From Londonderry to Pittsburgh-the Scotch-Irish

Title: From Londonderry to Pittsburgh-the Scotch-Irish: A History of Nativism and Religious Intolerance in Southwestern Pennsylvania Author: Andrew Burlingame M.A. American Studies; December 2018 The Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg Dr. Charles Kupfer, First Reader For over 150 years, from the mid-1700s until about 1930, southwestern Pennsylvania was one of the most intolerant regions in the country. It was at the forefront of the Know Nothings of the 1850s, the American Protective Association during the 1890s, and the Klan of the 1920s. How did part of William Penn’s former colony of religious tolerance become a haven for anti-Catholic xenophobia? This thesis argues that the Scotch-Irish brought a severe distrust of outsiders and a strong hatred for Catholics with them across the Atlantic during the eighteenth century. After their settlement of the region in the 1700s, southwestern Pennsylvania became a stronghold of the Scotch-Irish in America for well over a century. The Scotch-Irish moved from Ulster after over one hundred years of persecution from Irish Catholics and the Anglican Church. They immigrated to frontiers of Pennsylvania, where they were subjected to violence and death in years of bloody conflicts with the Native Americans and neighboring colonial governments who were vying for the land the Scotch-Irish had just settled for themselves. This violent lifestyle, coupled with their already strong antipathy for outsiders, allowed the Scotch-Irish of southwestern Pennsylvania to dominate the region while spreading their nativism and religious bigotry to all who entered into the area. For well over a century, the Scotch-Irish were able to push their intolerant views on all those arriving in the region. These newcomers were forced to assimilate to the dominant culture or be subject to persecution themselves. The Second Klan of the 1920s served as the last stand for Scotch-Irish supremacy in southwestern Pennsylvania, as the immigrants and Catholics they tried so hard to repel ultimately overwhelmed them and asserted their own dominance in the region starting in the 1930s. This shift away from nativism and religious intolerance would last for seventy years until the terrorist attacks on 9/11 would cause the region to edge back to its intolerant roots. This thesis explores the history of the region through the methods of theoretical frameworks, archival research, and narrative history to argue that the long history of nativism and religious bigotry in southwestern Pennsylvania has its roots in the Scotch-Irish and their descendants.

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Work Title From Londonderry to Pittsburgh-the Scotch-Irish
Subtitle A History of Nativism and Religious Intolerance in Southwestern Pennsylvania
Access
Open Access
Creators
  1. Andrew Burlingame
Keyword
  1. Nativism
  2. Southwestern Pennsylvania
  3. Know Nothing
  4. Juniata Valley
  5. Altoona
  6. Presbyterian
  7. Scotch-Irish
  8. Pittsburgh
  9. Anti-Catholicism
  10. American Protective Association
  11. Johnstown
  12. Ku Klux Klan
License All rights reserved
Work Type Masters Thesis
Deposited December 06, 2018

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