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Thread: America's Regional Cultures

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    America's Regional Cultures

    Okay, so I've just finished rereading part of Colin Woodward's American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America. In my opinion, his work is not perfect but it brings up many important points. The biggest of these is that what 'Americanism' originally meant varied quite a lot from place to place in early America.

    I think that based off of his work and others that I've read it would be fair to say that there were two core cultures in early America:

    1). 'Yankeedom'

    This culture was created by a fusion of Puritans, Shakers, Quakers, and other religious radicals who first settled in New England. These people saw themselves as victims of oppression and wished to turn America into a shining city on a hill that would offer protection to other victims. This is why the first cartoon of Uncle Sam (published in Harper's Weekly in 1869) depicts Uncle Sam offering Chinese, Russians, Blacks, and everyone else a seat at the Table of Universal Suffrage:



    This map shows where most of these people settled:



    The other areas of the US that were colonized by New Englanders were the Pacific Northwest & coastal California. This is part of why the culture of the 'left coast' mirrors that of New England.

    2). 'Dixieland'

    The next most influential regional culture within the USA has always been The South. There are already dozens of articles discussing the unique nature of the Southern states on OccidentalDissent - but the long story short is that for most of early America's history the 'Dixie coalition' (the slave owners in the Deep South, the Scots-Irish in Appalachia, the English gentry in the Virginia, and apolitical Germans in the lower Midwest) defined Americanism. To them Americanism was basically Civic Nationalism + White Pride. This was the era of Manifest Destiny - initiated by a string of presidents from Virginia and completed by President James K. Polk from North Carolina.

    Over time, the role of the North & South began to reverse. From the 1840s to the 1860s the North underwent immense growth, largely fueled by a combination of industrialization and mass immigration. A large portion of the immigrants who arrived in the North were liberal leaning Germans who had been banished after the failed 1848 Revolutions. This caused the cultural gap between the North & South to grow even wider.

    And we all know how that ended...

    _________

    This really only scratches the surface of American history & regional cultures. There is so much info out there to analyze and if anyone's interested I'd recommend some of Hunter Wallace's work at OccidentalDissent. He focuses on the South (especially the Deep South).

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