Competing Narratives: White Slavery, Servitude and the Irish in Late-Eighteenth-Century America
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This chapter seeks to explore Irish migrant experiences in the United States, shortly after the end of the American War of Independence, through the lens of the Irish and American press. Engagement with the trade in runaway indentured servants—by newspapers on both sides of the Atlantic—allows us to reconsider the broader significance of print culture in both facilitating and fabricating this trade. This is of contemporary importance given continued historical (and political) controversy over “white slavery” in America and the Caribbean, most recently put to use by the “Alt-Right,” and this chapter seeks to explore the fictive origins of this narrative, as well as exploring the compromised positions adopted by those in the print trade.