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Albion's Seed is indeed a very thought-provoking book, although I am not sure here just what you intend as the bottom line takeout, although maybe that is not the point, which is to stimulate thinking about the historical origins and evolution of all these things.

One point I found interesting in it, which I had been vaguely aware of before reading it, is the fact that the differences between say Massachusetts and Virginia, which showed up in the Civil War, of course, and were also present during the English Civil War (not a fact usually focused on much in US history courses) reflected the different parts of England from which the predominant original settlers came from, with the MA puritans coming from Essex and around Cambridge and the VA cavaliers coming from southwestern England and around Oxford, with these regions in fact on the opposite sides during the showdown between the republican Calvinists of the southeast and the Monarchist loyalists of the southwest. In Philadelphia one got people more from the Midlands, and these would be the ones who got into the Appalachian mountains first, thus setting the dialect that would spread west and become the basis of "American English."

Pete I'm sure you've read Boorstin's trilogy _The Americans_. I'm almost done with the 2nd volume- "The Democratic Experience" and I find him addressing the same basic question of "where do we come from?" Boorstin points up the vagueness of America's political origins as a strength (and a weakness), because Americans got to reinvent our institutions in the context of a wide open frontier. For me this is the awesome thing about American history, and, incidentally, what makes the West the greatest part of America (especially for libertarians- you'd be amazed at the things that are crimes in the East that are commonplace and accepted out West.)

If you ask me, the genius of America is Anglo-Scot common law in the context of the frontier (extremely low cost of exit) that has kept the state, even to this day, from becoming the stultifying, rapacious beast of, e.g. modern Europe.

Anyway, sounds like a great class!

The Appalachian Mountains were settled by the backcountry borderers from the northern part of Britain. They were hounded from the fertile south-east by the Quakers who drove them into the mountains and out the Cumberland Valley. This set up the schism in Pennsylvania politics between the elite south-east and the west. Seen in the Revolution, the Whiskey Rebellion, and the continued division at the Susquehanna.

The second volume published in the series is Liberty and Freedom. It is about the development of the concepts and images of liberty and freedom over time in the US. It is another impressive demonstration of erudition and encyclopedic knowledge but not as analytic or memorable as Albion's Seed. But it is too much to expect two Albion's Seeds from anyone. The other works remain in preparation and lightning may strike twice to our good fortune.

Alan MacFarlane's Intellectual Origins of English Individualism should also be of interest as would be the Riddle of the Modern World and the portion of the Making of the Modern World concerning Maitland. English Individualism is cited by DHF in Albion's Seed and its impact is apparent. It carries the story back to the forest primeval.

I like Alan MacFarlane .

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