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350CIVIL WAR history equally articulate about slavery, theology, education, law, and women's rights. The collection shows that domestic ideology, no less than natural rights theory, provided an intellectual foundation for abolitionism. And it sheds new light on the politics of domesticity, disclosing the complicated links between the sexual segregation ofwoman in the family and arguments for gender equality. What The Limits ofSisterhood does not explore is how public events intruded into and transformed thedomestic world inhabited by women like the Beechers. Little is said of the Civil War, for example, what toll it took, whether it led the Beecherwomen, as so many others, to take up new fields of reform work. But to understand the politics of domesticity we need to know, too, how state and society pervaded the home. That may be to ask for a companion volume to this superb collection. Amy Dru Stanley University of California, Irvine The Paddy Camps: The Irish of Lowell, 1821-61. By Brian C. Mitchell. (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1988. Pp. xiii, 247. $24.95.) In herclassic memoir Loom and Spindle (1898; rev. ed., 1976), Harriet Hanson Robinson described thefactory population ofLowell in the early 1830s as a hierarchy of four classes: the corporation agents, the overseers, the operatives, and the Irish "lords of the spade and the shovel, by whose constant labor the building ofthe great factories was made possible"(9). Until now, despite the enduring fascination that Lowell has held for historians, the last class has received scant scholarly attention. In The Paddy Camps, Brian C. Mitchell endeavors to remedy this situation and to chronicle the emergence of a cohesive Irish community within antebellum New England 's most renowned industrial city. The result is a modest yet valuable contribution to the study ofearly industrialization and the development of ethnic consciousness in the United States. By Mitchell's account, most ofthe Irish who arrived in Lowell during the 1820s came from other American communities, not directly from Ireland. Although they lived in paddy camps apart from Yankee laborers and retained traditional loyalties to family and faction, they displayed American work habits as they helped construct Lowell's industrial infrastructure. Agent Kirk Boott's support for the erection of St. Patrick's Church in 1 830-3 1 signaled the Yankee elite's acceptance of the Irish as permanent residents of the city, and there soon arose within the paddy camps a small but influential Irish middle class committed to republican values and cooperation with corporate authorities. In 1835, a Catholic priest backed by the Irish middle class negotiated an agreement with the local school committee providing for the appointment ofonly church approved instructors in pub- BOOK REVIEWS351 lie schools catering to Irish children. While other cities were torn by ethnic strife, a spirit of accommodation reigned in Lowell. Over the next decade, however, the Irish middle class and Catholic church suffered from internal dissension, and the education agreement broke down. When the Famine Irish began arriving in Lowell in the late 1840s, neither church nor city fathers were well prepared to handle the needs ofthis mass ofnew immigrants. A shift in corporate hiring policies at mid-century opened up new economic opportunities for the Irish, but it also exacerbated social tensions among the city's Yankee residents, who felt threatened and betrayed. Ethnic accommodation along old lines was no longer possible. Mitchell credits Fr. John O'Brien, who took charge of St. Patrick's in 1848, and his brother Fr. Timothy O'Brien with devising an alternative strategy for protecting Irish interests. According to Mitchell, the O'Briens "forged a new Irish Catholic identity"( 133) by institutingseparate Catholic schooling for girls, by building a new, more imposing St. Patrick's Church, and by refusing to kowtow to local Know-Nothings, who both mobbed the new church and elected a nativist mayor in 1854. More generally, the O'Briens counseled the Irish to accept the limits of their social situation rather than to seek advancement through assimilation. Once the surge of local nativism receded, Lowell's Irish enjoyed a sense of security and community even as they forsook the hope of attaining affluence. On the whole, Mitchell is...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 350-351
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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