"The Atlantic" and Anglo-saxon Heritage

cantbeproductive - [original thread]

It’s funny reading outlets similar to the Atlantic bemoan this phrase, when — because of the Atlantic’s Anglo-Saxon heritage — we have articles about Anglo-Saxon tradition from the 19th century. Because it just so happens that Ralph Waldo Emerson, the founder of the magazine, was a huge fan of Anglo-Saxons, considering them a “racial ideal”. Its next founder, Henry Longfellow, had an obsession with Saxon language and poetry and culture, writing tomes and poems about it; he considered his own poetic style Anglo-Saxon.

And so we read, for instance, from the turn of the century (the one before last),


By judicious action, in the right way and at the right time, we may assume for ourselves that position of leadership in organization which England hesitates to take, and thus to make the world-empire of the Anglo-Saxon a certainty.


The Anglo-Saxon race, if we may consider it a race, now holds the foremost place in the world. This is true not merely because the area of its domination is the largest, all in the best regions of the globe, and likely soon to be filled with the largest population; it is true also because it stands for the best yet reached in ideas and institutions, the highest type of civilization, the fairest chance for every man yet offered in the world. Is it going to be able to maintain this position? It is by no means dear as yet what answer will be given to this question.

(Narrator: No.)

Geographically the race is widely scattered, and the problem of defending its integrity against any race of equal power and greater concentration of position, in a conflict waged to the bitter end, would be one of extreme difficulty. But a far more serious danger arises from the lack of unity which prevails in the race, and which would make the use of its full power in such a conflict practically impossible. This shows itself not merely in the absence of any organization which would secure unity at the present time (which is comparatively unimportant), but in the absence of the idea of its urgency and value, and in a disposition to throw upon a single member of the race the whole burden of providing for its defense; and these are more serious matters.

One more for the road:

The warnings which we have heard now and then in the past few years, from very competent observers, of a coming struggle for commercial and industrial supremacy with races whose rivalry we have never yet felt may prove well founded. The Oriental, whose keenness of mind and talent for business, whose faculty of patience and frugal standard of living, make him a most formidable competitor, and who has already begun to exploit the world in his own interest, may soon gain all that the West has to teach him; and in learning the lessons of our civilization he may learn the greatness of his own advantage

I shouldn’t have to note this, but to stave off another site wide suspension, I do not agree with anything in the above. I’m just demonstrating that Anglo-Saxon heritage was at the forefront of the mind of 19th century American elite (the author above was a professor at Yale).

So now, if another outlet — let’s say, the Atlantic — were to tell you that the concept of Anglo-Saxon heritage is fictitious, you would know they’re lying.

When a Mitt Romney foreign policy adviser reportedly told London's Daily Telegraph, in advance of the candidate's trip to England, "We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and he feels that the special relationship is special ... The White House didn't fully appreciate the shared history we have," the comment sparked exactly the sort of campaign mini-controversy you might expect