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Irish and insanity : nativist prejudice and the institutionalization of immigrants 1845-1865.

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dc.contributor.author Leahy, Deirdre Anne.
dc.date.accessioned 2012-04-26T21:01:42Z
dc.date.available 2012-04-26T21:01:42Z
dc.date.created 2005 en_US
dc.date.issued 2012-04-26
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/123456789/962
dc.description iv, 100 leaves en_US
dc.description.abstract The Irish in the 19th century were persecuted not only by their British colonial rulers in Ireland but also by their fellow Americans in the New World. One form of persecution, until now not fully recognized, was the institutionalization of the Irish into insane asylums. In the United States, many of the institutionalized Irish were not actually insane, but instead were being persecuted for their culture and for actions that differed from those of the middle-class Protestant majority of the United States. Social, political, religious, and economic persecution by native-born Americans had a dire effect on the lives of the Irish immigrants, and this persecution often took the form of false accusations of Irish insanity. With no one to protect or help them in America, and already suffering from the effects of the Famine, Irish immigrants became targets for the Nativists and other groups who feared the impact of the Irish on their society. In mid-nineteenth-century Massachusetts, the case study for this thesis, the people controlled the immigrants by placing them into institutions. Such institutionalizations differed greatly from those of today and were not always medically or psychologically justified. Rather, they were based on the belief (in the eyes of "native" Americans) that desperate poverty, strange cultural beliefs, and Catholicism caused Irish insanity. The Irish immigrants were condemned and treated as "insane" by those who were economically and politically stronger than they. The way the institutions of Massachusetts dealt with the Irish was a reflection of the treatment of the Irish in American society at large. Institutionalization and an "undifferentiated welfare system" provided Americans with a means of protection from outsiders as well as a method to attempt to re-form and re-mold those who were different en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.subject Irish-United States. en_US
dc.subject Asylums-United States. en_US
dc.subject Prejudices-United States. en_US
dc.title Irish and insanity : nativist prejudice and the institutionalization of immigrants 1845-1865. en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.college las en_US
dc.department social sciences en_US

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