Resisting Anglicization: Irish and Puerto Rican intersections in New York in the twentieth century Public Deposited

Downloadable Content

Download PDF
Last Modified
  • March 22, 2019
  • Anderson, Eileen Margaret
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of English and Comparative Literature
  • When the United States entered into the conflicts in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippine Islands in the late nineteenth century, it was aligning itself politically with England, against Spain. The resulting ideological shift transformed aspects of the social structure and culture as well. The accompanying homogenization of identity and the new imperialistic role was problematic for many non-Anglo communities; however, for the Irish (Catholic)-Americans the reconfiguration would be more serious. They understood the liberation movements on these islands in the context of their own fight for independence. Many had come to the Americas to escape Anglo hegemony and believed that an anglicized country would hinder their ability to negotiate a place in the U.S power structure. After the invasion of Puerto Rico they felt that this resurgence of kinship was used to justify U.S. imperialism. They were strongly opposed to the U.S. becoming a colonizing nation due to their long history as a British colony. However, despite strong opposition from many communities, Puerto Rico became part of the United States and was not granted autonomy like Cuba. In 1917 the Jones Act (which granted U.S. citizenship to Puerto Ricans) was passed, and this set the stage for migration from the island to U.S. cities Beginning in the nineteen thirties Puerto Ricans began migrating to the United States in large numbers. The large majority came to New York, which also had a large Irish population. The forced coexistence in these cities resulted in another transformation of the dynamics of the relationship. The idea of being anti-Anglo would not be a strong enough factor to inspire unity on a consistent basis as the two communities struggled to meet their personal needs on a daily basis. These interactions, which continue throughout the second half of the twentieth century, are depicted in the literary output of both communities.
Date of publication
Resource type
Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Allen, Nicholas
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Open access

This work has no parents.