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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 better at detailing the activities of Irish leaders than at evoking the experience of common laborers. Although the book is peppered with statistics about employment patterns, residential turnover, the incidence ofdisease, and typical household composition, it fails to convey effectively the texture of everyday life within the paddy camps. Nor is Mitchell's thesis about the making of a new Irish Catholic identity fully convincing. While he emphasizes the advent of parochial education for girls in the early 1850s, he has difficulty explaining the continued willingness of Irish parents to send a large proportion of their sons to public schools deemed godless by the O'Briens. As it stands, however, The Paddy Camps provides a wealth of information about the role played by the Irish in the rise and decline of Lowell as America's premier industrial showcase. Mitchell deserves our appreciation for shedding as much light as he does on a heretofore obscure subject. Gary J. Kornblith Oberlin College Andrew Johnson and the Negro. By David Warren Bowen. (Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press, 1989. Pp. 206. $29.95.) David Warren Bowen's Andrew Johnson and the Negro is neither a biography nor a detailed examination of presidential politics during Re- 352CIVIL WAR HISTORY construction. Rather, it is a tightlyfocused exploration ofJohnson's world view and how it influenced the crucial decisions he made in the public arena. By following this tack, Bowen is able to explain apparent contradictions and shifts in Johnson's thinking, arguing for a degree ofconsistency that connected his subject's presidential years with his earlier political career . The common thread that Bowen draws throughout Johnson's life is an unshakeable racism that informed Johnson's rhetoric and guided his actions. That racism, in Johnson's mind, condemned black Americans, whether slave or free, to an irredeemably inferior status beyond the pale of American democracy. He found no need to rationalize or apologize for his prejudice; it was a guiltless part of his intellectual fiber, much as breathing is an unconscious part of life. As Bowen concisely details, Johnson worshipped at the altar ofa democracy protected by a constitution that had created an indissoluble union of states. While Johnson accepted the presence ofa social and economic hierarchy among this union's citizens, he also believed that the American system would always preserve equal access to the opportunities that would continue to allow talented men to advance. He saw no contradiction in the fact that there was no room for blacks above the mudsill. Since they were innately inferior, he reasoned, they could never become part of "the people " who steered American democracy and enjoyed its benefits. When Johnson, as wartime governor of Tennessee...


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pp. 351-353
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