Being an Irish man was a consistent, contentious issue in the Canadas. The aim of this book is to provide the first gendered examination of male Irish migration to Upper and Lower Canada within the broader contexts of negative stereotypes about Irish violence and Irishmen’s questionable loyalty to the British Empire. Through examinations of key violent episodes and (in)famous individuals, Violent Loyalties argues that being an Irishman in the Canadas meant daily negotiations with discrimination, ethnic rivalries, the pressure to become more ‘British’, and having to base one’s sense of manliness on being the most visible ‘other’ in the colonies. Irish Catholics faced the burden of being dual minorities – the ‘other’ religion within the Anglophone world and English-speaking in the Catholic sphere already established by French-Canadians. Irish Protestants also had difficulties adapting to their new communities, as the problematic association with violent Orangeism and rivalries with Scottish and English immigrants, many of whom were United Empire Loyalists, created obstacles in the quest for upward social mobility. Both Canadian and Irish historiographies are sorely lacking in examinations of masculinity compared with those investigating American, French, Australian, or British manliness. This gap in the literature becomes even more apparent outside of a twentieth-century focus. Violent Loyalties aims to fill these lacunae in the histories of colonial Canada and the Irish diaspora.
'A novel and significant contribution to studies of the Irish diaspora in Canada.'
Dr William Jenkins, York University, Canada