UNITED STATES—As a stereotypical opinionated New Yorker, I always wondered WHO was the first BIG MOUTH prompting the label?
Surely there is one person who all the inquisitive people before me deemed “the first” or “the mouthiest?” Maybe it was one of the MANY big mouth Yankees that angered the rest of the baseball teams across the nation? A specific writer, an actor, the founder of New York?
I WAS NOT HAPPY WITH THE ANSWER…
First I looked up the origin of the state’s name, hoping there was a forefather labeled as the first big mouth. Turns out the name was New Amsterdam before the British took over and named it after the King’s brother: the Duke of York. Nothing extraordinarily verbal to note.
Then I asked a handful of people in Minnesota, Washington, and Illinois and they NEVER heard of it but people in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts had heard about New Yorkers having big mouths, so maybe it’s an East Coast thing?
Since there’s a lack of information about the origin of this term (other than people like me calling ourselves BIG MOUTH) I will propose my theory…
In my various research topics, there was always somebody bitching or trying to change something that I would feel proud of, as a New Yorker. It cannot be denied that New York was home to many forward thinkers, and often host to meetings by groups that fought historic injustices!
Very often these NY groups were the spark that lit the fire of REAL CHANGE!
Here is a SHORT list of happenings that I think could have led to other regions gradually growing to regard us as a state full of BIG MOUTHS.
1765 New York businesses close in protest of the British Stamp Act.
1785-1790 NYC could brag as capital of America.
1827 New York had more anti-slavery organizations than any other state.
1830 Truth Sojourner: A wonderfully outspoken black women, birth name Isabella Baumfree.
1830 New York part of anti-slavery UNDERGROUND RAILROAD.
1911 First Farm Bureau created in Broome County, to speak up for farmer’s rights.
The United Nations could be called a mouthpiece for many nations, here in New York!
A lot of protesting, abolishing, publishing, discovering and even bragging has happened in New York, over the last 3 centuries. The list above is a fraction of the one I could make, if I were so inclined.
My state has always been a place where those “different” than the rest of society can blend in knowing that when groups become large enough they can demand equality. People know it now just as they knew it back then when the persecuted were enticed to come enjoy the freedoms that could be had here in New York.