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Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America Paperback – October 11, 2005
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1. Scotland was effectively created by the Roman Empire when Hadrian's Wall was built across Britain at the approximate location of the current border between England and Scotland. Rome controlled Britain south of the wall and the native Celtic tribes controlled the north. (Rome also effectively created the modern boundary between France and Germany when Caesar conquered Gaul but stopped at the Rhine.)
2. After the Norman Conquest, English kings attempted repeatedly to subdue the Scots and extend their rule to all of Britain. The victories of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce maintained Scottish independence through the rein of Elizabeth I. Upon her death, the throne passed to James I of the House of Stuart who already ruled Scotland as James VI. One could almost say that Scotland thereby absorbed England, but the relative population sizes of the two countries gave England the upper hand almost from the beginning.
3. In the meantime, the Protestant Reformation had been underway in northern Europe, leaving Scotland strongly protestant (Presbyterian), England more mildly protestant (Anglican), and Ireland still Roman Catholic. To bring Ireland into the protestant fold and increase its loyalty to the British Crown, James I established the Ulster Plantation and encouraged protestant Scots to settle in Ulster starting in about 1610. These settlers from Scotland to Ireland became the Scots-Irish (or Scotch-Irish).
4. In the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the English Parliament deposed King James II principally because he attempted to reestablish a Catholic monarchy.Read more ›
In "Born Fighting" author James Webb chronicles the millennial struggle of the Scots-Irish people from fighting to preserve their independence against the Romans and the English, through their migration to Ireland, then to the hardscrabble Appalachian frontier and beyond. Webb describes how the values of these fiercely independent, determined and impoverished people pervaded the society and culture of America, and how their influence is reflected in such diverse institutions as NASCAR auto racing, country music, the evangelical movement, the U.S. Armed Forces, and American Democracy itself.
Weaving distant history with personal family history, Webb details the struggle of these proud, impoverished people through their oppression by and resistance to the Romans, the English, the Irish Catholics, the Anglo-American pseudo-aristocracy of the Colonies, and the latter's successors, the so-called "Eastern Establishment." Through it all, the Scots-Irish survive oppression, scorn, war and poverty by drawing on their bottom-up, rather than top down social and political structure, and their collective fighting spirit to triumph.Read more ›
Webb refers to Scots-Irish as one of the most powerful cultural forces shaping America, producing great Presidents, soldiers, inventors, actors, and writers. He goes on to say that they have "remained invisible." I understand what he means with the word "invisible," but Scots-Irish are far from invisible in the legacy they have left for others to emulate.
Carl Mays, in his PEOPLE OF PASSION book, writes about the early Scots-Irish of the Southern Highlands as "...good-hearted people with faith in God, nature, themselves, and their neighbors." In this book, which makes a good parallel companion and somewhat of a contrast with Webb's book, Mays goes on to share 48 stories that cover the years from 1765-1965 that "demonstrate the principles, the spirit, and the character of the people upon which our nation has been built."
Unlike Webb's book, PEOPLE OF PASSION gives more credit to the Scots-Irish for working together and with others to help establish a backbone in the Southern Highlands. Mays also presents the stories of women who were extremely important to the individual families, communities, and region. I fault Webb for lacking in these two areas.
I also fault Webb for his over-emphasis on the "Fighting Scots-Irish," but, of course, this does reflect the name of the book.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great book. I was just replacing mine that I had given away!
Also, the service given to me by you was excellent.
In a phase of researching Scottish influences on culture, thought, & politics. Found this engaging and educational without being heavy w/footnotes and long quotes. Read morePublished 17 days ago by Jenuine Reflections
Got it from the library years ago. Purchased it to share with my family. Very good book!Published 28 days ago by Meg McInnes
A book all living in the U.S., especially those of us living in the East, should read. Reading this book helped me to understand the culture of my current area where I live,... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Phyllis Albritton
This outstanding book is a "MUST" for anyone who has a Scots-Irish background. Now I see why so many in our family fought in every war the U.S. Was involved in. Read morePublished 1 month ago by ruth byrne
I liked this book immensely. Having some Scots-Irish ancestors I could relate to many character traits the author identified. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Dy