Texas Liberal

All People Matter

An Expansive Idea Of Family In Colonial Virginia

I’ve been reading  Albion’s Seed—Four British Folkways In North America. This book was written by David Hackett Fischer.   

Here is what I read today in this book about the definition of family in 17th Century Colonial Virgina–

“The word family tended to be a more comprehensive term in Virginia than in Massachusetts. Virginians addressed relatives of all sorts as “coz” or “cousin” in expressions that were heavy with affective meaning; but the term “brother” was used more loosely as a salutation for friends, neighbors, political allies, and even business acquaintances. It is interesting to observe that an extended kin-term tended to be more intimate than the language of a nuclear relationship. The reverse tended to be the case in Massachusetts.”   

Fully understanding that this idea of family did not extend to slaves, there is a lot to be said for this concept  of family. It’s an idea we can update for the current day.  The broader the definition of family, the happier your may be. We are all connected in this life. The people in our immediate nuclear family may or may not be the people we really want around us.   

Here is my post “People Have A Right To Define Family Anyway They Wish.” This is a signature post of this blog.

Here is some good history of 17th-century Virginia.

January 13, 2009 Posted by | Books, Colonial America, History, Relationships | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Passive But Stubborn Resistance Of Mexican Indians Shows Some Resistance Is Always Possible

The following is from Alan Taylor’s American Colonies: The Settling of North America. It is about the passive but meaningful resistance of subjugated people. It is about the response of Mexican Indians to Spanish domination in the 16th Century.

” To sustain a measure of psychological autonomy, Mexican Indians privately nurtured a mythic understanding of the Spanish conquest as cosmically insignificant and ephemeral: of no more enduring significance than the many previous cycles of rising and falling native powers. Having experienced the Aztecs, and the Toltecs before them, the natives of Mexico expected to outlive their Spanish masters.. From our own vantage point on the radical transformation of Indian lives under the onslaught of colonization, this native myth seems far from “true.” But the Indians preserved much of their cultural identity within that transformation, rendering the myth real in their thoughts.

Because of the internal nature of native resistance, the friars could achieve no more than a compromise in matter’s of faith and practice. They ultimately had to tolerate a vibrant religious syncretism in which the new Catholic forms absorbed native content. The cult of the Virgin assumed a special importance as it came to resemble the former celebration of the maternal spirits of the maize, the corn mothers.”      

I think this is useful in seeing how people today and always have responded when to outsiders a situation might seem hopeless. There is always some way to respond.   

November 1, 2007 Posted by | Books, Colonial America, History | , , , , , , | Leave a comment