Cracker Culture: Celtic Ways in the Old South by Grady McWhiney

By Grady McWhiney

Cracker Culture is a provocative learn of social existence within the previous South that probes the foundation of cultural adjustments among the South and the North all through American heritage. between Scotch-Irish settlers the time period “Cracker” first and foremost precise an individual who boasted, yet in American utilization the be aware has come to designate terrible whites. McWhiney makes use of the time period to outline tradition instead of to suggest an monetary . even though all negative whites have been Crackers, now not all Crackers have been terrible whites; either, even though, have been Southerners.

The writer insists that Southerners and Northerners have been by no means alike. American colonists who settled south and west of Pennsylvania through the seventeenth and 18th centuries have been customarily from the “Celtic fringe” of the British Isles. The tradition that those humans retained within the New international bills in huge degree for the variation among them and the Yankees of latest England, so much of whom originated within the lowlands of the southeastern half the island of england. From their good base within the southern backcountry, Celts and their “Cracker” descendants swept westward during the antebellum interval until eventually they'd confirmed themselves and their practices around the previous South. uncomplicated between these practices that made up our minds their conventional folkways, values, norms, and attitudes was once the herding of cattle at the open diversity, not like the combined agriculture that was once the norm either in southeastern Britain and in New England. The Celts delivered to the previous South leisurely ways in which fostered idleness and gaiety. Like their Celtic ancestors, Southerners have been often violent; they scorned pacifism; they thought of fights and duels honorable and always overlooked legislation designed to regulate their activities. moreover, kin and kinship have been even more vital in Celtic Britain and the antebellum South than in England and the Northern usa. basic changes among Southerners and Northerners formed the process antebellum American historical past; their clash within the 1860s used to be now not quite a bit brother opposed to brother as tradition opposed to culture.

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9· W. J. , New York, 19411,30-34, 56, suggests that the Southerner "had much in common with the half-wild Scotch [sic) and Irish clansmen" for "his chief blood-strain was likely to be ... " Scots and Scotch -Irish ,are mentioned in Hesseltine and Stniley, The South in American Hi story, 34-35, 44,5 1,54-55,5 8, 60,62,7 2, 75 , 130; Billington, American South, 18-19; Simkins and Roland, History of the South, 34- 36; and in many local histories. See also such speCialized studies as James G. Leyburn, The Scotch-Irish: A Social History IChapei Hill, 19621; Charles A.

24· Richard S. Dunn, "The English Sugar Islands and the Founding of South Carolina," South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine 72 (I97I), 82-83; Edward McGrady, The History of South Carolina under the Proprietary Government, 1670-1719 (New York, I897), 73 - 128, I43; Robert Mills, Sta· tistics of South Carolina . . (Charleston, I826), I75 ; Abbot Emerson Smith, Colonists in Bondage: White Servitude and Convict Labor in America, 16071776 (Chapel Hill, I947), 48-49, p , I34; Carl Bridenbaugh, Myths and Realities: Societies of the Colonial South (Baton Rouge, I952), 7.

3. Clement Eaton, "Custom and Manners," in The Encyclopedia of Southern History, ed. David C. Roller and Robert W. Twyman IBaton Rouge, 1979), 321; George B. Tindall, The Ethnic Southern· ers IBaton Rouge, 19761,8. 4. Monroe Lee Billington, The American South: A Brief History INew York, 1971 I, 9· 5. I. A. Newby, The South: A History INew York, 19781,39 . 6. William B. Hesseltine and David L. , 19601,2. " According to these authors: "The ScotchIrish early became Southerners. They were of the same Anglo-Saxon stock as the people of the coast regions.

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