WASPishness Ain’t What It Used to Be
By Robert Higgs • Wednesday October 6, 2010 7:02 PM PDT •
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the social and political elite of the British North American colonies and, after they gained their independence, the United States of America was overwhelmingly WASPish — consisting of white, Anglo-Saxon Protestants. In the twentieth century, the composition of the elite changed enormously. This fact was brought home to me again this morning by a feature in USA Today about the current U.S. Supreme Court justices. They include six Catholics and three Jews. I daresay that a hundred years ago, a court with this religious composition would have been quite unthinkable for most Americans.
Oh, yes, Chief Justice John Roberts would seem to be the only Anglo-Saxon on the court–I’m not sure whether this designation correctly describes his ethnicity.