Department or Program



During the Cold War, the United States and Great Britain were a part of an alliance aimed at spreading democracy across the globe. However, the United States had excluded Ireland from its agenda, giving deference to Britain to maintain the partition of the island. Nonetheless, there were still Irish Americans who felt strongly about the injustices of partition and advocated for unification. Local Irish Americans, often congregated in cities like Boston, appealed to the US national government for action through community organizing based in identity politics. Local constituents played a central role in the American Anti-Partition movement such that it is impossible to understand the actions of US national politicians or Irish political leaders in isolation from them. They influenced US policy on all levels of government and were quick to point out the United States’ contradictory stance on Irish sovereignty using language steeped in Cold War rhetoric. Locals formed groups such as the American League for an Undivided Ireland (ALFUI) to better lobby their national representatives and raise money and awareness for the cause of Irish unification. This thesis considers the ways in which those national level politicians like Massachusetts Representative and Speaker of the House, John McCormack adapted local interest into actual legislation in favor of Irish Unification. I examine primary local sources like the papers of the ALFUI, articles from the Boston Pilot, a local Irish Catholic newspaper, along with congressional records to offer new perspectives on the importance of local advocacy and its influence on legislation.

Level of Access

Open Access

First Advisor

Plastas, Melinda

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Number of Pages


Components of Thesis

1 pdf file


Open Access

Available to all.