Saturday, January 21, 2006

Old Hickory

I just read two books that hightened my awareness of the Scots-Irish culture and the impact they've had on the history of our country. The two books are:

Ghost Riders by Sharyn McCrumb and Born Fighting by James Webb

At least twelve U. S. Presidents were from Scots-Irish heritage and scores upon scores of other famous people in the military, business, entertainment, and government were and are from this background. The Appalachia Mountains were settled largely by immigrants from Scotland and Ireland. During the Civil War, I learned, that this culture in the mountains of N. C. fought and killed among themselves because some were fighting for the Confederacy while some fought for the Union. Zebulon Vance, the 31 year old governor of N. C. during that war was from near Asheville. He struggled in Raleigh with politics of the time and worked to keep supply lines balanced between Confederacy and the fighting factions in the mountains.

The one amazing figure from this culture to me was Andrew Jackson. His entire family of parents and siblings were dead when he was only 14. He was a war veteran as a teenager, became a lawyer and admitted the the N. C. Bar at an early age, he became a General and led many battles, dueled adversaries and carried a bullet next to his heart for the rest of his life,
was elected U. S. President only to have his wife die suddenly from a heart attack from the cruel criticism of her during the campaign. He then went on the be one of the most popular presidents and vetoed monopolistic banking legislation that is viewed by experts to be the most important veto in U. S. history.

Sometime when you're in the area of Nashville, TN, visit "The Hermitage" the homeplace of "Old Hickory", former president and Scots-Irish decendent, Andrew Jackson. I've been there and enjoyed the tour, but didn't appreciate the man then as much as I do now.

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