New England History Series: Liberty: Its True Meaning In New England

Editor’s Note: I’m not really interested in Yankee bashing. I would rather help folks in other parts of the country explore their own heritage. There’s no reason why other people can’t use the same methods to write about, say, the history and culture of New England which would be fascinating.

The following excerpt comes from David Hackett Fischer’s excellent book, Liberty and Freedom: A Visual History of America’s Founding Ideas:

“Through the afternoon there was a carnival of laughter, and also much serious talk of “fair freedom” and “lost liberty.” It is interesting that the Loyal Nine represented these ideas as the very opposite of Andrew Oliver’s striving for “the sake of self.” Here was a New England vision of “publick liberty,” combined with “personal security, personal liberty and private property.” It was a combination of collective rights and individual responsibilities, very different from our modern ideas of collective responsibility and individual entitlement. …

In the English-speaking world, old trees of many species also had another meaning. They symbolized ancient folk rights of freedom and liberty. The oaks of Sherwood Forest were emblems of Robin Hood’s legendary struggle against the tyrannical sheriff of Nottingham …

The Liberty Tree also had an association with the American environment. An orator in Providence called it a symbol of “that Liberty which our Forefathers sought out, and found under Trees, and in the Wilderness.” All of these meanings came together in a vision of liberty and freedom that was unique to New England. …

The scale of these events added another meaning to the Liberty Tree. It became a symbol of the town and its collective rights, in the old New England way. …

From the beginning, Bostonians saw no contradiction between a fierce defense of their own rights and persecutions of aliens and dissenters. That attitude had appeared in the banishment of Roger Williams, the exile of Anne Hutchinson , and the hanging of Quaker missionary Mary Dyer. It persisted into the American Revolution, and Loyalists became the leading victims. In Boston, the place of persecution was the Liberty Tree. It was a site for rituals of humiliation that Peter Oliver (brother of Andrew) called the “Tree Ordeal.” …

Together, they symbolized an old New England vision that had many names. John Cotton called it “well ordered liberty.” Francis Higginson knew it as “soul freedom” and Nathaniel Ward as “free liberty.” John Winthrop defined it as “civil or federal liberty to do that only which is good, just or honest. It was a carefully balanced idea of individual and collective rights …

In New England minds, this vision of liberty and freedom was entirely consistent with the persecution of Quakers and Tories and others who challenged the “common liberty” and “publick liberty.” As late as 1775, New Englanders were striving for their own rights, not those of all humanity …”

How much has New England really changed?

It has never had the same idea of “liberty” as any of the Southern cultures. In the Deep South, it meant prosperity and the opportunity to get rich. In the Backcountry, it meant leave me the f*** alone and mind your own business. In Tidewater, it meant the economic independence to enjoy a life of leisure as a gentleman while cultivating virtue and refinement.

The New England Way has always been about bigotry, intolerance and conformism. This is why political correctness has taken such strong root there. It has always been a guilt-based culture, not an honor-based culture like the South. Contrast it with the traditional Scots-Irish attitude toward liberty which has been more something to the effect of “I don’t give a shit, you do you.”

About Hunter Wallace 12366 Articles
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Occidental Dissent


  1. you should write about the European elections, sir
    your many readers around the world would appreciate.

      • I try to follow the adventures of Trump,
        Salvini and Bolsonaro. Trump by far is the most disappointing.
        Salvini will severely punish mistreatment of animals and want to castrate chemically rapists. Good. Very important for him these elections, if he reaches 33-35%
        Bolsonaro it seems returned to the hard line speeches and positions, weeks ago by decret he liberalized gun ownership, including assault rifles, but some cretins convinced him to step back on assault rifles. It would be a blood bath on the streets in brown areas.

  2. It’s already apparent, at this stage, that the North and South are two different countries. It was widely acknowledged at the time, too.

    Maybe if the Crown had separated them out, like it did Canada, it would have headed off the Revolution.

  3. We will see the completion of Airstrip One of the Babylonian Thalassic Oligarchical Socialists into “Oceania” to begin the final war on the World-Island ( … Russia, Russia, Russia …)

    The how and why of the Thalassic Empire of the Babylonian Oligarchy:

    Oligarchical Socialism (debt usury) of Oceania:

    The World-Island:

Comments are closed.