For 700 years, the kings of Scotland and England violently disputed the borderlands between the two countries, while warlords on both sides of the border fought among themselves, the strife ceasing only briefly under the 17th-century reign of James VI. This resulted in the creation of a tenancy system designed to maintain reserves of fighting men for local nobles. The lack of established authority created a power vacuum that was exploited by criminals, including whole outlaw clans that prospered by banditry and rustling livestock. The perennial violence made the region wretchedly poor. It also intensified the importance of blood relationships; loyalty to family and clan were valued more highly than loyalty to the crown. With little or no trust in established authority, borderers resolved disputes through retaliation and payment of blood money.
When the region was pacified in the 17th century, entire clans were executed or banished -- and many of the banished clans made their way to America. "The so-called Scotch-Irish who came to America thus included a double-distilled selection of some of the most disorderly inhabitants of a deeply disordered land," Fischer writes in Albion's Seed (630). Meanwhile, back in Britain, old warrior families were replaced by capitalist entrepreneurs who exploited the region's people as laborers and miners rather than fighters, and rack-renting and eviction became common. This led to even more Borderer migration to American shores.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Republicans = "The Borderer Party"
Interesting diary at Daily Kos. The diarist describes the historical origins of the culture that makes up the current Republican base: "Borderers" who emigrated to the United States originally from the borderlands between Scotland and England.