The Norman Hypothesis

The Puritan hypothesis is a main plank of neoreaction, but the English Civil War itself didn’t arise out of the vacuum.

I came across this article:

Indeed, such attempts to root Northerners, particularly those from the Northeast, and Southerners in antagonistic bloodlines went back at least as far as 1837, when another anonymous writer in The Messenger wrote, “We, too, of the South, and especially we of Virginia, are descendants, for the most part, of the old cavaliers — the enemies and persecutors of those old puritans — and entertain, perhaps, unwittingly something of an hereditary and historical antipathy against the children, for the fathers’ sake.”

It seems many southerners (and northerners) prior to the civil war believed themselves to be the descendents of the Normans (and Anglo-Saxons, respectively). Here’s an 1846 journal article from a J. Quitman Moore in DeBow’s Review arguing the Norman heritage of Dixie.

I can’t find anything on how factual this myth of Norman heritage is, but according to Jayman the Cavaliers believed themselves to be descended from the Normans. But if it is genetic fact it is interesting.

The Normans were Catholic Vikings who had settled Northern France, while the Anglo-Saxons were Germanics who displaced the original Celtic Britons. Interestingly, given the later alliance of the Cavaliers and Scots-Irish in both the English and American civil wars, the Irish and Scots were also invaded and ruled by the Normans who became “more Irish than the Irish themselves” and were eventually integrated. The Norman’s were, being vikings, a rather violent people.

It is possible the roots of modern political differences are genetic in origin, extending past the American civil war, before the Glorious revolution, and back the conflict between the Norse Normans and the Teutonic Anglo-Saxons. Even more speculatively, could this go deeper to a genetic legacy from the split of the Germanic peoples or even the corded ware/battle axe culture era.

Now, I’m no expert in this area and from my understanding, nobody really knows for sure, this is all speculative but the possibility is interesting to think about. Maybe someone like HBD Chick could give this a closer look.


  1. As a people, our fore fathers came from different parts of England (many of us come from Scotland), were on different sides of the English Civil War and came here for different reasons

    #1) we were here 1st and the pilgrims/ Purtians showed up later. It is implied things went the other way round in the yankee approved history books, but it is not so. We had our 1st thanksgiving down here before the pilgrims showed up.

    #2) most of us down here with actually genetic roots to the Founding Stock, came from people who live in Northern England and Southern Scotland. That border area was always problematic for English, with both the English there and the Scots giving them a lot of fits. Mostly because neither side was into the law an order thing. Puritanism tended to come from Southern England. It is a theory that folks from Southern England are more Germaitic then folks from Northern England. For many 100’s of years outlaws from all over Europe would settle in this area, the Saxons where stronger in Southern England, and we live under the Dane Law for a goodly amount of time. Yes we are different people at the genetic level( or where) and yes down here, we have more people decedent from those who founded america then they do anywhere else.

    #3) we came here for different reasons. My forefathers came here to make money, get free of the English etc. Purtians came here to establish a progressive utopia, with all aspects of life regulated by the government in the hopes that regulating people with a heavy hand would make them better humans; also the various utopian/ progressive cults get there start north of the Masson Dixion line.

    #4) you can predict how a county will vote based on its White ethnic background. The 6 counties in Indiana which are full of Ulster Scots vote like Ulster Scots in Appaiclahca, pro gun, anti govt etc etc. This is discussed in the book Albion Seed. A county full of Germans will vote for more government control and less individual liberty.

    #5) progressivism got its start and gained its numbers from the various White ethnic groups who migrated here after the War of Independence. Politics up north took a major change toward to big government public/ private sector crony capitalism within in a few years of the Germans fleeing the failed 48 rebellion showing up

    There is no doubt there is a generic difference in voting patterns and it make sense when you think about how different the Border Rever culture was from the rest of the UK, various historic population trends and how ethnic Whites in the usa have voted for a 100+ years.

  2. The Yankees = progressivism argument could be true for all I know, but it isn’t backed by presidential election maps. The New England area only turned blue in 1992. Before that they were swing states at best, mostly leaning conservative. It was the only area of the country that seemed resistant to FDR, for example. Massachusetts voted blue more than the others in the 20th century, but its hard to blame this on “puritans” – it was full of catholics from the Irish and Italian immigrant waves. I think the story isn’t quite as simple as Moldbug wants it to be.

  3. “#1) we were here 1st and the pilgrims/ Purtians showed up later. It is implied things went the other way round in the yankee approved history books, but it is not so. We had our 1st thanksgiving down here before the pilgrims showed up.”

    Could you be more specific? Jamestown was obviously the first colony, but the population didn’t start growing for a long time. The natural rate of population growth was strongly negative and immigration was low until the Governor Berkeley era. New England experienced a huge wave of immigration in the 1620s and 30s.

    In other words, most old stock northerners can trace their ancestry in this country back further than most old stock southerners.

  4. The GOP is the original progressive party, got its footing with linclon, based on tax the South, spend the money up north on the public/ private partnerships between rail road money and federal government, and expansion of federal power.

    The desire for more centralized control was popular up north from the very beginning of the republic, thin k federalists vs anti federalist how much that breaks down with the Masson Dixon line

    Actually with the mass of White ethnic immigration in the 1900’s founding stock is rare on the ground up north. Beyond that I don’t know enough about the demographics trends o f the early republic to say. Since big cities where the rage up there it is likely that more folks live up there but nit really relevant.

  5. Will S.,
    Curious why you think Southrons are “full of crap” on this issue — David Hackett Fischer describes Virginia as being settled by “disappointed Cavaliers”, so there’s more than just LARPing involved.

    I’ve been working through some of Moldbug’s recommendations on the American Revolution — Peter Oliver’s “Origin and Progress of the American Rebellion” and Bailyn’s “Ideological Origins of the American Revolution”. Progressive craziness is recognisable in Massachusetts pretty clearly. Not to mention the later developments of Free Love, communistic societies, abolitionism, women’s suffrage, alcohol prohibition, etc. Can’t blame progressive politics all on Lincoln — more like Sam Adams.

  6. @ ashv He’s right about the mythology thing: Fischer documents Tidewater Virginia as such, but the bulk of the South was settled by people from Northumbria, the West Midlands, the Scottish Lowlands, and Ulster. The Calhouns, Polks, Jacksons, and the like were old Anglo-Saxon borderlander families, not East Anglian gentry, and bought into the Cavalier mythos later, especially after the 1830’s. Fischer’s chapter on the borderlanders is the best resource for early Southern culture and its relationship to the old country, in my reckoning.

  7. Last evidence I recall seeing was that the Normans after the invasion essentially made up most of the aristocratic classes.

    So even those who fought for Cavaliers and called themself such may not have been actually Norman, rather ruled by them.

Leave a Reply