Hey what’s up my loyal readers! So here’s the deal, it’s Thursday afternoon right now as I am writing this, and my article is due tomorrow for editing. I’m sitting in Cool Beans, it is 88 degrees outside, and I still have a ton of work to do on my summer research project, so let’s just call this one a bye week and move on with our lives. I really don’t have time to write some clever article that I know all four of you will read, so I decided that I would give you some insight into the life of a history research assistant at College of the Holy Cross. So here it is, the first three paragraphs of my research, enjoy!
Stephen Littleton woke on March 17, 1890 with high expectations. After all, he could speak of hardly anything else in the months leading up to Saint Patrick’s Day. The growing industrial city of Worcester, Massachusetts was buzzing with gossip about the parade, and even an upstanding young gentleman like Littleton could not avoid being caught in the swell. Littleton was not the gossiping type; he was well-educated, well-connected and devout Catholic. He would attend concerts in Mechanics hall and write critiques on the performances, he would spend his afternoons reading histories in the American Antiquarian Society, and he perpetually honed his writing skills to aid his aspiration of becoming a journalist. Perhaps Littleton was already aware of the consequences the outcome of this parade presented. He exemplified the principles of a new Irish movement, whose members were referred to as “temperance men.” These temperance men stood for a change in the Irish American image. They were mortified that their people were looked down on because of brawls and alcohol consumption, and they saw sobriety as the only solution. This group gained traction during this time, and they exercised their new influence over the most symbolically Irish event of the year — Saint Patrick’s Day.
On January 6, 1890, The Worcester Daily Spy reported that a vote was taken at the annual convention of the United Irish Societies on what to do about the upcoming parade. All of the Worcester Irish societies, the old and the new, were represented, and they boasted “The largest [convention] ever held by the United Societies and was very harmonious.” The vote was to decide whether or not the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade should still continue. The votes were tallied, and with eight in favor, two opposed, nine without instruction, and one without commitment, those in favor won the vote.
After only about three hours of discussion, it was decided that the parade would continue, to the dismay of the St. Paul’s Lyceum and St. Aloysius Sodality. Both were temperance societies, and both voted against the parade. The late 1800s marked the first time the temperance men had significant influence over the Irish community, but they were wary to exercise it over such a beloved event. The Lyceum and Sodality were hardly alone in their reservations about the parade. The temperance societies protested the enormity of its expense and its propensity to instigate brawls, but the traditional societies were able to cajole most of them into either a positive or passive vote. The Lyceum and Sodality chose to oppose the parade, while other temperance societies believed participating would help legitimize their cause and ultimately strengthen their position.
I hope you enjoyed my "article!" I mean, at least I got a free editing out of it. Please like it out of pity, I would most appreciate it!