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Andrew Jackson has long been represented as the archetype of Scots Irish immigrants. However, by the election of 1832, Ulster Presbyterians in Philadelphia, once champions of Jacksonianism, turned against the president and his politics. Catholic Irish immigrants also began to flock to the United States around this time. In Philadelphia Andrew Jackson became the focal point of Irish sectarian differences, some of which became violent. The Irish community became divided over religion and Jacksonian political culture. Ironically, Jackson, whom some historians have identified as the archetype of the Ulster Presbyterians in America, appealed to Irish Catholics but helped spur Irish Protestants into his opponents' camps.


Andrew Jackson, Scots Irish, Irish immigration, nineteenth century America, Irish America

Between 1845 and 1855 over one million Irish immigrants arrived in the United States fleeing famine and disease. They faced great hostility and resentment from many Americans, including the children of those who had migrated from Ireland during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. While the Famine Irish were typically Catholic, earlier Irish immigrants tended to be Ulster Protestants, typically Presbyterians of Scots descent. By mid-century Ulster Presbyterians began to refer to themselves as "Scotch Irish" to distinguish themselves from recent Irish immigrants. Many of the Scotch Irish, or Scots Irish, had easily acclimated into American culture by adopting mainstream notions of Protestant values that included [End Page 313] individualism, discipline, and entrepreneurship. Like many other Americans they became fierce opponents of Catholic immigration.1

While the Scots Irish, particularly in the North, became pillars of the anti-immigrant Know Nothings or the Protestant-dominated Whigs, Irish Catholics were more likely to join the Democratic Party, which was more tolerant (or less critical) of Catholic immigrant culture. These divisions between Irish Americans based on religion and class reflected a harsh sectarianism that had existed in Ireland for centuries. This chasm, however, significantly expanded throughout the nineteenth century, often over political and cultural disputes influenced by racial and religious prejudices. Andrew Jackson, the son of Irish Presbyterians from Ulster, the purported archetype of Scots Irishness, and the leader of the Democratic Party, would become a focal point of bourgeoning Irish sectarian disagreements, particularly in Philadelphia.2

The city of Philadelphia, and Pennsylvania in general, had been a hub of Irish migration, particularly Scots Irish, throughout the eighteenth century. From 1730 to 1750, around 30,000 Scots Irish migrants arrived in the American colonies. Many of them were indentured servants who worked on farms outside Philadelphia or as laborers within the city. During the early 1760s over thirty ships arrived from various parts of Ireland, including Belfast, Londonderry, Cork, and Sligo, carrying Irish Protestants and Catholics. Educated Irish radicals, including newspaperman Mathew Carey, began arriving in the 1780s to avoid prosecution for sedition. By the 1790s the number of political dissidents fleeing Ireland swelled as the British government cracked down on the nationalist organization known as the United Irishmen. The United Irish were a group of well-educated and relatively prosperous middle-class republicans who had supported an ecumenical nationalist philosophy in Ireland and were forced to leave their country in the 1790s as they fomented revolution, which eventually commenced and failed in 1798. A number of the leaders of the United Irish, including Wolfe Tone, Hamilton Rowe, William Duane, and Dr. James Reynolds, eventually landed in Philadelphia. Tone ultimately moved to Paris, but the rest of them remained and became fierce opponents of the John Adams administration. Having recently fled oppressive government in Ireland, they found common cause with the politics of Thomas Jefferson, whom Carey claimed was "embraced by thousands of kindly souls, who sympathize in his sufferings."3

Andrew Jackson's family was part of the migration movement occurring earlier in the 1760s from the north of Ireland. His family arrived in [End Page 314] Philadelphia but moved to the southern interior of the colonies. As the son of Scots Irish parents and an advocate of democratic politics he would, at first, engender a special relationship with the Irish community, both Protestant and Catholic, in the United States. Even non-Irish Americans would highlight his ancestry, with especial emphasis on his Scots Irish attributes, which they deemed to be inherent traits of all Protestant Ulstermen. Jefferson Davis, the future president of the seceded Confederate States of America, wrote in 1845 that the seventh president of the United States "was descended from an Irish family of obscure history but as far as I can learn distinguished by a love of liberty, a hatred of tyranny, and defiance of oppression."4 In a newspaper piece by Theodore Roosevelt forty-six years later, the future president of the United States wrote that Jackson "belonged to that stern and virile race, the Presbyterian Irish."5

Biographer James Parton, in his early study of the seventh president, maintained that Jackson and his fellow Presbyterian Ulster Irish were a "tenacious, pugnacious, race … often angry, but most prudent when most furious … when excited by anger or warped by prejudice, incapable of either telling, or remembering, or knowing the truth; not taking kindly to culture, but able to achieve wonderful things without it."6 "The Scotch-Irish," said Parton,

are a tough, vehement, good-hearted race, who have preserved in good measure the Scotch virtues of honesty, prudence, and perseverance, but exhibit the showing traits of the Irish, subdued and diminished,—a plain, simple, and pure people, formed to grapple with practical affairs, in dealing with which they often display an impetuosity which is Irish, and a persistence which is Scotch.7

Andrew Jackson, hero of the War of 1812 and first president of Scots Irish ancestry, became the archetype of his people.

Historians have noted how Americans perceived the Scots Irish in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and, in doing so, tended to perpetuate the myth of the Scots Irish race as distinct. Walter Russell Mead promoted Jackson as the father of American populism, which he traced to his Scots Irish ancestry. Mead and other historians have placed the genesis of American individualism, democracy, and working-class values to this "hardy and warlike people."8 Part of the myth, for some groups, included long-held prejudices. Jeanette Keith asserted that they "were a tough population to manage, whether in Northern Ireland or western North Carolina. Proud, [End Page 315] independent, and violent, they also differed from the English who settled along the southern coast." As Keith also notes, "The Scotch-Irish were Presbyterians, Calvinists whose version of God tended to be as vengeful as themselves. In Pennsylvania Benjamin Franklin called the new immigrants 'white savages.' Back home, English people referred to the Presbyterians as 'scum' of North Britain by a special nickname: 'rednecks.'"9 Given these alleged "racial" traits, as well as the prejudices toward them, it would seem logical that Irish Presbyterians would band together and embrace Jackson as one of their own. Also, given that many political figures and historians regarded him as the archetype of the Scots Irish, it would also make sense that others of them would place him on a pedestal or, at least, support him politically. However, Jackson would come to disappoint segments of this community.

Andrew Jackson's parents, Andrew and Elizabeth Hutchinson Jackson, emigrated from Carrickfergus in 1765, along with some of their neighbors and relatives. They likely took a ship from Larne in Ulster to Philadelphia before migrating to the Waxhaw region of the Carolinas. Most Scots Irish immigrants in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries came through the port of Philadelphia, and many of them traveled west to the Cumberland Valley in Pennsylvania before going south to the Shenandoah Valley. Rural Pennsylvania offered relatively inexpensive land for farmers, while Philadelphia, the fastest-growing city before the American Revolution, provided merchants, traders, and artisans economic prospects. The colony also allowed for some religious toleration, which appealed to Irish dissenters who had been subject to some of the Penal Laws in Ireland. However, some settlers, like Jackson's parents, traveled even further south. They likely migrated to Carolina with a number of Ulster Presbyterians, including Betty Jackson's sisters and their families. Her brother-in-law, Robert Crawford, had encouraged them to migrate to the new world, and it was the Crawfords who would play an important role in raising Andrew after the young boy's father died. Hendrik Booraem, author of Young Hickory, maintained that Jackson grew up in a "tightly knit" community "with bonds of kinship and tradition, religion and neighborliness, a settlement where hunting and song, whiskey and doctrine, fighting and feasting were all important." He noted that the community was "demonstrably Irish" and "was becoming more Irish every year, as new families from [counties] Antrim, Down, and Tyrone continued moving in." He also noted that "the Irish backcountry people were deeply superstitious." The settlers who visited the area noted that they were distinctly Irish.10 [End Page 316]

Jackson, as much as any public figure at the time, seemed to fit the stereotypical cultural characteristics of the Scots Irish. He was an uneducated rabble-rouser as a young man who drank, gambled, and cavorted with prostitutes. He disdained the British and aided the American colonists in rebellion as a thirteen-year-old boy. He was imprisoned in 1781 by the British during the American Revolution and struck by a British officer for refusing to clean his boots. He also blamed the British for the deaths of his mother and brothers during the war. He was an Indian fighter and held slaves, displaying his racial attitudes toward nonwhites. He engaged in various duels, cementing his reputation as an angry, ill-tempered, vengeful man. He was prone to confrontation, stubborn, and often engaged in personal squabbles at the expense of national interest, as was the case with his war on the Second National Bank and its president, Nicolas Biddle. Ostensibly, Jackson appeared to have been influenced by his cultural identity, and it would make sense that he would both identify with his Irishness, particularly his Scots Irishness, and share a kinship with his fellow Irish Americans.11

Jackson had a complicated relationship with his own Irish ancestry. On a few occasions he did reference his Irishness. For example, in June of 1833, he was honored by the Charitable Irish Society in Boston, where he told the audience, "It is with great pleasure that I see so many of the countrymen of my father. … I have always been proud of my ancestry, and of being descended from the noble race." He noted their desire for independence from Great Britain by asserting, "I am well aware, sir, that Irishmen have never been backward in giving their support to the cause of liberty." In another episode he expressed affinity with the Irish nationalist cause. In a letter to Thomas Mooney, a member of the Irish Repeal Association in New York, Jackson wrote "that the Irish blood which flows in my veins will never cease, but with my life alone, to beat in unison with those who have at heart the very security of Irish liberty."12 Had this letter been written in 1824, 1828, or 1832, years in which Jackson was a presidential candidate, it would be easy to assume that he was simply pandering for votes from Irish Americans. However, he wrote this letter in 1842, more than five years after he left Washington, which arguably signifies either his sincerity or an increasing connection to his parents' homeland. It also speaks to his disdain for the British government (likely dating to his boyhood), an important element of Irish American identity.

It is also significant that certain segments of Irish America promoted the link between Jackson and Ireland. In Boston, after he was first elected in [End Page 317] 1828, they referred to him as the "Irish President," who had taken on the establishment. A Philadelphia paper, the Irish Republican Shield and Literary Observer, also fervidly supported Jackson for his purported opposition to privileged elites and banking interests. Jackson's rhetoric as a man of the people clearly resonated with many Irish Americans, who would become loyal supporters of Jackson's Democratic Party. The Society of Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, an ecumenical organization of middle-class Irish Americans formed in Philadelphia in 1771 to celebrate Irish culture, made Jackson an honorary member and, reportedly, he hung the framed certificate at the Hermitage, his home in Nashville, which was likely named after a Scottish border region castle.13

Jackson's connection with certain segments of the Irish community would become fractured over a number of issues, including the case of George Wilson and James Porter. In late 1829 authorities arrested Wilson and Porter, along with Abraham Poteet, for robbing mail carriers in Pennsylvania. According to the Philadelphia Saturday Evening Post, before the mail robbery, "their first movement was to break open a house and steal fire-arms. They next determined upon robbing the great Western Mail [traveling] between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh," only absconding with $30. They then attacked the Reading Mail, obtaining less than $200. They soon fled to Baltimore and arrested there for their crimes.14 In May 1830 a US Circuit Court in Philadelphia sentenced Wilson and Porter to death for obstructing mail, robbery, and endangering the life of a postal worker. Poteet, however, "consented to save his own life by becoming state's evidence."15 According to the New York Sentinel, authorities hanged James Porter in Philadelphia on July 2, 1830, in front of a reported crowd of 40,000 men and women. Before the public execution, they marched him in a procession from the prison to Bush-Hill, a former country estate outside the city limits, where a "disturbance" and "an attempt to rescue" him were averted before he shuffled onto the gallows. The Sentinel admonished, "it is hoped that all public discussions concerning Porter's fate will cease; except so far as it may be held up as a warning to malefactors, or deemed to furnish an argument against the expediency of capital punishment."16 George Wilson was also condemned to death, but had his sentence commuted to life in prison by the president of the United States, Andrew Jackson. Yet, for unknown reasons, Wilson refused the pardon, which prompted a Supreme Court decision, United States v. Wilson, in 1833 that ruled Wilson had every right to refuse his commutation. He was eventually hanged for his crimes.17 [End Page 318]

Born in 1800 in "the North of Ireland," Porter experienced a difficult childhood. Reportedly, he "was not under parental authority" and possessed a "reckless and wicked disposition." According to some sources, he avoided the constables in Ireland by fleeing to Liverpool, and eventually made his way to New York, where he found work on the Erie Canal. He continued a life of crime in the United States and was even suspected of the murder of "a fellow countryman and fellow laborer," but never charged with the crime.18 He then spent time "in the Maryland Penitentiary, where he became hardened altogether and accomplished in villany" and became acquainted with George Wilson. He was described as having a "dark scowl of an eye sunk deep into a black and weather beaten socket," and "bleared and disfigured by the ravages of the small pox," which elicited "a secret and involuntary shudder."19

However, the Pennsylvania Intelligencer, and Farmers' and Mechanics' Journal painted a much more sympathetic portrait of Porter. The paper referred to him as "this unfortunate man" who had been vilified as a "demon of depravity," while "extraordinary pains were taken to make Wilson a saint." The article's author asserted that the death sentence for Porter and the pardon of Wilson set off "threats of determined resistance" and "public excitement" in opposition to his impending hanging. They blamed the disparity in sentences between the two men to Wilson's place of birth. The paper noted Porter's Episcopalian upbringing in Ireland and his separation from his family at the age of ten, and referred to him as "a man of the most undaunted courage." Unlike other reports of his criminal past in Ireland and England, the Journal asserted that he had lived a crime-free existence until "he got among gamblers, the profane, and the intemperate" in the United States. He was, by this account, a sympathetic and tragic figure. The Journal excoriated other media sources for their coverage of Porter and exclaimed him to be "of the most heroic and elevated cast." As other newspapers noted, those in attendance at his hanging expressed clear indignation after he met his fate, and the local population clearly blamed Andrew Jackson for not commuting Porter's sentence as he did for Wilson.20

The execution of Porter was particularly unpopular with many Irish Americans who felt it emblematic of the developing fission between Jackson and their community, notably in Philadelphia where they hanged Porter. Jackson had already incensed some of the expatriate community over other issues, and the controversial hanging of the noted highwayman in 1830 exacerbated this tenuous relationship. Despite his notorious past and appearance, Porter became a symbol of the unequal treatment of Irish immigrants and [End Page 319] facilitated deeper resentments toward the president. However, his religion and alleged political associations, when revealed, demonstrate sectarian attitudes within the Irish community.

Philadelphia was the "headquarters of American Presbyterianism and gateway for Ulster immigrants."21 Referring to Porter's execution in a letter to Jackson, William Taylor Barry, the postmaster general from Kentucky, wrote "the Irish portion of the [Philadelphia] population were particularly excited and their indignation greatly aroused a distinction had been made in favor of a native-born citizen in preference to an Irishman."22 In response, Jackson's allies, as they tended to do, blamed his political opponents for fomenting agitation among the Irish against him. James Gowen, a Philadelphian originally from County Donegal, wrote to Jackson that his "ancient and bitter enemies" have drawn

a distinction betwixt a native and an Irishman, by pardoning the one, when, as is contended, there were not one mitigating circumstance that could be plead in extenuation, and executing the other … merely, because he was an Irishman [emphasis in the original].

Gowen, however, defended Jackson to his fellow expats in Philadelphia,

I pledged myself for the purity of your motives and the absence of all partiality—That had you a bias twas Irish—I have told them of the courtesy and hospitality I have experienced under your roof, and at your table, and that I always placed to the [account] of being an Irishman, somewhat distinguished and respected among my countrymen [emphasis in the original].23

Jackson defended his decision to Gowen in most certain terms and, in doing so, again referred to his ancestry as a point of justification. He wrote, "The absurdity that I should have pardoned Wilson because he was an American, and permitted Porter to be hung, because he was an Irishman is too palatable to deserve one single comment from me, when it is known that my parents were Irish." Jackson maintained that he pardoned Wilson for confessing, which led to Porter's arrest, and that "under these circumstances to have permitted Wilson to have been hung would have left an indeliable [sic] stain upon the character of our Government." He also noted that Wilson was "left subject to 60 years imprisonment." Porter, on the other [End Page 320] hand, was "one of the most hardened villains & cold blooded murderers," who had also confessed to murdering another man near Washington. Jackson firmly asserted, "I shall never regret my action in this case."24

Despite his resolve that he had made the right decision in the Porter case, it affected Jackson's relationship with the Irish community in Philadelphia. While they overwhelmingly supported Jackson in the election of 1828, he now faced hostile opposition from many Irish voters during his re-election in 1832, as a number of them became outspoken anti-Jacksonians. There were additional issues that had further eroded their confidence in Jackson. Notably, he faced opposition for his staunch resistance to internal improvements, many of which supplied employment for Irish laborers. A group of "naturalized Irish citizens of Philadelphia, and their descendants, now opposed to the re-election of Andrew Jackson to the presidency of the United States" met on August 6 to advocate against the president. Reportedly, most of its leaders had supported Jackson in the 1828 election against the incumbent John Quincy Adams. Claiming familiarity with oppressive government in Ireland, "many thousands" of expatriates expressed that they had lost confidence in Jackson to protect "free white labor" and American manufacturing, references to Jackson's opposition to high tariffs and labor unions. The Philadelphia Irishmen also opposed Jackson's stifling war on paper currency, arguing that the wealthy were hording specie, as well as his war on the National Bank and what they perceived as general corruption within his administration. They called for "the usurpation of the present reckless chief magistrate and the corrupt and servile flatterers by whom he is surrounded." Also, the Irish community noted "the old excitement caused by the hanging of Porter is revived in new force" as another reason to oppose Jackson. In general, they saw the president as a tyrant and admonished,

Irishmen! You have sworn to support the constitution of the United States: you cannot, therefore support ANDREW JACKSON, who has repeatedly violated that constitution, by treating with contempt the decisions of the Supreme Court, and despotically appointing favorites to office in defiance of the voice of the senate!25

One of the leaders of this demonstration was James Gowen, the very man who earlier had defended Jackson over the Porter hanging. Gowen (who had recently adopted the middle name Emmett as an homage to the Protestant Irish nationalist Robert Emmett) had been recruited by Nicholas Biddle to [End Page 321] advocate for the recharter of the Second National Bank to the Irish community in Philadelphia. The ambitious Gowen, along with Mathew Carey, was also a member of the Hibernian Society, an organization created in 1790 and comprised of relatively wealthier Irish emigrants to assist their newly arrived indigent countrymen.26

At an 1832 meeting in front of an estimated 9,000 Irishmen, Gowen and other leaders of the anti-Jacksonian movement, many of whom were members of the Hibernian Society, voiced regret. They had previously supported a president who had "repeatedly violated that constitution by treating with contempt the decisions of the Supreme Court, and despotically appointing favorites to office in defiance of the voice of the Senate!" It is difficult to discern the effectiveness of Gowen's plea, but Jackson, despite winning the overall electoral vote in Pennsylvania, did not win the city of Philadelphia or nearby Chester County, which was mostly Protestant. It appeared that assaults on Native Americans, honest government, and economic institutions, had infuriated many Irish Americans in Philadelphia.27

It is difficult to determine which Irishmen attended the "Irish Anti-Jackson Meeting"; however, Gowen's involvement in other Irish organizations can likely reveal some overlap between various expatriate groups. Thus, we can probably assume that some of the Irishmen involved in supporting the Irish Shield, a local newspaper, or the Philadelphia Association of the Friends of Ireland, as Gowen was, also likely were anti-Jackson. For example, we know that Mathew Carey, who was president of the Friends of Ireland, one of the founders of the Hibernian Society, and a strong supporter of Alexander Hamilton's nationalist economic agenda, also opposed Jackson's policies.28 Conversely, William Duane, a prominent Irish Philadelphian who was a member of the Friends of Ireland and Jackson supporter, does not appear to do so in press clippings of either group in 1831 or 1832.29

Further examination reveals that many of the anti-Jacksonian Irish appeared to have been United Irish exiles or, at least, supporters of the now-defunct nationalist organization. Many of them migrated to New York and Philadelphia and became supporters of Jeffersonian principles as well as adversaries of both British and Federalist politics. John Quincy Adams's secretary of state, Timothy Pickering, referred to them as "United Irish Desperadoes," and they were the main targets of the Federalists' Alien and Sedition Acts. Most Irishmen in the United States at the turn of the century supported Jeffersonians who advocated for limited government, and these United Irish exiles provided political leadership that helped bridge the [End Page 322] Catholic-Protestant divide by promoting both assimilation and a nostalgia for Ireland. By the 1820s, however, many of them had become advocates of Henry Clay's American System, which promoted a national banking system, internal improvements, and high tariffs. They assumed that Jackson would be an Irish American Clay but became disappointed when that was not the case. Jackson's personal battle with Nicholas Biddle, a prominent Philadelphian and president of the National Bank, galvanized anti-Jackson sentiment among leading politicians in Philadelphia, including many outside the Irish community.30

Although the Irish anti-Jacksonian sentiment does not appear to have existed in other regions to the same degree as in Philadelphia, there existed similar sentiment with former United Irishmen in other regions. William MacNeven, a County Galway–born physician who played a profound role in the United Irish movement in Ireland and was forced into exile in the United States after his arrest in 1798, expressed similar views to those Philadelphia expats, which differed from the majority of New York Irishmen who supported Jackson. He had at first supported Jackson; however, the New York expat soon came to believe that Jackson's attack on the national bank and big business would destroy the American economy.31 His anti-Jacksonian sentiment so perturbed a pro-Jacksonian mob in New York, which included a number of recent (likely Catholic) Irish immigrants, that they attacked MacNeven's house. This episode not only demonstrated the political animus over Jackson that existed at the time, it also revealed the growing sectarian divide within the expatriate community.32 In response to the anti-Jacksonian movement in Philadelphia, a pro-Jackson group of Irishmen in New York met at Tammany Hall to "express our opinion of the impropriety of exclusive meetings of naturalized citizens for political purposes."33 Perhaps the irony was lost on them, but their support of Jackson likely revolved around his refusal to condemn Irish immigration to America, as well as his war on the National Bank, which resulted in New York replacing Philadelphia as the nation's financial capital.34

Still, not all Philadelphia Irishmen opposed Jackson's reelection. William Duane, whose son became Jackson's short-lived secretary of treasury during the Bank War, was the exception when it came to United Irish adherents. His rhetoric matched many recent Catholic arrivals, who were attracted to Jackson's populist rhetoric, particularly his antibanking stance and claims to represent the common man. Mathew Carey, a Catholic from Dublin who once worked for Benjamin Franklin, and Duane, a Deist who grew up in a [End Page 323] Catholic family, would come to represent the split over Jacksonian politics within the Irish exile community in Philadelphia.35 While Duane's faction, mostly Catholic laborers and artisans, supported Jackson's war against the national bank, Carey's mostly Protestant faction viewed Jackson as dangerous and antithetical to American liberty. Carey, who had become an entrenched member of Philadelphia's business and social elite, opposed Jackson's demagoguery and advocated for Clay's American System as he became de facto spokesperson for Philadelphia manufacturing and trade. While United Irish exiles once admired Jefferson's intellectualism and ideological principles, most of them distrusted Jackson's crude, emotional appeal to the general populace. The Irish in Philadelphia, once the supporters of Jefferson's Democratic-Republicans, now opposed its self-proclaimed heir, the Democratic Party, and Andrew Jackson was mostly responsible for this shift.36

John Binns's story reflected this shift. Born in Dublin in 1772 to Protestant parents, he joined the London Corresponding Society in the 1790s and was arrested in 1799 for conspiracy and high treason. His crime consisted of helping to establish the Society of United Britons, a group sympathetic to and modeled after the United Irishmen. Binns arrived in Philadelphia from Liverpool in the early nineteenth century and, like most Irish radicals, was drawn to Jeffersonian Republicanism. William Duane gave him the editorship of the Republican Argus, established in Northumberland, Pennsylvania, in 1802.37 An enthusiastic proponent of working-class rights and Jacksonian democracy, Binns later started the Democratic Press to address what he deemed the overrepresentation of Federalist newspapers in Philadelphia. He noted that of the seven newspapers in Philadelphia, was only one was "Democratic." For the state of Pennsylvania, only nine of its thirty-eight newspapers supported the Democratic-Republican Party. Binns asserted that his new paper would "advocate and defend the sacred principles of the American Revolution as they are laid down in the Declaration of American Independence," and "act as faithful Centinels of the Democratic Republican party."38 Like many Jeffersonians, he supported William Crawford in the election of 1824 and lambasted Jackson for ordering the execution of American soldiers falsely accused of desertion during the War of 1812. He also opposed Jackson's bid for president in 1828 and viewed him as symptomatic of America's new unprincipled political system that elevated personal greed and power above the good of the nation. For a short time, Binns threw his support to the National Republicans (former Federalists and future Whigs) and advocated for the founding of a new political party.39 [End Page 324]

Criticism of Jackson also emanated from working-class communities in Philadelphia and other urban areas. The lower classes in Philadelphia had a long history of political mobilization, which had included supporting paper money as early as the 1720s, despite the opposition of political and business elites.40 Philadelphia was also becoming the most industrialized city in the nation, where textile mills employed a large number of immigrants, including Irishmen. Although Jackson claimed to represent the common man, he often opposed unionization and strikes, leading the Mechanics Free Press of Philadelphia to assert that Jackson, due to his duplicity, posed a bigger threat to the white working class than his opponents.41 As William A. Sullivan demonstrated, the Working Man's Party in Philadelphia defied the typical narrative that American laborers supported Jackson, as they more often supported anti-Jackson candidates. Although the party died out by 1832, their voting patterns demonstrated that many laborers in Philadelphia, including Irishmen, had been anti-Jackson even before the 1832 election, before many wealthier Irish had altered their attitude toward the president. For many working-class Irish Protestants, their opposition to Jackson likely revolved around their economic interests.42

For middle-class Irish Protestants, the shift to anti-Jacksonianism was not only economic but also likely the desire "to achieve social control, political power, and cultural hegemony over the Ulster American community."43 The Niles' Register stated that an anti-Jacksonian meeting in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, home to numerous Scots Irish, was "large and respectable," consisting of "farmers, lawyers, manufacturers, and mechanics."44 The economic anxieties that followed the Panic of 1819 and the increased immigration of Irish Catholics (who tended to be poorer and less likely to assimilate) united Protestants in their antipathy to both Jackson and Irish Catholics. Groups like the Orange Order had a long history in Ireland and the United States of using sectarianism to control the Protestant working class; the same was true in Philadelphia, where city alderman Britton Evans at an Orange Order meeting advocated for "freedom from Popery and arbitrary power."45 By 1832 it was clear that most Irish Protestants in Philadelphia, regardless of class, had gravitated to anti-Jacksonianism, or what would later become the Whig Party. However, much of this antipathy was aimed at the supporters of Jackson, particularly Irish Catholics.46

Due to agricultural depression in Ireland, Catholics began their first full-scale immigration to the United States in the early 1830s, and they tended to side with the Jacksonians. Irish Catholics began emigrating en masse after [End Page 325] the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815, but famine in the early 1830s led more Catholics than Protestants to leave for the United States, challenging the notions of a more monolithic Irish expatriate community. Most of the Catholics who arrived in Philadelphia were also from Ulster, and they would have brought with them historical grievances against Ulster Protestants, who had assumed much of their ancestors' land during the plantation of the 1600s by Scottish and English settlers. More recently, the debate over the 1800 Act of Union, which made Ireland part of the United Kingdom, caused sectarian strain in both Ireland and North America and led many Irish Presbyterians to embrace more reactionary perspectives and distance themselves from their Irish identity. This was reflected in the increased participation in sectarian Orange societies which rejected both their Irish identity and democratic attitudes, especially more populistic notions of participatory politics that Jackson claimed to advocate.47 Despite Jackson's authoritarian tendencies, for many Irish Protestants his rhetoric reflected a more dangerous worldview, as Jackson claimed to represent the common man at a time when more white males could vote. We can see this political transition with Binns, who earlier advocated for Jeffersonian values and voiced opposition to governmental overreach in both Ireland and the United States, including the demand for a constitutional convention to overturn the executive power of the Pennsylvania governor. By the 1820s he supported John Quincy Adams, the National Republican who promoted centralized Federalist policies.48

Changes in American Christianity also influenced an Irish Protestant shift in identity after the Second Great Awakening emphasized emotional evangelism over religious rationality. Northern reformed Protestantism also "became the foundation of a broadening middle-class culture in the United States," which Irish Protestants seemed to embrace.49 Similar to changes in Ulster Presbyterianism, Irish Protestants in America embraced "obedience to the laws, respect for property, sturdy self-reliance and steady, sober, industrious behavior" in response to an assumed Irish Catholic culture consisting of indolence, criminality, and drunkenness.50 As evangelicalism began its ascent to become the "dominant religious force in America," sectarianism replaced ethnic solidarity and altered previous political values.51 The facture between Catholics and Protestants was evident in how Catholics reacted when they discovered that James Porter, the man who hanged for his crimes, according to William Taylor Barry, "was a Protestant and an Orange-Man." As Barry revealed to Jackson, Irish Catholics in Philadelphia who originally were [End Page 326] incensed by his hanging, became "indifferent about it" when Porter's affiliation with the Orange Order became common knowledge.52

Along with changing cultural values, Jackson's dominant personality and divisive political decisions led to the creation of a second two-party system that further exacerbated differences in the Irish community. While many Irish Protestants in the North became Whigs, Jackson enjoyed the overwhelming political support of Irish Catholics. While the Democratic Party was less critical of immigrants' cultural mores, the Whig Party, which was created as a response to Jackson's political and cultural hegemony, tended to attract nativists who were not only anti-Jackson, but also anti-Catholic. Evangelical northerners embraced the reform impulses of the Whig Party, and Americans most connected to the market economy gravitated to the pro-business policies of the Whigs. As Leo Hirrel notes, New School Presbyterian ministers tended to be Whigs and, in some cases, were virulently anti-Jackson, so it would follow that many of their flock would also gravitate toward the Whig Party.53 In general, Protestant Irishmen had promoted progress as a virtue, and the Whigs echoed their support of political and religious reform, as well as economic growth and modernism.

Whig Irishmen in Philadelphia also tended to support the abolition of slavery. Carey supported abolition but believed that African colonization was necessary to ensure a prosperous and unified nation. Like Henry Clay, Carey's support for the American System included a plan for compensated abolition and colonization. Carey's support for colonization was based on the assumption that slavery was economically regressive due to excessive costs to secure the institution, and that whites and blacks could never live together harmoniously in a post-slavery world. Although Carey initially opposed colonization due to its cost, the Nullification Crisis of 1828, in which South Carolina threatened nullification and, possibly secession, regarding high tariffs, led him to realize that tariffs were simply a proxy for slavery. South Carolinians, anxious over possible slave rebellion, assumed that tariff interests overlapped with avocation for emancipation and colonization, while Carey recognized that slavery was both a menace to national harmony and a threat to democratic norms. Southern slaveholders had utilized autocratic means to protect their interests, and they had also allied with British merchants who relied on cotton, which subverted the welfare of the new nation. Carey also feared demographic changes in which black population growth far outpaced white population growth in the South, which predicted greater discord and, likely, a revolution like the one that led to Haitian independence. He also [End Page 327] argued that colonization would civilize slaves, Christianize Liberia, and create a greater United States of America. Thus, it would make sense that Irish Protestants in the North would oppose the populist rhetoric and pro-slavery politics of Jackson and his followers. However, many Irish Protestants in the American South tended to support the pro-slavery tenets of Jacksonianism.54

As the number of Irish Catholic immigrants increased and Jackson augmented the power of the executive office, Irish Protestants became more uneasy about their status within the Irish American community. Thomas Colley Grattan, the Dublin-born British ambassador stationed in Boston, noted, "the obscure Irish inhabitants" with "such patronymics as M'Hugh, M'Ginniskin, and Murphy" had replaced "the historical names" of the United Irish exiles as the leaders of the new Irish America.55 Sectarian violence between Protestants and Catholics was fairly common in Ireland during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and immigrants brought historic grievances with them to their new homes. This was particularly true in Philadelphia, where working-class Protestants seized the moment to assert their perceived superiority, as they had in Ireland.56

Socioeconomic and ethnic conflict had always been evident in Philadelphia since its colonial days, but rarely did violence result from these differences.57 Jacksonian-era political and religious battles, however, did erupt in fighting. On July 12, 1831, a sectarian riot broke out in Philadelphia as Irish Catholics and Protestants erupted over the Orange Order parade commemorating the Battle of the Boyne, when the Protestant William of Orange defeated the Catholic James II in 1690. Authorities arrested a number of the participants. The attorneys who representing both sides in court seem to correlate with the dispute over Jackson, as the lawyers for the Orange Order were also part of the anti-Jacksonian sentiment in Philadelphia, while the lawyers for the Catholics, such as George Mifflin Dallas, were pro-Jackson. As more Irish Catholics arrived in Philadelphia (Catholics made up about one-quarter of the Irish population in the city by the late 1820s), Protestants there attempted to demonstrate their links with fellow Protestants, while eschewing national ties with the Catholics who had arrived. As the historian Francis Hoeber argued, the Philadelphia Orangemen had assumed their anti-Catholic parades would align them with the larger nativist community at the expense of Irish Catholic immigrants.58

Nativist violence also took place in Philadelphia in the 1830s and 40s, reflecting the sectarian and racial tensions that continued to divide the nation. The rise of abolitionist influence, particularly within the Whig Party, [End Page 328] coincided with the increase of free blacks and fugitive slaves arriving to the city. Racial violence broke out in 1834 in South Street, when white mobs attacked black homes as well as a black Methodist church on Wharton Street. Influenced by "Negrophobia" rhetoric from the middle and upper classes, white working-class men tended to target both blacks and white abolitionists in the city. The Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society, which constructed Pennsylvania Hall in 1838 as a "temple of liberty" to hold abolitionist meetings and advocate for the freedom of enslaved laborers, also became a target for anti-black perpetrators. Founded as a colony by the Quaker William Penn, Pennsylvania, and particularly Philadelphia, was home to a large Quaker population that had mostly opposed slavery on religious grounds. The Second Great Awakening had stressed the role of free will in attaining salvation, which for many northern evangelicals also meant freedom from the bonds of slavery. Thus, Philadelphia seemed the ideal home for the abolitionist community. However, an anti-abolitionist mob burned down Pennsylvania Hall within three days of its opening. While it is somewhat unclear who was responsible for the 1838 violence, Philadelphia Protestants, including many Scots Irish, led attacks in 1844 against the Irish Catholic community. The nativist assaults during the summer, which led to the deaths of at least thirty people, were a continuation of the 1831 sectarian riots. Although this dispute revolved around Catholic objections of using the Protestant King James Bible in public schools, it clearly revealed the nativist impulses of the local Protestant community that had also influenced the political debates over Jackson.59

The early nineteenth century was a chaotic period in which the new political leaders who had replaced the founders faced problems of industrialization, unregulated capitalism, the rise of abolitionism, and increased immigration of non-Protestants. For white Protestant Philadelphians, the "Age of Jackson" was a time of anxiety, as they attempted to mandate order within their society. Hence, many of them resolved to promote Americanization, evangelism, temperance, colonization schemes, and other forms of nativism to alleviate their apprehensions. While many Philadelphians called for "institutional remedies," others employed nativist measures, including violence, to control marginalized populations of free blacks and Irish Catholics. The sectarian disputes between anti-Jacksonian Irish Protestants and Jacksonian Irish Catholics resulted from the failure of reform-minded Philadelphians to convince their co-habitants to adopt their proposed solutions.60 [End Page 329]

The shift of the Protestant Irish American community in Philadelphia from pro-Jacksonian in 1828 to adamantly opposing him in the 1832 election reflects more than just political disagreement over specific policies. While some of it clearly stemmed from those policies that negatively affected or offended the sensibility of Philadelphians, larger religious and cultural issues played a role as well. The Bank War, the execution of Porter and commutation of Wilson, the mistreatment of Native Americans, Jackson's support for slavery, and his crude populist rhetoric clearly led Protestant Irishmen to oppose the president. More important, Jackson became a focal point of cultural and sectarian division between Irish Catholics and Protestants in Philadelphia that also reflected larger trends in the nation and in Ireland. While northern Irish Protestants may have at one time concurred with Duff Green's assertion that Jackson was "the son of honest Irish parents. … That natural interest which all true hearted Irishmen feel in the fame of one who has so much Irish blood in his veins, has drawn down upon the heads of that devoted people, the denunciations of the partisans of Messrs. Adams and Clay," they soon abandoned Jackson.61 Not coincidently, this occurred during the same period that Irish Protestants began to refer to themselves as "Scotch-Irish" to distinguish themselves from Irish Catholic immigrants. In their endeavor to be seen by other Americans as upright citizens, Irish Protestants, including those who once supported the United Irishmen, rejected Irish ecumenicist sentiments and, in some cases, their Irish identity.

Much like today's political culture wars seem to revolve around American presidents, the political culture wars of the 1830s revolved around Andrew Jackson. Irish Protestants concerned about reputation and identity distanced themselves from both the politics of Jackson and the cultural mores of their fellow Catholic expatriates, who began to flock to urban centers. The United Irishman, John Caldwell, anticipated these concerns in 1802 when he lamented the lack of communalism in America. He asserted that as the Irish moved to cities, they were "often attended with ruin to Individuals and dishonour to our National Character."62 Perhaps Irish Protestants in Philadelphia, heeding Caldwell's admonishment, had embraced the more communal tenets of the Whig Party. More likely, they had acculturated to those American characteristics that stressed propriety, which in turn led to socioeconomic success. In northern cities, many of the former United Irishmen and their children, who had once embraced nonsectarian Irish nationalism, now gravitated toward the anti-Jacksonian parties that tended to support nativism and evangelism. Irish American Protestants in Philadelphia distanced themselves from the [End Page 330] cruel, individualistic, and regressive nature of Jacksonian political culture. However, Irish Catholics became firm Jacksonians and, as they had in Ireland, regarded their national counterparts as their oppressors.63 The Irish community became divided over religion and Jacksonian politics. Ironically, Jackson, who some historians have identified as the archetype of the Ulster Presbyterians in America, appealed to Irish Catholics but helped spur Irish Protestants into his opponents' camps.

Bryan Patrick McGovern
Kennesaw State University
Bryan Patrick McGovern

bryan patrick mcgovern is a professor of history at Kennesaw State University. He is the author of John Mitchel: Irish Nationalist, Southern Secessionist (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2009) and coauthored, with Patrick Steward, The Fenians: Irish Rebellion in the North Atlantic World, 1858–1867 (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2013). He has also written articles on Young Ireland and Irish immigration.


1. Kerby Miller, Emigrants and Exiles: Ireland and the Irish Exodus to North America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985), 156–57.

2. "Scots Irish" and "Scotch Irish" are contested terms that obscure more than enlighten, partially because they privilege immigrants' Scottish background over their more immediate Irish past. Furthermore, these terms imply a Protestant identity without explicitly defining them as either Presbyterian or Anglican. The reality is that these immigrants mostly self-identified as Irish until the mid-nineteenth century. Theobold Wolfe Tone, one of the leaders of the United Irishmen, asserted in 1797 that Irish Presbyterians "soon ceased to consider themselves as any other than Irishmen." "Theobald Wolfe Tone, Selections from Life of Theobald Wolfe Tone (1797) (published 1826)," reprinted in Ireland and Britain, 1798–1922: An Anthology of Sources, ed. Dennis Dworking (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 2012), 11. Although I use these terms, including the infelicitous "Scotch Irish," throughout the article to reflect the historiography, the phrase "Ulster Irish Presbyterian" is probably more proper. Still, most Irish Presbyterians referred to themselves as Irish well before the mid-nineteenth century. For example, the Pennsylvania Correspondent and Farmers' Advertiser referred to Irish Protestant settlers from Ulster as Irish, distinct from English and Scottish settlers. Pennsylvania Correspondent and Farmers' Advertiser, October 3, 1814. Likewise, the Farmer's Repository referred to Jackson's parents as Irish. Farmer's Repository, October 12, 1815.

3. Quoted in Maurice J. Bric, Ireland, Philadelphia, and the Re-Invention of America (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2008), 219; Gary B. Nash, The Urban Crucible: Social Change, Political Consciousness, and the Origins of the American Revolution (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1979), 106, 247–48; David Brundage, Irish Nationalists in America: The Politics of Exile, 1798–1998 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016), 39–41.

4. Jefferson Davis to John Jenkins, July 5, 1845, in The Papers of Jefferson Davis, ed. Haskell M. Monroe Jr., James T. McIntosh, and Lynda L. Crist (Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 1971) 2:287, quoted in Grady McWhiney, Cracker Culture: Celtic Ways in the Old South (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1988), 35–36.

5. Theodore Roosevelt, "Andrew Jackson," The Chautauquan: A Weekly Newsmagazine 12, no. 4 (January 1891): 477.

6. James Parton, The Life of Andrew Jackson (New York: Mason Brothers, 1860), 3:685; reprinted in Andrew Burstein, The Passions of Andrew Jackson (New York: Knopf, 2003), 10.

7. Quoted in Prof. W. W. Clayton, History of Davidson County, Tennessee, With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of its Prominent Men and Pioneers (Philadelphia: J. W. Lewis and Co., 1880), 137.

8. Walter Russell Mead, "The Jacksonian Tradition: And American Foreign Policy," National Interest 58 (Winter 1999/2000): 9–10. Also see David Hackett Fischer, Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989).

9. Jeanette Keith, The South: A Concise History, vol. 1 (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, 2002), 40–41.

10. For more on Scots Irish immigration patterns, see Judith Ridner, The Scots Irish of Early Pennsylvania: A Varied People (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2018), 27–31; H. Tyler Blethen and Curtis W. Wood Jr., From Ulster to Carolina: The Migration of the Scotch-Irish to Southwestern North Carolina (Raleigh: North Carolina Office of Archives and History, 2016), 37–45. Hendrik Booraem, Young Hickory: The Making of Andrew Jackson (Dallas: Taylor Trade Publishing, 2001), 1–4; Daniel W. Patterson, The True Image: Gravestone Art and the Culture of Scotch Irish Settlers in the Pennsylvania and Carolina Backcountry (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2012), 311. For more on the debate about where the Jacksons landed, see Booraem, Young Hickory, 215 nn. 2, 25–26.

11. It is likely that Jackson also profited from the slave trade. See Mark Cheathem, "Andrew Jackson, Slavery, and Historians," History Compass 3 (2011): 326–38.

12. Andrew Jackson to Thomas Mooney, reprinted in the Niles' National Register, July 16, 1842, 12, 20; American Periodicals, 310. The Repeal Association in Ireland was an organization formed by Daniel O'Connell, an Irish lawyer and Member of Parliament, who called for the repeal of the Act of Union (1800), which made Ireland part of the United Kingdom. A number of repeal associations were established throughout the United States by Irish immigrants who supported O'Connell's cause.

13. The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, founded in 1771, was made up of wealthier Philadelphia merchants and traders, whose members had to be born in Ireland or be sons of Irish-born parents. It operated mostly as a social and networking club. Maurice J. Bric, Ireland, Philadelphia, and the Re-invention of America, 1760–1800 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2008), xiii, 151–57; Dennis Clark, Erin's Heirs: Irish Bonds of Community (Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1991), 22–27; Arthur Mitchell, "Andrew Jackson," in The Encyclopedia of the Irish in America, ed. Michael Glazier (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press), 480–81.

14. Philadelphia Saturday Evening Post, May 15, 1830.

15. Henry St. Clair, The United States Criminal Calendar or An Awful Warning to the Youth of America (Boston, C. Gaylord, 1840), 244–52,

16. New York Sentinel and Working Man's Advocate, July 8, 1830. The Sentinel supported the aims of reform-minded National Republicans like John Quincy Adams. For example, the paper was most vocal in its support of free education and, hesitantly, supported a national banking system. New York Sentinel and Working Man's Advocate, February 4, 1832; The Free Enquirer (New York), May 22, 1830.

17. United States v. George Wilson, 32 US 150 (7 Pet. 150, 8L.Ed. 640); Connecticut Courant, July 6, 1930.

18. Salem Gazette, May 28, 1830.

19. American and Commercial Daily Advertiser (Baltimore, MD), May 26, 1830.

20. Pennsylvania Intelligencer, and Farmers' and Mechanics' Journal, July 20, 1830.

21. Peter Gilmore, "'Minister of the devil': Thomas Ledlie Birch, Presbyterian Rebel in Exile," in Ulster Presbyterians in the Atlantic World: Religion, Politics and Identity, ed. David A. Wilson and Mark G. Spencer (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2006), 70–71.

22. William Taylor Barry to Andrew Jackson, July 10, 1830, in The Papers of Andrew Jackson, ed. Samuel B. Smith and Harriet Chappell Owsley, 8 vols. (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1980–2010).

23. James Gowen to Andrew Jackson, July 3, 1830, in ibid.

24. Jackson to Gowen, July 22, 1830, in ibid.

25. Niles' National Register, August 4, 1832.

26. The Hibernian Society was established to protect Irish immigrants and provide social services. The organization consisted of doctors, lawyers, innkeepers, wardens, customs officers, port collectors, grocers, and schoolmasters. It also succeeded the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick in popularity by 1790 and was not nearly as exclusive. It consisted of both Protestants and Catholics with Irish connections. Bric, Ireland, Philadelphia, and the Re-Invention of America, 157–62; William E. Watson, J. Francis Watson, John H. Ahtes III, and Earl H. Schandelmeier III, The Ghosts of Duffy's Cut: The Irish Who Died Building America's Most Dangerous Stretch of Railroad (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2006), 50–52; Beverly C. Tomek, Colonization and Its Discontents: Emancipation, Emigration, and Antislavery in Antebellum Pennsylvania (New York: New York University Press, 2010), 63–92.

27. John Henry and G. W. Laudeman, "Meeting of Irishmen, at Philadelphia: The Meeting—Official Account," Niles' National Register, August 11, 1832, 42, 1090; American Periodicals, 424; Philadelphia Daily Express, August 1, 1832; Philadelphia Inquirer, August 7, 1832; Federal Gazette and Philadelphia Evening Post, March 3, 1790; Watson et al., The Ghosts of Duffy's Cut, 52–54.

28. Federal Gazette and Philadelphia Evening Post, March 3, 1790. Carey supported what would become known as Henry Clay's "American System," which included protective tariffs, internal improvements, and a national bank. Tomek, Colonization and Its Discontents, 63–68.

29. The Irish Shield, January 28 and May 6, 1831; John H. Campbell, History of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick and of the Hibernian Society for the Relief of Emigrants from Ireland: March 17, 1771–March 17, 1892 (Philadelphia: Hibernian Society, 1892).

30. David Doyle, Ireland, Irishmen, and Revolutionary America, 1760–1820 (Dublin: Mercier Press, 1981), 196–202; Nicholas B. Wainwright, "The Age of Nicholas Biddle, 1825–1841," in Philadelphia: A 300-Year History, ed. Russell F. Weigley (New York: Norton, 1982), 302–4.

31. Walter J. Walsh, "Religion, Ethnicity, and History: Clues to the Cultural Construction of Law," in The New York Irish, ed. Ronald H. Bayor and Timothy J. Meagher (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), 66–67; Brundage, Irish Nationalists in America, 37–41.

32. David Wilson, United Irishmen, United States: Immigrant Radicals in the Early Republic (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1988), 92–93; Brundage, Irish Nationalists in America, 92.

33. Workingman's Advocate, September 22, 1832.

34. Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815–1848 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), 388–94.

35. Although Duane never officially joined the organization, had he "remained in Ireland, he probably would have joined the Society of United Irish"; Kim Tousley Phillips, "William Duane, Revolutionary Editor" (PhD diss, University of California, Berkeley), 1968, 7. Michael Durey, Transatlantic Radicals and the Early American Republic (Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 1997), 90–92; Nigel Little, Transoceanic Radical, William Duane: National Identity and Empire, 1760–1835 (London: Pickering and Chatto, 2008), 10.

36. David Wilson, United Irishmen, United States: Immigrant Radicals in the Early Republic (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1988), 92–93; Brundage, Irish Nationalists in America, 44–45, 93; David Noel Doyle, "The Irish in North America, 1776–1845," in Making the Irish American: History and Heritage of the Irish in the United States, ed. J. J. Lee and Marion R. Casey (New York: New York University Press, 2006), 74–83; Francis Hoeber, "Drama in the Courtroom, Theater in the Streets: Philadelphia's Irish Riot of 1831," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 125, no. 3 (July 2001): 196–97.

37. The True American, September 27, 1802.

38. The Public Advertiser, February 19, 1807.

39. Brundage, Irish Nationalists in America, 33–47; Wilson, United Irishmen, United States, 89–90; Noel Ignatiev, How the Irish Became White (New York: Routledge, 1995), 60–77.

40. Gary Nash, "Artisans and Politics in Eighteenth-Century Philadelphia," in Nash, Race, Class, and Politics: Essays on Colonial and Revolutionary Society (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1986), 243–68.

41. Gary Nash, First City: Philadelphia and the Forging of Historical Memory (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001), 152–53; Edward Pessen, Jacksonian America: Society, Personality, and Politics (Homewood, IL: The Dorsey Press, 1969), 222–23.

42. William A. Sullivan, "Philadelphia Labor during the Jacksonian Era," Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies 15, no. 4 (October 1948): 317–18.

43. Peter Gilmore and Kerby A. Miller, "Searching for 'Irish' Freedom—Settling for 'Scotch-Irish' Respectability: Southwestern Pennsylvania, 1780–1810," in Ulster to America: The Scots-Irish Migration Experience, 1680–1830, ed. Warren R. Hofstra (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2012), 165.

44. Niles' National Register, August 4, 1832.

45. Quoted in Hoeber, "Drama in the Courtroom, Theater in the Streets," 198. For more on Irish sectarianism in the Jacksonian period, see Miller, Emigrants and Exiles, 275–79.

46. The Whig Party formed in 1834 during Jackson's second term in office. Walsh, "Religion, Ethnicity, and History," 66–67; Mark R. Cheathem, The Coming of Democracy: Presidential Campaigning in the Age of Jackson (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018), 1–2.

47. Gilmore and Miller, "Searching for 'Irish' Freedom," 198–200.

48. Durey, Transatlantic Radicals, 188–90, 275–82; Irene Whelan, "Religious Rivalry and the Making of Irish-American Identity," in Making the Irish American: History and Heritage of the Irish in the United States, ed. J. J. Lee and Marion R. Casey (New York: New York University Press, 2006), 271–85.

49. Sean Wilentz and Jonathan H. Earle, eds., Major Problems in the Early Republic: 1787–1848 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2008), 146.

50. Kerby Miller, "Forging the 'Protestant Way of Life': Class Conflict and the Origins of Unionist Hegemony in Early Nineteenth-Century Ulster," in Ulster Presbyterians in the Atlantic World, ed. David A. Wilson and Mark Spencer (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2006), 144. Miller is referring specifically to Presbyterians in Ulster, but his analysis also reflects transatlantic changes in Irish American Presbyterian culture.

51. Curtis D. Johnson, Redeeming America: Evangelicals and the Road to the Civil War (Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 1993), 7–17. Johnson argues that formalist evangelicals in the North, typically middle-class Presbyterians and Congregationalists, favored pro-market policies such as a national bank and government financial support for infrastructure projects. Anti-formalist Evangelicals, including Methodists and Baptists, opposed such projects because they allegedly benefited the wealthy. This perhaps explains why many Irish Presbyterians were opposed to Jackson's politics.

52. Taylor to Jackson, July 10, 1830, Papers of Andrew Jackson.

53. Leo P. Hirrel, Children of the Wrath: New School Calvinism and Antebellum Reform (Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1998), 78–79.

54. Mathew Carey, Letters on the Colonization Society; and on Its Probable Results (Philadelphia: Stereotyped by L. Johnson, 1833); Carey, Letters on the Colonization Society and on Its Probable Results; Under the Flowing Heads; the Origins of the Society; Increase of the Coloured Population; Manumission of Slaves in the this Country; Declarations of Legislatures, and Other Assembled Bodies, in Favour of the Society; Situation of the Colonists at Monrovia, and Other Towns … Addressed to the Hon. C. F. Mercer (Philadelphia: Stereotyped by L. Johnson, 1832); Phillip W. Magness, "The American System and the Political Economy of Black Colonization," Journal of the History of Economic Thought 37, no. 2 (June 2015): 187–201; Lee Benson, The Concept of Jacksonian Democracy: New York as a Test Case (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1961), 166–75; Durey, Transatlantic Radicals, 144–47. Curtis Johnson argues that evangelicalism differed depending on geographic and social location, which would help explain why Scots Irish Presbyterians often differed regarding political, religious, and cultural views depending on their class and where they lived. See Johnson, Redeeming America. For more on Carey's views on slavery, see Tomek, Colonization and Its Discontents. 63–68.

55. Quoted in Brundage, Irish Nationalists in America, 61.

56. Maurice J. Bric, "Celebrating America and Remembering Ireland: Philadelphia's Irish, 1790–1850," Pennsylvania Legacies 14, no. 2 (Fall 2014): 8.

57. Eighteenth-century violence in Philadelphia was typically directed at outsiders rather than inward. Violence against Indians and, of course, the British during the American Revolution, often obscured tensions within the community. Ridner, The Scots Irish of Early Pennsylvania, 75–94.

58. Hoeber, "Drama in the Courtroom, Theater in the Streets," 201, 231.

59. Beverly Tomek places the blame for the burning of Pennsylvania Hall on a group of merchants who called themselves The Friends of the Integrity of the Union. Beverly C. Tomek, "The Economization of Freedom: Abolitionists versus Merchants in the Culture War that Destroyed Pennsylvania Hall," Canadian Review of American Studies 47 (2017): 171–98. For more on the sectarian and racial riots, see Nash, First City, 167–75; Michael Feldberg, Philadelphia Riots of 1844: A Study of Ethnic Conflict (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1975); Anne Morgan, "The Philadelphia Riots of 1844: Republican Catholicism and Irish Catholic Apologetics," Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies 87, no. 1 (Winter 2019): 86–102; Amanda Beyer-Purvis, "The Philadelphia Bible Riots of 1844: Contest over the Rights of Citizens," Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies 83, no. 3 (Summer 2016): 366–93; Ridner, The Scots Irish of Early Pennsylvania, 95–102.

60. Nash, First City, 176–222. Nash asserts that some of the "institutional remedies" included "planned factory communities," reformed prisons and hospitals, as well as "better water and sewer service." He also notes that reformers in Philadelphia often disagreed on solutions.

61. Quoted in Robert Remini, The Election of Andrew Jackson (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1963), 105.

62. David A. Wilson, "John Caldwell's Memoir: A Case Study in Ulster-American Radicalism," in Ulster Presbyterians in the Atlantic World, ed. Wilson and Spencer, 125–27.

63. W. Jacob Wallace argues that Northern evangelicals demonized both Southern evangelicals and Catholics out of fear they would destroy their millennial dream of establishing a Kingdom of God on earth. As a result, Catholics and Southern Protestants forged an uneasy political alliance to defend one another from "unfair attacks." W. Jacob Wallace, Catholics, Slaveholders, and the Dilemma of American Evangelicalism, 1835–1860 (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2010), 94–95.

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