I am a strong advocate of knowing one's historical, cultural and genetic background. History matters in spite of all the efforts to leave traditions behind. For me, understanding my ancestor's Irish background helps me understand our familial hatred of anything government. Our family descended from Irish immigrants who left Ireland in the 1840s because of the Irish famine. It was a political famine, caused by British landowners not allowing the Irish farmers access to the grains they grew and the British shipped to England to sell for profit on the world market. Wealthy Irish refused to feed or house the poor Irish farmers. The only food the Irish farmers had were potatoes, a food of the poor. A series of winter cold and rain destroyed the Irish food potato source with a terrible blight. Many Irish starved to death. Some immigrated, some to Oklahoma, where our ancestors settled.
These families were caught up in the Civil War of the 1860s, fighting on the Southern side. After the war, they lost their farms, homes and livelihood as a penalty for participating on the side of the Confederates. More hatred of government grew. These angry young men and women became rebels and are known in history as bank robbers,, horse thieves and outlaws.