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“…the fair inheritance of liberty…”  Rev David Caldwell

The impact of the Glorious Revolution has been profoundly reflected in the development of modern democracy. This was particularly the case in the colonies of North America, and the birth of the United States.

Almost 90 years after William’s Declaration, and the passing of the Bill of Rights, the American Declaration of Independence was brought into being. The principles espoused by John Locke, and others, including Francis Hutcheson, which found form during the Glorious Revolution, became embedded in the aspirations of the American colonists.

A Marshal Race

Many of those who fought in the War of Independence were descended from those who had shed blood to secure the liberties enshrined in the Glorious Revolution, liberties that were now being denied the American colonists. Their forefathers had fought on the battlefields of Ireland, the theatre of war that secured the Glorious Revolution. Just as their families had fought from Londonderry to Limerick, so they would fight from Valley Forge to Yorktown, as part of the Continental Army.

This spirit was embodied by the frontier preacher and educator Rev David Caldwell. Originally from Donegal, he drew parallels between the fight to secure the Glorious Revolution and the struggle for Independence; “…our Forefathers…sacrificed at Londonderry and Enniskillen…(in)…defence of their rights…(and)…set us an example.” Liberty had to be earned.

A Way of Life

The Eighteenth Century movement of people from Ulster to north America was also a movement of ideas. These Ulster-Scots were steeped in the traditions and ideals of the Covenanters, John Locke and a host of others who had shaped the Glorious Revolution. But this was more than just an intellectual heritage, it was intrinsic to their very way of life. 

Carter G Woodson, the Father of American Black History Month, pointed out that his Scotch-Irish neighbours were “God-fearing, Sabbath-keeping, covenant-adhering, liberty-loving and tyrant-hating race…” who had absorbed the teachings of Buchanan, Calvin and others in order to “…emphasize equality, freedom of conscience, and political liberty…” in all aspects of their life.

Dr. Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950). Wikimedia Commons,  author BMcZeroBot, 2019. Original displayed at the Carter G. Woodson Home, National Historic Site.

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