Tonight I watched the latest programme on BBC Four in a series entitled A History of Christianity. The series is presented by Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch, who is professor of church history at the University of Oxford. The subject was Protestantism - The Evangelical Explosion and part of the programme was about the growth of evangelicalism in America. It covered the Great Awakening in the early 18th century, before the American Revolution, and also the Second Great Awakening, an evangelical revival which started in Kentucky at the start of the 19th century.
My attention was taken when he stated unequivocally that the Second Great Awakening arose among Scots Presbyterians who moved to Ulster and then on to America. It was particularly good to hear a prominent historian use the word Ulster and of course he was talking about the Ulster-Scots who emigrated from Ulster to America in the course of the 18th century. The Ulster-Scots who crossed the Atlantic had a significant impact on the religious life of America and especially on the development of Protestantism.
Too often the Ulster-Scots influence in America is seen as simply a series of presidents and pioneers of Ulster descent. In fact the Ulster influence is much broader and much deeper.