Marston, Sallie A. “Neighborhood and Politics: Irish Ethnicity in Nineteenth Century Lowell, Massachusetts.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 78, no. 3 (1988): 414-32.
I found this article through the Penfield Library database. Specifically, this article is from JSTOR. In “Neighborhood and Politics: Irish Ethnicity in Nineteenth Century Lowell, Massachusetts,” Sallie Marston explores the importance of space and the influence it has on social situations and practices. The central argument that Marston makes is that political behavior is geographically rooted, and the social context of the ethnic neighborhood was significant in defining the approach used by the Irish to challenge the contradictions of industrial capitalism as they occurred in Lowell (Marston, 414). This article is a case study that focuses on a particular location in the northeast United Sates. Marston focuses her attention on Lowell, Massachusetts and within this location, how spatial form and content contributed to the development of political consciousness among nineteenth century Irish Americans. Also, she examines and delves into the significance of Irish voluntary associations to ethnic solidarity and the ethnic negotiation of the wider, non-Irish society in Lowell. This case study shows that the institutions of Irish ethnicity as fostered and maintained in the Irish neighborhoods in the nineteenth century were a significant influence on the actual coping strategies the Irish developed to wage their political and social struggles. The author uses many sources and methods to substantiate her argument. For instance, Marston uses archival data drawn from newspapers, voluntary association literature, and city directories which showcases the fabric of the Irish community life in the nineteenth century (418). Additionally, the sample of voluntary association members and the sample of non-members were drawn directly from city directories and newspaper reports of voluntary association activities including the annual St. Patrick’s Day parades that occurred in Lowell. Based on these various forms of data, Marston emphasizes that neighborhoods, voluntary associations, churches and parochial schools, which were organized along ethnic lines, played a powerful role in mediating the structural relation between those who controlled access to economic and political resources and those who did not.
Moloney, Deirdre. “Who’s Irish? Ethnic Identity and Recent Trends in Irish American History.” Journal Of American Ethnic History 28, no. 4 (2009): 100-109.
I found this article through the Penfield Library database. Specifically, this article is from JSTOR. In “Who’s Irish? Ethnic Identity and Recent Trends in Irish American History,” Deirdre Moloney thoroughly examines historical studies of Irish immigrants in the United States from the early nineteenth century to the twentieth century. The article assesses Irish American ethnic identity, alongside Irish American cultural trends in American society. Moreover, Moloney focuses on gendered activism and the creation of the American welfare state, immigrant cities and interethnic interactions, defining Irish American identity. Throughout the article she analyzes recent Irish American historiography, addressing various overlapping categories. For example, Moloney analyzes various books on the history of Irish Americans including “The Irish in the South,” by David Gleeson, “The Great Arizona Orphan Abduction,” Linda Gordon, and “People with No Name,” by Patrick Griffin. Also, it is evident that Molony believes that the historiography regarding Irish Americans needs improvement. The sources she utilizes to support her central thesis are books, monographs and scholarship literature. Moloney argues that scholarly literature based on Irish American is lacking in substance and that scholars are forgetting crucial aspects of Irish American history. For instance, Moloney elaborates that most of the historical works on the notion of “whiteness”, lacks substantial analysis on how racial constructions of identity were shaped by gender, especially the economic roles of men and women (Moloney, 104). Labor patterns among the Irish were notably different from those of native-born whites and other immigrant groups. Additionally, she addresses that most historians portray Irish Americans as political and social conservatives, in large part because of the central place of Catholicism in their communities (105). However, she alludes to Irish American scholar Kevin Kenny, in which he states that Irish Americans included several significant progressive figures, as well.
McMahon, Cian T. “International Celebrities and Irish Identity in the United States and Beyond, 1840–1860.” American Nineteenth Century History 15, no. 2 (2014): 147-168.
I found this article through the Penfield Library database. Specifically, this article is from Academic Search Complete. Cian McMahon in his article, “International Celebrities and Irish Identity in the United States and Beyond, 1840–1860,” explores the immense wave of immigrants that left Ireland during and after the Great Famine of the mid-1840s. Particularly, he focuses on the Irish Catholic middle class. During the mid-nineteenth century, the Irish Catholic middle class were often coping with a dually marginal status. This Irish Catholic middle class consisted and maintained the status of peasants and laborers that made up a significant portion of the Irish American community in the United States. Also, McMahon states in his article that Irish Americans were deeply distrusted by important elements of native American society. For example, Irish Americans were associated with the supposed superstition, laziness, and violence of their lower-class fellow countrymen (McMahon, 147). As a result, bothered by this dichotomous position, prominent Irish American leaders regularly advocated to their working-class compatriots to abide to middle-class American norms such as giving up fighting and drinking (147). Stereotypes such as the Irish being belligerent drunks who always searched for a fight, immensely tainted and depicted Irish Americans in a negative scope. In terms of methodology, McMahon uses Antonio Gramsci’s theory of cultural hegemony to analyze how middle-class Irish Americans legitimized their authority over the broader Irish ethnic community during the mid-nineteenth century in the United States. Also, he discusses scholarly articles that address the theory of cultural hegemony and uses content from various newspapers that circulated in the United States during the mid-nineteenth century, which accurately demonstrates how American people portrayed Irish immigrants.
Meagher, Timothy J. “Irish All the Time: Ethnic Consciousness among the Irish in Worcester, Massachusetts, 1880-1905.” Journal of Social History 19, no. 2 (1985): 273-303.
I found this article through the Penfield Library database. Specifically, this article is from JSTOR. Like the Marston article, Meagher’s article, “Irish All the Time: Ethnic Consciousness among the Irish in Worcester, Massachusetts, 1880-1905,” focuses on a distinct location in the northeast United States. He explores and provides a thorough evaluation on what it means to be ethnically conscience among the Irish American community in Worcester, Massachusetts. He examines the religious divide between Protestants and Catholics which is engrained in harsh animosity. Also, he examines ways in which religious leaders tried to alleviate the tension. For example, Meagher states that through the 1880s and early 1890s, several Irish Catholic leaders in Worcester sought to encourage more amicable relations between their people and the Yankee Protestant (Meagher, 277). Although many Catholic leaders tried to help relieve some of the issues with Protestants, their efforts were mostly unsuccessful. Due to the lack accommodation and consensus between the two religious groups, they remained unfriendly to each other. Meagher analyzes various historians and sociologists to help him fully understand the different perspectives of Irish immigrants and American born citizens. According to early scholars, Meagher states that, immigrants such as the Irish, remained stubbornly loyal to their native land, its cultures and traditions, and ethnic identity which made it significantly difficult for them to assimilate into American society (273). As time progressed, Irish Americans through utilizing various American institutions such as the education system and by applying for employment in urban cities throughout the northeast, adapted to American life and helped cope with discrimination.
Byrne, James P. “The Genesis of Whiteface in Nineteenth-Century American Popular Culture.” MELUS 29, no. 3/4 (2004): 133-49.
I found this article through the Penfield Library database. Specifically, this article is from JSTOR. In his article, “The Genesis of Whiteface in Nineteenth-Century American Popular Culture,” James P. Byrne from the University College of Dublin, examines Irish immigrants who entered the United States between 1840 and 1900 and the heinous stereotypes that were associated with them. Additionally, he explores the different forms and ways in which Irish Americans were discriminated against. Byrne states that Irish immigrants entered not only a New World, the United States but also a new arena, where race rather than national origin was the prevailing idiom in discussing citizenship (Byrne, 133). Moreover, his article looks at the previously unconsidered racial stereotype of whiteface utilized by Anglo Americans in the middle of the nineteenth century to distance their working-class from those of the newly arrived immigrant Irish. For instance, the typical whiteface character was recognizable by the stovepipe hat he wore tipped over his forehead, by the shillelagh he carried for fighting, and by his makeup which exaggerated Irish physical characteristics which often consisted of red wigs, red noses, green whiskers, or little beards known as ‘Galway Sluggers’ (134). Byrne alludes whiteface to the well-known blackface minstrel shows which mocked and dehumanized African Americans. Likewise, the whiteface minstrel show, which borrowed from the blackface minstrel symbolic mask, showcased visual identification in order to constitute the Irish as something other than the American white working class (134). Byrne utilizes many sources to support his claim about the overwhelming impact whiteface had on Irish Americans during the mid to late-nineteenth century in America. For example, he utilizes descriptive depictions of Harrigan and Hart’s musical theater which helps visualize how Irish Americans were portrayed. Also, he looks at secondary sources on blackface and its influence on whiteface and historiography on nativism.
Kenny, Kevin. “Twenty Years of Irish American Historiography.” Journal Of American Ethnic History 28, no. 4 (2009): 67-75.
I found this article through the Penfield Library database. Specifically, this article is from Academic Search Complete. In Kevin Kenny’s article, “Twenty Years of Irish American Historiography,” the author provides an in-depth analysis and overall criticism of the book “Emigrants and Exiles: Ireland and the Irish Exodus to North American,” by Kerby Miller which was published in 1985. According to Kenny, Miller’s book is the most influential work of Irish American history ever written. Although Miller’s book is thought-provoking and influential, Kenny states several criticisms to the book. His main criticism he focuses on is the emphasis of pre-migration culture among Irish migrants in the United States. Also, he offers a brief survey of historical scholarship on Irish Americans since Miller wrote his book. The historiography of Irish Americans since Miller wrote his book has some disagreements. Topics like pre-migration factors and the significance of race and labor are extensively discussed among Irish American historians. The article examines the process of migration and its patterns while also explaining an emergence of new transnational contexts for Irish American history. Kenny points out that Miller’s interpretation of Irish history was often bleak and pessimistic, and the rural poor were depicted as powerless in the face of the structural forces determining their lives. As a result, it was easy to conclude that Miller saw emigration as a form of economic or political banishment, or both (Kenny, 68). Kenny argues that the way in which Miller described Irish history as tragedy, he casted Irish migrants as involuntary exiles, not only during the undoubted tragedy of the famine, but also for long periods before and after that catastrophe (68). The are many sources that Kenny uses in his article such as scholarly articles that counterargue Miller’s book. For example, Kenny mentions Timothy Guinnane, who set out to overturn what he saw as Miller’s Malthusian “gloom and doom,” argued in “The Vanishing Irish,” published in 1997, that Irish migration was a matter of calculated rational choice by individuals.