Albion's Seed (Magill's Literary Annual 1990)
Albion is an ancient name for the island of Britain, Celtic or possibly pre-Celtic in origin. In Albions’ Seed: Four British Folkways in America, David Hackett Fischer argues that the origins of American culture are not to be found in either the frontier or ethnic pluralism. Rather, Fischer locates them in four patterns of folkways brought from Great Britain and established in the British Colonies by successive waves of immigrants before 1776. Although less than 20 percent of Americans today are of British stock, Fischer contends that British folkways nevertheless retain much of their vitality, having been adopted by millions of non-British immigrants who subsequently came to the United States. Based largely on empirical data drawn from an amazing variety of primary and secondary sources, this remarkable book brilliantly illuminates both the American past and present. Indeed, it is likely to transform American historiography, both in terms of theory and methodology.
A professor and head of the history department at Brandeis University, Fischer is a leading scholar of early America and American historiography. His first book, The Revolution in Early American Conservatism: The Federalist Party in the Era of Jeffersonian Democracy (1965), documented efforts to transform the Federalist Party and adapt it to the democratic politics of the first American party system. His second book, Historians’ Fallacies: Toward a Logic of Historical...
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