Requiem for the St. John
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American history books, and American literature overall, have conveyed a less-than-distinct sense of the Irish Famine. In part, this reluctance to deal with that historic event may be tied to the fact that the displaced Irish who arrived at U.S. ports, or came down later from the St. Lawrence region, arrived in a nation flushed with expansionist optimism. “Manifest Destiny” was a popular new usage in the 1840s; Texas statehood, the war with Mexico, and U.S. claims in Oregon preoccupied the press. The medieval horrors of the Famine were deeply in conflict with the rugged excitements of a youthful American republic.
KeywordsCompassion Fatigue American Literature Irish Immigrant Irish Famine Texas Statehood
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