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How was White Anglo-Saxon Protestant Culture?

The White Anglo-Saxon Protestants popularly known as Wasps belonged to an ethnic group of British upper-middle-class white protestants that dominated the economic and cultural aspects of America.

George H.W. Bush was the last white Anglo-Saxon Protestant President of United States of America.

What does white Anglo-Saxon protestant mean?


The term white Anglo-Saxon protestant is used to refer to all upper-class white American protestants, who are descendants of Noth-European origin.

Famous White Anglo-Saxon Protestants
Famous White Anglo-Saxon Protestants

Where did the White Anglo-Saxon Protestants come from?

The Wasps were one of the first group of immigrants who migrated to America during the 17th and early 18th century. They originally came from parts of Britain, Ireland, Germany, and Scandinavia and were often referred to as the ‘Old Immigrants’.

The main reason for Wasp immigration was pursuing the American dream of better accommodation, jobs, and promise for a prosperous life. The Wasps mainly pursued careers in law, politics, banks, and industries.

What race is Anglo-Saxon?

Anglo-Saxons are descendants of North-European people and usually refer to people of upper-class elites.

White Anglo-Saxon Protestant Map
White Anglo-Saxon Protestant Map

Anglo-Saxon Protestant characteristics

Some generic traits of the Anglo-Saxon protestants are:

They are extremely proud of their birth and their background as white Anglo-Saxons and with this comes a sense of entitlement to money and wealth, which is also deeply embedded in their consciousness.

They want to behave in the right way in every situation. The wasp etiquette is famous all around the world for their sense of good manners and propriety.

They prefer to dress casually and usually never try too hard to look perfect. They also view education as a means of becoming cultured rather than becoming smart or intelligent.

How were the Anglo-Saxons?

The white Anglo-Saxons were an elite class with a strong sense of racial pride and superiority. They considered themselves culturally superior as well as stronger than any other race.

What did Anglo-Saxon protestants do?

When the Anglo-Saxons arrived in America, many of them already had acquaintances there who helped them to settle down. They went on to run banks, public offices, served as police and even became industrialists.

Does Anglo-Saxon mean white?

The term Anglo-Saxon does not mean white. Although they were usually white-skinned people, the term Anglo-Saxon refers to a person’s familial origin rather than his skin colour.

Who coined the term Wasp?

The first use of the term ‘Wasp’ was done by Andrew Hacker, a political scientist in 1957 where he described the Wasps as an elite group of White Americans who had a major influence in the socio-cultural life of America.

Later the term Wasp was popularized by sociologist E. Digby Baltzell in 1964 who himself was a Wasp in his much-acclaimed book “The Protestant Establishment”.

E. Digby Baltzell
E. Digby Baltzell

What does the American term Wasp mean?

The term Wasp is used as an acronym for people of the white Anglo-Saxon community.

White Anglo-Saxon Protestant History

Wasps were mainly upper-middle- or upper-class white protestants of wealthy backgrounds. They were Anglo-Saxons, Irish, German, or Dutch descendants who resided in America.

The poor or working-class Americans did not belong to this group even if they were protestants. The Jews and Catholics who were often intermarried to Protestant Wasps or practised Protestantism loosely belonged to the Wasp community.

Strictly speaking, the Wasp Americans can be generalized based on their socioeconomic status. To fit into the Wasp trope, one must be affluent and exhibit the typical British traits of arrogance, fashion style, and culture.

White Anglo-Saxon Protestant Family
White Anglo-Saxon Protestant Family

White Anglo-Saxon Protestant Religion

The Anglo-Saxon Protestantism started during the late 19th century. The WASPs differed from other protestants and had their own set of ideology, values, and code of conduct.

They took immense pride in being born in an Anglo-Saxon Protestant family. They were diffident and were open to new ideas and beliefs. They believed in a public show of high morals and honesty and it was these characteristics that made them superior to other religious groups.

The American Protestant churches played a great role in spreading Protestantism among its people.

By the end of the 20th century, the WASPs were dominating both the political and economic sectors of Europe. They were the highest in numbers for graduates and postgraduates in Universities.

Being a WASP, they enjoyed certain privileges. This is why the term ‘WASP’ was often used as a derogatory word to describe a snobbish group of socially privileged people.

The WASPs maintained a ‘Social Register’ which kept records of names, addresses, marriages, and details of families who belonged to this elite group.

The WASPs would worship together in prestigious churches, and participate in private clubs and take part in charitable events all of which distinguished them from others. They would teach their sons in top private schools and send their daughters to high-society finishing schools. They would live in rich neighbourhoods like that of Baltimore, Boston, New York, Chicago, Seattle, and Washington D.C.

Is the term Anglo-Saxon offensive?

Not really. People of Anglo-Saxon origin do not take offence in the term and are generally very proud of their origin.

White Anglo-Saxon Protestant Meme
White Anglo-Saxon Protestant Meme

WASP anti-Semitism

It has been suggested that the WASPs might have been anti-semitic in tendency but probably not in an overwhelming manner. It might still be prevalent in some places or for some families because cultural biases are usually deeply rooted.

WASP Culture Decline

Post-World War II, the dominance of WASP culture began to fade. America has undergone economic changes. There were now ample scopes for the middle class who began to join into the federal services for the government.

The State Government which was once the forte of the WASPs can now see Catholics and Jews who were undertaking diplomatic careers and there was a noted increase in fresh graduates and postgraduates in the Catholic schools.

What happened to the WASP elite?

The white Protestant culture which was once unparalleled was no longer the sole elite group in America. Their popularity has declined and by the end of 2000, the WASPs and Jews hold an equal position in government services.

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