11: Albion’s Seed

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Hosted by
Will Jarvis

This week on the podcast we discuss Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America is a 1989 book by David Hackett Fischer. Albion’s Seed details the folkways of four groups of people who moved from distinct regions of Great Britain to the United States and form the foundations of modern American culture. Interested in reading Albion’s Seed? You can by it on amazon at our affiliate link here.


hi i’m will jarvis and i’m will’s dad we both love and are fascinated by stories stories about people stories about places and stories about events our stories give shape and form to life they give texture color and rhythm to the blank canvas that every new day presents to us and they do that by informing us of our past as a directional marker for our future okay will it’s narrative time tell me a story

well will we’re on here on rainy fall day to do uh today’s episode which is uh another ambitious product project for us the last one we did together was 127 pages on by the federal reserve on the interest rate of everything ready to turn up everything that’s exactly right and today’s episode is actually a 900 page treatise on why the united states is like the united states is yes by uh david hackett fisher who is actually still living he’s 84. is that right yep so we’re going to cover 900 pages in about an hour and the name of the book is albion c that’s right um i think you should go ahead and define avion

yeah alvin means great britain uh it means england and it literally means the white land probably we think that’s probably because of the white clothes right that’s right so and the reason uh it’s albion seed is because the original american colonies came from there and they were all englishmen that’s right and and the book is subtitled albion seed or british both ways in america so would you want to just talk about what a full way is quickly go ahead yeah do that so it’s a kind of a traditional behavior or way of life of a particular group or community of people so a folkway could be the food you eat you know how your relationships develop you know your political beliefs it’s all these kind of like community culture if that makes sense social wars taboos etc and we’re talking about four different groups today that formed the foundation for the colonies that became america the purity yeah the puritans the cavaliers the quakers and the borders that’s right so these are the four primary folk ways david hackett fisher talks about in the book there are a couple there’s some other smaller ones he actually goes over towards the later part of the book um so you know he talks about the culture and quite a few other ones that also contribute uh but in terms of raw numbers these are the four primary uh formative groups that um kind of explain american culture and political life to it to a certain extent and whenever we look at historical theories we always like them the more predictive power they have and um i think this book really has some interesting predictive power and really some interesting implications for how we think about america and our place in it i think that’s exactly right and i think these groups uh they explain a lot but they give us a springboard to try to investigate more and more why we are like we are and so if if you would like we’ll start with the puritans who arrived in new england in about 16 20. that’s right okay so puritans are kind of what you would normally think of your nathaniel hathorn author and novel um so the scarlet letter you know here to new england do you have some kind of um attributes of the bookways you’d like to mention um there’s a few things like what you mentioned then it is very much of what you picture of the folks that had the original thanksgiving right right that does seem to describe them in my mind a lot um you know they were not fun loving people they were kind of dour they believed in this city on a hill concept that was big with them um they were intellectuals they came from uh the the northeast of london uh they were east anglican um uh they were more than twice as likely to be literate than the average englishman that’s right so and wait so actually uh you made a small mistake there so they didn’t quite come from um london they came from east anglia which is a little bit different so it’s a geographic area in kind of the east of england so if you visualize england you know you’ve got the thames um down south kind of head straight north from london um skipped a few counties you’ll see east anglia so this is like norfolk and suffolk um a couple other areas like that and so that that’s kind of where the puritans came from and for each folk way will also highlight where they came from in england because that that um you can actually trace surnames back and and see from these counties who came from where and that contributes to a lot of the cultural thinking and know how today yeah i may have misspoken i meant the northeast they were northeast of london i didn’t even know okay yeah northeast london i mean northeast of there that would have been closer to the truth all right a few facts about puritans um modern newark new jersey was named after the new ark of the covenant that’s what it means yeah it’s pretty cool a lot of religious symbolism really these people believed in kind of after the english civil war there’s a lot of people who yeah you know england was very fractured and these people were super hype religious you know down on drinking a lot of you know things like that which is quite interesting um just as a side note do you remember what the ark of the covenant was i guess it’s not an is anymore um old testament artifact yes it’s about the extent of my knowledge yeah the children of israel when they were wandering around the desert for 40 years had this and i don’t mean to be sacrilegious they had this box and the levites were carried about a half a mile in front of the soldiers and it had four things in it it had um uh the two tablets for the new testament had mana in it and it had aaron’s rod in it and when then they would stomp and encamp they put it in the center and everybody sort of circle around it and very um pre-designated spots every little you know tribe had the place where they were supposed to camp to protect it so that was the ark of the covenant all right so the puritans get here and they try to import african slaves but they all died of the cold that’s right uh so didn’t that and that’s part of the reason why there was not slavery more than the mason-dixon line yeah you it was because they were pure apparently it was unsuccessful that’s correct so we should draw that designation i think um everyone was compelled by law to live in families and if you didn’t have a family you should you had to go single people had to go find one it’s pretty interesting yeah 98 of puritan men married while 73 of englishmen did

so there was this uh tremendous uh importance associated with a family yeah a lot of a lot of social conservatives social conservatism i’d say yes but this was interesting they felt that way but the families would switch their children trade their children because they felt like if you went to somebody’s else’s house and lived you would behave better than you would a house where you were born hilarious i don’t know all the social implications of that but it says something um in 1692 25 of women older than 45 years of age were accused of witchcraft

it’s pretty wild what does that say to you uh so you know witchcraft was an important part i mean so the scarlet letter and uh and if you read you know about the witch trials this is this is all kind of drummed up together in in puritan culture you know it’s quite interesting like i said earlier quite social conservative um i would say this is and i think this is almost emblematic of um you know we can go through this that kind of um epitomize each group computers you kind of think of them as almost establishment democrats like joe biden is probably a uh you know typical puritan i would say and uh and their legacy later but i think um you could definitely think about them as slightly more socially conservative socially conservative than everyone else so if you look at uh

and uh so rich democrats today like you look at the data from rich democrats tend to be super socially conservative um perhaps not in their uh their their spoken preferences and and i don’t mean socially conservative in like anti-gay marriage or things like that i mean socially conservative in terms of family formation having children after um you know after you’re already married things like that that’s actually a very important core value that’s actually played out of data most children um so most families in that group have children i know there’s a roundabout way of talking about it yeah that’s one of the things we’ll find out is there’s two of these groups that had very little um very low premarital pregnancy rates and there’s two of the groups that had much higher premarital pregnancy rates that’s right that’s interesting an interesting comment when you look at the republicans and democrats today and what they say they’re kind of they espouse or believe in that’s right one i guess my point is is that there’s there’s different levels to you know when you say someone’s socially conservative or socially liberal it really there’s quite a few levels to that and different policies one could think about it um but in just forms of in terms of the family and family formation and how that looks like um quite socially conservative i’d say and that’s an important value yeah and i think that’s probably going to surface as we as we review each of these groups and then get to some conclusions um so puritan life was actually pretty terrible they lived in a cold place they did all the work themselves uh there were a lot of rules and regulations but uh we just talked about the teen pregnancy rates being low and the murder rate uh was half of that of other american colonies or colonists pretty interesting yeah and i guess that goes back to rules and regulations they punched things really they were they were big on punishment they believed in it again yeah again um paul you probably had to read that in high school and that is uh quite a great description of puritan life and and i think we should highlight again so uh predominantly if you think of new england that’s where puritans primarily lived right massachusetts right massachusetts yeah um they had remarkably low income inequality which is a big big thing today that’s right quite interesting uh women had more equality in most other places that’s another thing that’s a little different and very positive about puritans so if you look at uh i’m just looking this up to confirm this so you know where uh susan b anthony was from well i bet it’s gonna be massachusetts yeah adams massachusetts hadn’t thought about that but that makes sense doesn’t it yep uh domestic abuse was punished brutally that’s right very uh yeah very long order kind of like i said you know social conservatives they’re quite socially conservative in the sense of uh in certain ways which you yeah and in certain policies like that i guess get some kind of family formation law order kind of things like very low tolerance for things uh like crime and things of that nature yeah special disruption yes you know it was law and order rules and regulations that’s what they were about very structured life and they had a top-notch educational system so they really believed in that that’s right the ivy league essentially yeah i hadn’t thought of that that’s that’s right that’s exactly what yep in fact in fact you mentioned new jersey earlier and rutgers was actually a um an ivy league institution when it was formed and i think it was it was uh originally called queens college chartered in 1766.

okay now we’re going to move to the cavaliers and it’s 20 years later about 1640 and the cavaliers come to america that’s right you want to tell us anything about the cavaliers so cavaliers um kind of a foil to the puritans i would say so they’re from the south of england um city of london so you look at richmond um have you been to richmond yes so you’ve been to richmond you know it’s on the james so you know cavaliers envisioned uh richmond to be you know be like london to be like a new london just so just like london sits on the thames um you know richmond sits on the james and uh so cavalier values are interesting and i think perhaps the most foreign to the modern um listener so you know work was not valued at all so the more you work the lower status you were they were super interested in hierarchy so hierarchy was a very important value to them um they wore um you know very exquisite clothing so if you think of the virginia cavaliers like uva and you know the image of wearing orange and things like that and all these bright colors and showing off you know almost like a you think of like a pimp or something right you know like either got the cane and stuff all this value around up not working and sticking around this is a if you if you start really to get into it this is what you think of as uh establishment republicans are traditionally fairly uh fairly cavalier like this is kind of the the thinking strain that comes from um some other important folk ways uh they talked funny um and we could talk a little bit about the accents later um they they really most of these people were young men who really wanted to be accepted into london’s social life but just couldn’t quite cut it for whatever reason um and they primarily settled in tidewater virginia uh north carolina and eventually would spread down south but in in the beginning they were in tidewater virginia and north carolina so after the english civil war uh there were some nobility that weren’t doing that great and berkeley was one of the virginia governors uh appealed to the british nobility to immigrate and that’s so they came virginia that’s right um and 98 of virginia immigrants from england were royalists that’s right that’s absolutely remembered yeah so that just sort of paints that whole picture of who they are is they’re they’re very english and loyalties yeah what you would traditionally imagine and i think an english version to be you know very pro world royalty very um yeah the pro hierarchy things like that yeah especially since they were part of the aristocracy they were interested in preserving that definitely yeah okay um they brought indentured servants to america to do their work and uh so white people in virginia died from malaria typhoid dysentery all those things and how did they replace the indentured servants so this is actually um yes they ended up replacing these venture service and this is the beginning of the slave trade um so actually so african americans um you may have heard that african americans they get this condition called sickle cell anemia uh and it’s a it’s one of these it’s a disease where if you have like a certain number of copies of the gene you get sickle cell anemia anemia but if you don’t you have a certain protection against malaria it’s not like 100 but it’s much of you know it’s much higher than so much from england um so they started importing african-american slaves africans as slaves and um that’s actually so where the whole plantation system comes came from yeah if we contrasted this with what happened and compared compare contrast with what happened and with the puritans uh when they brought when the puritans brought slaves in they died of the cold so that system never thrived and and then so when the cavaliers brought indentured servants that were white they died of all the things they couldn’t tolerate disease essentially and so unfortunately brought in slaves to do the work and that was just for a while that’s right and i don’t even think uh it probably wasn’t the cold of probably like you know uh diseases during the winter is what did it but right it wasn’t just like they froze death it’s like they they’ve got diseases associated with problems being clustered together when it’s cold those things today but that’s yeah exactly there’s no genetic hardiness factor we’re talking about here but yes anyway yeah so uh facts about cavaliers uh that and you mentioned this well you mentioned the plantations but you didn’t uh mention that they didn’t really have towns what they have are plantations that’s right so it’s like feudal england all over again essentially it’s kind of what’s idealized and that’s what they ended up recreating and instead of uh an emphasis on education virginia governor berkeley the guy from england uh denounced education because it resulted in disobedience yeah exactly again again not really uh interested in hierarchy and maintaining hierarchy and so obedience was an important cultural value which is something that it’s i think is again quite foreign to our modern listener because it’s just not something i think really anybody values at this point uh one of the points it made was that in 1747 there was a minister uh preaching against pride and one of the important plantation owners had his church boarded up because he didn’t want there to be uh sermons against pride they saw that as a positive for ours as a virtue yeah it’s uh it’s very yeah it’s very sorry it’s uh it’s super interesting just to think of uh yeah cavalier men right like wild you know you’re walking around you got this big fluffy hat these like you know trying to walk through the bud with these big so they wear like high-heeled shoes and things like that just very very funny trying to duel everyone johnny duel and that sort of brings us to the next you can always tell a lot about culture from other sports and games right that’s right for the plantation owners of the nobility they hunted right they killed animals their support um their indentured servants played a game where they uh drew and quartered live geese oh gosh it’s like horrible it’s like the i just grew some stuff um but not the most crucial the children were encouraged to kill and torture songbirds oh god yeah songbirds and uh snakes and they’d the main frogs they did they just tortured animals children did that’s how they were trained to become to grow up is to be just like this to do these things um and also to pull the wings off butterflies that was it’s also disturbing but so yeah again this is a i really i really want to hit this point again and emphasize this to the modern listener you know hierarchy was just like incredibly important and for most of history you know most cultures is a really valued hierarchy and enforcing your will on you know whoever’s down the ladder right and you can see it’s reflected how they treat animals which is just uh it’s just it’s a value that i don’t think is transferred into uh the modern world which is interesting i i think it’s uh something to keep in mind you know that that’s that’s a fascinating concept that you just brought up is like they they um developed people through the torture of animals so now what do we do today by and large we have pets that are at least as important as our children right yeah it would be it would be extremely culturally taboo to do any of those things you just mentioned in fact we would probably call somebody and have your children you know we would call it you know protective services right you know almost immediately even when we saw that kid doing that today yeah i think that’s an extreme normal violation extreme like i i struggle to find a more extreme normal violation just sitting here thinking today and and it says i think a lot about us today the way we do value animals yeah well i i think even more i think it goes beyond that i think we are generally resistant to uh and i think this is a good trend it’s a really good trend we are skeptical and able to minimize hierarchy and you see this in inequality you know if you want to minimize inequality want to minimize hierarchy between people whereas uh you know this was like a value i mean it was almost opposites like they really valued having you know obedience and things like that and i don’t know not a good place to live if you were a uh a lower class person and would probably even be weird if you’re in this insane status competition during uh as a cavalier and it it just seems to me to make common sense that if you value low animals like that that you’ll value human beings even more i mean we we would hope and so it just seems like a wonderful evolution of humanity to me but yeah definitely more positive i don’t want to live in that world it kind of freaked me out man yeah that that just thinking about that i find disturbing okay um you want to talk about where condensation came from yeah condensation is a cavalier value they believed it was being sort of polite to your underlings

they saw us being polite but you know how it actually worked out

so the modern word condescending actually its meaning is evolved it’s like yeah so you’re being nice to me but you clearly like are looking down at me you know you look so this is all tied up with hierarchy yeah yeah i mean it’s another one those weird concepts like if you’re doing things like pulling wings off butterflies torturing frogs pulling geese apart and hunting then i don’t think condensation would in practical terms be very polite right well then you’re also you know you’re enslaving all these africans you know you’re like treating the people even you know there wasn’t really like this middle class or anything but you’re treating people below you or you know you’re being nice but being horrible at the same time and that’s i i think that’s super interesting that you know that was very valuable you would be very uh kind to people and that’s where you know a lot of like something like manners and things like that come come across and people from other parts are oftentimes skeptical of that because of content you know condensation was quite the respected value right yeah yeah um and we should mention now duels this is where duels come into american history right yep so they they love dueling that’s how you would resolve things and it’s sort of adults doing violent things again with a from a perceived slight somebody has to die that’s right that’s that that’s that so uh if you uh contrasted virginia in massachusetts uh virginia had a very high homicide rate and you can see with dueling of those things it would um there was an obsession with gambling which would never have been tolerated by the puritans um and they another thing they mentioned is like and we probably didn’t mention when we talked about puritans is the puritans have really plain food like they would just take vegetables and meat and just boil them in water cook them in water until they were just limp and they use no spices and so you can imagine it one like you would eat it if you were starved but it wouldn’t be very appealing and the cavaliers love these big feasts that was a big thing with them so sort of that that was different between two groups um and then the note in the book about uh cavaliers were carefully cultivated jerks to make them good nobles that was the whole idea right that’s right that’s right pretty interesting so they wanted to copy it’s like magnetic copying of um kind of older mobility that’s still in england yeah so we get to 1670 and the quakers come to america right that’s right quakers my personal favorite group here uh well maybe many times in terms of how interesting they are yeah so quakers uh you know founded by george fox it’s a kind of religious sect founded by george fox and let me see this is up right now uh george fox

so george fox was a pretty nutty guy i don’t want george fox university man there we go uh he’s born in 1624 and he was a uh he’s the son of a weaver and he was uh they think he’s probably bipolar um or schizophrenic i’m not sure but he would have these episodes and he was sitting there and he’s like man you know like he’s kind of the he’s ultra protestant is what i would say see martin luther was like guys you know i don’t know catholics you know they’re taking money to get people in heaven i don’t see this in the bible it’s kind of screwed up um which i’m a big fan of i think this is like incredibly corrupt and the idea that you have this like institution where there’s like this man that’s close to god than if anyone else the pope and he’s like chosen just like doesn’t seem to like match anything i i think this is like very bizarre to me like the whole catholicism roman catholicism is just a very bizarre concept to me in in light of like the actual gospel and everything that safety no offense to anyone’s catholic

do what you want um but i i anyway george fox ultra ultra protestant and he believed that um that uh everyone needed to talk directly to god themselves so he goes up on finley hill and he has his vision that uh he’s like wow you know god is in everyone there’s like the center of life like god’s in each person they just need to be you know to sit quietly so the church like a church service um you know a bunch of pews facing each other um so you are actually raised a quaker um a quaker church services everyone’s sitting silently for an hour and if they’re led to speak by god they speak and if not they don’t and there’s no minister so it’s anti-higher it’s completely anti-hierarchy so you can contrast these to the cavaliers and just there’s there’s no hierarchy here so you know they have a lot of incredibly modern values i’d say so equality for women things like that and uh pretty much if you look at kind of modern social values like they are exist today um there would be quaker values uh yeah that’s that sort of encapsulates a lot of it i would mention that they believed in this inner light that they thought there was goodness in everyone well they thought literally god isn’t everyone yeah yeah right and uh this was an interesting comment that i drew directly from the book um uh puritans were dystopian caricatures of virtue cavaliers were dystopian caricatures of ice and we would think of quakers as today as being pretty ordinary like modern as well yeah i i think this is actually yeah the the interesting thing about uh quaker beliefs in both ways is that just how normal they would seem to all of us it’s like well they get together and they they do their mindfulness class you know once a week and they they uh you know they’re kind of yeah they believe god’s and everyone and like each person has to get to it themselves and um you know they treat everyone with respect you know their anti-hierarchy which was very bizarre in the 1600s i think it’s not bizarre today but it was incredibly bizarre then um and i think they’ve actually kind of won the modern you know battle for american minds it’s just an average right like most people would think of the world this way yeah and so you know there was an insistence on tolerance and freedom pacifism equality of the sexes racial harmony they thought everyone was equal i mean those are all seem to be modern values and you’ve made you’ve really hit on you said they may have won the battle of the philosophies between these four groups yeah i think they’ve won so much you can’t even consider that there was anything different ever i mean like i i really do think this is the case um quakers as a actual group because they didn’t have you know in contrast like roman catholicism they don’t have they didn’t have um major you know religious leaders things and exclusionary practices so you don’t um everything just gets integrated so it’s kind of like the ocean you’re swimming in the ocean your fish you can’t really tell the ocean’s there the water it’s kind of a fact of life that’s kind of what quaker values i think have done um to the world even though there aren’t nominally there aren’t that many quakers um so interestingly another fun fact so most abolitionists were quakers and uh abraham lincoln was half quaker and half puritan um straight up which is quite interesting to me um if you go so if you’re in chapel hill and you take what’s the highway there was uh chapel hill to greensboro 54 is that 54 highway 55 it’s not 54. it’s a country road it’s uh okay yeah it’s 62 i can’t remember well 62 runs up there you’re talking about the one that runs well go ahead and tell what you’re going to tell we’ll work out the details later okay so we can get to the highway it’s where if you head um west out of chapel hill and you go past uh if it falls like jordan lake and you’re heading to attend greensboro you can see all these quaker meetings and they go 10 years back every like so every like 20 miles to get like 10 years back and you know it’s pretty funny these are really old meetings and they keep they keep going it’s one of my favorite drives in north carolina um but the interesting thing is i said they were big abolishing abolitionists and they moved down from pennsylvania that’s where most quakers immigrated to this pennsylvania but then they spread out to north carolina indiana across across the united states uh the underground railroad was run through a lot of quaker meetings and quaker houses so they would you know obviously they believe everyone inner lights and everyone so everybody uh has got inside them so they were big into you know ending slave trade like anti if you had to think of like so puritans are anti-cavaliers but um quakers are even farther away from cavaliers in the sense that you do not believe in hierarchy at all and found this incredibly offensive so you know they help run out underground ground at railroad and support you know harriet tubman et cetera to get people to people out of slave owning south so the quakers had this the picture we’re beginning to paint is the quakers philosophically had this huge impact on the modern world because now we wouldn’t even consider them to be a group from the 16 1700s as much as modern that’s what we would think of them so they obviously had a huge impact now i’ve got a question for you so if that’s true why did they and they didn’t why did they not flourish religiously what do you mean well you know why did they not run everything uh they they kind of their religion has gotten smaller and like yeah in pennsylvania in pennsylvania and philadelphia their impact is less not greater uh so why do you think that’s true right so why why isn’t everyone quicker i think because everyone is quaker in the sense that uh so this is what they really believe so if you look at modern like mindfulness practice that’s literally like just like a quaker worship service like um so you know you get together with people and you’re gonna sit there and meditate um i i think because they’re so it’s so free form to a certain extent so um again there’s not like some ritual and they’re not if they weren’t evangelizing directly right so you’re not saying that come like it’s not a value to say come and like join my my meeting like it’s literally a meeting of people to get together and do this quietly and you know so the explicit religion um declined because they’re not evangelical does that make sense i think that’s exactly that’s a huge part of it as they weren’t evangelical the other thing is they would say you need to go and find the truth yourself and so we’ll get together and give you a chance to think about it and ask us questions we’ll ask you questions about what you think if you bring it up don’t bring it up we’ll just sit here and look at each other or look at the floor but you need to discover that yourself so it wasn’t formalized so much that’s right when people ask me what’s a quaker i said well you got a few minutes because yeah exactly how do you talk about that which doesn’t have boundaries and rules right yes so it’s like this metal level value that has become all-encompassing but the actual explicit practice is not um you know it wasn’t a value to keep that around so people really didn’t that makes sense so yeah so that that’s that’s really interesting here’s the next thing that i want to bring up because it sort of encompasses or the whole thing is like william penn that’s right like will you do you want some william penn first you want me to talk about william go ahead okay william penn you can think of him this way he was a 17th century superman uh he was a distinguished military officer um he was in some legendary duels and he was really good at it so what he would do is disarm his opponent and then give him a lecture about why it was terrible to kill people yeah exactly and um so he was uh he was uh charged with blasphemy and he defended himself and uh successfully um and apparently just was a really bright guy who was also uh he befriended king charles ii who gave him a large chunk of the eastern u.s which became pennsylvania that’s right and he didn’t want to call it pennsylvania he wanted to call it sylvania but all his supporters said no we got to call it pennsylvania so they did and it was intended to be kind of like he called it a colony of heaven for the children of light so a place to retreat from the world and build kind of this better and more utopian vision yeah and here here here’s uh i wrote this down on this verbatim because i thought it was so so telling um the book said that william penn might literally be the most successful person in history from a minor noble and a religious sect that everyone despised to the principles of pennsylvania to the principles of the u.s to the principles of the world yes like literally yeah so i think people understand so being a quaker was super looked out upon um so george fox had some really weird habits like um to try to put his message out of god’s and everyone you know he was like he rode into canterbury on an ass like jesus you know the point being like you know god said everybody and like really riled people up the establishment did not like him whatsoever um and so you know quakers they’re like these weird people they’re letting women in and talking talking living like they’re equals and stuff like all this weird stuff you know i don’t know about that right and it’s this is not cool um so they uh yeah so he he went from minor ability to essentially you know propagating the ideas of modernity you know everywhere kind of these core modern values which is really pretty wild what seems to keep coming to mind over and over again if you set a quaker into today other than the fact the language would be a barrier probably cell phones computers they i’m right in yeah yeah exactly like the dress and things like that they would be like wow this is just like thinking lies like why is everyone

some facts about quakers quakers allowed women to preach and even in my lifetime that was considered to be very forward-thinking yeah exactly pretty pretty wild so yeah emphasis on equality when i think about quakers i think of kind of the uh

the the the how to put this that the further left end of the uh the democratic party so you know i think more like a bernie sanders kind of figure like um whereas you know puritans are definitely more establishment i think massachusetts like kennedy democrat kind of thing um you know i think one of the left end of the democratic party is kind of emblematic of kind of quicker values and um kind of the end point of where that has gotten so far yeah um quakers had very modern modern ideas about parenting as well they believed they sheltered and spoiled their children while they were raised them instead of beating the devil out of them which the other three groups were trying to do yeah exactly very different very different very different william penn wrote 30 books defending liberty of conscience which became the basis of conscientious objection yep so uh their anti they’re pacifist anti-war and uh just super anti i yeah you know so talking about is conscious and why we shouldn’t go to war and things like that yeah and one of the first groups to abolish the death penalty as well that’s right although you know it may have been worse so they’ve lost death penalty and they just put people in solitary confinement and thought well they’ll uh they’ll talk to god and figure it out so you know it’s like a lot of people that was one of those good ideas that didn’t work out very well like that might work for you or me but if you’ve got something didn’t see the emotional problems like not well at all no not good not good okay uh so that’s the quakers when that brings us to the borders and the borders would have been about 1700. that’s right so borders um are from the border region between england and scotland in this area do you know what hadrian’s wall is i do not know what hadrian’s wallet so you can still go and visit there’s like remnants of this wall that the romans put up between uh england and scotland to keep borders out because here they come down and like super rival rousing fighting group up between england and uh scotland so like northern england like these borderlands and so that’s where we get the word border we’re from so if you think of like rough rough and tunnel tom rough and tumble ravel rousers um you know primarily settled in like appalachia that region and if you think of more like the donald trump wing of the republican party andrew jackson was also a border um that’s you can kind of visualize uh kind of oral border values so much less hierarchical than um cavalier values but these are like frontiers people these are pretty you know rough and tumble farmers and subsistence farmers um that lived in kind of appalachia now and what i gathered from reading was that um what would happen is uh the scots would do something to irritate the english and the english would then invade the border uh burn every burn all the buildings down kill everyone the soldiers the people and women children terrible things and then that would settle a bit the scots would all get together and they’d be you know we’re not putting up with this and then so they would rush down south into england and do the same thing burn everything down and kill everybody and just that’s right and so that happened over and over from what i could tell it seemed to cause the borders to move west between ireland and uh and england that’s right and the same thing i mean all this chaos and havoc and and killing everybody and burning everything down built so finally they get to ulcer ulster and ireland and from there also that’s northern ireland right that’s northern ireland and they went from of course nobody wants them right because they’re wild they’re just wild yeah super high murder rates and things like that yeah and we’ll talk a bit about more more about that in a minute but so from there because they’re unwanted like they’re unwanted everywhere you see this pattern developing they go from ultra a quarter of a million of them came to america which is much those numbers were ten times five to ten times more than any other group that we’ve talked about so far yeah pretty super interesting so you mentioned ulster so there was a great tweet uh probably three days ago before recording this i saw um and it was ulster scott’s for trump i thought this is this is like absolutely perfect right like so you know it’s like this this is like somewhat it makes so much sense right because you know they came from borderland between england scotland ulster northern ireland um and then finally to kind of the appalachian region the frontier so they you know they’ll get pushed out by the capitals we don’t want you you know you’re like low class whatever you get out of here noble new england here um so go go west so they went west and that’s where they sell them and the way that that my reading of it is they initially came to massachusetts and they were looking for people to work right because yeah slaves didn’t work out so yeah oh good great they’re here well then they have them there went uh no and so they push them south into virginia the cavaliers say oh good more more labor and then they have them there for a while ago uh no pennsylvania the quakers go well we accept everyone uh no push themselves into the appalachians level where they could be which was probably a good thing in that they got to have their own area right that’s right nobody was going to put a boot on their neck anyway and nobody should live like that so you should try to try to find a place where you can have your community right as i and if you look at uh so even so david hackett fisher wrote another book on the civil war which we should talk about but if you look at like so appalachian appalachian region okay west virginia literally seceded from virginia to stay in america if you look at uh you know western north carolina like everyone was like anti this whole project like you know we’re not succeeding this is stupid like you stupid cavaliers what are you doing and um so you know that’s in western north carolina and if you look at like east tennessee i mean they were blowing up bridges and knoxville and like there’s bridge plots where they would go out and like walk bridges and things like disrupt the war effort they tried to secede from tennessee like east tennessee did um and you know all this so uh borders like pretty much we’re not involved in that project and not really interested in that project to the extent that you know well cavaliers were bought in all the way um but i think that’s an interesting fact to keep in mind yeah and what the author says is and i and i wrote this quote down because it’s so emblematic of the way i’m seeing this group so the borders all went to appalachia and established their own little clans there and nothing all at all went wrong except for the entire rest of american history exactly exactly

i think i’ll tell you what their impact is going to be like so um uh so what their accent would have been like a country western singer i think so uh

it it could be yeah i can’t quite remember the accent patterns for borders but you can imagine what they sound like nowadays and kind of extrapolate from there yeah and they have family feuds and that’s where hatfields and mccoys came from they were borders right something about them um most became southern baptists that’s right yeah uh they were anti-education like the cavaliers didn’t quite believe them yeah in fact um one of the things they would do is i forgot what they call this but uh they would the children would uh i can’t remember if they liked the teachers outside i boarded up the school so they couldn’t get in or couldn’t get out but one of the other

yeah and you mentioned rough and tumble which was actually a sort of a game they played it was wrestling well it’s considered good strategy to gouge out your opponent’s eyes yeah that’s hilarious so the i think the hilarious thing about borders is so everyone in the world when they think of a meme of america they think of a border like that that is the caricature of americans but the truth is yeah so borders have a much more minor role than people would realize but it is an important facet of american modern fault ways as well it’s kind of like this um you know don’t really take nothing from nobody equality is still fairly important um and we are uh yeah we do kind of what we want to do here another four groups they’re the one that’s that’s most often identifies themselves as being americans not like quakers or scotch or irish or english they identify themselves as being americans yeah that’s how much they’re saying speaks to them and you can say well they finally found a home right finally a place yeah final place makes sense to me uh but shooting guns into the air is 100 a border tradition tradition of where it started that’s hilarious and even if you look today so uh border uh so the regionality has changed a little bit and i think the divide has gotten much more urban rural if that makes sense yeah so you know border values are mostly rural values now to a much larger extent although they’re they’ve been quakerized quite a bit so important to keep that in mind um and and you think about like the these big cities are primarily puritan that makes sense yeah good thought um the their justice system was heavy on race neutral lynching named after western virginia settler william lynch exactly so yeah yeah so you know borders are are quite yeah quite different from cavaliers right so it’s not things aren’t really racialized like uh they are for the cavaliers and hierarchies not important you know like these people at all in fact they really kind of hate it to be honest um because you know they’ve been looked at because by the cavaliers and um yeah so very frontier justice kind of attitude towards things and it sounds very much like them impulsive quick quick to draw um just you know just wild yeah wow andrew jackson yeah yeah and so you mentioned a really famous boarder andrew jackson but ulysses s grant teddy roosevelt george patton jonathan patrick henry and davey crockett were all borders yeah it comes to sherman as well yeah yeah okay uh and what was big to them was freedom of government interference and they would lean to the libertarian republican side that’s right so if you think like donald trump will be gatson flag like yeah core anti-england sentiment i would say it’s like border it’s not it’s not royalist cavaliers because they would mostly you know they really wanted their cousins in england to think they were cool the borders did not care um in fact if you look at yeah yeah so if you look at a lot of revolutionary conflict in north carolina it was like you know borders coming out and like running these british out yeah so um so we’ve had a little bit of fun laughed a little bit and heard some really interesting things about these four groups uh and it’s to really get this point to reflect on what their contributions have been to today and i and there were two conclusions that were in the book and i’m going to sort of read through them we’ll take but a minute then i want you to reflect on each conclusion and we’ll go from there this is sort of we’ve done all this to arrive here perfect um first conclusion is this the north was settled by two groups with a combined emphasis on education interested in moral reforms racial tolerance low teenage pregnancies academic and mercantile history they were the historical whigs and republicans who preceded the democratic party and that’s the quakers and the puritans yep you know what tell us about that what you think about that yeah so i think you can you can see this like play out and even just pure outcomes between different regions the united states um so you know the north much more industrialized and so these these fault lines in america uh between these kind of four groups coalesced eventually in the civil war for all kinds of different reasons we talked about that at a later date um but it’s all it kind of explains how like american values are like this really weird combination of you know like these libertarian values like um and these uh and these kind of four groups of american politics and how they kind of play out in these weird ways right like like why is uh you know bernie sanders you know why is his belief so powerful um versus like you know establishment democrats versus establishment republicans that are you know fairly pro hierarchy even though much less so than they would have been before with these cavalier values versus like this weird border politics which we we don’t see super often um you know uh which has kind of come back and and trump to a certain extent which is much more um i people might get mad at me for this but i think it is a true analysis that it’s much more egalitarian than um than uh traditional republican um politicians does that make sense so there’s much more of an emphasis on that and much more border kind of view of the world that makes sense so even in the way like trump like talks and like you know like he’s unfiltered like it’s it’s very like anti what we usually see uh because border presidents are weird you know we’ve only had a couple of them um and and they they tend to uh kind of to act like that and so half this message is the north was settled by the puritans and quakers who became today’s democrats that’s right and the other half the message is the south was settled by two groups with a combined interest in poor education gun culture a culture of violence xenophobia high premarital pregnancy militarism patriotism an accent similar to country western accent no maybe maybe not and um and support for the democratic republicans which became today’s modern republican party that’s right that’s right it explains like the combination of values and like why the two parties have this like weird combination of values and even like americans have like this really weird combination of values and what makes america a unique place and it’s also encouraging in the sense that you know we have been able to get along fairly well other than just massive war in 1860s you know in resolving these conflicts we have been able to create this kind of pluralistic society with a bunch of like really disparate values like i mean you couldn’t think of you know between quakers and cavaliers like this huge you know huge gap but we still managed to kind of make things work fairly well so having reflected on this um first i found that very disturbing because one of the things the points that’s made is this can go beyond culture and be genetic

yes i mean there could definitely be genetic components to uh you know how people view the world you know i just think cultural ways so i’ve been in the middle of what called the secrets of our success it’s quite good it’s all about cultural learning and how things develop depending on you know what what your culture is and how those things interplay that you know the interplay between genes and culture super fascinating so one of the big things that i think we should keep in mind is people learn um so humans are very poor at having new thoughts we’re not very good at it essentially how we learn we look at high status people in whatever peer group we’re in and we copy that behavior so we look at the successful high status beautiful whatever small social group we’re in we copy that behavior um and so i think that’s how these things get passed down when people wouldn’t even realize um so people don’t like having virgin ideas about how to live they essentially look to the biostats person around them they copy that behavior and then that’s kind of what gets transmitted sort of it could be this sort of combination like of of nature and nurture it could be that it is somewhat genetic because faith points out you’re if you develop a habit it can become genetic even in maybe up and maybe even a lifetime it could be and genes can change that fast so whether it’s something you’re you learn from your peers or something you got from people that are older than your peers which i guess that sense is your peers too yeah it’s sort of the same impact that’s right that’s fair and yeah yeah and then the other thing having like some of these uh attributes of these groups that i learned i went wow however i’m going to overcome that then i got to thinking you know it’s all these things mixed up that made us what we are right like there’s periods where you better be a border you better be a general you better be a military person where you better be ultra patriotic yeah that’s how you’re going to survive and then there’s going to be periods when you’re going to need to be like very productive and uh sort of serious and uh puritan yeah get things done yeah and then many of the modern ideas we have about philosophical things came from the quakers and so that’s provided a framework so there’s attributes everywhere that are important there’s some things we need to try to suppress some that’s true that’s always true that’s right yeah and i think to certainly say it explains america so much like these weird values we have and also why we’ve been so successful like this weird combination has been like incredibly successful in creating like this you know the richest country in the world for capital and um and which is super interesting i mean i’m just looking at i think you know the poor state in the in the union is richer than um you know per capita in like sweden i don’t think people realize this like you know i think like mississippi like the average person is like more wealthy than the average person in sweden and you know they get they just trade-offs right there’s trade-offs between you know greatest distribution and like pure economic output um and maybe those people look better i’m not making some value adjustment on that but we are much richer in all these respects and and it’s the tensions those tensions between friends if we want to go to political a little bit i’m not going political much but i will say this it is the tension between the democratic and republican party that sort of we sort of wobble one to one side and we kind of wobble over the other side and then and we’re always sort of moving around what the center seems to be that’s right and that has been sort of an upper trend like the stock market it moves to the upper right that’s right and that’s how you get this i think the important thing is this that’s how you give us a weird average so like you know i’ll be on seed it helps you understand like how it is really weird app policies like uh because it’s weird like you would not you you would not like put these together like rationally and think like okay this is the piece i would grab from here and here and here like no it makes much more sense in context okay uh so reach conclusions final faults

yeah you know i would encourage everyone to just kind of think about you know what are your values and how they line up with these uh with the four folk ways and there are a couple other ways we didn’t cover that are smaller mainly because uh just the pure number of people is not as big so um and we can talk about this later but um hey i i think you know where do your values lie on the spectrum and you know how are they informed in this way by the folk ways and you know even like look at your family history and see how it’s come down and and you might find some surprising surprising ideas good well will thanks for the narrative and we’ll see you next time on narratives thanks

well that’s our show for today i’m will jarvis and i’m will’s dad join us next week for more narratives

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