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Scots emigration/immigration to the US
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The first Scots began coming to the New World in the early 1600's, Emigration picked up during the Cromwellian Civil War in Britain, as many Scots from both sides were transported to the American Colonies in the mid-1600's. The Jacobite rebellions of 1715 and 1745 also saw numbers of Scotsmen transported to America, as did the Highland Clearances which came somewhat later. Scottish emigrants who had gone to northern Ireland as colonists of the Ulster plantations in the first half of the 16th century also emigrated to America in the early 1700's. These people, who were referred to as the "Scotch-Irish" were by far the most numerous group of Scottish Colonists to come to America. Between 1715 and 1776 some 250,000 of them arrived, mainly in the Chesapeake Bay region, and settled all along the east coast, particularly in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, North and South Carolina and later in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, and beyond. A second wave of Scottish immigration came during the late 1800's and most of these Scots settled in the northeastern U.S. in the larger industrial cities, and included such worthies as Andrew Carnegie and Alexander Graham Bell.
Some were transported, they had no choice other than prison or execution,
the reasons ranging from political prisoners of rebellions, to paupers, to
petty thieves and criminals. Others came because of poverty. They had no
hope of ever breaking out of their set place in the Class-system which
existed in Britain, but in America, a man could make something of himself,
regardless of his background. Mst of these came as bonded-servants and would
be given passage to America, paid by the person who brought them over and
would have to work off their passage upon their arrival as per their
contract, a period which often lasted for seven years. At the end of that
time, they were on their own and it was up to themselves to make something
of their life in the New World.
The Scots were looked down upon by the English, Dutch and Germans, who saw them as being less civilized, orderly and less interested in bettering themselves materially through hard work. They were thought to be good fighters and in that capacity they were often set out on the frontier to act as a first line of defence against Indian attacks. The Scots quickly disproved the sterotypical views of the English and other colonists by becoming enormously successful in the New World. Among those who signed the Declaration of Independence were a number of Scotsmen, and the names of such political giants as Aaron Burr, Alexander Hamilton, James Monroe, James Buchanan, John K. Polk, William Drummond, Hugh Mercer,and many other Scotsmen echo throughout the pages of American history.
The early Scots colonists who arrived in the first half of the 1600's tended
to prefer Virginia over New England and a preference for those colonies
south of the New England states continued through the time leading up to the
Revolutionary War, though numbers of both Scots and Scots-Irish could be
found in New York, New Hampshire, Massassachusets, Conneticut and elsewhere.
Primarily though, the main concentration of Scottish settlement was from
Pennsylvania southward to Georgia.
Any way they could, as farmers, soldiers, blacksmiths, cattle-ranchers,
lumber men, factory workers, whatever way they could succeed.
This was the same as with other ethnic groups, the husband was generally the main provider, the wife the home-maker, mother, nurse, and the children usually did their share to help the family out, whether it was in farming, or working in the factories, or the streets as labourers.
They brought their language, which influenced American English to some
extent, particularly in Appalachia, but more than anything else, they
brought their music, especially fiddle-music, which became what we know
today as American "bluegrass" music.
Definately. Most of the Scots who came to America turned out to be far more
successful than they would have if they stayed at home. At the worst, they
were no worse off than they would have been had they not immigrated. America
is the land of opportunity, Britain was a land of privilege, status and
class-systems that were carved in stone.
The Scots in America today are your typical Americans. They are the
hard working, materialists who generally try to conform to the Norman
Rockwell image of America. They are the backbone of the American economy
and political system, the very foundation upon which America was built.
If it were not for the Scots, America would probably still be a British
Here's a good reference of how the Scots stack up against other ethnic
groups. This is from an Associated Press newspaper article which appeared in
"Americans of Scottish descent tend to be better educated and have
higher incomes than other European based ethnic groups, according to a new
Census Bureau study.
"Based on a survey taken in late 1979, the study said Americans who
traced their ancestry to Scotland had median family incomes of $20,018,
highest of eight single ancestry groups studied.
"Second in family income were those of German background, at $17,531, while those of Spanish background had the lowest median income at $10,607.
"The Scots were the only group to record no illiteracy in the survey,
had the lowest unemployment rate at 2.1%, and the highest rate of
high school graduates, 81.2%.
"The study looked at characteristics of Americans of English, French, German, Irish, Italian, Polish, Scottish and Spanish descent.
"Among them, those of Spanish descent, 30.3% were most likely to
have been born outside the United States. The Italians were a distant second
at 13.1%, while only 2.7% of the Irish were born outside the
"Scots recorded the highest proportion of married men, at 79.6%,
followed by 75.5% for those of French extraction. The lowest male
marriage rate was 62.8% among the Spanish.
Among women, the French were most likely to be wed, at 68.6%, with Germans
second at 64.3%. Polish women were the least likely to be married, at 60.6%.
The highest divorce rates were 4.8% among Irish men and 6.6% for
Spanish women. At 3.5%, Polish men had the fewest divorces, as did Polish
women at 4.3%.
Here are how the various groups fared statistically in some other
"Male high school graduates: Scottish, 81.2%; English, 74.6%; German, 72.4%; Irish, 68.8%; French, 67%; Polish, 64.4%; Italian, 62.7%; Spanish, 42.5%.
"Female high school graduates: Scottish, 78.1%; English, 76.7%; German, 72%; Irish, 70%; French, 65.7%; Italian, 60.4%; Polish, 59.1%; Spanish, 40.5%.
"Unemployment: Scottish, 2.1%; German, 3.1%; English, 3.6%; Italian, 4.7%;
Irish, 5%; Polish, 5.4%; French, 5.6%; Spanish, 9%.
"Median family income: Scottish, $20.018 ; German, $17,531; Italian,
$16,993; Polish, $16,977; English, $16,891; Irish, $16,092; French, $15,571;
So, you see, we Scots are the richest, best-educated, hardest-working and
make the best lovers of all Americans. "Here's tae us! Wha's like us? Damn
few, and their all deid! More's the pity."
Steven Akins of that Ilk
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