A Yankee Way Of Life

An Editorial On Yankee Culture


Madeline Davenport

Yankee Research Booklet

What do you think of when you hear the word Yankee? Most people just think of the baseball team. There is such a deeper meaning to the word ‘Yankee’. A Yankee is a person who inhabits the New England states of America, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York. Yankees dating back to the Civil War times. 

‘Yankee’ was once considered an insult. Being called a Yankee meant you were a conservative, shrewd, thrifty person. You were very religious, being either a Puritan, Protestant, or Catholic. You were known as the people who patronized young girls and accused them of witchcraft. You were the soldiers who fought for the colonies in the American Revolution or the North in the Civil War. You farmed and lived off of the land in small communities in the 1800s. 

But what does it mean to be a Yankee in 2022? My name is Madeline Davenport, and I am a Yankee. By definition, everyone in my community is a Yankee, but by culture, most people don’t understand what that even consists of. It’s not only a place you live, but it is the mindset and the morals that you carry with you. It is the food and recipes passed down from generations.

I never truly knew what Yankee meant until one day, my family and I were sitting down at the dinner table. Supper consisted of macaroni and cheese, baked chicken, and green beans. My family all sat down to eat, and we all stopped to notice my father adding tomatoes to his macaroni and cheese. I asked why he would do that, considering it seemed so unusual to my siblings and me. He replied with “Your Nana would make this for me when I was younger, it’s a Yankee thing.” Yankee. It was at that moment in time that I became very curious as to what my father meant by “it’s a Yankee thing”. When assigned a project on culture, my mind automatically thought of my own, Yankee.

By definition, Yankee has two meanings. The first one is “a person who lives in, or from, the United States”, the second one is “an inhabitant of the New England states or the northern states”. Therefore, we are all considered Yankees. However, the culture is a mindset and a sense of community. It comes with characteristics that tell you apart from everyone else. For example, Yankee is associated with a hard work ethic and being independent. I realized how much my family and I fit into these characteristics. 


Both my father and mother work multiple jobs. My brother has created his own business at twenty years old. My sister works a job while playing volleyball and being in the nursing program. I have two different jobs as well as being a student-athlete. My family also embodies the characteristic of being independent. We rarely ever hire people to fix things or get certain chores done. We work as a family and get the job done. 

My Nana is a born Yankee. She has raised her children and grandchildren on Yankee recipes: macaroni and cheese with tomatoes, roast with potatoes, blueberry buckle, and, of course, New England clam chowder. My grandmother is very profound on the culture because she grew up in Guilford, as well as raised her kids there and raised her grandchildren in Clinton. 

Our family tree also dates all the way back to before the Revolutionary War, living in Connecticut and Massachusetts. My Nana takes the stereotype of Yankees being shrewd and turns it into a positive stubborn trait. She always looks on the bright side, and I love that about her.

Throughout this project I have learned that Yankee Culture isn’t where you live, it is the mindset and community that you possess. The Yankee culture has been part of me for my entire life without me even realizing it. I use passed-down Yankee recipes and embody Yankee independence, work ethic, and of course the stubbornness. I wouldn’t change a thing. I wouldn’t change my family or our history. I am a Yankee. And I am proud to be one.