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Scots and Scots Descendant in America
Part II - Contributions by Noted American Scotsmen
Scots in American Politics by Charles P. McClelland

IT is a popular fallacy that the Scot has not figured to any appreciable extent in the political life of the United States or of the several states. This may, in a measure at least, be accounted for by the faet that one neither reads nor hears of the Scotch vote as a factor to be reckoned with at elections by political parties and candidates for political office. In the larger centers of our population it is regrettably true that preliminary to an election we hear much of the "Irish vote." the "German vote," the "Italian vote," and the "Hebrew" or "Jew vote." Indeed, it has become a common practice with those who control political conventions—especially municipal conventions—to bring about the nomination of men as candidates, not because of their standing as citizens and their known qualifications for the offices for which they are named, but rather whether as an aggregation they represent the various classes of hyphen-vote and will therefore bring to the ticket the support of the so-called foreign vote. This influence is so manifest that it is not infrequent that the inquiry is heard, Well, what about representation for the American vote There may be those who, not having given thought to the question, are of the opinion that the Scotch vote is not considered for the reason that its proportions are too insignificant to command consideration from political leaders; but if there be such they should be undeceived. What might be termed the Scotch vote is not considered as such for an altogether different reason. It is a recognized fact the world over that the expatriated Scot readily assimilates and becomes wedded to the institutions under which he lives. Sentimentally he ever remains Scotch, but if it be that his desire for new fields of opportunity has brought him to the United States his prime purpose at once is to become a good American. His sentimentality and continued love for the scenes of his youth and the "bonnie purple heather" never impair his loyalty to the land of his adoption. It would not be accurate to say that all men Scotch born who become naturalized American citizens take kindly to politics in the sense of being willing to actually participate in the discussion of public questions or of being candidates for public office, but it is nevertheless true that from the very foundation of our government—yea, even in colonial days, men of Scottish birth have had conspicuous part in the affairs of government. An undeniable truth is that wherever the Scot has figured in the affairs of government, whether in our National or State Halls of legislation, or upon the bench as jurist, he has left his imprint upon the pages of history. Types of such men were James B. Beck, who for many years represented the State of Kentucky in the United States Senate; David B. Henderson, a member of the House of Representatives from the State of Iowa, and who became Speaker of that body; and Arthur MacArthur, who was an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, retiring therefrom with great honour in 1887. Another conspicuous figure is James Wilson, Secretary of Agriculture in the cabinets of Presidents McKinley, Roosevelt and Taft, retiring at the close of President Taft’s term greatly honoured, and with the distinction of having served as a cabinet officer for sixteen consecutive years, a record unparalleled in the history of our country. These four names but serve as samples to illustrate the proud position attained in the public life of the nation and the several states by the naturalized Scot. Space forbids the enumeration of a long list of others equally distinguished. The Americanized Scot is ever advised upon the public questions of the day and can always give a sound reason for the faith that is in him, and when he votes, be it always said to his credit, he votes as an American and not as a Scot.


New York City.

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