Abraham Lincoln and the Irish
“Lincoln, more than any other American, and more than most great men of any country,” the Irish Times remarked in 1920, “is an international character.” All sides to the “Irish Question”—from Éamon de Valera to David Lloyd George—found occasion to invoke Abraham Lincoln. Approaching Irish political history from this angle casts fresh light on the meaning of constitutional union, the nature of national sovereignty, and the possibility of secession or partition.
Kevin Kenny is professor of history at Boston College. His books include Peaceable Kingdom Lost: The Paxton Boys and the Destruction of William Penn’s Holy Experiment (2009), The American Irish (2000), Making Sense of the Molly Maguires (1998), and (as editor), Ireland and the British Empire: The Oxford History of the British Empire Companion Series (2003). He is currently writing a book on the concept of diaspora and an article about Lincoln’s views on immigration.