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The Importance of the Scots Irish in the Birth of The United States

The intellectual and religious thinking generated in the area north of Hadrian's Wall during the 17th and 18th centuries has been described as the Scottish Renaissance. These ideas and the people from the lowlands of Scotland played an important role in the drive for independence of the American Colonies from England. But the role of the immigrants from Scotland, Ireland, and the Ulster colonies was complex but critical in the War for Independence. With the birth of the new nation the Scots Irish or Ulster Scots took on the role of the pioneers who moved west to settle the lands west of their settlements along the Shenandoah Valley. Men like Daniel Boone, David Crockett, and Andrew Jackson represent the families who moved west and integrated with other settlers and indigenous people. They kept their customs, traditions, and attitudes but did not separate themselves but added to the culture of the communities. They were people who worked hard, partied, and when necessary fought. These rednecks left a mark on American culture that we think of as country in our music and religious institutions. As the nation expanded during the Industrial Revolution the Scots Irish immigrants created the industrial wealth and scientific progress that eventually land their ancestors on the moon. Professor Emeritus at the University of Virginia (Chemistry, Environmental Science, Public Health), Ralph Allen has applied analytical techniques in a wide range of fields, including archaeology and historical investigations. Investigating his family history led him to explore his early Scottish and English ancestors. In a previous course ( 'How the Irish saved civilization and the Scots invented the modern world') he discussed the role of Scottish Universities on the ideas that lead to the American Revolution, but the continued role of the people from the British Isles was complex and important to the making of the United States.

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