Irish-Catholic journalists and the new nationality in Canada: 1857-1870
Master of Arts
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This study examines the growth of the concept of a ’’New Nationality" as it became the ideology of a nation, and the means by which an ethnic group was "Canadianized". The main sources are the articles and speeches of Irish Catholic journalists as published in newspapers which represent a cross-section of political and geographical areas, showing the struggle for a new nationality as it was worked out in the Irish Catholic press. The concept of a new nationality did not originate in British North America; its roots lay in early nineteenth century Ireland and it was brought to British America by an Irish Catholic journalist. The audience he and other journalists addressed was made up in large part of Irish Catholics only recently arrived in the New World, still bearing their memories, history, culture and prejudices. Between 1858, when the first proposals for Confederation were introduced in the Canadian Assembly, andil870, when the new Dominion consolidated its acquisition of the West, the new nationality was central to the scheme of Confederation. In the 1860's especially, Irish Catholics were faced with painful choices as they settled into a new land. The role of Irish Catholic journalists is important in this period, not just to the general application of the new nationality, but more particularly in the process of assimilation experienced by the Irish Catholic community. In that struggle the concept of a new nationality played a major part. For Irish Catholic immigrants, their leaders were their journalists; -and it was in the pages of their newspapers that the new nationality was debated and preached.