Ethnic activities and leisure cultures
in The English diaspora in North America
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Charity and mutual aid—hierarchical and reciprocal types of ethnic associationalism—divided the St George’s societies from the Sons of St George and the Sons of England. However, such divisions did not create intra-ethnic hostility between them. Regardless of this significant turn in the history of English ethnic associational culture in North America, all associations were united in their patriotism to England, which remained a constant. And despite their different social composition and emphases, the elite and middle-class St George’s societies still shared a number of characteristics with the more working-class organisations focused on providing collective self-help. Chapter 4 traces the inner workings and activities of the different organisations to explore these commonalities both in terms of their structures and membership, but also with respect to the events and socio-cultural pursuits they promoted. St George’s Days, dinners, dances, lectures, day trips and sports, were all used to emphasize shared identity in the new communities. Moreover, the somewhat chauvinistic deployment of Anglo-Saxon rhetoric and of pugnacious, loud expressions of loyalty to the monarchy were critical for all of these English groups, united them behind common principles. Such shared values were customarily expressed at dinners and parades, but also at more specific events organized for coronations and jubilees. War also played a significant role, heightening the sense of loyalty to the crown and shared roots—even in the republican United States. Indeed wars afforded an opportunity for the English in North America to send funds home to aid widows and orphans, with large sums generated. Each of these aspects is explored here.

The English diaspora in North America

Migration, ethnicity and association, 1730s–1950s

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