The Scotch-Irish of Colonial Pennsylvania

By Wayland F. Dunaway | Go to book overview

Preface

IT HAS OFTEN BEEN SAID of the Scotch-Irish that although they make history they leave to others the task of writing it, and this is largely true. The unfortunate part of it, however, is that the others who write history have often done so from a point of view unfriendly to this racial group; at least, this is the attitude of certain authors who have written the history of Pennsylvania, beginning with Proud. The notable contribution made by the Scotch-Irish to the development of Pennsylvania has not received from historians the attention it merits. It is our purpose, in some measure at least, to supply this lack.

The scope of our study is restricted in time to the colonial era, and in place to the province of Pennsylvania. In reality, however, it is somewhat more comprehensive than its title indicates, inasmuch as the activities of the Scotch-Irish in the later period are often passed in review, and much of the narrative, especially the first three chapters and the sixth chapter, applies to this group throughout the whole country no less than in Pennsylvania. On the other hand, their story as a distinct racial group is confined largely to the colonial period, being less clearly traceable in later times when they had merged with the general body of the people. Their later history is well worth narrating, to be sure, but this is not the story that we have set out to tell.

It is our purpose to tell this story objectively, nothing extenuating and setting down naught in malice. Though conscious that they have played a great part in history, the Scotch-Irish are well aware of the fact that there is no halo of sanctity around their heads. All they ask is that they be painted as they are, and this is all that we aim to do. Nothing more is required than that the

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