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So Conceived and So DedicatedIntellectual Life in the Civil War Era North$
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Lorien Foote and Kanisorn Wongsrichanalai

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780823264476

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823264476.001.0001

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Thomas F. Meagher, Patrick R. Guiney, and the Meaning of the Civil War for Irish America

Thomas F. Meagher, Patrick R. Guiney, and the Meaning of the Civil War for Irish America

The Questions of Nationalism, Citizenship, and Human Rights

(p.193) Thomas F. Meagher, Patrick R. Guiney, and the Meaning of the Civil War for Irish America
So Conceived and So Dedicated

Christian G. Samito

Fordham University Press

This essay examines how two Irish-born intellectuals and high-ranking Union officers considered and helped shape several threads within the transformation of American nationalism that took place during the Civil War era. Both Thomas F. Meagher and Patrick R. Guiney interpreted Union military service as a way for Irish Americans to claim fuller inclusion in American society, and they defined a national loyalty that included Catholic and Irish American identities alongside other ones. Both men thus point to a broader concept of American nationalism that included full integration of Irish Americans into the American people alongside maintenance of an ethnic and religious identity. As a part of this impulse, Meagher and Guiney also promoted a more robust and better-defined concept of American national citizenship in law and practice, one that incorporated greater protection for naturalized citizens abroad and a stronger emphasis on human rights overall. This position supported a stronger unified nation-state and sense of U.S. nationalism. Moreover, both men underwent a political transformation to espouse the ideals of the Republican Party regardless of the criticism aimed at them by some of their fellow Irish Americans for doing so.

Keywords:   Christian G. Samito, Thomas F. Meagher, Patrick R. Guiney, Irish Americans, Nationalism, Citizenship, Naturalized Citizens, Human Rights, Nativism, Expatriation Rights

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