• Irish-American Nationalism: From the Kennedy Administration to the Clinton Administration

      Boyd, Zack (2009-05-07)
      The Irish in America have always had a complex relationship with their government and with American society. Few groups have resisted cultural assimilation more fervently than the Irish, and arguably none have retained so strong a political link to the current affairs of their homeland. This interest has not always been constructive; Irish-American contributions to violent organizations in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, which span over a hundred years, have led to characterizations by the British press and international opinion of Irish-Americans as radical interlopers in ‘The Troubles’ who worsen the conflict and encourage bloodshed. The image of Irish- Americans that has been painted by British tabloids, Unionist agitators and popular perceptions in the US and UK are frankly incorrect. The new class of Irish-Americans that began their evolution and ascent with the election of the Kennedy finally matured into an active group of citizens ready to speak out for moderation and constitutional means to Irish unity in the late 1970s. This class represented the interest of the vast majority of Irish-Americans in their moderation, but were active in politics rather than reserving themselves to economic and career pursuits. Though occasionally taken with wistful visions of a romantic Irish history, these modern, educated citizens were not the rabid plotters of destruction they have been made out to be and deserve an accurate description of their politics and actions. The emergence of these well-informed moderates drowned out the influence of violent radicals, voiced concerns for peace in Northern Ireland to the governments of the United States, United Kingdom and Ireland, and heavily contributed to the peace process.