The Scotch-Irish: A Social History

The Scotch-Irish: A Social History

The Scotch-Irish: A Social History

The Scotch-Irish: A Social History

Excerpt

The term "Scotch-Irish" is an Americanism, generally unknown in Scotland and Ireland, and rarely used by British historians. In American usage, it refers to people of Scottish descent who, having lived for a time in the north of Ireland, migrated in considerable numbers to the American colonies in the eighteenth century.

Millions of Americans have Scotch-Irish ancestors, for when this country gained its independence at least one out of every ten or fifteen Americans was Scotch-Irish. Already these recent newcomers had begun to intermarry with their neighbors, in a way that was to become characteristically American, with no particular concern about whether they were descended from Scots or Englishmen or any other national groups. The first Scotch-Irishmen went to the frontier regions of the colonies, especially in the back-country from Pennsylvania southward to Georgia. They were enthusiastic supporters of the American Revolution, and thus were soon thought of as Americans, not as Scotch-Irish; and so they regarded themselves. After the Revolution, when the United States expanded into the region of the Ohio Valley, the Scotch-Irish were among the vanguard of pioneers who crossed the Alleghenies. Beyond the mountains the intermingling of peoples proceeded apace, and by 1800 few families, except in certain Virginian and Pennsylvanian communities, were any longer wholly Scotch-Irish.

As this country matures, its people become increasingly in-

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