A long time ago, I got interested in a people called ‘Yankees’. You can read about them in the Introduction and first two chapters of The Yankee Road. It happened that as generations of Yankees moved West, they went in a direction that largely parallels old US 20. So, I decided that this road, often partnered by Interstate 90 east of Chicago, but on its own after that for the most part, as the physical tie between stories about Yankee achievements.
This is, to me, not a trivial thing. There is no question in my mind that the Yankees who were the villains to the rebel Southerners in the 1860s and the Yankees who are the objects of insults in demonstrations in all parts of the world, are connected. In the eyes of the world, all Americans are ‘Yankees’, even though some Americans might blanch at the thought. Globalization is to a large extent, Americanization, and Americanization, to a large extent, comes out of what some 1840s enthusiasts called ‘the Universal Yankee Nation’.
The original Yankees are pretty well gone now, absorbed into the millions of immigrants who came looking for a better life. They were taught how to get it by Yankee politicians, businessmen, schoolteachers, preachers and thinkers. It is so natural a part of the culture today, it isn’t even noticed. But it isn’t natural to Vietnamese, Russians and Brazilians, etc. – yet! Until next time…