In the 1630s, during the crises that culminated in the English Civil War,
the Presbyterians of Scotland dissented from both the mainstream Anglican
view, as well as that of the rising "Puritans." In their view, the
Anglicans were "Catholics-minus-the-Pope," while the Puritans were
half-crazed utopian dim-wits who wanted to create a "shining city on the
hill" so that they could rule the City. In declarations issued in 1638 and
1641, these Lowland Scots issued so-called "Covenants," whereby they
declared that they would not accept the Anglican form of Church govt (headed
by the King), but would also not accept the Puritans' theological/political
view. "Covenanters" signed their oaths in their own blood, and many wore
red pieces of cloth or stiff, red collars to signify their identity as dissenters (thus "Red-Necks"). After the English Civil War, and then again after the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745, these Scots were forced to emigrate to America, and they largely settled in the South. By the time of the AMERICAN Civil War, the term was used to describe white Southerners of all theological stripes. Interestingly, most of the English-surnamed people of the NORTH were descended from PURITANS!
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