Were America’s “rednecks” cultured in Belfast?

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In a fine piece that touches on how an understanding of the American South’s Ulster Scots lineage may help explain some of the cultural roots driving modern America’s Blue-Red division, The Spectator’s Alex Massie, suggests that the “echoes of the Frontier can still be heard in contemporary American politics”.  

Massie is careful not to ascribe causation or simplistic links between immigrant histories and modern American attitudes, but he isn’t blind to their presence either. Reflecting on the American cultural South’s ties to Ulster Scots, he picks up Virginia Senator Jim Webb’s famous Born Fighting thesis that anchors the loyalty, sacrifice and no-nonsense hard graft that characterized this group’s journey from the Scottish lowlands, via a pit stop and a few dust ups in Ireland, before moving onto play a major role in driving and ‘settling’ the US frontier.

 “This region is also home to the American-Americans… these are the parts of the United States most heavily populated by the Scots-Irish and their descendents”

 While not overstating it, Massie suggests:

“Nevertheless, if you look more closely you can still see some parallels between “redneck” culture in America and working-class protestant culture in Glasgow and Belfast.”

 “A culture that boasts “We are the people” yet fears it’s not only misunderstood by the establishment but also actually under attack.”

To this, I would add betrayed.

The same old political bargain was made between the governing establishment and working class Ulster Scots in Ireland (and later Northern Ireland) as was struck in the early US (and later, again, in the Jim Crow South). The deal: Fight for and defend the political establishment and you’ll disproportionately benefit from it on account of creed if not class.

And fight for the establishment the Ulster Scots most certainly did. Much of the fighting was done honorably and with distinction, in armies and wars. Much of it, done in militias and paramilitaries, remains less acknowledged – not least by the very US and British establishments that encouraged it and benefited from it, only to later strike new deals that required distancing itself from it.

With the establishments’ withdrawal of formal systems of discrimination in the US South and in Northern Ireland, followed by that same establishment’s introduction of varying examples positive discrimination that disproportionately hurt working Ulster Scots in both places, there are very good reasons for these transatlantic cousins to feel under attack. And betrayed.

 

 

 

  • http://fitzjameshorselooksattheworld.wordpress.com/ fitzjameshorse1745

    Something of a coincidence here because I am actually writing something on this at the moment. …not all of which would be relevant.
    But about half an hour ago, I wrote that the link between “Scotch-Irish” and “Ulster Scots” can be over-stated AND under-stated.
    The connexion is ….GOD not ethnicity.
    The context I was writing in was settler/settled.
    The Ulster-Scot and Scotch Irish is a settler. The Ulster-Scot has a connexion to Davey Crockett…..and the frontier mentality of the mid west….AND I argue the Israeli settler.
    You cant argue with GOD….whether in Broughshane, Arizona or the West Bank. Which is why Romney will take Arizona, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Texas, South Dakota and so on.
    And yet Obama will take New York.
    In some ways these three groups….Ulster-Scot, Scotch-Irish(or more precisely) and Israeli settler claim a special relationship with GOD.
    As to the specifics of Redneck “culture” well Rich Hall the comedian presented an interesting documentary on the American South..Mark Twain was actually born in Connecticut. So was the creator of the Lil Abner (grotesques) cartoons.
    Perhaps the connexion in cultural terms is that the Redneck….thru country music, Jeff Foxworthy humour has discovered a certain assertiveness. “heritage NOT hate” symbolism in the Confederate Flag issue……and Id say that was mirrored in Ulster-Scots language, Billy Kennedy books and marching bands.

  • Covenanter

    Hi Uncle Sam!
    When freedom was denied you,
    And imperial might defied you,
    Who was it stood beside you
    At Quebec and Brandywine?

    And dared retreats and dangers,
    Red-coats and Hessian strangers,
    In the lean, long-rifled Rangers,
    And the Pennsylvania Line!

    Hi! Uncle Sam!
    Wherever there was fighting,
    Or wrong that needed writing,
    An Ulsterman was sighting
    His Kentucky gun with care:

    All the road to Yorktown,
    From Lexington to Yorktown,
    From Valley Forge to Yorktown,
    That Ulsterman was there!

    Hi! Uncle Sam!
    Virginia sent her brave men,
    The North paraded grave men,
    That they might not be slavemen,
    But ponder this with calm:

    The first to face the Tory,
    And the first to lift Old Glory,
    Made your war an Ulster story:
    Think it over, Uncle Sam!

    WF Marshall

  • TwilightoftheProds

    Ruarai

    There is something in the Ulster Scots/Scots Irish ‘identity’ resurgence in the US-but they can use it in very different ways than we do and amp up the Scottishness in ways we don’t. The narrative seems to be’ plain speaking people-hard put upon etc etc’ in contrast to the political machines of the metropolitan areas. Interestingly, Rosa Parks figures as a Scots Irish as well as the likes of Patton in their narrative.

    FJH

    Here’s me thinking the God driven settler cliche about Ulster prods had died out with the last American scholar who parachuted in here to do some contrived research in the early 90s. We don’t need natives peddling this stuff thank you very much.

    We got all the good land off you and youssuns failed to put up a convincing fight for it….but reaching for pseudo-comparative cultural theories in retaliation is just dirty pool…:-)

  • Kevsterino

    To hear Jim Webb tell it, the Scotch-Irish (sic) did it alone. He has a point, but in my opinion, overplays his hand. But he is proud of his heritage, and everybody has a right to that. There were many with roots in Cavan, Antrim etc. in trailblazing roles in the colonies and later the American republic. God Bless ‘Em all, the long and the short and the tall. But, as you might expect, dealing with that bunch wasn’t all wine and roses. They present some noteworthy difficulties to this very day. But all in all, I’m grateful for our “Hill Billies” (gee, wonder how that term came about ;o)

  • Drumlins Rock

    Without going into a full crtique atm, can I just remind the writers of the flip side of the same coin, the orginators & followers of the Scottish enlighenment, The United Irishmen, the Liberal minded forgers of the USA, the great educators, come from the same stock, work that one out.

  • http://fitzjameshorselooksattheworld.wordpress.com/ fitzjameshorse1745

    DR……excellent point.
    I will spare people from boredom by not publishing the nearly 500 words so far written by me. It is coming at it from a different angle.
    But I have already referenced the United Irishmen and St Marys Catholic Church in Chapel Lane Belfast (donated by the Presbyterian community) and I have mentioned the use of the same Church by IRA gunmen who murdered two RUC officers there.
    There is as you suggest….a macro and micro element to this. And best not to confuse the two.

  • http://fitzjameshorselooksattheworld.wordpress.com/ fitzjameshorse1745

    Kevsterino……in Rich Halls documentary he suggests that while the Hatfield-McCoy dispute was a previous generation, the term “hillbilly” came into being as a consequence of farm folk moving into the towns.
    Hall suggests……with varying degrees of success…..that the American southerner is the last taboo. It is still possible to mock the southerner with impunity….a never ending punishment for the Civil War.
    “In The Heat of the Night”, “Mississippi Burning” and every southern tale suggests a closed society and repression in contrast to the wide open western skies and intelligensia on the east coast.
    Indeed Hall makes the point that the Bible Belt is the same geography as the “old South” but that this is a post Civil War thing…..that northern missionaries flooded south after 1865 as part of Restoration.
    Now I dont want to go down that road…..SOME aspects of Hall’s 90 minutes was more convincing than others. But…..interesting.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “The same old political bargain was made between the governing establishment and working class Ulster Scots in Ireland ”

    Ruarai, would you care to flesh this out a bit in terms of people and dates? Do you have any particular bargains in mind?

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    A few years ago I spent a few days in Greenville in the piedmont area of South Carolina. It just happened to include St. Patrick’s day. There was a full day’s festival that day with traditional irish music, dancing etc and it was extremely well attended. A group of about 15 families were there for a youth sports fixture and stayed in the same motel as us. Quite a few of them had Irish roots and they kept me chatting about Ireland for hours around the pool. Gave me beers too, wouldn’t take no for an answer. It was an enjoyable interlude.
    Incidentally, that’s where Ian Paisley’s alma mater is located.
    Great golfing.

  • Jacques Stadacona

    Interesting thesis, but it doesn’t really hold I’m afraid. Most Whites in the Southern U.S. are of English descent. The Scotch-Irish are a minority, and most people identifying as ”American” in the census are not Scottish or Scotch-Irish, but English.

    A good reference for learning more is Albion’s Seed: Four Folkways in America by acclaimed historian David Hackett Fisher.

  • Covenanter

    It is worth remembering that when the Americans first turned against the British they did so demanding their “rights as Englishmen”.

  • aquifer

    Maybe half of the Presbyterians in Ulster emigrated to North America before 1800, and lots of them would have been tenant farmers looking for a better deal free of taxes levied by the Anglican establishment and church. It will be very hard to pick them out now though, as the republican democratic and anti-theocratic US suited them so well their assimilation will have been largely seamless. US Democracy can be seen as the product of many religions, a lowest common denominator to enable decisions to be made despite the competing claims of the various godly factions, of which there were many in North America. Prior to the war of independence the Anglicans and their rentier militias will have held sway, so that the ‘right to bear arms’ can be understood as a statement of political right and equality for non-Anglicans. That Scots-Irish still serve in the US army should not be surprising, for armies are best meritocratic and rule-bound, a good place to avoid impositions based on accidents of birth or religion.

  • Kevsterino

    Considering how many US Presidents’ ancestry reaches northern Ireland, I’d say they punched well above their weight vis-a-vis those of English ancestry.

  • antamadan

    Mfister Joe: It’s a small world. I flew into Greenville NC for a job interview ‘in the heat of the night’ & was amazed to see ‘Americans with T-shirts bearing ‘Savannah Irish’ walking around -in late May not March 17′.

    Another note: There’s a ‘frontier village’ in I think southern Virginia (Because at one time the frontier was south as well as west); and it has houses in the syle of the Germans etc. (A relation told me it was X’s cottage from Castlederg).

  • antamadan

    I seem to have deleted that the ‘frontier town also included a thatched Irish cottage from Ulster’

  • http://fitzjameshorselooksattheworld.wordpress.com/ fitzjameshorse1745

    The Savannah St Patricks Day Parade is one of the biggest and oldest in USA. Oddly perhaps it was the destination for a lot of Irish indentured servants in colonial times.
    Military re-enacting is a big thing in USA and in Macon, Georgia, inland from Savannah there is a re-enactors group named for Wild Geese regiment (Dillons) who fought in the Battle of Savannah in the Revolutionary War. I knew that information would be useful some day :)

  • Hopping The Border

    I’ve often wondered where the ridiculous “we are the people” slogan came from or what it is based on.

    The people of what?

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “we are the people”

    Hopping the Border, perhaps it’s ‘we are the people whom God hath chosen’ as epitomised by ‘For God and Ireland’ in the era of Pearse and ‘For God and Ulster’ and articulated by Bob Dylan in ‘With God on our side’.

  • Hopping The Border

    Fighting for God and a political entity and proclaiming you are God’s chosen people are two slightly different things surely?

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    Hopping the Border, when it comes to slogans, ‘slightly’ will get elbowed to one side :)

  • andylaflin

    The Scots-Irish influence would definitely have something to do with it. Jonathan Haidt had a brilliant book out this year called the Righteous Mind, (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Righteous-Mind-Divided-Politics-Religion/dp/1846141818) which looked at the differences between conservatives and liberals through a moral context. Conservatives he concluded based much or their morality around karma, or as he put it the protestant work ethic. Hard work should be rewarded which explains much of their annoyance at government bail outs and hand outs, which they interpreted as rewarding the bad work of others.

  • sitarman

    This article explores a similar theme between Ulster Scots & the American south. Features an audio essay first broadcast on Radio Three…..

    http://forgedinulster.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/an-ulster-scots-scotch-irish-nation.html

  • galloglaigh

    sitarman

    Here’s a video showing similarities between the extremes. It’s not all in English, but you’ll see what I mean.

  • Covenanter

    A disgusting effort to try and compare Ulster Protestants with the Ku Klux Klan. Pathetic. I suggest that you check out the Orange order Lodges which are based in Africa. Indeed the people on this island who have pushed for a racially pure Ireland have tended to be those in favour of a united Irish republic.

    The constant republican efforts to denigrate unionists by comparing them to the KKK and the Boers (former allies of Irish republicans) are despicable, but are so unsubtle as to be laughable.

  • Kevsterino

    @Covenanter, I would put the Ulster protestants more in line with the defunct “Know-Nothings”, purely for their anti-Catholic hatred. I don’t know of any trouble between blacks and orangemen, but they haven’t often come into contact, either.

  • Covenanter

    You are mistaking a perfectly understandable hatred of Irish republicans for a hatred of Cathoics. I do not know anyone who hates catholics.

    There are Orange Order lodges which are made up entirely of ‘blacks’. They have marched through Belfast on the twelfth of July to widespread applause.

  • Sp12

    ” Pathetic. I suggest that you check out the Orange order Lodges which are based in Africa.”

    They featured on a documentary on TV a few years back, based in Ghana if I recall correctly.

    They had a religious service, paraded to hymns to the local Catholic church where the congregation of Catholics that included family and friends of the orange men came out and joined them for the rest of the parade all singing hymns.

    Sound familiar?
    Nope, not to me neither to be honest. It was as alien to me as the attitudes of their brethren here towards their catholic neighbours are when related by the documentary makers to the local lodge master. The man was incredulous that anyone would be so antagonistic towards other Christians.

  • Kevsterino

    You’ll pardon my misunderstanding when I see the glee of the flute players rendering the ‘Famine Song’ in front of that church a few months back to the delight of their supporters. Perhaps not.

  • Covenanter

    What misunderstanding?

  • galloglaigh

    The Lodger

    Tis your disgusting misreading of my term ‘extremes’ that has compared Ulster Protestants with the Ku Klux Klan.

    The constant loyalist efforts to denigrate republicans by, mistaking a perfectly understandable hatred (harsh word) of sectarian loyalist ‘institutions’ for a hatred of Protestants. I do not know anyone who hates Protestants.

  • Covenanter

    I think we all have a fairly good idea of what your intentions were in that post. Republicans are detested because of their support of murder. Loyalist institutions such as the Orange Order do not do that, so your hatred of them is purely sectarian in nature.

  • Covenanter

    Sp12,

    Well at least you are aware that there are black people in the OO and that comparing them to the KKK is therefore ridiculous. I assume that there is no history of catholics murdering members of the OO or other Protestants in Ghana/

  • galloglaigh

    My intention is clear and unambiguous. It’s your problem if you see it differently.

    I’m a republican and have never supported murder. Bertie Ahearn is a republican. Theft and corruption yes: Murder no. You’re throwing all the eggs in the one basket. But while you’d suggest I’ve done the same above – Tis your own sectarianism that you’re flagging up, not mine!

    But the comparison still stands…

  • Covenanter

    I think that comparing your form of republicanism with that of Bertie Ahern is frankly hilarious. Bertie has never attempted to justify the Provo murder campaign. You have. Therefore your ridiculous comparison cuts no ice.

  • galloglaigh

    Bertie has never attempted to justify the Provo murder campaign

    And you’re assuming I have?

    For fear of a card, you can play the troll game on your own. You’re a banned user: enough said.

    Loyalists are fond of assuming, yet dismiss assumptions made of them. Especially here on Slugger.

  • Sp12

    “Well at least you are aware that there are black people in the OO and that comparing them to the KKK is therefore ridiculous. I assume that there is no history of catholics murdering members of the OO or other Protestants in Ghana”

    The comparison is made based on the organisation’s attitude to others of a particular group it has decided must be opposed and antagonised. Not on whether the group it chooses to be confrontational to over many generations has dark or light skin.

    I’ve no idea if Ghanan Christians of various denominations murder each other over religion.
    It’s a very different organisation, it’s all about Christianity and faith, one that does not even preclude membership based on the orange man having Catholic partners/relatives. Not to mention the whole stopping outside Catholic churches to invite their papist friends to worship alongside them in a bit of an old christian walking sing song nice day out sort of thing.

    But you know, having to pretend your roots are due to doctrinal differences and large scale warfare rather than just grubby little culchies beating each up for the best farm land clearly causes the sort of strange behavior the Ghanan orange men don’t suffer from.

  • Submariner

    Quit feeding the troll. Covenanter is the banned poster lodger ignore him.

  • Hopping The Border

    ” Indeed the people on this island who have pushed for a racially pure Ireland have tended to be those in favour of a united Irish republic.”

    Blatant lies as ever:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/jun/22/belfast-racist-sectarian-attacks

    http://www.irr.org.uk/news/legacy-of-intolerance-racism-and-unionism-in-south-belfast/

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “just grubby little culchies beating each up for the best farm land”

    A charming turn of phrase, Sp12. I’m a culchie; some of my culchie ancestral kith and kin were United Irishmen, others were members of the Loyal Orders, possibly some of my mainly Presbyterian ancestors of the 17th century were ‘rednecks’ from that era; I have trodden a different rodden. Even townies mostly have culchie roots :)

    From an Afro-American perspective, being lynched in the Confederate states was probably much the same as being lynched on the New York waterfront. It’s more than likely that folks with Irish roots of various creeds can hang their heads in shame and it ill befits one lot to chastise another lot.

  • Sp12

    My apologies Nevin, for not subscribing to the myth that straight after the Battle of the Boyne a bunch of victorious Williamite officers and soldiers decided to form a fraternal organisation to promote civil and religious liberties for all. A myth that is quite prevalent amoung many protestants (and indeed catholics) I have encountered.

    As creation myths go it is progress of a sort, making something out to be older than it clearly is. I hope Nelson’s ok with that sort of thing.

    I suppose yes, from the perspective of a black person, being lynched during what was essentially a one off event during forced conscription in the civil war would be no different from being lynched by the KKK at any time from the civil war right up to the early 20th century. Indeed, in the same way that there is no difference in the perspective of a young woman who has been blown up by a terrorist bomb and the perspective of one blown up as collateral damage during an airstrike.
    From their perspective, it’s pretty much the same thing isn’t it.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “not subscribing to the myth …”

    I’m not familiar with that myth, Sp12. As I understand it, the OO was formed in 1795, in the vicinity of Loughgall, following a clash between Protestant Peep o’ Day Boys and Catholic Defenders.

    I’m not quite sure what forced conscription had to do with the KKK-like actions in New York. After all, the conscription was not being enforced by Afro-Americans.

  • Sp12

    Like I said Nevin, the myth is in my experience quite commonly held amoung many here of all backgrounds. It’s not unusual to see the BBC news web site refer to the OO as an organisation that traces it’s roots to the BotB.

    Forced conscription was the cause of resentment against both the better off who could pay their way out of it and those who the civil war was seen to be fought on behalf of. Combine that resentment with a mob and the horrific events that took place in the riots can be seen in context.
    That context however is not however the same thing as an organised campaign by a semi-secret society that took place over many generations right up to violent resistance to attempts to extend the franchise to black people in the south.
    What distinguishes the KKK from the riots is the organisation/pre-planning and especially the time periods over which the violence took place.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    Sp12, this BBC webpage description apparently wasn’t based on this OO webpage.

    Whatever way its spun, the attacks on the Afro-American community in New York was KKK-like. The riots, seemingly, represented the culmination of pressure that had been building for many years:

    The rioters’ actions also indicate the degree to which the sensational journalists and reformers of the 1840s and 1850s had achieved their goals of convincing whites, and particularly the Irish, that interracial socializing and marriage were evil and degrading practices. ..

    The Civil War and the rise of the Republican Party and Lincoln to power indicated to New York’s largely Democratic white workers a reversal of power in the nation; black labor competition indicated a reversal of fortunes in New York City itself. White workers sought to remedy their upside-down world through mob violence.

  • Sp12

    “Whatever way its spun, the attacks on the Afro-American community in New York was KKK-like. ”

    No, they are not.
    The common denominator is the victims of the violence. Mob violence in a riot is not in any shape or form the same thing as a semi-secret society that spanned two centuries and whose entire raison d’etre was the systematic violent suppression of a group in every arena from employment/education to voting rights.
    Believe what you will, it’s tiresome arguing otherwise with you.

  • Covenanter

    “Bertie has never attempted to justify the Provo murder campaign

    And you’re assuming I have?”

    I assume nothing. You dedicated a lengthy post to an attempt at justifying the PIRA murder campaign. To summarise “it was all the fault of the people they had to murder.”

  • Covenanter

    “Mob violence in a riot is not in any shape or form the same thing as a semi-secret society that spanned two centuries and whose entire raison d’etre was the systematic violent suppression of a group in every arena from employment/education to voting rights.”

    SP12,

    The myth you describe in your posts is just that. I now of no one who believes that the OO was formed from amongst the victors of the Boyne, Your paragraph above makes for a fairly good summary of violent Irish republicanism. Instead of white pointy hats they wore black Frank Spencer type berets perched on top of wooly balaclavas.

    Instead of dancing around a burning cross they danced for joy at the incineration of Protestants at La Mon, the massacres at Bloody Friday and Enniskillen and the forty year murder campaign they waged against decent working people. People whose boots they were very much unfit to lace.

    They bombed workplaces and put people on the dole and they burned down Protestant schools which they knew would never be rebuilt. The KKK and the Provos are mirror images of each other.

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    For those who haven’t seen it, the great movie, “Gangs of New York” in which Daniel Day Lewis gave a masterful performance, did include those riots.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “it’s tiresome arguing otherwise with you”

    Sp12, when you trot out comments like ‘grubby culchie’, expect to get called on it :)

  • Sp12

    “Sp12, when you trot out comments like ‘grubby culchie’, expect to get called on it ”

    Farmers shooting each other over who controls the best agricultural land should be described as what?
    Noble agrarian freedom fighters?

    They were grubby little culchies with grubby little aims. The sad thing is that their legacy is felt to this very day.

  • Covenanter

    “Farmers shooting each other over who controls the best agricultural land should be described as what?”

    Sp12,

    I think you will find that it had more to do with the linen weaving trade, but do carry on with your nonsense.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    Sp12, the tussle for territory long preceded 1795 and it continued in Belfast and many other places afterwards. Can we expect to see ‘grubby townies’ next?

  • Sp12

    “Can we expect to see ‘grubby townies’ next?”

    They’re not hard to spot, try Belfast in the summer months.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    Sp12, I must confess that when I encountered folks from the Shankill and the Falls (and many other places) at Corrymeela, this is not the sort of condescending and abusive language we exchanged.

  • Ruarai

    Lads, com’on; enough already, please.

    If you’re looking to indulge in petty sectarian point-scoring then this isn’t the place for that. Have some manners and run for Stormont like the rest of them.

    Fair play for creativity though: culthies vs McCuies is a break from the usual battle lines but it’s hardly a welcome one. That said, if there’s potential to realign the ancient terms of tribal abuse along new urban-rural bun-fighting, hell, let’s give it a try.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “If you’re looking to indulge in petty sectarian point-scoring then this isn’t the place for that.”

    Ruarai, were we just taking our lead from you and those that you quoted? If you have a look at those who fought for independence in the 1770s in the USA you’ll find they were fighting against the establishment, not for it. Ulster Unionists were also going against the establishment when they opposed Home Rule. McGregor and his folks who departed for Boston and New England in the early 18th century don’t strike me as pro-establishment.

  • Ruarai

    Nevin, I appreciate your eagerness to follow my lead but could you identify a single sectarian line I’ve written in that post – or ever in my life?

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    Will this do, Ruarai?

    The deal: Fight for and defend the political establishment and you’ll disproportionately benefit from it on account of creed if not class.

    And fight for the establishment the Ulster Scots most certainly did.

  • Ruarai

    Only if you have no idea what sectarian writing is.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “Only if you have no idea what sectarian writing is”

    Ruarai, I’ve read your post, I’ve punched holes it it and I’m fairly familiar with sectarianism, religious and otherwise.

  • Ruarai

    Nevin, you’ve got me curious now…perhaps you could unpack this a little more for me.

    I’m looking at the statement you have cited as evidence of my sectarian writing from every angle I can. Hell, I’m even trying to read it using mirrors, reading it while closing one eye and saying it in out loud in an Ulster Scots accent (i.e. my own). Yet stumped I remain.

    Here’s your example of my sectarian writing:

    Will this do, Ruarai?

    The deal: Fight for and defend the political establishment and you’ll disproportionately benefit from it on account of creed if not class.

    And fight for the establishment the Ulster Scots most certainly did.

    Now, can we agree that not only did Ulster Scots fight for various establishments in the Southern States and in Ireland but they were and are so proud of these ventures – as is their right and in many cases with good reason too – that they self-identify as “Loyalists” in Northern Ireland and “natives”, and, more recently, “American-Americans” in the US?

    Can you please tell me what part of that statement is sectarian and why you claim it so?

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    Ruarai, in my first comment on this thread, I invited you to flesh out your descriptions, yet only now are you getting curious ;)

    Have you had a chance to look at that 1718 migration link? The sect you have attempted to attribute various characteristics too are the Ulster-Scots on this side of the Atlantic and the Scotch-Irish in the USA. The common religious affiliation is Scottish Presbyterianism and, according to this link, the first rednecks were Scottish Presbyterians in the mid 17th century.

    As for Presbyterians being pro-establishment, I find that one difficult to swallow. They have a reputation for schism and being anti-establishment – including their own :)

    Perhaps Donegal’s Francis Makemie could be described as the father of redneckery in North America; he arrived in 1683. Francis Hutcheson, an Ulster father of the Scottish Enlightenment, is another illustrious redneck.

    The three main sects in Ulster are Catholicism, Presbyterianism and Episcopalianism but it’s important to note that faith, or its absence, is just part of who we are. How many of us fit the various stereotypes?