Date of Award

Spring 2007

Document Type




First Advisor

Robert Swartout

Second Advisor

Gillian Glaes

Third Advisor

Jonathan Matthews


The following thesis is an examination of Irish culture in Montana in the context of Irish-American Montanans’ responses to the Easter Rising. Chapter One discusses the Easter Rising itself. The Easter Rising occurred in Dublin, Ireland, in April 1916. There were mounting causes that all related to British rule. Leadership for the Rising is attributed to Patraic Pearse, James Connolly, and Tom Clarke. During Easter Week, these men led Irish militias through Dublin and their goal was to establish an Irish Republic. While the Irish were only able to hold the city for a week, they became national and international martyrs upon their executions. Their deaths only increased support for Irish freedom. Chapter Two discusses the Irish-American experience and how Irish arrived in Montana. Irish-Americans of the famine migration tried to maintain their cultural traditions. In some cases, Irish immigrants attempted to move from urban centers, to the west. They brought their traditions with them, including hatred for the British and membership in associations that supported Ireland’s freedom movement. Some Irish settled in Montana, especially in Butte and Helena where they brought these traditions. Chapter Three delves into primary sources and specifically examines how Irish organizations in Montana preserved Irish culture in an effort to support Irish freedom. Montana’s Irish promptly established branches of the Robert Emmet Literary Society and the Ancient Order of the Hiberians. Once in Montana, Irish-Americans maintained connections to Ireland’s freedom movement. Chapter Four is a conclusion containing final thoughts on reactions of Irish-American Montanans to the Easter Rising. Finally, Chapter Four identifies a broader perspective and explains why American involvement in World War I was a turning point for Irish-American Montanans.

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