I recently ran across the following commentary from Valerie Protopapas. She presents a different view from my own on the subject of American identity. For balance, I thought our readers might enjoy her take on the subject:
Southerners were and are ‘Americans.’ They were, in fact, the definition of ‘American’ from the beginning and this was believed by every part of the original ‘nation’ except for New England. If you listen to some of the lectures available through the Abbeville and Stephen Dill Lee Institutes as well as from Dixie Broadcasting by men like Drs Livingston and Wilson, you will learn that the Yankee was considered ‘odd man out’ and disparaged by the rest of the country while he (the Yankee) could see nothing but himself and his section as the proper understanding of an American. When a Yankee wrote a dictionary, it wasn’t an ‘American’ dictionary, it was a ‘New England Yankee’ dictionary. And when he wrote a book on geography, it was New England geography. Books by Yankees about the rest of the nation were filled with hatred and contempt for New Yorkers, the Dutch, Pennsylvanians and, of course, Southerners.
Only after the War of Secession did the Yankee become the standard by which all others were judged and the people of the South whose ancestors had created and nurtured this country and whose blood had been spilled and fortunes sacrificed for its furtherance, condemned to the bitter dregs of calumny. But never say that you, as a Southerner, are not an ‘American’ because, in fact, you are the true and actual “Americans” and what is put forth today as an American is a false and deceptive image based upon New England utopianism.