Riots in New Brunswick: Orange Nativism and Social Violence in the 1840s
Published: December 1993© 1993
278 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in
Ebook - PDF
During the mid to late 1840s, dramatic riots shook the communities of Woodstock, Fredericton, and Saint John. Irish-Catholic immigrants fought Protestant Orangemen, with fists, club, and firearms. The violence resulted in death and destruction unprecedented in the British North American colonies.
This book is the first serious historical treatment of the bloody riots and the tangled events that led to them. Scott See shows mid-century New Brunswick roughly awakened from the slumbering provincialism of its post-Loyalist phase by the stirrings of capitalism and by the tidal wave of Irish immigration that followed the potato famine. His main focus is the Loyal Orange Order, the anti-Catholic organization that clashed with the immigrants, many of them impoverished exiles.
See presents an extraordinary profile of the Orange Order and concludes provocatively that it was a nativist organization similar to the xenophobic groups active at the time in the United States. Unlike other recent works on the Order, his book emphasizes the importance of the organization's specifically North American concerns, and questions the significance of its connections to Old World sectarianism.
'Never ideological, See pursues his answers in the realm of fact, but his conclusions will be of interest far beyond New Brunswick, or indeed Canadian, borders. Any scholar interested in nativism, vigilantism, or the enabling of elites will benefit from his well-written and well-documented study.'R.W. Winks, Yale University, Choice
'[See's] research is thorough, and he has managed to present a detailed description of complicated events in a readable narrative that includes a concise account of the social and economic background of the story. See's work is likely to remain a definitive study of the subject.'Hereward Senior, McGill University, American Historical Review
'Riots in New Brunswick makes an important contribution to the history of national identity and ethnic relations in Canada ... [It] is both sophisticated and an ideal monograph to introduce undergraduate students to controversial issues in Canadian history.'Maureen McCarthy, Rutgers University, Labour/Le Travail