Few will go so far as to say that Dixians are a distinct race from other groups of British descent. Most will say that we are culturally different because of our unique history, climate, geography, etc. I’m not going to deny that these other factors affect culture, but I am going to assert that we are racially distinct also. We are not just part of a racially homogenous Anglosphere, but a racially distinct branch of the British branch, of the European branch of the human racial tree. I’m just going to focus on Dixie vs Yankeedom though someone might want to make similar cases for British diaspora to Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, or Caribbean.
We have at least 4 reasons to believe that Yanks and Dixians have formed 2 biologically distinct races:
- Founder effect
- Separate intrabreeding populations in America
- Separate origins in Britain
- Selection Bias
Given that thousands of individuals came over from Britain to the colonies, the founder effect due to random chance alone probably doesn’t make much difference, but when you put these factors together, they really add up, or maybe it would be more fitting to say that they multiply up.
Yankee and Dixian populations in America have been geographically separated, and for the most part have formed separate intrabreeding populations beginning with the colonization of Jamestown in 1607 and Plymouth in 1620. Suppose the average date of arrival for our ancestors was 1750. That means we have been evolving separately in America for about 250 years, which is significant enough to warrant mention, but 250 years is not all that long in terms of the separation of races. By comparison, the indigenous Britons separated from their common ancestors with the Basque somewhere around 10K years ago. Perhaps our separation in America is better appreciated as the continuation of thousands of years of separation back in Europe. Southerners came primarily from Southwest England, Wales, Scotland, and Ulster while Yanks came primarily from Central and Southeast England. These thousands of years of separation have been augmented by the Anglo and Saxon invasions to Britain that left their genetic footprint mostly in Central and Southeast England.
The historic invasions and the DNA studies tell pretty much the same story, with the exception that the DNA studies give us more information about the more Celtic regions of Britain. While several other genetic clusters migrated to the South, the cluster depicted in red went mostly to the New England region.
Plymouth colony attracted Puritan separatists fleeing persecution, thus selecting for ideological tendencies while Jamestown colony attraction was entrepreneurial opportunity. I cannot say with confidence what traits were selected for in the decisions of many English to move to the South instead of pursue opportunities elsewhere. I suppose the colonization of the South selected for an individual’s willingness to migrate to a frontier territory, to risk sea travel, an attraction to agriculture instead of ventures in the city are some likely traits that might have been selected for. Among the Scots-Irish, we know that many of them came for cheap land upon being “dispossessed” of their old land back in Ulster. In many cases entire clans and entire church congregations came together. This probably selected for the increased tribality and religiosity we see in Dixie today.
We can say with high confidence that the Puritan migrations to New England selected for religious radicalism (or just radicalism that happened to be religious in tone at the time). The Puritans were fleeing persecution back in England, or at least that’s their story. A quick look at wikipedia may provide a little more insight.
Plymouth Colony was founded by a group of English separatists who later came to be known as the Pilgrims. The core group (roughly 40% of the adults and 56% of the family groupings) was part of a Congregationalist congregation led by William Bradford. The congregation began to feel the pressures of religious persecution while still in the English village of Scrooby, near East Retford, Nottinghamshire. In 1607, Archbishop Tobias Matthew raided homes and imprisoned several members of the congregation.The congregation then left England in 1609 and emigrated to the Netherlands, first to Amsterdam and then to Leiden.
In Leiden, the congregation gained the freedom to worship as they chose, but Dutch society was unfamiliar to them. Scrooby had been an agricultural community, whereas Leiden was a thriving industrial center, and the pace of life was hard on the Separatists. The community remained close-knit, but their children began adopting Dutch language and customs, and some were also going into the Dutch Army. The Separatists were also still not free from the persecutions of the English Crown. English authorities came to Leiden to arrest William Brewster in 1618, after he published comments highly critical of the King of England and the Anglican Church. Brewster escaped arrest, but the events spurred the congregation to move even farther from England.
I think we can pretty safely substitute the word “radicals” or “troublemakers” or even “kooks” for “separatists” in the passage above. But that’s not all–They even caused trouble for England when they were over in Netherlands with the publication of propaganda critical of the established order in England. Clearly we can see this was not a group of people who excel at minding their own business. Just as Puritans couldn’t leave the Church of England alone, so the yanks couldn’t leave the Confederacy alone, so they still can’t leave us alone today.
Before the Plymouth Colony even got off the Mayflower they wrote the Mayflower Compact:
In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, defender of the Faith, etc.
Having undertaken, for the Glory of God, and advancements of the Christian faith and honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents, solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic; for our better ordering, and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.
In witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape Cod the 11th of November, in the year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth, 1620.
Notice the part about “just and equal laws”. They had been been blown off course from their destination in Virginia as they had been granted permission by the Crown. Supposedly they tried to make it down to Virginia but deemed it unwise due to the approach of winter and running low on supplies, so there was dispute about whether they were still under the jurisdiction of the Crown. It is possible that the opportunity to charter their own provisional government might have helped them decide that it was unwise to sail for Virginia, where their leaders had already been chosen for them undemocratically and under no pretense of equality. Was equality a thing back in England? We can’t know for sure whether the temptation to charter their own government was a factor in their decision to plant roots at Plymouth, but we can see that they chose to appeal to equality, literally before getting off the boat and setting foot on American soil.
We can also take it for near certain that once the Plymouth Colony and the Massachusetts Bay Colony were established as a Puritan stronghold and began attracting newcomers the migration disproportionately selected for the most radical Puritans (eccentrics) that England had to offer. It was probably good for England to take that bowel movement, but it seeded present day Massachusetts with the dregs of the British diaspora. Here’s what wikipedia says about the Massachusetts Bay Colony:
“The population was strongly Puritan, and its governance was dominated by a small group of leaders who were strongly influenced by Puritan religious leaders. Its governors were elected, and the electorate were limited to freemen who had been examined for their religious views and formally admitted to the local church. As a consequence, the colonial leadership exhibited intolerance to other religious views, including Anglican, Quaker, and Baptist theologies.”
Due to these separate origins, selection biases, observed behavioral differences, and to a limited degree, the founder effect itself, we should acknowledge yanks and Southerners as two genetically distinct races, leading to different phenotypes. This difference being an underlying cause for cultural differences and working synergistically with other historical and geographic factors, such as history of plantation culture, climate, political history, etc. It’s not just a matter of growing up in a different culture, but a matter of genetics, and we cannot expect yanks or other outsiders to fully assimilate to the South when genetic differences are a major factor in the equation. We are separate races in the literal and practical senses of the word.