The arrival in 1620 of the Mayflower and Puritan migration occupy the first pages of the history of colonial America. Less known is the exodus from New England, a century and a half later, of their Yankee descendants. Yankees engaged in whaling and the China Trade, and settled in Canada, the American South, and Hawaii. Between 1786 and 1850, some 800,000 Yankees left their exhausted New England farms and villages for New York State, the Northwest Territory and all the way to the West Coast. With missionary zeal the Yankees planted their institutions, culture and values deep into the rich soil of the Western frontier. They built orderly farming communities and towns, complete with church, library, school and university. Yankee values of self-labor, temperance, moral rectitude, respect for the law, democratic town government, and enterprise helped form the American character. New England was the hotbed of reform movements. Yankee-inspired religious movements spread across the nation and beyond. The Anti-Slavery and the Anti-Imperialism movements started in New England. Susan B. Anthony campaigned for women's suffrage, Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross, Dorothea Dix established asylums for the mentally ill, and May Lyon was a pioneer in women's education. Yankees spread the Industrial Revolution across America, using waterpower and then stream power. Opposing slavery and advocating education for all children, the Yankee pioneers clashed with Southerners moving north. In Kansas the dispute between Yankee and Southerner erupted into armed conflict. In time the Yankee enclaves in Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, Minneapolis, and San Francisco fused with others to form the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant elite (WASPs), to dominate American commerce, industry, academia and politics.
By the close of the nineteenth century, industry began to leave New England. Yankees felt threatened by the rising political power of immigrants. In an effort to keep the nation predominantly white and Protestant, prominent Yankees sought to restrict immigration from Asia, and from eastern and southern Europe, and impose quotas on American-Catholics and Jews seeking admission to elite universities and clubs. Despite barriers, the American-born children of the immigrants benefited from their education in public schools and colleges, entered the American mainstream, and steadily eroded the authority of the Protestant elite. The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 opened the United States to immigrants from Asia, Africa and South America. The great mix of races, religions, ethnicity and individual styles is forming a pluralistic America with equally shared rights and opportunities.
Publisher: Lexington Books
Number of pages: 346
Weight: 662 g
Dimensions: 239 x 157 x 32 mm
Americans have been on the move throughout their history. In this book we learn how the people of New England moved into the far reaches of the North American continent, shaping its politics and institutions. Full of colorful characters, this book is a fascinating perspective on three hundred years of history. -- Sven Beckert, Harvard University
Those of New England Puritan ancestry played an outsized role in the development of the United States. Rosenberg's meticulously researched work reminds us just how influential Yankees were in establishing the political, educational, and economic institutions of communities large and small, from Ohio to Oregon, Canada to Hawaii. His work charts the influence of key New England individuals as they moved west and south, defined the nation's literature and politics, and developed its economy. We glimpse the fate of illustrious families as each generation pushed further into new territories, planting their culture in new environments, shaping the broad contours of America in ways largely unchanged by subsequent immigrants. A fascinating odyssey. -- Eric Kaufmann, Birkbeck, University of London
This is a panoramic view of the Yankee diaspora from New England and its impact on the evolution of communities in every region of the United States. It throws new light on the history of internal migration as a unifying force in the building of the American nation and its institutions. -- Reed Ueda, Tufts University