(Ulster) Scots-Irish to blame for Bush, the Right...(Long)

Discussion in 'Multinational HQ' started by Virgil, May 25, 2006.

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  1. In the US Scots-Irish are Americans of Ulster-Scots descent.

    Some of you might find it interesting reading for insight into the Ulster-Scotts roots of conservatism, populism and religious fundamentalism in the US.

    Link: America’s Scotch-Irish And The Rove Rationale


    Finally, the bellicose folks from the violent Scottish-English border region - and especially their descendents who had settled Ulster - came to the Appalachian backcountry from 1718 to 1775. Their descendents spread west across the upper South. The prototype: the ferocious Andy Jackson. They're typically called "Scots-Irish," although Fischer doesn't like the term because it makes them sound as if they spoke Celtic languages, when they actually spoke English and were culturally quite different from Scottish Highlanders or Irish Catholics.
    The two Southern groups have been the most belligerent. And the Scots-Irish in a class by themselves in their taste for raising hell - both at home and abroad. Patriotism and physical courage are both central to the backcountry tradition, as reflected in the very high rates of military enlistment among the Scots-Irish. (Stock car racing, which was originally dominated by fearless ex-moonshine runners like Junior Johnson, is the backcountry's signature sport.)

    Perhaps because of this culture of courage, the backcountry Scots-Irish are the ethnic group that Americans most look toward for Presidential leadership, especially in times of foreign threat.

    Link: Secret GOP Weapon: The Scots-Irish vote.


    Why are the 30 million Scots-Irish, who may well be America's strongest cultural force, so invisible to America's intellectual elites? It is commonplace for commentators to lump together those who are descended from British roots into the WASP culture typified by New England Brahmins, or the Irish, who are overwhelmingly Catholic. But it is political nonsense to consider the Scots-Irish as part of either.

    The Scots-Irish are derived from a mass migration from Northern Ireland in the 1700s, when the Calvinist "Ulster Scots" decided they'd had enough of fighting Anglican England's battles against Irish Catholics. One group settled initially in New Hampshire, spilling over into modern-day Vermont and Maine. The overwhelming majority--95%--migrated to the Appalachians in a series of frontier communities that stretched from Pennsylvania to northern Alabama and Georgia. They eventually became the dominant culture of the South and much of the Midwest.

    True American-style democracy had its origins in this culture. Its values emanated from the Scottish Kirk, which had thrown out the top-down hierarchy of the Catholic Church and replaced it with governing councils made up of ordinary citizens. This mix of fundamentalist religion and social populism grew from a people who for 16 centuries had been tested through constant rebellions against centralized authority. The Scots who headed into the feuds of 17th-century Ulster, and then into the backlands of the American frontier, hardened further into a radicalism that proclaimed that no man had a duty to obey a government if its edicts violated his moral conscience.

    Matched with this rebelliousness was a network of extended family "clans," still evident among the Scots-Irish, built on an egalitarianism that measured a person by their own code of honor, courage, loyalty and audacious leadership. Noted Scottish professor T.C. Smout said it best when he observed that these relationships were "compounded both of egalitarian and patriarchal features, full of respect for birth while being free from humility." They demanded strong leaders, but would never tolerate one who considered himself above his fellows. Andrew Jackson, the first president of Scots-Irish descent, forever changed the style of American politics, creating a movement that even today is characterized as Jacksonian democracy.

    George Bush owes it to the other America


    When roused, usually by a wholly correct moral indignation, Scots-Irish America believes it is the agency for Divine retribution. Don’t snigger: you are here because of this gut reaction. Back in 1940, the United States was split down the middle - nothing new there - over the war in Europe. The large German immigrant communities of the industrial Mid-West (think Ohio) were fervently isolationist. They had just re-elected Franklin Roosevelt on a platform of non-intervention. The Americans in favour of dealing with the fascists were the Scots-Irish, who had a long tradition of military service, especially during the Civil War (on both sides). Otherwise, the capital of the EU would be called Germania.

    OF COURSE, there are downsides to the Scots-Irish psyche in America. Historically, it has been prone to racism. It was socially conservative long before the rise of Christian fundamentalism (and I worry about a Bush administration packing the Supreme Court with reactionaries for the next generation). Mind you, I suspect that if we put gay marriage to the vote in Scotland, it would be rejected. And I think it is too easy to put the Bush victory down to an evangelical plot: the Catholic German strongholds of the Democratic Party in the industrial Mid-West are stridently anti-abortion.

    Here is the saving grace of the Scots-Irish version of American nationalism: it would really rather finish the job quickly in Iraq, and go home and listen to Roy Acuff or Hank Williams. It does not like being drawn into the role of imperialist policeman. But anti-Americans should beware of getting what they wish for - living without the Americans may prove worse than living with them.
  2. Interesting post.

    Out of interest i wonder why they haven't provided a powerful counter-balance to the pernicious influence of the pro IRA 'Irish-American' lobby over the years?

    Could it be that the Scots-Irish are those most mythical of people, the 'non-hyphenated Americans'?

    It would be lovely to see Gerry and Martin greeted at Kennedy airport by a large crowd of these fellows waving the union flag and yelling 'Up the paras'!

  3. J_D

    J_D LE

    You do realise alot of Scots that settled in the 1700's over in the states were actaully inmates who were sent for relocation after being released from jail.
  4. The Ulster Scots were the people who pushed out from the east coast ,the original pioneers think of some of the famous names who were among them ,Carson,Crockett,Bowie,Sam Huston,Jackson,they were the people who made America (I think most of the "Founding Fathers " had an Ulster Scots background).Now they are just Americans unlike the "Irish Americans " who mainly stuck to the east coast in cities like Boston and New york and set up their "poor oirish victims "culture there.Trouble is were do you think the term "hillbillies" came from.
  5. If I had to guess, I'd say that it's because the Scots-Irish in America are very early European settlers in the States, and are therefore pretty much disconnected from their countries of origin (except for the Orange Lodge and the ever-present Presbyterian church, as well as some ancestral portraits in the dining room). So the perception might be that it doesn't have anything to do with them.

    And if it did, concern about "furrin" causes would belie the Scots-Irish rejection of British sovereignty. After all, these guys' ancestors formed a large part of the rebellion against the Crown.
  6. Ulster Scots didnt just settle and create the U.S.
    They pritty much built the Empire with their restless roaming, eagerness
    for land and freedom, as well as niftyness with the musket.
    So praise us for without us none of which we had or have would have been achieved.

    God Save The Queen !
  7. Probably because the two cultures are separated by rather large physical distances. I'll go out on a limb here and speak for a substantial group of people. The Scots-Irish have dropped the connection with "the old country" long ago and pay scant attention to what are often viewed as local problems for other nations. There isn't a large presence of "Irish" in much of the country spouting nationalistic diatribes to pay any attention to. To illustrate my point: St Patricks Day in much of America means wearing some article of green clothing to avoid being pinched by children and drinking copious amounts of beer. That last bit about the beer is just the same as Cinco De Mayo (a Mexican holiday) just another excuse to party...
  8. I think you've hit the nail right on the head. The largest portion of the US that identifies their ethnic group as "American" rather than say German, Irish or Italian are in those areas originally settled by Scots-Irish, Scottish, English and Welsh where their descendents are still the predominate white population, namely the South. A lot of those Southerners are still Presbyterians with Scots-Irish blood in 'em. I know, I've dated a couple (the Scots-Irish/English mix makes a nice blond), complete with the initial eyebrow raise when the brothers or parents find out I'm an Italian Catholic.
  9. Zackly. It's also worth noting that those people who identify as non-hyphenated Americans started transitioning about three hundred years ago. Given enough time, we'll probably be able to say the same thing about other groups that came to America in wave migrations (German, Irish, Latinos, etc.).

    A southern Eyetalian? Good Lord, do they make those outside of New Orleans? :D
  10. The irony is that Southerners are probably less 'mixed' Heinz 57's then the rest of the white population. The next generation of my family is full of combinations of Italian with Scottish, German and Scandanavian.

    Came from Oregon and was stationed at Ft Bragg for years then grad school at Chapel Hill.
  11. Hmmmm....most of the Irish who served the British Empire in various capacities (primarily military, but also administrative) during its height were Cathiolic (of primarily Gaelic descent) for the simple reason that the majority of the population of the island of Ireland were Catholic. The majority of Irish regiments - even up to and including the Second World War - were comprised of Irish Catholics; Gaelic was the most spoken language on the Allied side at Waterloo, and even up until the time of the Indian Mutiny.

    The whole Scots-Irish thing is little more than a retrospective attempt to give some cultural base to a rather disparate settler/planter community in what is now Northern Ireland; and before I am accused of sectarianism, I should point out that my mother's people were Ulster Scots Presbyterians and my father's family are one of the oldest of Gaelic Catholic Irish Ulster families (long in situ before a bunch of carpert baggers and ragamuffins decided to slink across the sea from 1609 onwards... :wink: ). Inevitably, much of the drive behind all matters Scots-Irish derives from America, where various people are constantly and desperately trying to raise themselves above the greater mass of nondescript Americans by attaching an 'exotic' ancestry to themselves. I recall seeing a reference to the "Scots-Irish Guards in Iraq" on an American Scots-Irish website - say no more. Those Protestants I know from Northern Ireland regard themselves as both Irish and British, and reject the designation 'Scots-Irish', regarding it as chavvy in the extreme.

    The attempts to have Ultser-Scots designated as a language is connected to this enterprise, but the 'language' - Ullans - is largely a dialect only spoken in some border areas, ironically primarily by Catholics; however, the vast majority of both Catholic and Protestant Northerners wouldn't even know it if they heard it.
  12. It is exactly the same in every other country that has been settled.
    Canada, Australia, Southern Africa in fact most of the western World.

    People of Ulster Scots decent make their home in the nation or province
    to which they find themselves.

    Were as people of other European nationalities always look to idealised dream of the
    emerald isle, motherland, fatherland or what ever it happens to be.

    They dont know no better its just the way they were brought up :eek: :eek:

    This is a proud tradition of which i'm about to follow by becoming an Australian,
    i'm off to take a piece of Queensland, yeehaa !
  13. Good Lord! Whilst I see that you are ready for Australia, I do wonder if Australia is ready for you! 8O

    "Look out! The reivers are coming!"
  14. They better be, because I'm coming ready or not :eek: :eek:
  15. They are not widely talked about because they were outcast by the rest of the United States. They were the ones that brought with them the gene that causes "gingervitis" and are therefore responsible, more that any other ethnic group, for the presence of gwas among the US population.