The ‘American Heritage’

The American Heritage, as seen from A.D. 1955, was the focus of a group called ‘The Newcomen Society’ in Vermont. Their goal was, as best I can understand it, to preserve the ‘American Heritage’ by promoting interest in it and preserving tangible remains of the past.

In 1955 the Newcomen Society hosted a luncheon in Shelburne, Vermont. The following are some brief excerpts from the address given.

“As we forge ahead…in our marathon of Progress to provide the common man with automobiles, television sets and automatic garbage disposals, the gap yearly widens between our civilization and that of the uncommon men who settled the Atlantic Seaboard and the far prairies.

[…]It is true that the average man in this Country is living better from the standpoint of material possessions than he ever has in the history of the world, and I suppose we owe it to the assembly lines. But I am sure that if Henry Thoreau were alive today, he would be gloomier than ever, and Emerson would be moved to expand his essay on Compensation. We have admittedly gained much, but have we not at the same time lost a great deal? We are so frantically busy building a new environment that may not necessarily be any better, or in some ways as good, as the one we have been living in, that I am sure we have all frequently wondered if we are not indeed going too far.

Psychological requirements, of course, do not change. People still seek to put roots down and to express themselves. Yet the gadget civilization of today tends to frustrate these needs. We cannot put roots down while gales of change are buffeting us about.

We cannot mechanize and standardize everything without blunting individuality and self-expression. The Constitution of Vermont reminds us “that frequent recurrence to fundamental principles and a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, industry and frugality are absolutely necessary to preserve the blessings of liberty and keep government free.”

The men who wrote these words found in their environment many values that we cannot share in a society that has become so commercial, so mobile and so highly organized. But the conditions of the Twentieth Century do not prevent us from seeking these values, and there is no better way of seeking them than to cultivate a sense of the past. For years we have tended to be disdainful of the old. We have chided the British for their poor plumbing and emphasis on tradition. However I am sure that many Americans, straining to keep up with the ever-increasing tempo of life, have from time to time suspected that our English cousins may have something there.

Fortunately the pendulum always swings the other way. During the past few years there have been symptoms of a tremendously renewed interest in the American Heritage. This may be because we are now old enough as a Nation to look back at our beginnings with real perspective and appreciation, yet I think there is a deeper reason, a psychological one. If we do not know where we are going today, it is at least reassuring to know where we have come from. It is comforting to sense our kinship with the pioneers, whose burdens were far heavier than ours, but who nevertheless seemed to know where they were going.”

The Newcomen Address was delivered on 28 September, 1955, at the Vermont Luncheon of the Newcomen Society, at Shelburne Harbour Inn, Shelburne, VT

In 1955 there seemed to be an air of optimism about what the writer of the speech saw as a renewed interest in American Heritage on the part of these New Englanders. Sad to say, it seems as if there is little of that interest today, but then in our own defense it may be that most of us recognize that we are in a dire situation, and our immediate fate concerns us more at the moment than does our past, our historic heritage.

Can we learn useful lessons from our Pilgrim or Puritan forebears? They were hardy and resilient people. I am not sure how true that is of us, their descendants. But maybe we can take some inspiration from them and perhaps we might learn something. There is so much doomsaying and black-pilling these days on the Internet but I don’t think we can afford to give in to that spirit.

And as the writer refers to the ‘gales of change’ that were buffetting the people of that era; we are being buffetted ourselves, in our day. Some of that can-do spirit is essential.

7 thoughts on “The ‘American Heritage’

  1. “The pendulum swings” type argument reminds me much of trad Anglicans who are betting zoomer and mil youth will come over to high church since they allegedly hunger for ceremony and customs. Not sure if I buy it or the trend is even significant. Many end up in liberal episcopal churches, so seems misdirected. More likely, I suspect, zoomer and mil youth are seeking (those better informed at least) durability and stable institutions– at a time of general institutional hostility. But this assumes organizations like Roman Catholicism or eventually Mormonism, aren’t also ultimately hostile to Anglo interest. As various social organization comes fully onboard with the overall consolidation and expansion of elitiest power, even these last perceived bastions will become plainly unfriendly. I expect an exodus even from these institutions, so the question remains: are we ready for that event, and do we know how to endure quietly until then? I think the history of lay agency and semi-seperatism in Protestantcy can help much, and we should start there. Methodism is a special case due to its impact on American past, formative effect, and special relation to the English national church. It was a crucible for many expressions of Anglo Christianity, especially America. So, there’s a ton of answers but seems presently no one is especially interested in delving into the subject. Protestantism currently has a stigma due to the former Anglo elite’s conjoined activity with rising (unbelieving) Jewish power. Today, what was formerly the senior brother is more like a junior partner, but I think apparently too compromised for some to constructively touch. Indeed, unfortunate!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wonder what the fate of the mainline churches will be with all the changes that are ongoing.
      You mention the Methodist church; I know they have become very liberal in recent decades, going back at least to the 1960s, what with the Liberation Theology that pervaded so many of the churches. I would be very happy to see it go back to the old ways but will any of the churches do that? It seems all the major denominations are ‘converged’, or am I wrong?

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    2. Hello Charles

      I thought it was the catholic ethnics that sided with the unbelieving Jewish element.

      Without state support it is near to impossible to maintain historical protestant standards. There are many grievances with how Americans lost this. It was always done with lies.

      Thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. As everyone knows, the Protestant mainline is in steady decline, so the UMC is no different than UCC or TEC, et. al.. I don’t think any church, at this point in time, even the more conservative type, is going to buck this general trend, and Protestant laity will ultimately find themselves in the lurch or simply put up with non-traditional, modernist ministry. But more than not, I expect families to be alienated. Prior to the COVID lockdowns, the Protestant mainline was trying to slow the trend by merging or consolidating denominational ministers and property in certain localities where decay was severe. So, I think you’re right, the low theological context (which is embarrassingly shoddy) of the Protestant churches (where orthodoxy means voting democrat and signaling on progressive politics) has paved the way for mergers with financial pressures pushing the denominations together. That said, there’s nothing stopping nationalists from appropriating the Protestant past in ways that make sense for us, and in fact, if we are to reconstruct an authentic anglo-american tradition (AmNat), then we are obliged to dig into the deposit, which is rich indeed. The only problem is, so far, the Protestant institutions are notorious for their slips and commitments to progressive-globalism, and most nationalists don’t want to bother looking beyond the interwar period into the mid-19th century and prior. In the American situation, methodism is one pathway back to the old Church of England or an actual ‘ethnic church’ which Drew Fraser writes about, so is critical and salient for those in the present-day Anglo diaspora. For a time (and time and a half), expect those of us to persevere by means of high decentralization, even as if we return to wilderness conditions. A good question for AmNat was how ethnic religion and community was kept under such circumstance as the frontier. There is barely a church, perhaps a travelling minister from time to time, and if a meeting house was put up, it was shared by all denominations as a Federated or Union mission. etc. I think this is where we ultimately need to make a stake. Meanwhile, trad-Nats are barking up the wrong tree looking for ‘big institutions’, like Rome, forgetting or ignoring the fact there is no leadership for us and these same institutions (if not entirely now, soon) will be opposed to our interest and well-being.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think it will depend on our people identifying credible moral characters that people can turn to. “Saintly” persons who can rise above the usual “shutdown” media smears. Such persons could call out the horrific nonsense lies against our kind.

    Anybody know anyone?

    Thanks Bonnyblue and Charles

    Liked by 1 person

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