Never wishy-washy in her discussions of religion, O’Connor told the
Sweet Briar audience “that when Emerson decided in 1832 that he could no
longer celebrate the Lord’s Supper unless the bread and wine were
removed…, an important step in the vaporization of religion in America
had taken place.” ( & Sweet Briar is no more, sad to say) Just checked and it has been revived! The Lord works in mysterious ways as my Mother would say. Sweet Briar College
YANKEE, n. In Europe, an American. In the Northern States of our
Union, a New Englander. In Southern States the word is unknown.
(seeDAMYANK.) Ambrose Bierce, THE DEVIL’S DICTIONARY (1906).
Bierce’s definition of the Yankee is a bit outdated. No doubt some
Southerners still refer to Northerners, especially New Yorkers and New
Englanders, as Damyanks, but no one can say that Yankees live
exclusively in New England, in the North, or north of the Mason-Dixon
line. Nowadays Yankees live all over the South. Since birds of a feather
tend to flock together, Yankees have descended in force on the same
Southern cities (Charlotte, Dallas, and Atlanta, for examples), and
Yankee resort communities of the trailer court, condominium, and
suburban varieties have sprung up in Florida, the Southwest, and all
over the Southern Highlands. Most small towns in the South, even many
rural communities, have one or two Northern transplants.
Yankees have come to the South—to the Bible Belt and the Sun Belt-for
jobs, for safety, for retirement; they have come to escape Jack Frost,
the rude and frigid culture of their cities, Damyanks, and a host of
economic, racial, and social difficulties. This Exodus— one wonders if
the transplant thinks he has come to the Promised Land—has taken much of
the geographical distinction out of the word Yankee. But the word
designates more than a person from a particular region: it designates
the attitudes and values, the frame of mind and outlook on life
characteristic of the reformers, innovators, and abstract thinkers of
nineteenth-century New England.