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Scotch or Irish?


In my novels there are references to the Scots-Irish. I am often asked the meaning of the word (pertaining to people). An Irishman said to me, “You’re either Irish or Scots; you can’t be both.”

I researched and found that Scots-Irish is only used in America or by Americans

abroad. Citizens of the U.K. are appalled by its use. Yet, Wikipedia says 3.5M

Americans, 1.2% of the U.S. population, claim to be Scots-Irish. Many famous

Americans, Andrew Jackson, Elvis Presley, Ulysses S. Grant, John McCain, Neil Armstrong, and George S. Patton—professed to being Scots-Irish.

Where did this name come from? One thing is certain. Scots-Irish was chosen by the two hundred fifty thousand Protestant dissenters from Ulster who immigrated to the colonies between 1710 to 1775.

King James failed to advise the Scots; the lands they were leasing were presently

occupied by Irish Catholics. They were not going to give up their lands easily.

Those Scots that survived became great warriors. “They were born to fight,” said

James Webb in his book Born Fighting. The Scots never felt at home in Ireland.

When given a chance to leave, they boarded overloaded vessels and sailed

months at sea, many dying on board.

Arriving in Colonial America, they were asked, “Where are you from?” They

answered, “Scotchmen from Ireland,” which became Scotch-Irish. They became

America’s first hyphenated citizens. Read more in www.davidabowlesauthor.com.

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