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  Talk Elections
  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion
  U.S. Presidential Election Results (Moderators: Torie, ON Progressive)
  1850s-60s Irish Republicans
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Thunderbird is the word
Zen Lunatic
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« on: July 28, 2015, 11:09:43 pm »

I know that the vast majority of Irish-Americans were Democrats at the time of the Civil War (and long after) mainly due to the GOP in New York and New England being dominated by WASPs but there must have been a minority that was Republican, especially since many Irish-Americans served in the Union Army during the Civil War. I've read that Abraham Lincoln drank at McSorleys Pub (famous New York Irish pub) after giving his Cooper Union speech. Is there any information on who they might have been?
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Mechaman
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« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2015, 12:02:35 am »
« Edited: July 29, 2015, 12:09:55 am by Mechaman »

I know that the vast majority of Irish-Americans were Democrats at the time of the Civil War (and long after) mainly due to the GOP in New York and New England being dominated by WASPs but there must have been a minority that was Republican, especially since many Irish-Americans served in the Union Army during the Civil War. I've read that Abraham Lincoln drank at McSorleys Pub (famous New York Irish pub) after giving his Cooper Union speech. Is there any information on who they might have been?

Of course there were a minority that was Republican.  It wasn't like 100% of them voted Democratic Tongue.

But seriously though, the early GOP was actually fairly pro-Irish.  Fremont ran an openly anti-Know Nothing ticket while Buchanan appealed to Know Nothings in a few states.  Lincoln himself strongly condemned nativism in the mid 1850s while in the political wilderness.  When the war first started Irish nationalist leaders like Thomas Francis Meagher made a strong case for Irish support for the Union cause over the Confederate cause largely due to the perception of the Union as a land of opportunity vs. the landholder dominated South. (though again, it is very likely that Douglas got more Irish Catholic votes than Lincoln did)  Some did support the abolitionist cause, like General Phillip Sheridan (perhaps the most Republican Civil War general ever) and Senator John Conness of California.  The latter of whom lost his office largely due to his support of rights for Chinese immigrants and blacks.

It should be noted though that Republican Irishmen in the 1850s-1870s were most likely a) at least middle class, b) intellectual types, and c) removed from the urban politics that informed the politics of their lower class (emphasis) Democratic cousins.  In the Plains and Western states a surprising number of them participated in Republican politics until about the late 1870s and early 1880s when the more nativist protestant wing of the party started driving away "undesirables".  Really, it wouldn't shock me if they weren't that much different from the German Catholics who leaned GOP during the Civil War.  Really, a lot of voting habits come down more on environment than it does "these people are x group and thus vote y way."

As for numbers?  I would be shocked if they were anything more than 15% (and that is a pretty liberal estimate).  There were probably more Irishmen in New York City than there were in the entire American West during that period.  Numbers, mang.
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Southern Senator North Carolina Yankee
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« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2015, 01:27:02 am »

The fear that after Dred Scott, that sooner or later slavery could be brought to locations unthought of before probably motivated a good number towards Lincoln out of a job protection mindset. You also had some true believers who were abolitionists and such forth as well as those out west that Mechaman mentioned.
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Mechaman
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« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2015, 06:54:43 pm »

The fear that after Dred Scott, that sooner or later slavery could be brought to locations unthought of before probably motivated a good number towards Lincoln out of a job protection mindset. You also had some true believers who were abolitionists and such forth as well as those out west that Mechaman mentioned.

Yeah it's kind of like how down here there are a lot of right wing Jews (shocker).  You generally don't hear as much about them because the vast majority of the population is concentrated in one area where virtually all of them are Democrats.  Not sure if anybody has written a book on this subject but it would be most interesting. 

Another example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignatius_L._Donnelly
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