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Fairs and Frolics
Scottish Communities at Work and Play

Concluding Remarks

The gap between the rich and the poor in eighteenth century Scotland was enormous. The cottar had few needs and fewer wants. The lower classes had practically no input into the profound social and economic changes that were being thrust upon them. It is perhaps no wonder that the masses largely ignored the codes of behaviour that the establishment had set. Their seemingly hopeless and dismal lot in life could be offset by their uninhibited amusements and pleasures. Indeed, the eighteenth century rural Scots really knew how to party! Their work on the fermtoun was a cooperative effort -- their entertainments also took in the local community.

The rather unpolished behaviour patterns of the ordinary Scots matured as they assumed a greater role in social and economic decision-making. Their sense of competition during play was easily adaptable to accelerating competition in the work world. Social intercourse fostered exchange of ideas. Meaningful membership and leadership roles in Friendly Societies, Funeral Societies, Emigration Societies, Agricultural Societies, Temperance Societies and the Church, access to reasonable and responsible credit, the right to vote and responsible government all contributed to an attitudinal change at the grass-roots level. Ordinary Scots slowly achieved full partnership in the socio-economic planning process. The upper classes finally gave them full credit for their ideas, their actions and their printed statements. But along with achieving respect and dignity, the ordinary Scots assumed greater responsibilities. They realized that they were now partially accountable for the actions of their governments and fully accountable to the smaller community in which they lived. However, they would no longer be paraded in front of the Kirk Session and the public for some trifling wrong-doing.

A healthy balance between their work and play -- together with a profound sense of community in both -- naturally contributed to personal growth and well-being. The Scottish community in Canada remains strong. Clan Societies, Burns Clubs, the Sons of Scotland, St. Andrew's Societies, Highland Games, Scottish Country Dance Clubs, Pipers Associations and Retailers of Tartan are working hard to preserve and promote Scottish culture -- and they're enjoying every moment of it!

Ordinary Scots have contributed enormously to the social, economic and political development of western democracy. The process of change -- and reaction -- continues.

From the Concluding Remarks to
Fairs and Frolics: Scottish Communities at Work and Play

The Scarboro Heights Record V13 #10