We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
English Canadians of the early 19th Century - particularly those in Upper Canada (now Ontario) - called Americans Cousin Jonathan or just plain Jonathan , especially During the War of 1812.
That supports the view that "Yankee" is Dutch in origin, as in Jan Kees or Jan Kaas [John Cheese].
New Netherland is to the northwest, and New England is to the northeast.
Most linguists look to Dutch language sources, noting the extensive interaction between the colonial Dutch in New Netherland (now largely New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and western Connecticut) and the English in colonial New England (Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and eastern Connecticut). Michael Quinion and Patrick Hanks argue that the term refers to the Dutch feminine diminutive name Janneke or masculine diminutive name Janke, which would be Anglicized as "Yankee" due to the Dutch pronunciation of J as the English Y. Quinion and Hanks posit that it was "used as a nickname for a Dutch-speaking American in colonial times" and could have grown to include non-Dutch colonists, as well. Alternatively, the Dutch given names Jan (Dutch: [jɑn]) and Kees (Dutch: [keːs]) have long been common, and the two are sometimes combined into a single name (e.g., Jan Kees de Jager). Its Anglicized spelling Yankee could, in this way, have been used to mock Dutch Americans. The chosen name Jan Kees may have been partly inspired by a dialectal rendition of Jan Kaas ("John Cheese"), the generic nickname that Southern Dutch used for Dutch people living in the North.
The Online Etymology Dictionary gives its origin as around 1683, when it was applied insultingly to Dutch Americans (especially freebooters) by the English. Linguist Jan de Vries notes that there was mention of a pirate named Dutch Yanky in the 17th century. The Life and Adventures of Sir Launcelot Greaves (1760) contains the passage, "Haul forward thy chair again, take thy berth, and proceed with thy story in a direct course, without yawing like a Dutch yanky." It was at some point reappropriated by Dutch settlers of New Amsterdam who started using it against the English colonists of neighboring Connecticut
Though "Cousin Jonathan" could also be compared to John Bull, the personification of Great Britain since the early 1700s.
I believe the Cousin Jonathan usage reflected the fact that the English Canadians on the north side of the St Lawrence River were Loyalists and thus they or their parents would have a) originally come from New England (especially New York) and b) actually did have cousins and other close relatives on the American side.
I grew up in New England with a similar definition: "old stock" whose family was in New England before the Revolutionary War. By that definition, my WASP parents were not Yankees, as they were from "away." As my parents were not Yankees, I wasn't a Yankee.
Outside the US, I was a Yankee. South of the Mason Dixon line, I was a Yankee. But in New England, where I was born and raised, I wasn't a Yankee.
Murray Rothbard is this lecture defined the Yankees are rural New Englanders along with those who migrated to populate the Northern West out to Wisconsin/Chicago. Specifically those "Damn Yankees" who took to radical pietism and also push that to Civil War.
Bird Dog, thanks for posting this. I like that Language Log post. And I learned a lot from the comments here! I didn’t know about the Dutch language connection.
As a multi-generational Vermonter, I find it amusing that the quintessential Yankee is considered in this ditty to be a Vermonter. Vermont wasn’t even one of the original Thirteen Colonies! There weren’t many people of European descent in Vermont at the time the word came into usage.
On the other hand, maybe being a Yankee is more a state of mind than a question of ancestry. Just have some apple pie for breakfast! I like that. Especially with Cabot cheddar cheese.
The Switchel Blogger