October 13, 2015


How British Is American Culture? (Bruce Frohnen, 10/13/15, Imaginative Conservative)

America's British culture is not purely English, let alone Anglican--thank goodness. Our culture's grounding in dissenting traditions and the customs of a mix of enterprising and spiritual settlers shaped its growth from the beginning toward a strong republicanism and principled religiosity that allowed our nation, until quite recently, to avoid the worst degradations of ideological politics long dominant in the United Kingdom. It is to this culture, and to neither English high Anglicanism nor any mythic ideological individualism that Americans should look in working to renew our embattled way of life.

America's culture has its roots in somewhat divergent sets of early immigrants, but immigrants who rather quickly came to share a common view of the proper nature of private character and public life. For example, the Puritans who founded the northern colonies of New England certainly were no effete, aristocratic Anglicans. Calvinists to the core, they had for many decades, even before leaving Great Britain, joined in close-knit communities through "church covenants," whereby they agreed, before God, to govern themselves in political, economic, religious, and even legal dealings separate from the established, Anglican Church. Known as Dissenters, these settlers brought with them a version of the English constitutional tradition that emphasized the rights of local communities to govern themselves, as they had sought to do under the thumb of the established Church of England. And they did so without lords, let alone bishops.

Posted by at October 13, 2015 5:57 PM

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