Ireland’s Allies: America and the 1916 Easter Rising


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During the Easter of 1916, in the middle of the war in Europe, a rebellion took place in Ireland that sowed the seeds for the establishment of an Irish state independent of Britain. A seminal event in Irish history - the equivalent of America's 4 July - the Easter Rising had significant implications for other imperial relationships. By invoking the spirit of her 2.3 million 'exiled children in America', the rebels in Dublin proclaimed a new Republic one of whose role-models was the United States of America. As the Allies increasingly sought American support, Anglo-American relations were pressed on the Irish question and on Britain's role in determining the fate of her small nation neighbour. Renowned historian J. J. Lee has observed, 'No America, no New York, no Easter Rising. Simple as that.' Ireland's Allies: America and the 1916 Easter Rising interrogates that assertion by placing the Rising in a transnational and transatlantic setting, thereby making a new contribution to the historiography of modem Ireland, to our understanding of ethnic allegiances in neutral America, and to the mechanics of revolutionary networks and diaspora nationalism.Irish cultural and political nationalists had worked assiduously for years to mobilise American opinion against the British presence in Ireland. Indeed, the United States of America provided an important post-colonial republican model and the Irish were cognisant of that revolutionary legacy. Twenty-four scholars, from a variety of disciplines and including a foreword by Joe Lee, excavate the ways in which the United States was a critical theatre of war in Ireland's journey towards independence. It is the first work to assess the range and depth of American interest in self- government for Ireland in the two decades preceding the Rising and the first to contextualise the actions and motives of hitherto overlooked American-based individuals and organisations that made up a dynamic nationalist landscape abroad.