Americans like to celebrate their Irish and Scottish roots, but not their English ones. Why is that?
“My name is Barack Obama, of the Moneygall Obamas, and I’ve come home to find the apostrophe we lost somewhere along the way,” joked the US president when he visited Ireland en route to the UK last month. Like John F Kennedy and Ronald Reagan before him, Obama was just another US president embracing his Celtic heritage. And the practice isn’t just for those looking for a vote-winner: Yankees have always loved to talk up their Irish blood – and Scottish, too. But Americans celebrating their Englishness? That’s not quite so common.
Now a group of academics want to find out why. Donald MacRaild, professor of history at Northumbria University in Newcastle, and his colleagues Tanja Bueltmann and David Gleeson, reckon English cultural communities did exist in North America, but have been ignored by traditional historians.