In examining the Celtic heritage of the Old South, it isnimportant to recognize that only those cultural traits associatednwith British Celts up to the 18th century are relevant.nThere are two reasons for this: first, all significant migrationnfrom Scotland, Ireland, and Wales to the American Southnended before 1800; and second, long-standing Englishnefforts in Britain to acculturate the Celts began to force annumber of important changes in Celtic ways during thenlatter part of the 18th century.nAmong the most fundamental attributes that Celtsnbrought to the Old South were those rooted in their systemnof social organization, language, and means of livelihood.nThe first two, the clans and the Caelic and Brythonicntongues, had been considerably eroded in the UnitednKingdom and were nearly extinct by the end of the 18thncentury. Neither trait was freely transplanted in America,nyet each left an indelible imprint on the South. The third,nthe traditional Celtic means of making a livelihood by raisingnanimals, became central to the Southern way of life.nThe clans—which traditionally had provided groupnidentification and established lines of authority that preservednorder and settled grievances — did not make thenAtlantic crossing, but habits born of centuries of living innclans did. Throughout the antebellum South the principalnsocial unit was not the nuclear family but the extendednfamily, comprising large numbers of people with close orndistant blood ties along with genetically unrelated “uncles”nand “aunts” and cousins by the dozens. Even plantationsntended to be so organized, and among middle-class andnpoorer whites the extended family was nearly universal. Nornhas the system entirely disappeared in the 20th century.nThe legacy of the clans also endures in attitudes towardnauthority. Clansmen never sought redress of a grievance innthe courts or through legislative enactments; instead, theynappealed to the clan chieftain or his lieutenants. This habitnwas rooted early and deeply in the South. When Southernersnhad a problem with government or the law, their resortnwas not to the courts but to a protector—whoever had thennecessary influence or power. Even today, among ruralnSoutherners, the courtroom is so alien that when they speaknof “the law” they refer to the sherifi- or the police.nThe influence of the language, though less direct andntangible, was no less significant. Among other things,nlanguage interacts with and reinforces social norms that cannpersist even after the language itself has changed, and so itnwas with Celtic Southerners in at least two importantnrespects. One had to do with social control. Some anthropologistsndistinguish between societies governed by then”guilt principle” and those governed by the “shame principle,”nEngland being a prime example of the first and thenScottish Highlands and Ireland being prime examples of thensecond. The Englishman was conditioned to internalize hisnsense of proper behavior—even when sailing alone acrossnthe sea or when stranded among heathens, he was alwaysnproper, for God and conscience were watching. The Celt,nby contrast, had no faith in the slender reed of innerndiscipline, relying instead upon social disapproval, mainly innthe form of ridicule; significantly, Gaelic is a hundredfoldnricher in its terms of derision than is English. Yankeesnadopted the English way; Southerners the Celtic way.nThe other carry-over from the language was subtier yet.nThough Irish became a standardized written language fairlynearly, both Irish and British Celtic were more suitable asnspoken than as written languages. So, too, with the people:nCelts and Southerners, unlike Englishmen and Yankees,nwere oral and aural. They loved raucous and lively music —nfiddles, clogging, reels, and jigs. They loved making noisenfor its own sake. Above all, Celts and their Southernndescendants loved words and the sounds of words. Theynloved oratory, from the stump or the pulpit; they loved to tellnstories, the more outiandish the better; they loved to talk,neven when they had nothing to say.nThe most crucial characteristic that Celts brought withnthem to America, however, was their method of raisingnanimals for a livelihood and an associated disdain for thendrudgery of tillage agriculture. Herding is not popularlynassociated with either Celts or Southerners, yet traditionallynCelts were a pastoral people and so were Southerners. Thenvalue of Southern livestock, mosfly hogs and cattie, duringnthe antebellum period was greater than the value of all thenOld South’s tillage crops combined.nThe ways of Southerners, hke those of theirnCeltic ancestors, frequently shockednobservers. “They are a wild race, with butnlittle order or morals among them,” claimednone Yankee. “They are indolent, devoted tonraising cattle, hunting, and drinkingnwhiskey.” “They are profane, and excessivelynaddicted to gambling,” said another.nThe Southern method of raising livestock was a continuationnof traditional Celtic herding, and the vast rich spaces ofnthe Old South provided an easy existence. Animals werenrarely tended; instead, they were marked or branded tonindicate their ownership and turned loose to forage. Southernnland laws, from the earliest colonial times until the 20thncentury, legalized open-range herding and ignored Englishncommon law. Crops in the South could be fenced, butnotherwise animals were free to graze the land of anyone andneveryone, rich and poor alike. Once a year, in the fall,nsurplus animals were rounded up and driven to market.nUnlike Yankees and Englishmen, who were compulsivenplowers and often obsessed with agricultural improvements,nCelts and Southerners cultivated crops reluctantly andnhaphazardly. They rarely used fertilizers, and their primitiventechniques appalled outsiders. Many Southerners disdainedntillage agriculture as fit only for slaves and Yankees, preferringninstead to live off their livestock and work as littie asnpossible.nSome of the characteristics that contemporary observersnattributed to both Celts and Southerners, in addition tonthose already described, included living leisurely and indulgingnthe sensual pleasures. Celts and Southerners, whosenvalues were more agrarian than those of Englishmen andnYankees, wasted more time, rarely read or wrote, consumednnnMARCH 1989/13n