Dagger John: Archbishop John Hughes and the Making of Irish America


In the 1820s, Irish immigrants to the United States were a not unwelcome addition to a rapidly expanding nation. They were often Protestant, middle-class, and employable. By the 1830s and 1840s, a new dynamic was in play, and the Irish Catholics who crossed the Atlantic in staggering numbers were anything but welcome. Nativist violence against Irish Catholics assumed frightening proportions in the years before the Civil War, and America’s most famous Irish Catholic, John Hughes, saw it as his mission to fight Protestant bigotry head-on and help “his people” find acceptance in their new homeland.


Our March meeting will feature John Loughery, the author of Dagger John: Archbishop John Hughes and the Making of Irish America (Cornell University Press, 2018), will discuss the fiercely combative Hughes and the role played in American politics by the Catholic prelate who built St. Patrick’s Cathedral, founded Fordham University, and preached the value of a hyphenated cultural identity long before the twentieth century. Loughery is the author of five books, most recently Dorothy Day: Dissenting Voice of the American Century (2020), a biography of the radical Catholic activist and pacifist and America’s most determined advocate for the homeless.

Join us on Wednesday, March 9th at the Garden City Casino - please note the venue change. The meeting begins at 7:30pm, and is free and open to the public.



Maximum attendance is 40, so arrive early to make sure you get a spot!


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