Their’s was part of the founding culture of the United States, and it still leaves its stamp on our society in its politics and mores, for good or ill (that depends on your perspective! But one aspect of Scots-Irish identity is that to a great extent it has decoupled itself from any “Old Country” consciousness.

A broad swath of the Eastern American Uplands is dominated by people who give their as American.

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As I have noted before, the 21st narrative of white privilege is in many ways simply a normative inversion of the 19th century narrative of white supremacy.

All this leads to the strangeness of American in 2012 which might perplex outsiders.

But another aspect which must be acknowledged is that the early American republic also saw the emergence of a white man’s republic, where implicit white identity gave way to the expansion of suffrage to non-property holding white males as a natural right, and the revocation of what suffrage existed for non-whites based on their racial character.

The Scots-Irish were a major part of this cultural evolution, being as they were generally part of the broad non-slave holding class in the South and Border States.

You might assert here that there are points in favor for geographic and class diversity at elites schools.

But from what I have read Thomas Espenshade’s work shows that elite universities tend to discriminate against rural and lower class whites (as well as Asians) to maintain diversity through admissions of sufficient numbers blacks and Hispanics.

Though they may not have had the wealth of lowland planters, the Scots-Irish were part of the aristocracy of skin.

But ultimately this system, which waxed around 1900, has left us in the 21st century in a confused state when it comes to talking about race and class.

These were not Catholic Irish, or Gaelic speaking Highlanders.