Irish Rebellion in the North Atlantic World, 1858–1876
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: The University of Tennessee Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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The authors express their gratitude to several individuals who played critical roles in the publication of The Fenians. This work began as a master’s thesis entitled Green Americans and evolved into a dissertation called Erin’s Hope before it was presented to the University of Tennessee Press in its current format. Green Amer-icans would not be somewhere in the Tisch library stacks at Tufts University ...
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The history of Irish physical-force republicanism—the desire for complete separa-tion from Great Britain and the willingness to use violence to achieve it—is as old as the late eighteenth century, when the United Irishmen rebelled against British imperialism. led mostly by middle-class Protestants, but supported by Catholic groups like the Defenders, the rebellion began in 1798 in what is now Northern ...
Chapter 1. The Foundations of Fenianism
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The 1858 creation of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) in Ireland and of the fenian Brotherhood in the United States did not occur in a vacuum. The historical precedent set by nationalist groups like the United Irishmen in the late eighteenth century and young Ireland in the mid-nineteenth century set the grounds upon which fenianism was founded and operated. The modernization of ...
Chapter 2. The Fighting Irish
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Contrary to early fenian expectations that the Civil War would abet the Irish nationalist cause, Southern secession ultimately undermined Stephens and o’Mahony’s efforts to expel the British from Ireland by expediting expatriate assimilation into American society. A de facto Anglo-Confederate alliance gave Irish American federal soldiers hope that Ireland and the United States could ...
Chapter 3. Green Americans
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Unmitigated fenian Brotherhood support for the Union army became increas-ingly illogical as the Civil War progressed. All but relatively few expatriate soldiers and civilians were exploited and underappreciated in the early 1860s. o’Mahony and his colleagues would likely have had more success recruiting Irishmen who were frequently used as cannon fodder on the battlefield and as disposable em-...
Chapter 4. Fenian Renaissance
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Although impaired by limited manpower and internal conflict, the transatlantic fenian movement briefly challenged British suzerainty over Ireland after the cul-mination of the American Civil War. Contrary to widespread expectations, feni-anism became popular within the global Irish community, because it psychologi-cally transitioned expatriates from a violent to a peaceful social environment. few ...
Chapter 5. Fenian Fizzle
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John o’Mahony and William Roberts authorized their supporters to launch sep-arate invasions of Canada during the spring of 1866—both of which ultimately failed and irreparably tarnished the global fenian movement. Recognizing the near-term infeasibility of an IRB-led rebellion so soon after habeas corpus rights had been suspended in Ireland, o’Mahony reluctantly amended his long-standing ...
Chapter 6. “No Event of Any Importance”
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The cadre of expatriates who deposed fenian leader James Stephens in Decem-ber 1866 attempted to bolster the Irish nationalist movement over the course of the following year by organizing three ultimately unsuccessful military initiatives. A mid-february attempt to steal firearms from a lancashire arsenal preceded an ineffectual March revolt in Ireland and a transatlantic filibustering operation ...
Chapter 7. Fenianism on the Defensive
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The most significant fenian activity occurred in england and Canada after the failed Erin’s Hope expedition. Increasingly operating on the defensive, IRB mem-bers primarily devoted their collective energy to liberating comrades from prison, while other militants enunciated their republican sentiments as defendants in British courtrooms. The open-air rescue of Thomas Kelly and an associate from ...
Chapter 8. Last Hurrahs
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Although “fenian” became an enduring and often derogatory synonym for Irish militants, few Civil War–era nationalists were still devoted to their republican cause by the close of the nineteenth century. Some former Brotherhood and IRB members, like Roberts and others, were able to parlay their global notoriety into respectable political and professional careers during the Gilded Age. Most rank-...
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Publication Year: 2013