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The Hatfield Clan 1897
Stereotypical movie poster from the Kettle series

Hillbilly (about "hillbilly", "country egg") is an often derogatory term for residents of the rural, mountainous areas of the USA such as the Appalachian Mountains and the Ozarks .


Anthony Harkins , author of Hillbilly: A Cultural History of an American Icon , sees the term first mentioned around 1900. According to this, the "Hill-Billie" was described in the New York Journal as a free and uncompromising white citizen of Alabama , "who in the Bergen is alive, not big on what to say, dresses as he can, speaks as his beak has grown, drinks whiskey when he gets some and shoots around the area as he pleases. ”A return to the Irish Protestants who settled early in the Appalachian Mountains and Scottish expressions such as Hill-folk and Billie or a nickname from the time of William III. (Orange) in 17th century England is sometimes assumed, but seems unlikely. The term came up later; until the civil war, the Appalachians were by no means more backward than other regions.

As typically governed the hillbillies poor, large and hostile clans Farmer as the Hatfield-McCoy feud , which in gloomy valleys of the illicit still lived. During the Great Depression , many residents moved to the big cities, comics such as Li'l Abner and films from the Ma and Pa Kettle series spread the stereotype between 1930 and 1960. The mainly northward migration became known as the Hillbilly Highway .


  • JD Vance : Hillbilly Elegy. The story of my family and a society in crisis. Gregor Hens in Romanian. Ullstein, Berlin 2017.
  • Anthony Harkins: Hillbilly: A Cultural History of an American Icon. Oxford University, New York 2004, ISBN 0-19-514631-X .

Individual evidence

  1. Hillbillies in the White House , BBC online. 
  2. Michael Montgomery: From Ulster to America: The Scotch-Irish Heritage of American English . Ulster Historical Foundation, Belfast 2006, ISBN 978-1-903688-61-8 , p. 82.