The Irish Easter Rebellion of 1916 produced shockwaves in US labor and radical circles arguably as great as those that emanated from the Russian Revolution of 1917. Yet while Bolshevik agitation in the United States in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, along with its role in fostering a post – World War I “Red Scare,” has been carefully studied, the significance of the Irish Revolution for US labor and radical politics has received relatively little attention. This article uses the records of the Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice, among other sources, to suggest that American authorities were profoundly worried about the subversive influence of Irish Sinn Féin revolutionaries on the American labor and women’s suffrage movements. Authorities were right to be worried, for while some Irish and Irish American Sinn Féin advocates were social conservatives, others championed new forms of workers’ and women’s empowerment that fundamentally threatened existing social and political structures.
The Irish Sinn Féin Movement and Radical Labor and Feminist Dissent in America, 1916–1921
ELIZABETH MCKILLEN is Bird and Bird Professor of History at the University of Maine. She is the author of Making the World Safe for Workers: Labor, the Left, and Wilsonian Internationalism (2013), Chicago Labor and the Quest for a Democratic Diplomacy: 1914–1924 (1995), and articles in the fields of US labor, foreign relations, and Irish diaspora history. She is currently working on a project on women of the transatlantic Irish Left and anti-imperialist politics.
Elizabeth McKillen; The Irish Sinn Féin Movement and Radical Labor and Feminist Dissent in America, 1916–1921. Labor 1 September 2019; 16 (3): 11–37. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/15476715-7569776
Download citation file: