The Non-Celtic Confederacy

Joined
Jul 11, 2011
Messages
39
#41
I think the south's different perceptions of itself are based on changing socio political notions about what is an ideal man. For example:

In earlier generations, the ideal man was a genteel, cultured cavalier who was quick with the pen and sword. Thus, the people of the south gravitated to this ideal. Today, we are far more egaltarian. Thus, the image of the ideal man is a somewhat poor, rugged, independent celtic yeoman warrior.

In the end, the ethnic composition of the South is blurred mixture of rich, poor, Anglo Saxon, Semi Celtic and Celtic etc. Different times, with different cultural notions of the ideal man then determine what is emphasized.

That aside,

I watched portions of Webb's documentary Born Fighting. I was stunned that the Smithsonian cooperated with it. The romanticized "Group of Mystical Warriors From the Dawn of Time" tone of the documentary was as if a..... politician with strong sense of self love had written it.

I admire Senator Webb's (English name) military accomplishments, and the contributions of the Scots Irish group, but the docu drama was just over the top and bordered on promoting a sense of ethnic supereority. Social conditions led /lead to proportionally more Appalachians serving in our military. Another set of social conditions led to a unit of Japanese Americans winning more medals per capita than any other unit.

Getting off my soap box now.... .
 
Last edited:

(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)

Waterloo50

Major
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Joined
Jul 7, 2015
Messages
4,406
Location
England.
#42
Yep. Glatthaar discusses this in General Lee's Army:

Southerners also claimed superior breeding. They argued that they descended from Virginia cavaliers who themselves were descended from Normans. Yankee ancestors descended from Saxons and after them the Puritans. In fact, few Southerners had cavalier lineage, and intermixture among Normans, Saxons and other peoples over dozens of generations had diluted any Norman blood that pulsed through their veins. Nonetheless, they believed it so. No one should have been surprised, they asserted, that their superior breeding and superior culture and upbringing would produce superior soldiers who could overcome Yankee advantages in manpower and material.

It was a self-deception based on an imagined "heritage." My own view is that the Celtic roots of the South are today being overstated in a similar way. (And I say that as a descendant of at least one group of Scots-Irish Confederates.) All things Scots, especially, are going through a resurgence in popular culture, so there's lots of tendency to hitch onto that, and make any and every connection more significant than it probably was, especially when many of the Celtic-descended southerners of 150 years ago were themselves several generations removed from the wind-swept moors and lochs of old Caledonia.

I personally blame this mess on James Doohan, Mel Gibson, Jim Webb, and Groundskeeper Willie.
An extract from 'The Cavaliers'
During the English Civil War of 1642-1651, the Cavaliers fought on the side of the king (the Royalists) against the Parliamentarian forces. In many ways, this war was the forerunner to the establishment of English democracy, as well as being the predecessor to the American Civil War. The Puritans, the historic arch-rivals of the Cavaliers, fought against the latter group as members of the Eastern Association. Indeed, many New England Puritans left the colony and went back to England to fight in the war. When the Eastern Association defeated the Royalists in England, many Cavaliers fled to Virginia, founding the area that would serve as the nucleus of the American South – in addition to sowing the seeds of future conflict.
Source:https://jaymans.wordpress.com/2013/07/29/the-cavaliers/
 

18thVirginia

Major
Forum Host
Joined
Sep 8, 2012
Messages
7,765
#44
Ritchie Watson has an interesting book on the literature of the old southwest and themes of the yeoman farmer and the cavalier. He quotes an "imperious" Susan Dabney Smedes, who moved to Mississippi from Tidewater Virginia,

“The plainer classes in Virginia, like those in England, from where they were descended, recognized the difference between themselves and the higher classes, and did not aspire to social equality. But in Mississippi the tone was different. They resented anything like superiority in breeding.” Susan Dabney Smedes.

Yeoman Versus Cavalier: The Old Southwest's Fictional Road to Rebellion

By Ritchie Devon Watson, Jr., p 32.
 

Waterloo50

Major
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Joined
Jul 7, 2015
Messages
4,406
Location
England.
#45
Ritchie Watson has an interesting book on the literature of the old southwest and themes of the yeoman farmer and the cavalier. He quotes an "imperious" Susan Dabney Smedes, who moved to Mississippi from Tidewater Virginia,

“The plainer classes in Virginia, like those in England, from where they were descended, recognized the difference between themselves and the higher classes, and did not aspire to social equality. But in Mississippi the tone was different. They resented anything like superiority in breeding.” Susan Dabney Smedes.

Yeoman Versus Cavalier: The Old Southwest's Fictional Road to Rebellion

By Ritchie Devon Watson, Jr., p 32.
That's an interesting point, why did attitudes change, when the author quotes Susan Dabney Smedes she refers to the 'plainer classes', what class is she referring to, does she mean anyone that wasn't upper class or is she referring to 'Upper Middle Class', did class even exist back then or was it mostly a case of' have and have not', 'rich and poor'. Class is still an issue here in England, unless you are born from aristocracy the best you can hope for is 'Upper Middle', that's the problem with having a Monarchy, its like a sliding scale, everyone looks at the Queen and tries to workout where they are in the scheme of things. It would make perfect sense that anyone considering themselves a 'Cavalier' would feel that they have a sense of superiority over others, we still have it today.
 

Pat Young

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Featured Book Reviewer
Joined
Jan 7, 2013
Messages
30,339
Location
Long Island, NY
#46
Ritchie Watson has an interesting book on the literature of the old southwest and themes of the yeoman farmer and the cavalier. He quotes an "imperious" Susan Dabney Smedes, who moved to Mississippi from Tidewater Virginia,

“The plainer classes in Virginia, like those in England, from where they were descended, recognized the difference between themselves and the higher classes, and did not aspire to social equality. But in Mississippi the tone was different. They resented anything like superiority in breeding.” Susan Dabney Smedes.

Yeoman Versus Cavalier: The Old Southwest's Fictional Road to Rebellion

By Ritchie Devon Watson, Jr., p 32.
In California the pro-Confederate faction was call the Chivs meaning the chivalry.
 

AndyHall

Colonel
Forum Host
Joined
Dec 13, 2011
Messages
13,261
#48
Class is still an issue here in England, unless you are born from aristocracy the best you can hope for is 'Upper Middle', that's the problem with having a Monarchy, its like a sliding scale, everyone looks at the Queen and tries to workout where they are in the scheme of things. It would make perfect sense that anyone considering themselves a 'Cavalier' would feel that they have a sense of superiority over others, we still have it today.
There's an old joke about an American sitting next to an Englishman on a flight from London to New York. The American asks the Englishman what his business is in the States.

"I'm studying how you Americans perpetuate the class system in your society."

The American laughs and says, "we don't have a class system."

The Englishman replies, "that's how you perpetuate it."

I think the distinction Smedes is making between the "higher" and "plainer" classes in Virginia is more familiarly known as the patrician First Families of Virginia (FFVs, for short), and everyone else. Certainly not all the FFVs were themselves part of the landed gentry back in Britain, but they did form their own sort of aristocracy in Tidewater Virginia.
 
Joined
Aug 23, 2015
Messages
476
#49
My grandpa's mother always called herself "one of them Angler-Saxens" from what he's told me. I did some research and she was predominantly Scots-Irish too. No doubt the deep south had a heavy population of people who descended from Scots-Irish settlers, but there was a good amount of people who descended from predominantly English (the aristocrats in the tidewater regions specifically) and some newly-immigrated German ancestry as well.
 
Last edited:

18thVirginia

Major
Forum Host
Joined
Sep 8, 2012
Messages
7,765
#50
There's an old joke about an American sitting next to an Englishman on a flight from London to New York. The American asks the Englishman what his business is in the States.

"I'm studying how you Americans perpetuate the class system in your society."

The American laughs and says, "we don't have a class system."

The Englishman replies, "that's how you perpetuate it."

I think the distinction Smedes is making between the "higher" and "plainer" classes in Virginia is more familiarly known as the patrician First Families of Virginia (FFVs, for short), and everyone else. Certainly not all the FFVs were themselves part of the landed gentry back in Britain, but they did form their own sort of aristocracy in Tidewater Virginia.
Watson points out that Smedes was born and raised in Mississippi, but by F.F.V. parents who represented Tidewater Va. as Eden. Her father sent his sons to UVA and she considers only the Virginia bred families in Miss. as acceptable, not the yeoman farmers and families that surrounded her. I've read parts of the Watson e-book, which seems to make the point that southern authors felt the need to make even the yeoman farmer living in the wilds of Alabama, Miss., Louisiana into an FFV cavalier. Somehow, the cavalier imagery explains slavery in a way in which fiction about frontier yeomen cannot, by acceding to a class structure which was less in existence in the old Southwest.

After reading about Smedes, I looked her book up and I'd actually read a good part of it and thought it fairly dumb at the time. But hadn't grasped the underlying FFV theme. Having lived in Virginia, I have a better understanding of Smede's musings. Still find them dumb, but patrician dumb in a way that I obviously could never quite grasp, being a Southerner from those rough, outlying places.

Can't tell you how many educated, baby boomer Virginians explained to this Texan that they didn't know anything about Texas except what they'd seen or read in GIANT.
 
Last edited:

18thVirginia

Major
Forum Host
Joined
Sep 8, 2012
Messages
7,765
#52
According to Ritchie Watson, you could be like Major Smith in Henry Clay Lewis's Odd Leaves from the Life of a Louisiana Swamp Doctor whom Lewis celebrates for “being the first one of the race to acknowledge that he was not an
F. F. V., which confession, showing his integrity of character, proved to me that he really was one of the very first of the land." Lewis also describes a "Major Billy Subsequent - F. F. V." who dies of embarrassment because his son contracts a plebeian disease of a fever and a chill.
 

Joshism

Sergeant Major
Joined
Apr 30, 2012
Messages
2,024
Location
Jupiter, FL
#53
Let's not forget there were a fair amount of non-British descendents in the South too. Minorcans and Spanish in FL. Creole French in Louisiana. Huguenot descendents in Virginia. In the Shenandoah and eastern WV there were many German descendents - not 48ers, but Colonial descendents. Many of those Germanic people sat out the war because they were in pacifist churches - Brethren or Dunkards.
 
Joined
Aug 30, 2016
Messages
984
Location
Bartlett, TN
#54
It might also depend on the regions these southerners are from. Tennessee and North Carolina had a lot of Scotch-Irish who settled there, especially in the Appalachian Mountains. The 154th Tennessee and 10th Tennessee are two regiments off the top of my head. Memphis had a large portion of Irish and German immigrants, especially compared to the rest of the South.

In Louisiana and Southern Mississippi there is a large portion of French descendants there, the general P.G.T. Beauregard was French ethnic.
 

MattL

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 20, 2015
Messages
3,085
Location
SF Bay Area
#55
Let's not forget there were a fair amount of non-British descendents in the South too. Minorcans and Spanish in FL. Creole French in Louisiana. Huguenot descendents in Virginia. In the Shenandoah and eastern WV there were many German descendents - not 48ers, but Colonial descendents. Many of those Germanic people sat out the war because they were in pacifist churches - Brethren or Dunkards.
Very true... In fact one of my immigrant ancestors was a French Huguenot winemaker who arrived in Virginia in 1620-1621. I wasn't expecting that.

Though most of my ancestors from the area seems to be Scots-Irish and English, with a bit of Scottish, Irish, German, Swiss, etc.
 
Joined
Nov 11, 2009
Messages
9,302
Location
on the long winding road
#56
I think we neeed some balance here while having fun with a few Southern whites believing themselves a part of a Celtic master race. It's baloney and never has been anywhere close to mainstream thinking in this region. But to be fair let's turn the tables and ask where and when did the term WASP originate? It wasn't down South for sure. And where did the influential 19th century preacher Josiah Strong who spoke about Anglo-Saxon predominance the US and the world come from? Well he was born, raised and educated in the Midwest. You should read some of his stuff. And what about the Brahmins of old Boston? You get the feeling that Irish Catholics are still upset about that bunch. So please don't pin the group superiority label exclusively on Southerners because every ethnicity represented here has played the same game to a certain degree at one time or another.
 
Last edited:

CSA Today

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Dec 3, 2011
Messages
19,411
Location
Laurinburg NC
#57
Every so often a thread pops up claiming that the Civil War had its origins in a deep racial divide between an Anglo-Saxon North and a Celtic South. In one thread I posted evidence that there were more Celts (Irish and Scottish) in the North than in the South.

In my readings of primary sources from the white South, I rarely encounter the idea of a Celtic South. Typically, Southern whites refer to themselves as Anglo-Saxon.

I was prompted to post this thread because I read yet another piece by Southern whites echoing the claim of being Anglo-Saxons.

http://www.confederatepastpresent.o...catid=37:the-nadir-of-race-relations&back=yes
It would depend on region and whether you considered Scot-Irish (Lowland Scots and Border English) Celts or Anglo-Saxon. True Celts (Highland Scots, Welsh and Irish) were probably not the predominant European ethnicity in the South as a whole.
 
Joined
Jul 6, 2016
Messages
952
#58
Genetically, even the English have a minority of "Anglo-Saxon" dna. According to this article, only 38% of the typical Englishman's dna is "Anglo-Saxon." In Scotland and Wales, it's 30%. The majority everywhere in Great Britain is the same as that found among what are usually termed "Celts" (and, indeed, most of the population of Western Europe, going back to the Mesolithic).

"Celt," and "Anglo-Saxon" are linguistic and cultural terms applied to peoples who are genetically not all that different from one another. The discussion is one of cultural and political traditions.
Just to muddy the waters a bit more...

Even the Celtishness of the British Isles is a bit suspect. After all the Celtic languages did not reach Britain's shores until the Bronze Age, well after the Mesolithic. The people who built Stonehenge weren't Celts.

So the people who today are mostly thought of as Celts (Irish, Welsh, Scots) are in large part descended from people who weren't Celts, but who decided "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em." It isn't unlike the Britons who adopted the language and culture of the Saxons, and/or intermarried with them. There are very likely "English" people living in the vicinity of Stonehenge who have pre-Saxon and pre-Celtic ancestors who built it.

The original Celts lived on the European mainland, in places where German or French are now the primary language.
 
Last edited:

matthew mckeon

Colonel
Retired Moderator
Joined
Oct 3, 2005
Messages
13,582
#59
I think we neeed some balance here while having fun with a few Southern whites believing themselves a part of a Celtic master race. It's baloney and never has been anyway close to mainstream thinking in this region. But to be fair let's turn the tables and ask where and when did the term WASP originate? It wasn't down South for sure. And where did the influential 19th century preacher Josiah Strong who spoke about Anglo-Saxon predominance the US and the world come from? Well he was born, raised and educated in the Midwest. You should read some of his stuff. And what about the Brahmins of old Boston? You get the feeling that Irish Catholics are still upset about that bunch. So please don't pin the group superiority label exclusively on Southerners because every ethnicity represented here has played the same game to a certain degree at one time or another.
Robert has got a point about the Brahmins, especially early to late 20th century. They marked themselves off from the new immigrant tide(each group worse than the last!) socially and financially, although the Irish would wrest political control from them.

The Brahmins also considered "Yankees"(English descended Protestants) rather uncouth as well, and phrases like "swamp Yankee" and "Hill Yankee" were current up to a few decades ago.
 



(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)
Top