HOME

TheInfoList




The term ''Yankee'' and its contracted form ''Yank'' have several interrelated meanings, all referring to people from the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country in . It consists of 50 , a , five major , 326 , and some . At , it is the world's . The United States shares significan ...

United States
. Its various senses depend on the context, and may refer to
New England New England is a region comprising six states in the Northeastern United States The Northeastern United States (also referred to as the American Northeast, the Northeast, and the East Coast) is a geographical region In geography G ...

New England
ers, residents of the
Northern United States The Northern United States, commonly referred to as the American North, the Northern States, or simply the North, is a geographical or historical region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") ...
, or
Americans Americans are the and of the .; ; ''Ricketts v. Attorney General''897 F.3d 491, 494 n.3 (3d Cir. 2018) (" and are not ous. While all citizens are nationals, not all nationals are citizens."); ''United States v. Morin''80 F.3d 124, 126 (4th ...
in general. According to the ''
Oxford English Dictionary The ''Oxford English Dictionary'' (''OED'') is the principal of the , published by (OUP). It traces the historical development of the English language, providing a comprehensive resource to scholars and academic researchers, as well as desc ...
'', it is "a nickname for a native or inhabitant of New England, or, more widely, of the northern States generally". Outside the United States, ''Yank'' is used informally to refer to an
American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is ...
person or thing. It has been especially popular in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada and Australia, where it may be used variously with uncomplimentary overtones or cordially. In the
Southern United States The Southern United States, also referred to as the Southern States, the American South, Dixie, the Southland, or simply the South, is a geographic and cultural region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally " ...
, ''Yankee'' is a derisive term which refers to all Northerners, and during the
American Civil War The American Civil War (also known by Names of the American Civil War, other names) was a civil war in the United States from 1861 to 1865, fought between northern U.S. state, states loyal to the Union (American Civil War), Union and south ...
was applied by Confederates to soldiers of the Union army in general. Elsewhere in the United States, it largely refers to people from the Northeastern states, but especially those with
New England New England is a region comprising six states in the Northeastern United States The Northeastern United States (also referred to as the American Northeast, the Northeast, and the East Coast) is a geographical region In geography G ...

New England
cultural ties, such as descendants of
colonial New England The New England Colonies of British America British America comprised the colonial territories of the British Empire in America from 1607 to 1783. These colonies were formally known as British America and the British West Indies before the T ...
settlers, wherever they live. Its sense is sometimes more cultural than geographical, emphasizing the
Calvinist Calvinism (also called the Reformed tradition, Reformed Christianity, Reformed Protestantism, or the Reformed faith) is a major branch of Protestantism Protestantism is a form of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, A ...
Puritan The Puritans were English Protestants Protestantism is a form of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Je ...
Christian beliefs and traditions of the
Congregationalists Congregational churches (also Congregationalist churches; Congregationalism) are Protestant Protestantism is a form of Christianity that originated with the 16th-century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be Crit ...
who brought their culture when they settled outside New England. The speech dialect of
Eastern New England English Eastern New England English, historically known as the Yankee dialect since at least the nineteenth century, is the traditional regional dialect of Maine Maine () is a U.S. state, state in the New England region of the United States, bordered ...
is called "Yankee" or "Yankee dialect".


Origin and history of the word


Early usage

British General
James Wolfe James Wolfe (2 January 1727 – 13 September 1759) was a British Army officer known for his training reforms and remembered chiefly for his victory in 1759 over the Kingdom of France, French at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in Quebec as a ...
made the earliest recorded use of the word "Yankee" in 1758 when he referred to the New England soldiers under his command. "I can afford you two companies of Yankees, and the more, because they are better for ranging and scouting than either work or vigilance".Mathews (1951) p 1896 Later British use of the word was in a derogatory manner, as seen in a cartoon published in 1775 ridiculing "Yankee" (American) soldiers. New Englanders themselves employed the word in a neutral sense; the "
Pennamite–Yankee War The Pennamite–Yankee Wars or Yankee–Pennamite Wars were a series of conflicts consisting of the First Pennamite War (1769–1770), the Second Pennamite War (1774), and the Third Pennamite War (1784), in which the Wyoming Valley along the North B ...
", for example, was a series of clashes in 1769 over land titles in Pennsylvania between settlers from
Connecticut Colony The Connecticut Colony or Colony of Connecticut, originally known as the Connecticut River Colony or simply the River Colony, was an English colony in New England New England is a region comprising six states in the Northeastern United State ...
and "Pennamite" settlers from
Pennsylvania Pennsylvania ( , elsewhere ; pdc, Pennsilfaani), officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an ocean or whose coastlines lie on endorheic basi ...
. The meaning of ''Yankee'' has varied over time. In the 18th century, it referred to residents of New England descended from the original English settlers of the region.
Mark Twain Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910), known by his Mark Twain, was an American writer, , entrepreneur, publisher, and lecturer. He was lauded as the "greatest humorist the United States has produced," and cal ...

Mark Twain
used the word in this sense the following century in his 1889 novel '' A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court''. As early as the 1770s, British people applied the term to any person from the United States. In the 19th century, Americans in the southern United States employed the word in reference to Americans from the northern United States, though not to recent immigrants from Europe. Thus, a visitor to
Richmond, Virginia (Thus do we reach the stars) , image_map = , mapsize = 250 px , map_caption = Location within Virginia , pushpin_map = Virginia#USA , pushpin_label ...
commented in 1818, "The enterprising people are mostly strangers; Scots, Irish, and especially New England men, or Yankees, as they are called". Historically, it has also been used to distinguish American-born Protestants from later immigrants, such as Catholics of Irish descent.


Rejected etymologies

Many etymologies have been suggested for the word ''Yankee'', but modern linguists generally reject theories which suggest that it originated in any indigenous languages. This includes a theory purported by a British officer in 1789, who said that it was derived from the
Cherokee The Cherokee (; chr, ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯᎢ, translit=Aniyvwiyaʔi, or chr, ᏣᎳᎩ, links=no, translit=Tsalagi) are one of the indigenous people of the Southeastern Woodlands of the United States. Prior to the 18th century, they were concentr ...
word ''eankke'' ("coward")—despite the fact that no such word existed in the Cherokee language.''The Merriam-Webster new book of word histories'' (1991) pp. 516–517. Another theory surmised that the word was borrowed from the
Wyandot Wyandot may refer to: Native American ethnography * Wyandot people The Wyandot people or Wendat, also called the Huron, are Iroquoian-speaking peoples of North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hem ...
pronunciation of the French ''l'anglais'', meaning "the Englishman" or "the English language", which was sounded as ''Y'an-gee''. American musicologist
Oscar Sonneck Oscar George Theodore Sonneck (October 6, 1873 – October 30, 1928) was a U.S. librarian, editor, and musicologist Musicology (from Greek 'μουσική' (mousikē) for 'music' and 'λογος' (logos) for 'domain of study') is the scholarly an ...
debunked a romanticized false etymology in his 1909 work ''Report on "The Star-Spangled Banner", "Hail Columbia", "America", "Yankee Doodle"''. He cited a popular theory which claimed that the word came from a tribe who called themselves ''Yankoos'', said to mean "invincible". The story claimed that New Englanders had defeated this tribe after a bloody battle, and the remaining ''Yankoo'' Indians transferred their name to the victors—who were "agreeable to the Indian custom". Sonneck notes that multiple American writers since 1775 had repeated this story as if it were fact, despite what he perceived to be holes in it. It had never been the tradition of any Indian tribe to transfer their name to other peoples, according to Sonneck, nor had any settlers ever adopted an Indian name to describe themselves. Sonneck concludes by pointing out that there was never a tribe called the ''Yankoos''.


Dutch origin

Most linguists look to
Dutch language Dutch ( ) is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language spoken by about 25 million people as a first language and 5 million people as a second language, constituting most of the population of the Netherlands (where it is the only officia ...
sources, noting the extensive interaction between the Dutch colonists in
New Netherland New Netherland ( nl, Nieuw Nederland; la, Nova Belgica or ) was a 17th-century colony of the Dutch Republic The United Provinces of the Netherlands, or United Provinces (officially the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands), commonly ...
(now largely New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and western Connecticut) and the English colonists in
New England New England is a region comprising six states in the Northeastern United States The Northeastern United States (also referred to as the American Northeast, the Northeast, and the East Coast) is a geographical region In geography G ...

New England
(
Massachusetts Massachusetts (, ), officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * T ...
,
Rhode Island Rhode Island (, like ''road''), officially the State of Rhode Island, is a state in the New England New England is a region comprising six states in the Northeastern United States The Northeastern United States (also referred to as t ...
, and eastern
Connecticut Connecticut () is the southernmost state in the New England region of the United States. As of the 2010 United States census, 2010 Census, it has the highest per-capita income, second-highest level of List of U.S. states and territories by H ...
). The exact application, however, is uncertain; some scholars suggest that it was a term used in derision of the Dutch colonists, others that it was derisive of the English colonists.
Michael Quinion Michael Quinion (born c. 1943) is a British etymologist and writer. He ran World Wide Words, a website devoted to linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of languag ...

Michael Quinion
and
Patrick Hanks Patrick Hanks (born 24 March 1940) is an English lexicographer Lexicography is divided into two separate but equally important groups: * Practical lexicography is the art or craft A craft or trade is a pastime or an occupation that req ...
argue that the term comes from the Dutch name ''Janneke'', a diminutive form of ''Jan'' (John) which would be Anglicized as "Yankee" due to the Dutch pronunciation of ''J'' as the English ''Y''. Quinion and Hanks posit that it was "used as a nickname for a Dutch-speaking American in colonial times" and could have grown to include non-Dutch colonists, as well. The
Oxford English Dictionary The ''Oxford English Dictionary'' (''OED'') is the principal of the , published by (OUP). It traces the historical development of the English language, providing a comprehensive resource to scholars and academic researchers, as well as desc ...
calls this theory "perhaps the most plausible". Alternatively, the Dutch given names ''Jan'' () and ''Kees'' () have long been common, and the two are sometimes combined into a single name (Jan Kees). Its Anglicized spelling ''Yankee'' could, in this way, have been used to mock Dutch colonists. The chosen name ''Jan Kees'' may have been partly inspired by a dialectal rendition of ''Jan Kaas'' ("John Cheese"), the generic nickname that Southern Dutch used for Dutch people living in the North.Harper, Douglas. ''Online Etymology Dictionary'':
Yankee
. 2013. Accessed 13 Jul 2013.
The
Online Etymology Dictionary The ''Online Etymology Dictionary'' is a free online dictionary, written and compiled by Douglas R. Harper, that describes the origins of English-language words. Description Douglas Harper, an American Civil War The American Civil Wa ...
gives its origin as around 1683, when English colonists used it insultingly in reference to Dutch colonists (especially ). Linguist Jan de Vries notes that there was mention of a pirate named '' Dutch Yanky'' in the 17th century. '' The Life and Adventures of Sir Launcelot Greaves'' (1760) contains the passage, "Haul forward thy chair again, take thy berth, and proceed with thy story in a direct course, without yawing like a Dutch yanky." According to this theory, Dutch settlers of
New Amsterdam New Amsterdam ( nl, Nieuw Amsterdam, or ) was a 17th-century Dutch settlement established at the southern tip of Manhattan Manhattan (), known regionally as the City and the urban core of the New York metropolitan area, is the most dense ...
started using the term against the English colonists of neighboring Connecticut.


Historic uses


Canadian usage

An early use of the term outside the United States was in the creation of
Sam SlickSam Slick is a character created in 1835 by Thomas Chandler Haliburton, a Nova Scotian judge and author. With his wry wit and Yankee voice, Sam Slick of Slicksville put forward his views on "human nature" in a regular column in the ''Novascotian''. ...
the "Yankee Clockmaker" in a newspaper column in
Halifax Halifax commonly refers to: *Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada *Halifax, West Yorkshire, England *Halifax (bank), a British bank Halifax may also refer to: Places Australia *Halifax, Queensland *Halifax Bay, North Queensland Canada Nova Scotia *Hali ...
,
Nova Scotia ) , image_map = Nova Scotia in Canada 2.svg , Label_map = yes , coordinates = , official_lang = English (''de facto'') , RegionalLang = French, Scots Gaelic , capital ...

Nova Scotia
in 1835. The character was a plain-speaking American who becomes an example for Nova Scotians to follow in his industry and practicality; and his uncouth manners and vanity were the epitome of qualities that his creator detested. The character was developed by
Thomas Chandler Haliburton Thomas Chandler Haliburton (17 December 1796 – 27 August 1865) was a Nova Scotian politician, judge A judge is a person who wiktionary:preside, presides over court proceedings, either alone or as a part of a Judicial panel, panel of judge ...
, and it grew between 1836 and 1844 in a series of publications.Cogswell, F. (2000
Haliburton, Thomas Chandler
''Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online,'' Volume IX 1861–1870. University of Toronto/Université Laval. Retrieved on: 2011-08-15.


Damn Yankee

The ''damned Yankee'' usage dates from 1812. Confederates popularized it as a derogatory term for their Northern enemies during and after the
American Civil War The American Civil War (also known by Names of the American Civil War, other names) was a civil war in the United States from 1861 to 1865, fought between northern U.S. state, states loyal to the Union (American Civil War), Union and south ...
(1861–1865). Eventual Rhode Island Governor
Bruce Sundlun Bruce George Sundlun (January 19, 1920 – July 21, 2011) was an American politician and member of the Democratic Party who served as 71st Governor of Rhode Island between 1991 and 1995. He was Rhode Island's second Jewish governor, and the on ...

Bruce Sundlun
had been a pilot in World War II, and he named his B-17F bomber ''Damn Yankee'' because a crewman from North Carolina nicknamed him with that epithet.


Yankee Doodle

A pervasive influence on the use of the term throughout the years has been the song "Yankee Doodle" which was popular during the
American Revolutionary War The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the Revolutionary War and the American War of Independence, was initiated by delegates from thirteen American colonies of British America British America comprised the colon ...
(1775–1783). The song originated among the British troops, creating a stereotype of the Yankee simpleton who stuck a feather in his cap and thought that he was stylish, but it was rapidly re-appropriated by American patriots after the
battles of Lexington and Concord The battles of Lexington and Concord were the first military engagements of the American Revolutionary War The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the Revolutionary War and the American War of Independence, was init ...
. Today, "Yankee Doodle" is the official
state song Forty-nine of the fifty U.S. state In the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America. It co ...
of Connecticut.


Cultural history

The term ''Yankee'' now may mean any resident of New England or of any of the
Northeastern United States The Northeastern United States (also referred to as the American Northeast, the Northeast, and the East Coast) is a geographical region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of ...
. The original Yankees diffused widely across the northern United States, leaving their imprints in New York, the
Upper Midwest The Upper Midwest is a region in the northern portion of the U.S. Census Bureau The United States Census Bureau (USCB), officially the Bureau of the Census, is a principal agency of the U.S. Federal Statistical System, responsible for produci ...
, and places as far away as
Seattle Seattle ( ) is a port, seaport city on the West Coast of the United States. It is the county seat, seat of King County, Washington, King County, Washington (state), Washington. With a 2020 population of 737,015, it is the largest city in bo ...

Seattle
,
San Francisco San Francisco (; Spanish language, Spanish for "Francis of Assisi, Saint Francis"), officially the City and County of San Francisco, is a cultural, commercial, and financial center in the U.S. state of California. Located in Northern Califo ...

San Francisco
, and
Honolulu Honolulu (; ) is the Capital city, capital and largest city of the U.S. state of Hawaii, which is located in the Pacific Ocean. It is an Unincorporated area, unincorporated county seat of the Consolidated city-county, consolidated City and Coun ...

Honolulu
. Yankees typically lived in villages consisting of clusters of separate farms. Often they were merchants, bankers, teachers, or professionals. Village life fostered local democracy, best exemplified by the open
town meeting A town meeting is a form of direct democracy Image:Landsgemeinde Glarus 2006.jpg, upright=1.5, A Landsgemeinde, or assembly, of the canton of Glarus, on 7 May 2006, Switzerland. Direct democracy or pure democracy is a form of democracy in ...
form of government which still exists today in New England. Village life also stimulated mutual oversight of moral behavior and emphasized civic virtue. From the New England seaports of
Boston Boston (, ), officially the City of Boston, is the capital city, capital and List of municipalities in Massachusetts, most populous city of the Commonwealth (U.S. state), Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the United States and 21st List of Unit ...

Boston
, Salem,
Providence Providence often refers to: * Providentia, the divine personification of foresight in ancient Roman religion * Divine providence, divinely ordained events and outcomes in Christianity * Providence, Rhode Island, the capital of Rhode Island in the ...

Providence
, and New London, among others, the Yankees built international trade routes, stretching to China by 1800. Much of the profit from trading was reinvested in the textile and machine tools industries.


Stereotypes

Yankee ingenuityYankee ingenuity is a self-made stereotype Police officers buying doughnuts and coffee, an example of perceived stereotypical behavior in North America. In social psychology Social psychology is the Science, scientific study of how the t ...
was a worldwide stereotype of inventiveness, technical solutions to practical problems, "know-how," self-reliance, and individual enterprise. The stereotype first appeared in the 19th century. As Mitchell Wilson notes, "Yankee ingenuity and Yankee git-up-and-go did not exist in colonial days." The great majority of Yankees gravitated toward the burgeoning cities of the northeast, while wealthy New Englanders also sent ambassadors to frontier communities where they became influential bankers and newspaper printers. They introduced the term "Universal Yankee Nation" to proselytize their hopes for national and global influence.


Religion

In religion, New England Yankees originally followed the
Puritan The Puritans were English Protestants Protestantism is a form of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Je ...

Puritan
tradition, as expressed in
Congregational churches Congregational churches (also Congregationalist churches; Congregationalism) are Protestant Protestantism is a form of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of ...
. Beginning in the late colonial period, many became Presbyterians,
Episcopalians Anglicanism is a Western Christian tradition Christian tradition is a collection of tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition about the world ...
, Methodists,
Baptists Baptists form a major branch of Protestant Protestantism is a form of that originated with the 16th-century , a movement against what its followers perceived to be in the . Protestants originating in the Reformation reject the Roman Cath ...
, or, later, Unitarians. Strait-laced 17th-century moralism as derided by novelist
Nathaniel Hawthorne Nathaniel Hawthorne (July 4, 1804 – May 19, 1864) was an American novelist, dark romantic, and short story writer. His works often focus on history, morality, and religion. He was born in 1804 in Salem, Massachusetts Salem ( ) is a historic c ...

Nathaniel Hawthorne
faded in the 18th century. The
First Great Awakening The First Great Awakening (sometimes Great Awakening) or the Evangelical Revival was a series of Christian revival Christian revivalism is increased spiritual interest or Renewal (religion), renewal in the life of a local church, church cong ...
(under Jonathan Edwards and others) in the mid-18th century and the
Second Great Awakening The Second Great Awakening was a Protestant Protestantism is a form of that originated with the 16th-century , a movement against what its followers perceived to be in the . Protestants originating in the Reformation reject the Roman Cath ...
in the early 19th century (under
Charles Grandison Finney Charles Grandison Finney (August 29, 1792 – August 16, 1875) was an American Presbyterian minister and leader in the Second Great Awakening in the United States. He has been called the "Father of Modern Revivalism." Finney was best known as ...
, among others) emphasized personal piety, revivals, and devotion to civic duty. Theologically,
Arminianism Arminianism is a branch of Protestantism Protestantism is a form of Christianity Christianity is an , based on the and of . It is the , with about 2.5 billion followers. Its adherents, known as , make up a majority of the populati ...
replaced the original
Calvinism Calvinism (also called the Reformed tradition, Reformed Christianity, Reformed Protestantism, or the Reformed faith) is a major branch of Protestantism Protestantism is a form of Christianity that originated with the 16th-century Refor ...
.
Horace Bushnell Horace Bushnell (April 14, 1802February 17, 1876) was an American Congregational Congregational churches (also Congregationalist churches; Congregationalism) are Protestant Protestantism is a form of Christianity that originated with the 1 ...
introduced the idea of Christian nurture, through which children would be brought to religion without revivals.


Politics and reform

After 1800, Yankees spearheaded most reform movements, including those for abolition of slavery, temperance in use of alcohol, increase in women's political rights, and improvement in women's education.
Emma Willard Emma Hart Willard (February 23, 1787 – April 15, 1870) was an American women's rights Women's rights are the rights Rights are law, legal, social, or ethics, ethical principles of Liberty, freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are t ...

Emma Willard
and
Mary Lyon Mary Mason Lyon (; February 28, 1797 – March 5, 1849) was an American pioneer in women's education. She established the Wheaton College (Massachusetts), Wheaton Female Seminary in Norton, Massachusetts, (now Wheaton College (Massachusetts), Whe ...

Mary Lyon
pioneered in the higher education of women, while Yankees comprised most of the reformers who went South during
Reconstruction Reconstruction may refer to: Politics, history, and sociology *Reconstruction (law), the transfer of a company's (or several companies') business to a new company *''Perestroika'' (Russian for "reconstruction"), a late 20th century Soviet Union ...
in the late 1860s to educate the
Freedmen A freedman or freedwoman is a formerly enslaved person who has been released from slavery, usually by legal means. Historically, enslaved people were freed by manumission (granted freedom by their captor-owners), emancipation (granted freedom ...

Freedmen
. Historian John Buenker has examined the worldview of the Yankee settlers in the Midwest:
Because they arrived first and had a strong sense of community and mission, Yankees were able to transplant New England institutions, values, and mores, altered only by the conditions of frontier life. They established a public culture that emphasized the work ethic, the sanctity of private property, individual responsibility, faith in residential and social mobility, practicality, piety, public order and decorum, reverence for public education, activists, honest, and frugal government, town meeting democracy, and he believed that there was a public interest that transcends particular and stock ambitions. Regarding themselves as the elect and just in a world rife with sin and corruption, they felt a strong moral obligation to define and enforce standards of community and personal behavior…. This pietistic worldview was substantially shared by British, Scandinavian, Swiss, English-Canadian and Dutch Reformed immigrants, as well as by German Protestants and many of the Forty-Eighters.
Yankees dominated New England, much of
upstate New York Upstate New York is a geographic region consisting of the portion of New York State New York is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department ...
, and much of the upper Midwest, and were the strongest supporters of the new Republican party in the 1860s. This was especially true for the
Congregationalists Congregational churches (also Congregationalist churches; Congregationalism) are Protestant Protestantism is a form of Christianity that originated with the 16th-century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be Crit ...
,
Presbyterian Presbyterianism is a part of the Reformed tradition Calvinism (also called the Reformed tradition, Reformed Christianity, Reformed Protestantism, or the Reformed faith) is a major branch of Protestantism Protestantism is a form of ...
s, and (after 1860) the Methodists among them. A study of 65 predominantly Yankee counties showed that they voted only 40% for the Whigs in 1848 and 1852, but became 61–65%
Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of government that is not a monarchy or dictatorship, and is usually associated with the rule of law. ** Republicanism, the ideology in support of republics or against ...
in presidential elections of 1856 through 1864.
Ivy League The Ivy League (also known as The Ancient Eight) is an American collegiate athletic conference An athletic conference is a collection of sports team A sports team is a group of individuals who play sport Sport pertains to any form ...
universities remained bastions of old Yankee culture until well after
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, particularly
Harvard Harvard University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly t ...
and
Yale Yale University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly two ...
, as well as " Little Ivy"
liberal arts Liberal arts education (from Latin "free" and "art or principled practice") is the traditional academic program in Western higher education. ''Liberal arts'' takes the term ''Art (skill), art'' in the sense of a learned skill rather than spec ...
colleges.


Yankee stereotypes

President
Calvin Coolidge Calvin Coolidge (born John Calvin Coolidge Jr.; ; July 4, 1872 – January 5, 1933) was an was an American lawyer and politician, who became the 30th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the hea ...

Calvin Coolidge
exemplified the modern Yankee stereotype. Coolidge moved from rural
Vermont Vermont () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in ...

Vermont
to urban
Massachusetts Massachusetts (, ), officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * ...

Massachusetts
and was educated at elite
Amherst College Amherst College ( ) is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly two ...
. Yet his flint-faced, unprepossessing ways and terse rural speech proved politically attractive. "That Yankee twang will be worth a hundred thousand votes", explained one Republican leader. Coolidge's laconic ways and dry humor were characteristic of stereotypical rural "Yankee humor" at the turn of the 20th century.


Contemporary uses


In the United States

The term ''Yankee'' can have many different meanings within the United States that are contextually and geographically dependent. Traditionally, ''Yankee'' was most often used to refer to a New Englander descended from the original settlers of the region, thus often suggesting Puritanism and thrifty values. By the mid-20th century, some speakers applied the word to any American inhabiting the area north of the
Mason–Dixon Line The Mason-Dixon line, also called the Mason and Dixon line or Mason's and Dixon's line, is a demarcation line{{Refimprove, date=January 2008 A political demarcation line is a geopolitical border, often agreed upon as part of an armistice o ...
, though usually with a specific focus still on New England. ''New England Yankee'' might be used to differentiate. However, within New England itself, the term still refers more specifically to old-stock New Englanders of English descent. For example: In the Southern United States, the term is used in derisive reference to any Northerner, especially one who has migrated to the South and maintains derisive attitudes towards Southerners and the Southern way of life. Alabama lawyer and author Daniel Robinson Hundley in his book ''Social Relations in Our Southern States'' describes the Yankee as such:
Yankee with all these is looked upon usually as a term of reproach --signifying a shrewd, sharp, chaffering, oily-tongued, soft-sawdering, inquisitive, money-making, money-saving, and money-worshipping individual, who hails from Down East, and who is presumed to have no where else on the Globe a permanent local habitation, however ubiquitous he may be in his travels and pursuits.
Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas pointed out as late as 1966, "The very word 'Yankee' still wakens in Southern minds historical memories of defeat and humiliation, of the and
Sherman's March to the Sea Sherman's March to the Sea (also known as the Savannah campaign or simply Sherman's March) was a military campaign A military campaign is large-scale long-duration significant military strategy military plan, plan incorporating a series of int ...
, or of an ancestral farmhouse burned by
Quantrill's Raiders Quantrill's Raiders were the best-known of the pro-Confederate partisan guerrillas (also known as " bushwhackers") who fought in the American Civil War The American Civil War (also known by Names of the American Civil War, other names) ...
".
Ambrose Bierce Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce (June 24, 1842 – circa 1914) was an American short story writer, journalist, poet, and Civil War veteran. His book ''The Devil's Dictionary ''The Devil's Dictionary'' is a satirical dictionary written by American Civil ...

Ambrose Bierce
defines the term in ''
The Devil's Dictionary ''The Devil's Dictionary'' is a satirical dictionary written by American Civil War The American Civil War (also known by Names of the American Civil War, other names) was a civil war in the United States from 1861 to 1865, fought between ...
'' as: "In Europe, an American. In the Northern States of our Union, a New Englander. In the Southern States the word is unknown. (See DAMNYANK.)" E. B. White humorously draws his own distinctions: Major League Baseball's
New York Yankees The New York Yankees are an American professional baseball Baseball is a bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two opposing teams who take turns batting (baseball), batting and fielding. The game proceeds when a pl ...
acquired the name from journalists after the team moved from Baltimore in 1903, though they were officially known as the Highlanders until 1913. The regional
Yankees–Red Sox rivalry The Yankees–Red Sox rivalry is a Major League Baseball (MLB) Major League Baseball rivalries, rivalry between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. Both teams have competed in MLB's American League (AL) for over 100 seasons and have since ...
can make the utterance of the term "Yankee" unwelcome to some fans in New England, especially to the most dedicated Red Sox fans living in the northeastern United States. The term ''Swamp Yankee'' is sometimes used in rural Rhode Island, Connecticut, and southeastern Massachusetts to refer to Protestant farmers of moderate means and their descendants (in contrast to richer or urban Yankees); "swamp Yankee" is often regarded as a derogatory term. Scholars note that the famous Yankee "twang" survives mainly in the hill towns of interior New England, though it is disappearing even there. Mark Twain's 1889 novel '' A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court'' popularized the word as a nickname for residents of Connecticut, and Connecticut Air National Guard unit 103d Airlift Wing is nicknamed "The Flying Yankees."


In other countries

The shortened form ''Yank'' is used as a derogatory, pejorative, playful, or colloquial term for Americans in Britain, Australia, Canada, South Africa, Ireland, and New Zealand. The full ''Yankee'' may be considered mildly derogatory, depending on the country. The Spanish variation ''yanqui'' is sometimes used in Latin American contexts. Venezuelan Spanish has the word derived c. 1940 around the oil industry from ''petty yankee'' or ''petit yanqui'', a derogatory term for those who profess an exaggerated and often ridiculous admiration for anything from the United States. In Australia, the term ''seppo'' is sometimes used as a pejorative reference to Americans. It derives from traditional rhyming slang where ''yank'' is replaced with ''septic tank'' and shortened to ''seppo''. In the late 19th century, the Japanese were called "the Yankees of the East" in praise of their industriousness and drive to modernization. In Japan, the term has been used since the late 1970s to refer to a type of delinquent youth. In Finland, the word ''jenkki'' (yank) is sometimes used to refer to any American citizen, and ''Jenkkilä'' (Yankeeland) refers to the United States itself. It is not considered offensive or anti-American, but rather a colloquial expression. In Sweden, the word ''jänkare'' is a derivative of yankee that is used to refer to both American citizens and classic American cars from the 50's that are popular in rural Sweden. Comments on H-South by Seppo K J Tamminen
h-net.msu.edu


See also

* Dixie, a term used to refer to the Southern United States * Brother Jonathan * Carpetbagger, Northerners in the South during Reconstruction * 26th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade (Yankee Division) * Jonkheer * Anti-Americanism * Yankee Doodle Dandy *
Yankee ingenuityYankee ingenuity is a self-made stereotype Police officers buying doughnuts and coffee, an example of perceived stereotypical behavior in North America. In social psychology Social psychology is the Science, scientific study of how the t ...
* ''Yanks Go Home'', British sitcom * British people, Brit * Canuck * Aussie * Kiwi (people), Kiwi * Boer * WASP


References

Notes Further reading * Beals, Carleton; ''Our Yankee Heritage: New England's Contribution to American Civilization'
(1955) online
* Conforti, Joseph A. ''Imagining New England: Explorations of Regional Identity from the Pilgrims to the Mid-Twentieth Century'
(2001) online
* Bushman, Richard L. ''From Puritan to Yankee: Character and the Social Order in Connecticut, 1690–1765'' (1967) * Daniels, Bruce C. ''New England Nation: The Country the Puritans Built'' (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012) 237 pp
excerpt and text search
* Ellis, David M. "The Yankee Invasion of New York 1783–1850". ''New York History'' (1951) 32:1–17. * Fischer, David Hackett. ''Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America'' (1989), Yankees comprise one of the four * Gjerde; Jon. ''The Minds of the West: Ethnocultural Evolution in the Rural Middle West, 1830–1917'
(1999) online
* Gray; Susan E. ''The Yankee West: Community Life on the Michigan Frontier'
(1996) online
* Handlin, Oscar. "Yankees", in ''Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups,'' ed. by Stephan Thernstrom, (1980) pp 1028–1030. * Hill, Ralph Nading. ''Yankee Kingdom: Vermont and New Hampshire.'
(1960).
* Holbrook, Stewart H. ''Yankee Exodus: An Account of Migration from New England'' (1950) * Holbrook, Stewart H.; ''Yankee Loggers: A Recollection of Woodsmen, Cooks, and River Drivers'' (1961) * Hudson, John C. "Yankeeland in the Middle West", '' Journal of Geography'' 85 (Sept 1986)
Jensen, Richard. "Yankees" in ''Encyclopedia of Chicago'' (2005).
* Kleppner; Paul. ''The Third Electoral System 1853–1892: Parties, Voters, and Political Cultures'' University of North Carolina Press. 1979, on Yankee voting behavior * Knights, Peter R.; ''Yankee Destinies: The Lives of Ordinary Nineteenth-Century Bostonians'
(1991) online
* Mathews, Lois K. ''The Expansion of New England'' (1909). * Piersen, William Dillon. ''Black Yankees: The Development of an Afro-American Subculture in Eighteenth-Century New England'' (1988) * Power, Richard Lyle. ''Planting Corn Belt Culture'' (1953), on Indiana * Rose, Gregory. "Yankees/Yorkers", in Richard Sisson ed, ''The American Midwest: An Interpretive Encyclopedia'' (2006) 193–95, 714–5, 1094, 1194, * Sedgwick, Ellery; ''The Atlantic Monthly, 1857–1909: Yankee Humanism at High Tide and Ebb'
(1994) online
* Smith, Bradford. ''Yankees in Paradise: The New England Impact on Hawaii'' (1956) * Taylor, William R. ''Cavalier and Yankee: The Old South and American National Character'' (1979) * WPA. ''Massachusetts: A Guide to Its Places and People.'' Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration of Massachusetts (1937). ::Linguistic * Davis, Harold. "On the Origin of Yankee Doodle", ''American Speech,'' Vol. 13, No. 2 (Apr., 1938), pp. 93–9
in JSTOR
* Fleser, Arthur F. "Coolidge's Delivery: Everybody Liked It." ''Southern Speech Journal'' 1966 32(2): 98–104. * Kretzschmar, William A. ''Handbook of the Linguistic Atlas of the Middle and South Atlantic States'' (1994) * Lemay, J. A. Leo "The American Origins of Yankee Doodle", ''William and Mary Quarterly'' 33 (Jan 1976) 435–6
in JSTOR
* Logemay, Butsee H. "The Etymology of 'Yankee'", ''Studies in English Philology in Honor of Frederick Klaeber'', (1929) pp 403–13. * Mathews, Mitford M. ''A Dictionary of Americanisms on Historical Principles'' (1951) pp 1896 ff for elaborate detail * H. L. Mencken, Mencken, H. L. The American Language (1919, 1921) * ''The Merriam-Webster new book of word histories'' (1991) * ''Oxford English Dictionary'' * Schell, Ruth. "Swamp Yankee", ''American Speech'', 1963, Volume 38, No.2 pg. 121–123
in JSTOR
* Sonneck, Oscar G. ''Report on "the Star-Spangled Banner" "Hail Columbia" "America" "Yankee Doodle"'' (1909
pp 83ff online
* Karen Stollznow, Stollznow, Karen. 2006. "Key Words in the Discourse of Discrimination: A Semantic Analysis. PhD Dissertation: University of New England., Chapter 5.


External links


Online Etymology Dictionary

Wordorigins.org
{{Ethnic slurs American culture American regional nicknames Anti-Americanism English-American history Ethnic and religious slurs New England Regional nicknames English words