided the South.
    I think these people probably consider themselves American because they have been living there for hundreds of years and have mixed pretty throughly with the few groups of people that went down there so that they wouldn't really know better whether they were 2% this and 18% that and so on, OR that they are very 'patriotic' type people that I have a stereotypical image of.

    In any event, people do the same thing in Canada, and the census counts things like English-Canadian as both English and Canadian, and it really skews things and makes them unreliable. I don't know enough about American demography to say who I think live in this area, besides probably Germans, Brits, and Blacks which probably forms a lot of the ancestry of people in the region (I am talking about the 'American' sectors around the Black Belt in the south).

    The English ancestry in America is most likely greatly under-estimated. "American" means either English or Scots-Irish anyway. If you combine the English with the American you will get a percentage higher than the German percentage.
    Maybe, but I figure that the English don't form a very large percentage of the population since they probably had fewer children than Catholic style immigrants (such as the Irish) and they might be over represented since lots of people anglicised their names when they moved there.

    Question: Do many people in the USA consider themselves American and not English/Scottish/German/Italian etc. at all (even if this is where their ancestry comes from)? Also, were the majority of people in America from the British Isles a few hundred years ago? When did the population become so diverse in America?

    Anyway, from my outsider perspective (from not very far away) I think its too early to call Americans an ethnic group, although they seem to be heading down the same route they were before (like the ones you mentioned before mass European immigration)

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Baughman View Post
    As far as maintaining a identity is concerned the map and others also explains that rural Americans have a different culture than those living in the cities.

    ...there is no place like the heart land.
    J Baughman - Brother, I am with you... seems that alot of Anglo-Americans who make comments alluding to the assumption that they are on the "verge of extinction" probably live in areas where there are high conecntrations of multi-cultural communities - i.e. big cities. Big cities is where newly immigrated peoples tend to congregrate because it is where they can find employment opportunities - reality. A vast majority of the Anglo-American community resides in majority Anglo-American areas of the country. I live in Central Kansas and the majority of families here are of German descent - not a lot of diversity in terms of ethnic backgrounds (Northern Europe). This is across wide areas of the United States - the Great Plains, the Appalachian Mountains - both North and South, the Pacific Northwest, Alaska... I don't have the fears that some express in previous notations. Although I grew up in the Southern Appalachians and my wife in South Carolina, Kansas is complimentary to our belief system and there is a wide swath of America where the folks of this forum would feel quite comfortable and, almost like they were in some regions of Germany itself. The drive between Bonner Springs Kansas and Lawrence Kansas reminds me of the drive between Ulm and Stuttgart in a lot of ways (I lived in Germany for 11 years, so know it well). I honsetly DO NOT believe that the United States will be culturally overthrown with an alien way of life. The Constitution guarantees it. This is a great debate and discussion; I still believe that the definition of an American is more an ideal than a race or ethinicity. I am with you on the Heartland and don't plan to leave anytime soon - great place to raise a family and the spirit of the Frontier is still alive and well here. For those of you who are in rust belts and big cities, I invite you out to the beautiful mountains or the Great Plains or the Farmbelt - lots of room, the people are nice, and there is plenty of opportunity.

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    An American is indeed one descended from before 1776-83. Most of the English, Irish and German hyphenated Americans now have at least one such ancestral line, just as Americans all have at least one of those such lines from colonization before immigration. As for any of the other majority minorities, most of them are segregated from Anglo-American society. About any time there's miscegenation, the bastardizations become part of non-WASP ghettoes.

    German and Irish are part of Anglo society, regardless of where they stand on religion and politics, but they do have a tendency to ride the fence and refuse to make a commitment fully one way or another because their religion and politics aren't as welcome as their blood, causing very much confusion for a thread like this one to be made. When the English of New England deposed King George III for violating his coronation oath, it no more made them non-English than when the English of England executed King Charles I for treason. German and Irish admixtures in the English population are no less American than the English without recent intermarriage.

    See The Cousins' Wars by Kevin Phillips for an exposition on German and Irish elements with respect to American English:

    https://academic.oup.com/ahr/article.../5/1636/150382

    https://www.c-span.org/video/?119973...wars-interview

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