Making Sense of the Molly Maguires

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Oxford University Press, Feb 12, 1998 - History - 368 pages
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Twenty Irish immigrants, suspected of belonging to a secret terrorist organization called the Molly Maguires, were executed in Pennsylvania in the 1870s for the murder of sixteen men. Ever since, there has been enormous disagreement over who the Molly Maguires were, what they did, and why they did it, as virtually everything we now know about the Molly Maguires is based on hostile descriptions of their contemporaries. Arguing that such sources are inadequate to serve as the basis for a factual narrative, Making Sense of the Molly Maguires examines the ideology behind the contemporary evidence to explain how and why a particular meaning came to be associated with the Molly Maguires in Ireland and Pennsylvania. At the same time, this book examines new archival evidence from Ireland that establishes that the American Molly Maguires were a rare transatlantic strand of the violent protest endemic in the Irish countryside. Combining social and cultural history, Making Sense of the Molly Maguires offers a new explanation of who the Molly Maguires were, as well as why people wrote and believed such curious things about them. In the process, it vividly retells one of the classic stories of American labor and immigration.
 

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User Review  - AlexTheHunn - LibraryThing

This is a magisterial analysis of the events surrounding the Molly Maguires, an episode of labor unrest in Pennsylvania in the middle of the nineteenth century. Kenny brings to bear an immense ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
3
1 Whiteboys Ribbonmen and Molly Maguires
13
2 The World of Anthracite
45
3 Enter the Molly Maguires
73
4 The Rise of a Labor Movement
103
5 The Reading Railroad Takes Control
131
6 The Return of the Molly Maguires
157
Photos
165
8 The Molly Maguires on Trial
213
9 Black Thursday
245
Epilogue
277
Conclusion
285
Appendices
289
Bibliography
315
Index
329
Copyright

7 Rough Justice
185

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About the author (1998)

Kevin Kenny is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin.

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