This has been a delightful book.
I’m really enjoying reading it so far. This is a story about the time the Quaker Nation – which is the ancestor of “Nation of Immigrants” – and Cracker Nation – which is Scots-Irish nation in the Upper South – came to blows in Pennsylvania. The Scots-Irish Presbyterians would later push down the Appalachian Mountains where they settled the Southern backcountry.
It is ominously reminiscent of a later conflict.
“The Borderlanders may have technically moved into colonies controlled by Tidewater gentry and the great planters of the Deep South, but in cultural terms their Appalachian nation effectively cut Tidewater off from the interior, blocking the West Indian slaveocracy from advancing into the Southern uplands. Not until after the revolution would they control any formal governments; places called Tennessee, Kentucky, and West Virginia did not yet exist.
“Indian wars and other violence in Appalachia had profound effects on the other nations, particular the Midlands. We’ve already seen how the Lenni Lenape invasion in the 1750s forced Quakers to relinquish much of their control over the region, but this was merely a dress rehearsal for a much more destabilizing series of events during a later conflict. In December 1763, a Scots-Irish band from in and around Paxton, Pennsylvania, attacked and burned a peaceful Christianized Indian settlement on Penn family land, killing six individuals on the spot and butchering fourteen more at the Lancaster jail, where Midlanders had brought them for protection. Among the dead were two three-year-old children who had been scalped and an old man who’d been hacked up with an axe in the jail yard. After the killings, these so-called “Paxton Boys” rallied together an armed force of 1,500 Scots-Irish neighbors and marched on Philadelphia, intending to murder more peaceful Native Americans who had fled there for their safety on the invitation of Governor John Penn, the late founder’s grandson.
The result was a tense military showdown between Borderlanders and Midlanders, with control of what was then British North America’s premier city hanging in the balance. When the Paxton Boys arrived outside Philadelphia on a rainy day in February 1764, a thousand Midlanders rallied to defend the State House. The city militia deployed a row of artillery pieces on the parade ground of their garrison, each loaded with grapeshot. As the Borderlander army surrounded the city, 200 Quakers actually set aside their principles and took up arms. On the city outskirts the Paxton Boys, dressed in moccasins and blanket coats, “uttered hideous cries in imitation of the [Indian] war whoop, knocked down peaceable citizens, and pretended to scalp them,” according to an eye witness. With German citizens generally remaining neutral and the Scots-Irish underclass in Philadelphia sympathetic with the invaders, the Midlands stood on the brink of occupation.
In the end Benjamin Franklin saved the day, leading a negotiating team that promised to address the Borderlanders’ grievances if they agreed to go home. A party of them was allowed to inspect the Indian refugees in the city but was unable to identify a single enemy combatant among them. When they later submitted their demands to Penn, foremost among them was to be given proper representation in the provincial assembly. (At the time, Midlander counties had twice as many representatives per capita as Borderlander ones.) Philadelphians were horrified, the governor dallied, and the city was “daily threatened with the return of a more formidable force.” Quakers turned to London for help, and kept a standing military force posted in the city for the first time in Midlands history. Only the end of hostilities with the Indians farther west allowed the situation to normalize. But the Paxton Boys’ actions had revealed fault lines across Pennsylvania and other colonies that would break open during the American Revolution.
General Stonewall Jackson of the Cracker Nation leads the attack on the Union Army at the Battle of Chancellorsville. The Scots-Irish war whoop, which was borrowed from the Indians, was the Rebel Yell.
Far from being a despised underclass, the Cracker Stonewall Jackson is second only to the Cavalier Robert E. Lee in the pantheon of Southern heroes. The Confederate Army was a Cracker Army and the Confederacy would have emerged as the Cracker homeland if the slavery issue hadn’t split the Cracker Nation.
If the Confederacy had won its independence, the Cracker Nation would have ruled over a vast dominion in Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Missouri, and likely Arkansas, Texas, and North Carolina within a few decades.
There were so many Crackers in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Texas, and South Carolina – which is why the Upper South chose the Confederacy over the Union – that the slavery issue would have quickly emerged as the fault line of Southern politics in an independent Confederacy.
Through sheer numbers, the Cracker Nation would have prevailed over the Tidewater and Deep South planters (see the fate of Maryland and Delaware), and the race question would have been dealt within Dixie without the interference of Yankees and Quakers whose version of anti-slavery was abolitionism.
The Indians had already been deported to Oklahoma under the Caesar of the Cracker Nation, Andrew Jackson, who is almost singlehandedly responsible for creating Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida.
Old Hickory and Young Hickory (James K. Polk) deported the Indians, dismantled the Second Bank of the United States, defeated Mexico, conquered the Southwest, settled the Oregon Question, and pushed America to the shores of the Pacific.
It is a Yankee myth that Dixie has always been lorded over by a planter slaveocracy. Andrew Jackson was the founder of the Democratic Party.
Every redneck in Dixie identifies with the Confederate flag because it is a nationalist symbol of Scots-Irish backcountry identity. See the image of the deer in front of the Confederate flag above.
Deer hunting, of course, is an excellent example of the merging of the Cracker Nation and the Deep South planter aristocracy which collided in the Western South … both groups loved outdoor sports and created a hybrid society.