Wednesday, November 05, 2008

White Anglo-Saxon Protestants

White Anglo-Saxon Protestants
Originally uploaded by mackz
The term originated in reference to White Americans of Anglo-Saxon descent, says Wikipedia, who were Protestant in religious affiliation. However, the term does not have a precise definition, and can be used to describe greatly differing groups.[1] It initially applied to people with histories in the upper class Northeastern establishment, who were alleged to form a powerful elite. Working class whites in the U.S. are generally not referred to as "WASPs", even if they are Protestants of Anglo-Saxon descent.[2]

Protestant Christianity is considered the dominant religious sect among WASPs, particularly mainline denominations such as Presbyterianism, Congregationalism, Episcopalianism, and Unitarianism.

The original WASP establishment created and dominated the social structure of the United States and its significant institutions when the country's social structure took shape in the 17th century until the 20th century.

The class is still imagined to dominate America's prep schools and to older universities including those in the Ivy League or small liberal arts colleges, including NESCAC schools (see the "Little Ivies"). It is true that these elite institutions were important to a certain portion of WASPs, who were taught skills, habits, and attitudes and formed connections which carried over to the influential spheres of finance, culture, and politics.

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