I might be a wee bit biased here because I’m Scottish born and spent my formative years in Scotland in an area steeped in history.
When I lived in New York I actually met very few Scots, but now that I’ve moved south they’re everywhere. And, because I’m a family history enthusiast, I see Scottish names on hundreds of grave markers. Many Scots also have a penchant for visiting cemeteries.
The Scots are usually proud of their Scottish roots and the achievements of Scots throughout history. Most of us can recite the well-known Scottish heroes like William Wallace (Braveheart), Mary Queen of Scots, Robert Burns, James Watt (inventor of the steam engine), Sir Alexander Fleming (penicillin). And, when no one else cares, the Scots take a perverse pride in being underestimated. Perhaps only a Scot can understand this state of mind.
In 1700, Scotland was Europe’s poorest independent country. Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832–author of Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, The Lady of The Lake, Waverley), understood this mindset when he said, “I am a Scotsman; therefore I had to fight my way into this world.”
I recently found a website called “Rural Hill”, which is the web presence of a historic site and nature preserve celebrating 250 years of Scottish and Scots-Irish history. They’re currently promoting their annual Scottish Festival scheduled to take place on April 15, 16, and 17th and, if you live in the Charlotte area, you don’t need to be Scottish to enjoy the festivities.
The page that I found most interesting is entitled, “The History of the Scots and Scots-Irish” with a sub-heading “Why Scottish History Matters” .
It starts with the following erudite and thoughtful quote by Rosalind Mitchison, a historian of Scotland who specialized in social history, “Human beings are the product and embodiment of their own past. It is only by contact with this past, in thinking and in relationships, that we exist…. For an individual the destruction of memory means the destruction of personality. The same is true for societies: their history is the main component of their present identity. It is history that makes each individual unique in their interpretation and response to current events. It is history that binds a cultural group together. The study of social and cultural history also provides useful lessons and warnings about the kind of mistakes societies are particularly prone to, but its main significance is in enabling us to know ourselves…. Learning and understanding more about cultural heritage allows people a richer fuller appreciation”.
If you’d like visit the website to read and interesting perspective about Scots and the Scots-Irish click on Rural Hill. The writer has managed to encapsulate a little bit of everything including some amazing citizens of the United States with Scottish roots.