Event Title

Commemorations on Two Continents: The Saint Patrick's Battalion in Irish-Mexican-American Memory

Presenter Information

Chole Dyer, Ohio Wesleyan University

Presentation Type

Presentation

Location

Schimmel/Conrades Science Center 151

Start Date

18-4-2018 5:40 PM

End Date

18-4-2018 5:55 PM

Disciplines

History | Latin American Studies

Keywords

History; Mexico; Mexican-American War; Saint Patrick's Battalion; San Patricios; Batallon de San Patricio; John Riley; Irish-Mexican alliance; Irish-American immigration; national memory

Abstract

"In 1846, the United States invaded Mexico, sparking the Mexican-American War. At its conclusion in 1848, the United States had annexed what is now the American Southwest, reaffirmed the concept of Manifest Destiny, and cemented itself as a continental power. However, this war is remembered only superficially in American history, and some aspects have been all but entirely forgotten. One such detail is the story of a group of Irish immigrants to the United States who, when faced with anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic sentiments in the ranks of the U.S. Army, defected to fight for the Mexican Army. They fought under a green flag embroidered with an Irish harp and the Mexican coat of arms, and became known as the Batallón de San Patricio, or Saint Patrick’s Battalion. The United States considered them traitors; when Mexico was finally defeated, the United States court-martialed the majority of the battalion and sentenced them to death. However, in Mexico and in Ireland, the San Patricios are remembered as heroes and celebrated to this day on the anniversary of their deaths, September 12th, in Mexico City and in Clifden, Ireland. In the Irish and Mexican imagination, they have become a symbol of an enduring connection between the two nations.

This paper seeks to explore the role of the San Patricios and to bring their story into the American consciousness. It stems from a SIP Grant, “Following the San Patricios: Changing Allegiance in the Face of Prejudice” to Mexico City, and a TPG, “Following the San Patricios to Ireland’s West” to Clifden, Ireland. Both grant projects were undertaken with Dr. Nancy Comorau.

Project Origin

Theory-to-Practice Grant

Faculty Mentor

Nancy Comorau

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Apr 18th, 5:40 PM Apr 18th, 5:55 PM

Commemorations on Two Continents: The Saint Patrick's Battalion in Irish-Mexican-American Memory

Schimmel/Conrades Science Center 151

"In 1846, the United States invaded Mexico, sparking the Mexican-American War. At its conclusion in 1848, the United States had annexed what is now the American Southwest, reaffirmed the concept of Manifest Destiny, and cemented itself as a continental power. However, this war is remembered only superficially in American history, and some aspects have been all but entirely forgotten. One such detail is the story of a group of Irish immigrants to the United States who, when faced with anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic sentiments in the ranks of the U.S. Army, defected to fight for the Mexican Army. They fought under a green flag embroidered with an Irish harp and the Mexican coat of arms, and became known as the Batallón de San Patricio, or Saint Patrick’s Battalion. The United States considered them traitors; when Mexico was finally defeated, the United States court-martialed the majority of the battalion and sentenced them to death. However, in Mexico and in Ireland, the San Patricios are remembered as heroes and celebrated to this day on the anniversary of their deaths, September 12th, in Mexico City and in Clifden, Ireland. In the Irish and Mexican imagination, they have become a symbol of an enduring connection between the two nations.

This paper seeks to explore the role of the San Patricios and to bring their story into the American consciousness. It stems from a SIP Grant, “Following the San Patricios: Changing Allegiance in the Face of Prejudice” to Mexico City, and a TPG, “Following the San Patricios to Ireland’s West” to Clifden, Ireland. Both grant projects were undertaken with Dr. Nancy Comorau.