no edit summary
''This article was originally published on [http://videri.org/index.php?title=How_the_Irish_Became_White| Videri.org] and is republished here with their permission.''
Largely poor and unskilled laborers, Irish Catholics were forced to take only the most menial of jobs. Given the common experiences of ethnic and economic oppression shared by both Irish Catholics and black slaves, abolitionists of the period thought the Irish would be natural allies in the battle to end chattel slavery in America. Instead, the exact opposite proved true. In ''How the Irish Became White'', Noel Ignatiev argues that in the United States, Irish Catholics found an opportunity to shed their status as an oppressed race in their native land and join the oppressor class in their new home. As he puts it, “In becoming white, the Irish ceased to be green,” (3).
As he says in the introduction, <blockquote>“The outcome was not the inevitable consequence of blind historical forces, still less of biology, but the result of choices made, by the Irish and others, from among alternatives. To enter the white race was a strategy to secure an advantage in a competitive society… In viewing entry into the white race as something the Irish did “on” (though not by) themselves, this book seeks to make them the actors in their history,” (3,4).</blockquote> On that point, ''How the Irish Became White'' most certainly succeeds in doing so.
[http://videri.org/index.php?title=Guide_to_the_Literature Check out other great articles at Videri.org.]
[[Category:19th Century History]] [[Category:Book Review]] [[Category:United States History]][[Category:
Reconstruction]] [[Category:Videri.org]] [[Category:Historiography]]