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From: (Jerry Desmond)
Subject: Re: What is the meaning of the term "Scot-Irish"
Date: 9 Mar 2003 16:45:48 -0800
References: <> <2wKaa.10721$>

> Here is's desciption of Scotch-Irish:
> Scotch-Irish
> "This unusual term refers to those Presbyterian Scots who settled in Ulster
> (modern-day Northern Ireland) during the seventeenth century. From these
> 200,000 original settlers, up to 2 million of their descendants eventually
> reached North America."
> "The Scotch-Irish left Ulster as a result of neo-mercantilist British
> economic policy in the region, requirements that they pay 10% of their
> income to the Anglican Church, ongoing friction with their Catholic Irish
> neighbors, and greater economic opportunity in the New World."

> Shawna

Good analysis. Some background on the migrations of the Scots-Irish,
first from Scotland to Ireland in the 1600s, then from Ireland to
America in the 1700s, is set forth in "Desmond's Concise History of
Ireland" as follows:


The Battle of Kinsale, along with the "Flight of the Earls", marked
the end of the old Gaelic order, and established England as conqueror
of Ireland. What followed next -- the 17th Century "Plantations" --
were perhaps the most important development in Irish history since
arrival of the Celts. They divided Ireland apartheid-like into two
hostile camps.

Under these Plantations -- the Ulster Plantation (1609), the
Cromwellian Plantation (1652) and the Williamite Plantation (1693) --
81% of the productive land in Ireland was confiscated from the native
Irish (Gaelic-Irish and Norman-Irish alike, but invariably Catholic),
and transferred to new immigrants (invariably Protestant) from
Scotland and (to a lesser extent) from England. The Plantations
impacted Ireland in two major ways. First, they introduced into
Ireland a new community -- eventually 25% of the populace -- which
differed radically from the natives not only in religion, but also in
culture, ethnicity, and national identity. Second, in Ireland's
overwhelmingly agrarian economy -- where land equaled wealth and power
(and vice versa) -- the Plantations caused a massive transfer of
wealth and power to non-native landlords, whose backbreaking rents
then thrust 85% of the natives into crushing poverty and degradation.
The Plantations are the root cause of the class warfare (rich landlord
versus poor tenant) and religious/cultural clashes that have plagued
Ireland since 1610.

Plantations were the medieval equivalent of "ethnic cleansing" in that
-- in theory at least -- all occupants of confiscated land were to be
evicted and resettled in Connacht where they would be less of a
military threat. Anti-Catholic animus played a role in the
Plantations, but other motivations were more important. For the new
immigrants, the principal motivation was fertile land at bargain
rents. For the Crown, Plantations would deprive dissident Irish lords
of the land that was their only real source of power; and further,
there would be established within Ireland a loyal non-Irish minority
which would served as an unpaid police force to keep dissident Irish
in check.* * *

The first 17th Century plantation (the "Ulster Plantation") involved
confiscation of three million acres (about 30% of the island), all in
six counties in west and central Ulster. The Ulster confiscations were
directed almost exclusively at the Gaelic lords and their supporters
who had been defeated at Kinsale: O'Neill, O'Donnell, O'Reilly,
O'Hanlon, O'Doherty and others. The official plantation indirectly
encouraged the much heavier unsponsored migration of working class
Presbyterians from Scotland to Counties Down and Antrim. These
migrations permitted eviction of native Catholics in favor of new
Presbyterian settlers, whose descendants remain dominant in Northern
Ireland even today. * * *

Short term, the plantations were enormously successful for England. In
1603, before the Battle of Kinsale, about 95% of land in Ireland was
owned by Catholics; by 1701, less than a century later, only 14% was
owned by Catholics, an aggregate transfer of 81% of all productive
land in Ireland. Further, the percentage of non-Irish in the
population had been increased from 5% to 25%. It is possible that the
Crown expected the Irish and British cultures to merge eventually
(with English culture predominating, naturally), but of course this
did not happen. Instead, the Plantations divided Ireland,
apartheid-like, into two hostile camps, a socio-economic tinder box
virtually certain to eventually explode.

--In one camp was 75% of the populace: Poverty stricken, landless,
ethnically Irish (Gaelic-Irish or Norman-Irish), Gaelic speaking,
Catholic, and powerless; these descendants of pre-17th Century natives
thought of themselves as Irish, not English, and were more hostile
than ever before towards their English conquerors.

--In the other camp was 25% of the populace: Affluent landed gentry,
ethnically British (English or Scots), English speaking, Protestant
(Anglican [10%] and Presbyterian [15%]), and politically dominant;
these immigrants thought of themselves as the Crown's colony in
Ireland, not as Irishmen (although within a few generations they began
to regard themselves as a "Protestant [Irish] nation").

"Catholic versus Protestant" has been the convenient shorthand to
describe divisions within Ireland, but this is overly simplistic. The
important dividing line was between a conquering people (who happened
to be British, English speaking and Protestant) and a vanquished
people (who happened to be Irish, Gaelic speaking and Catholic). The
conquerors then confiscated the land and wealth of Ireland, thus
creating the class warfare which has long plagued Ireland: rich
landlord versus poverty stricken tenant. No one would deny that
religion, ethnicity, language and culture were and still are important
components in the mutual antagonism -- particularly in segregating an
individual into one of the two camps -- but the sheer longevity of
these hostilities is attributable to enduring disparities in power and
wealth. * * *

For more than 100 years after the Treaty of Limerick (1691) -- a
period later called the "Age of Penal Laws" or "Protestant Ascendancy"
-- Ireland was a powder keg of social unrest due to a repressive and
apartheid-like society in which a small Anglican minority (10% of the
population) used its ownership of land and its control of government
to deny power, influence and civil rights to Catholics (75% of the
population) and to a lesser degree to Presbyterians (15%).
Nevertheless, despite serious tensions that constantly threatened to
erupt into widespread violence -- rich versus poor, landlord versus
tenant, Catholic versus Protestant -- Ireland was able to avoid open
revolution. * * *

Almost immediately after the Treaty of Limerick (1691), Anglicans took
decisive action to further strengthen their dominant position.
Notwithstanding the Treaty, the Irish and English Parliaments, both
dominated by Anglicans, enacted a series of "Penal Laws" (a.k.a. the
"Popery Code") which, apartheid-like, created a three tier, Anglican
controlled society in which (1) Catholics (75% of the population)
would be totally excluded from property and power, and (2)
Presbyterians (15% of the population) would remain subordinate to

Catholics and Presbyterians alike were required to tithe to the
Anglican Church of Ireland, but were officially barred from government
employment and military commissions. * * *

The Penal Laws helped create the misnamed "Protestant Ascendancy",
which would have been more accurately called "Anglican Dominance".
Under it, all of society, and certainly all of government, was
dominated by an elitist aristocracy consisting exclusively of
Anglicans. * * *

Presbyterians congregated in Ulster, where typically they adhered to
the culture (and religion) brought over from Scotland by their
ancestors. Close knit and industrious, they responded to
discrimination by distancing themselves from Ascendancy culture,
becoming a self reliant community within the larger society. The
typical Presbyterian pursued a middle class livelihood in the linen
business or in farming.

Anglicans and Presbyterians soon found themselves in serious conflict.
The principal problem was that the "established" Church of Ireland,
and its Anglican members, treated the Presbyterian Religion as a
second class religion, and its members (who generally were less
affluent than Anglicans) as second class citizens. Although
Presbyterians were treated far better than Catholics -- there were no
restrictions on the right to own realty or to bear arms -- they were
required to tithe to the Anglican Church of Ireland, and were
prohibited from holding government office or military commissions.
Many emigrated to America where their descendants served with
distinction in George Washington's Revolutionary army.

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