A Varied PeopleJudith Ridner
The Scots Irish were one of early Pennsylvania’s largest non-English immigrant groups. They were stereotyped as frontier ruffians and Indian haters. In The Scots Irish of Early Pennsylvania, historian Judith Ridner insists that this immigrant group was socio-economically diverse. Servants and free people, individuals and families, and political exiles and refugees from Ulster, they not only pioneered new frontier settlements, but also populated the state’s cities—Philadelphia and Pittsburgh—and its towns, such as Lancaster, Easton, and Carlisle.
Ridner provides a much-overdue synthesis and reassessment of this immigrant group, tracing a century of Scotch-Irish migration from 1720 to 1820. These men and women brought their version of Ulster to the colonies in their fierce commitments to family, community, entrepreneurship, Presbyterianism, republican politics, and higher education. The settlements they founded across the state, including many farms, businesses, meetinghouses, and colleges, ensured that Pennsylvania would be their cradle in America, and these settlements stand as powerful testaments to their legacy to the state’s history and development.
Published in association with the Pennsylvania Historical Association.
"(An) eminently readable account.... Ridner looks beyond mythic (and often contradictory) stereotypes and confusing nomenclature to consider the Irish experience, the reasons for transatlantic crossing, and the construction of community in Colonial Pennsylvania." — Pennsylvania Heritage
"The history of the Scots Irish (sometimes called the Ulster Scots or Scotch Irish) is important for an understanding of both Irish and early American history.... Pennsylvania, as Judith Ridner shows, attracted the Scots Irish because Philadelphia was a major port, and, more importantly, because it had no established church and welcomed Presbyterians.... Ridner explains at length that an important element of the Scots Irish character was their Presbyterian beliefs.... This will be a useful book for both Pennsylvania and Irish history."
— Journal of American History
" A particularly notable achievement of The Scots Irish of Early Pennsylvania is Ridner's success in expanding this narrative to include—indeed to highlight—the Scots Irish in cities and towns.... (It) is an important reminder of the multiclass nature of this diaspora.... Ridner unquestionably fulfills her remit, producing an intelligent, readable, valuable short history of the Scots Irish in early Pennsylvania."
— Pennsylvania History
"In clear, readable prose, The Scots Irish of Early Pennsylvania leads the reader through the ebb and flow of immigration... Judith Ridner has a mastery of the scholarship on both sides of the Atlantic, subjects it to analysis, and weaves it into a comprehensive survey of the Scots Irish in Ireland and in Pennsylvania. It is probably the best book on the subject. Long may it remain in print."
—The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography
"Overall, The Scots Irish of Early Pennsylvania achieves its goal of showing that the Scots Irish were a diverse group of immigrants with varied class backgrounds and economic interests. As a work that is both scholarly informed and easily approachable, The Scots Irish of Early Pennsylvania offers a useful resource to those teaching about the early history of Pennsylvania or looking to gain more background information about the Scots Irish in early America."