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.