chapter  11
8 Pages

Conclusion: Perspectives on Yankee Family

WithJames R. McGovern

THE Yankee Family which has been the micro-unit of this study has roots which go back to the earliest days of colonial settlement in New England. It comprises two diverse strains of social-intellectual experience, the Puritan Yankee and the Frontier Yankee, each of which contributes significantly to the Yankee heritage and by derivation to American national character. By attempting to describe the family experience in each tradition, especially the interpersonal relationships of family members and the roles, attitudes and beliefs which they attempt to transfer across several generations, it is hoped that the core of each distinctive family style has been specified and that their essences have been translated into a meaningful definition of the term Yankee. While styles like Puritan and Yankee can surely be measured by sermons, legislative enactments and town records, it would seem that they are apt to remain abstract and stereotyped until they are tested in the family, the primary unit in which settlers spent most of their time and where most decisions affecting their lives were actually made.’In fact, the test of the significance of any attitude or style may well be the way that people employ it when their vital personal interests are concerned – the acquisition of their food, their procreation and love, and the raising of their children.