By 1776, British colonists—mostly English, but with strong Scottish, Welsh, and Irish contingents, along with New York’s Dutch colonials and later German arrivals—had created an American branch of British civilization. At the time of the Declaration of Independence, they were long-settled: almost 170 years in Virginia, over 150 in Massachusetts. At great effort—and at the expense of the Indians they uprooted and the African slaves they imported—colonial Americans formed a nation in their own image. The diversity of their settlements reflected the variety of their British origins. David Hackett Fischer’s magisterial Albion’s Seed traces four great British colonial migrations that leave their mark still: Puritans from East Anglia to New England, Cavaliers from the West Country to Virginia, Quakers from the Midlands to the Delaware, and northern Britons, including the Scots-Irish, to the American backcountry.....
Revolutionary Americans, the United States’ founders, were fairly homogeneous: 80 percent of British origin (60 percent English, 20 percent Scottish and Scots-Irish), most of the rest Dutch and German—the great majority American-born. Overwhelmingly Christian, 98 percent were Protestants. (Not included in these percentages are American Indians, who had no part in the political life of the colonies, and African slaves and freemen, who were largely excluded from political and social life.) These descendants of colonial settlers were American natives, if by America we mean the United States.
Why, then, such pressure to pretend that the United States is not really a country but an inhabited idea? One reason may be the attractiveness of the propositional nation idea to immigrant groups that do not want to feel second-class next to the natives. A benign motive but unnecessary: the United States accords no preference to settlers’ descendants. Another is that the NOI, dedicated to a democratic proposition, provides a pretext for foreign interventionism: is it not the highest calling of such a state to democratize, through conquest and occupation if necessary, the less-fortunate rest of the world whence its immigrant-citizens came?Facts are stubborn things.
America’s integrity is strained by multiculturalism, affirmative action, and mass immigration. The NOI creed is most convenient for those in government, ethnic pressure groups, and academia who want to cut America loose from her history and traditions to recast her as a multicultural mélange they can rule by distributing spoils to contending groups. In short, the creed has become a weapon for those who would dissolve America as it has evolved and replace it with something else. Those who would conserve this country need to know enough history to refute it.