The Scotch-Irish of Colonial Pennsylvania

The Scotch-Irish of Colonial Pennsylvania

The Scotch-Irish of Colonial Pennsylvania

The Scotch-Irish of Colonial Pennsylvania

Excerpt

They regarded themselves as Scottish people who had been living in Ireland. HENRY CABOT LODGE

Pennsylvania has been characterized by great racial diversity from the beginning. In this colony the major racial groups were the English, the Germans, and the Scotch-Irish, each of which occupied in predominant numbers a distinct geographical area— the English in the east, the Scotch-Irish in the west, and the Germans between the two. Inasmuch as each of these groups long preserved its own customs and traditions, there were three distinct civilizations in the Pennsylvania of colonial times.

The story of the Scotch-Irish as a peculiar people occupying a given area on the Pennsylvania frontier is confined largely to the provincial era, and it is not proposed to bring it down much beyond that period. The right is reserved, however, to trace them farther afield whenever it seems expedient. In later times they have spread all over the state and all over the country, and have lost to a considerable degree their distinctive characteristics as they became merged with the general body of the people. While still retaining the basic qualities that made them great, it was not their desire nor their destiny to remain localized in some particular spot or to continue to maintain their racial peculiarities and customs. Americans of the Americans, they think of themselves primarily as such, and only incidentally as a special racial group. They have never been greatly concerned about traditions of fatherland, nor encumbered by these, as is the manner of some. Entering heartily and unreservedly into the new life of the western . . .

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