Brotherly love: murder and the politics of prejudice in by Charles Hoffmann

By Charles Hoffmann

On New Year's Eve in 1843, Rhode Island cloth producer Amasa Sprague used to be shot and overwhelmed to dying. inside of days, 3 Irish immigrant brothers have been arrested, charged with homicide, and finally delivered to trial.

Brotherly Love is a image reconstruction of the crime, its social and monetary history, and the next trials. the tale unearths the antagonism among native-born Yankees, who commanded nice strength, and the becoming variety of Irish Catholic immigrants, such a lot of whom labored within the fabric turbines. certainly, the commercial, political, and spiritual dimensions of the clash are all obtrusive within the trials.

The authors argue persuasively that the Gordons have been sufferers of bigotry and circumstantial facts, serving as handy scapegoats to soothe a neighborhood outraged over the homicide of its wealthiest citizen. In telling the tale of this infamous case, Brotherly Love unearths the politics of prejudice in nineteenth-century New England as performed out in neighborhood and court docket.

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Extra info for Brotherly love: murder and the politics of prejudice in nineteenth-century Rhode Island

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Sunday afternoon, December 31, 1843, had begun normally for Sprague as he sat down to a hearty dinner with his wife, Fanny, and their Page 3 four children, Mary Anna, Almira, Amasa, and William. The only worry on his mind at the moment was the welfare of the stock free-grazing at his farm which was about a mile from the house. There was no barn there in which to shelter them. With at least six inches of old snow on the ground and the promise of a clear, cold night, he had decided to visit the farm and check on the stock himself rather than depend on the young tenant farmer who lived on the place.

Reforms such as the elimination of restrictive electoral laws, a more independent judiciary, and reform of the penal code were practical and seemingly mild liberalizations even by mid-nineteenth-century political standards. 3 The one truly radical aspect of Dorr's movement was the attempt to apply the ideological principles of the American Revolution to nineteenth-century Rhode Island. The Dorrites not only sought to include the Bill of Rights in the state constitution, which other states had done over a half century earlier, but they also insisted that "all political power and sovereignty are originally vested in, and of right belonging to the people .

November 2123, 1842. A new state constitution is ratified, effective May 1, 1843. Under its provisions naturalized citizens who owned property worth $134 and who had resided in the state for at least two years were qualified to vote. June 1843. Ellen Gordon, her three sons (William, John, and Robert), her daughter, Margaret, and her granddaughter (William's daughter) arrive in Boston from Ireland. They join Nicholas in Spraguesville, a mill village in the town of Cranston. July 24, 1843. Nicholas Gordon's liquor license is denied renewal by unanimous vote of the Cranston Town Council after Amasa Sprague, the mill owner, and others oppose it.

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