People from Scotland first came to the new world in the 1600s. There is some evidence of Scots coming to what is now considered America with the Vikings as slaves. This would be one of the first occurrences of mistreatment they endured (Gormley, 2000). Like other ethnic groups who migrated to the United States looking for a better life they were burdened with stereotypes and misconceptions about what kind of people they were. Over the course of their history people of Scottish decent have been a major force in the building of our country. They were instrumental in the creation and establishment of our current way of accounting, not just our country. History
In America the Scots were stereotyped by the English, Dutch and Germans who also immigrated to this country. These groups stereotyped the Scots as uncivilized, not orderly and not interested in working hard to improve themselves. They were viewed as excellent fighters and were used in the western frontier as a first line of defense against Indian attacks.
It did not take long for the Scots to squash the undeserved images of them by the colonists. Two Scotsmen names are on the Declaration of Independence and have been some of the most influential political figures in the history of America (Akins, 2010). The features and characteristics of the Scots would continue in the following centuries to come. After the revolutionary war period Scots would continue coming to America. Many of these immigrants possessed a higher than average education level when compared to other immigrants of the same period. Scotsmen were merchants, professionals, educators, doctors, and clergy (Landsman, 2006).
With the exception of the latter, it can be presumed that this group, the Scots, was probably the faction doing the discrimination and stereo-typing now. It stands to reason because of their social status and place in society they may have looked down on other ethnic groups. Something that has happened throughout history in America and in other supposed civilized societies.
At the same time, the Scots who mixed in with the Irish immigrants and were known as Scot-Irish did not always fair as well as those with an education. These persons scattered out across the mountain country of Appalachian Mountains and the western states. They were considered lazy and dirty, similar to those who came over originally. They toiled at menial jobs and lived in squalor in the mining communities. Like other ethnic groups, they were grouped together and were excluded from bettering themselves. This appears to be because of one’s education level and not as much emphasis on ones ethnic background.
Especially since the Scots who had an education and/or profession had little trouble assimilating to American life. While the one’s without the above credentials had to work harder to be accepted by the ruling groups. One has to wonder since there were people of the group who “made it”; it was beneficial to those who needed the help. “One thing that particularly distinguished Scots and Scots-Irish immigration from that of most ethnic groups was their relatively easy adjustment into American society as white, English-speaking Protestants from the United Kingdom” (Landsman, 2006, p. 199) This gave them a step-up when it came to assimilation into the new country.
This was an advantage that many other ethnic groups did not enjoy or experience. It is probably this and their solid work ethic that allowed them to go has far as they have. Presently, the members of this group are the ones complaining of reverse discrimination and other inequalities. It is interesting how the Scots have came around full-circle in America from the times of the Vikings, when they were enslaved to being pioneers of the country and ending with a type of institutional discrimination placed upon them and other light-skinned individuals for the advancement of the ones they held back. Conclusion
I would like to think that I posses the best traits of the Scots; strong work ethic, strong sense of family responsibility and a high regard for education. When that is mixed with a sturdy patriotic belief in ones country it can only be a formula for success. Even the symbol of America, Uncle Sam was based on a Scottish-born businessman from NY (Scot-Amer, n.d.).
Akins, S. (2010). Scots emigration/immigration to the US. Retrieved January 29, 2010, from http://www.siliconglen.com/Scotland/11_24.html
Gormley, M. V. (2000). Migration patterns of our scottish ancestors. American Genealogy Magazine, 4(1). Retrieved from http://www.genealogymagazine.com/scots.html
Landsman, N. (2006). Immigration and immigrants: scots and scots-irish. In P. Finkelman (Ed.), Encyclopedia of the new american nation. Retrieved January 29, 2010, from Gale Virtual Reference Library via Gale: http://find.galegroup.com.ezproxy.apollolibrary.com/gps/start.do?prodId=IPS&userGroupName=uphoenix
Scottish Americans. (n.d.). Retrieved January 28, 2010, from Wiki Project - Ethnic Groups: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_American