• Heritage Action
  • More

Star-Spangled Scots: How They Shaped America from Yorktown to the Moon

Recorded on April 4, 2008

Location: The Heritage Foundation's Allison Auditorium

Woodrow Wilson once said, "Every line of strength in American history is a line colored with Scottish blood."

Tartan Day, first declared by a 1998 resolution sponsored by Senator Trent Lott, celebrates its 10th anniversary on April 6.  The day is meant to commemorate the signing on April 6, 1320, of the Declaration of Arbroath, frequently called the Scottish declaration of independence.  It was a letter from supporters of Robert the Bruce to the Pope, seeking papal recognition of Scotland.  According to Senator Lott's resolution, the Declaration of Arbroath was an influence on the signers of the American Declaration of Independence.  It was a radical 14th Century document that introduced principles such as the king's responsibility to serve the people and the people's right to replace him should he become tyrannical.

Two signers of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, John Witherspoon and John Wilson, were Scots and other Founders had Scottish heritage.  Many U.S. Presidents also had Scottish heritage, including Ronald W. Reagan; the "W" being for Wilson, an old Scottish name.

Professor Arthur Herman will explore the influence of Scotland and Scottish Americans on the development of the United States.  He will discuss the broad influence of Scottish Enlightenment philosophy on the founding fathers as well as the contributions of Scots and Scottish-Americans to the development of the United States.  Professor John Wilson will reflect on the Scot-Irish influence, and historian Robert Arnebeck will examine the Scottish roots of Washington, DC.