People of many different nationalities settled in Pennsylvania to work in the coal mines. Conflicts developed not only among people of different cultural backgrounds but also between laborers and owners of the mines. The struggle between labor and management is illustrated in the story of the Molly Maguires, an Irish group which settled in eastern Pennsylvania.
The Molly Maguires were perhaps the most gruesome chapter in the history of Pennsylvania. The violent and dramatic case of these people is a true life murder and detective story. To understand the conflict the Molly Maguires went through with mine officials for better conditions, it is necessary to go back to early-nineteenth-century Ireland, where most of the land was owned by the English. While the English prospered, the Irish reduced to the status of miserable peasants, living primarily on potatoes. In the 1840s, the potato crop was ruined by blight, and the Irish died of starvation by the thousands. Those who could came to the United States. During the 1820s, only fifty-two thousand Irish had come to the United States, but in the nine years from 1846 to 1854, 1.2 million Irish left their homeland and sought a better life in America.
The Irish, who were mostly Catholic, came to a country that was overwhelmingly Protestant. The result was a head-on collision. The Irish experienced discrimination on the job as well as in the political arena. They again found hunger and poverty. Denied the chance to work, helplessly they watched their families starve and freeze. Those who sought work in the coal fields of eastern Pennsylvania found that only the lowest-paying, unskilled jobs were open to them. The better-paying jobs were usually reserved ...
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...pread Terror in the Anthracite Regions." The Pennsylvania Story.
This book contained information on how the mollies were connected with Ireland.
Lewis,Arthur H. Lament for the Molly Maguires.
New York: Harcourt, Brace&World, 1964
This book gave me information on how the Mollies "saga" began.
Werstein,Irving. The Great Struggle in America.
New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1965.
This book was helpful.
"The Molly Maguires." The United States Encyclopedia of History.
Copyright 1968, Volume 12
This encyclopedia was helpful in providing information about the Mollies' tactics and James McParlan.
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