In the 1840s, the devastating Irish potato blight drove countless Irish from their homes due to widespread disease and starvation. Consequently, America received a mass influx of Irish immigrants looking for a new life, of which, included many men who were to eventually enlist in the army and make up the St. Patrick’s Battalion. A large portion of these Irish immigrants were Catholic, which at the time was unusual in America because of the immense popularity of Protestantism, which was the reason for much of the injustices that these immigrants faced throughout their lives as Catholic Americans. This discrimination against Catholics was part of a larger movement, called “Nativism,” which maintained an anti-foreigner, anti-Catholic mentality. The Nativist movement spread across the nation, sparking hate riots in Philadelphia and eventually enveloping the United States Army. Mexico capitalized off of this by urging American Catholics to depart from the so-called “Protestant tyrants,” and to join the Mexican side (Nordstrom). Disgusted by Americans’ hatred and repulsiveness towards foreigners and Catholics, many of the Irish and German Catholic immigrants that were enlis...
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...ncluding John Riley, managed to return to Mexico to continue fighting with what was left of the Saint Patrick’s Battalion, while others retired out of service. The Mexican-American war ended in 1848 when the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed and the boundary between Mexico and the United States was finally solidified.
The Saint Patrick’s Battalion played a key role in the Mexican-American war, and because of their extreme bravery, courage, and skill, they go down in history as some of the most influential soldiers of the Mexican-American war, even if it is not well-known. Although Mexico essentially still lost the war, the San Patricios surely helped Mexico to put up a strong fight. All in all, the San Patricios may have been defectors, but their reasons were just, and they fought for what they believed in, which is what is truly right when it comes down to it.
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