Albion's Seed

by David Hackett Fischer

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

Albion's Seed by David Hackett Fischer contends that four migrations from the United Kingdom have defined the cultural traits of modern America.

John Winthrop was a lawyer from Suffolk, England who sailed for Massachusetts on the Arbella in 1630. He rose in station to become the governor of Massachusetts.

Dr. John Clark was a Puritan who sailed from Essex for Massachusetts in 1638. By trade, he was a physician, distiller, and merchant.

Thomas Shepard was a New England minister who was popular for his sermons; these were evidently energetic affairs and he enjoyed a special status with the congregation. His carefully maintained diaries reveal the Puritanical streak of fatalism that governed his conduct.

John Cotton was the vicar of Boston’s St. Botolph’s church. He was a staunch Calvinist. The pulpit he preached from still stands in the church. His beliefs played a role in the development of New England's cultural ethos.

William Byrd of Virginia was a Royalist who became a wealthy planter in his adopted country. He is regarded as the patriarch of many erstwhile first families of Virginia.

Colonel Richard Lee arrived in Virginia in 1640, and by 1663 he owned at least seven plantations. He served as the Attorney General and Secretary of State.

John Adams was the second president of the United States. Massachusetts and Connecticut contributed more than half of the cabinet members during his presidency. The Congress under Adams passed legislations to strengthen the navy and expand the judiciary.

Sir Edmund Andros was appointed viceroy of the Dominion of New England by King James II. The Americans revolted against this imperial attempt at domination. Nathaniel Hawthorne writes about it in his story, "The Grey Champion." Sir Andros was imprisoned in Boston.

Sir William Berkeley was appointed Royal Governor of Virginia by Charles I and for more than thirty years Sir Berkeley was the de facto ruler of the colony. Virginia developed a robust economy and a strong political system during his years in office.

Robert Beverley was a Virginia planter whose observations inform us on how the waterways of the territory influenced the growth of small settlements instead of towns, and how trade and commerce flourished courtesy the James River, Potomac River, and the Chesapeake Bay.

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