Odds & Ends

Odds and Ends

From the June 2014 issue

Tom Bethell’s essay on “The Divided States of America” (TAS, April 2014) reminds us once again of the primordial differences in attitudes toward government and freedom in this country.In his book Albion’s Seed, David Hackett Fischer outlined the cultural assumptions of the four main ethnic groups that settled the American colonies. What’s important for our politics is their different ideas about freedom. The South had two groups intensely jealous of their own rights but rather blasé about the rights of others. Puritan New England was settled by people who believed in controlling themselves and their neighbors, intricately regulating their communities, and cherishing the right of local government to do this. Between were the Quakers who were more mutual, believing that rights must be the same for all, and trying to govern by consensus.

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