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Following the Money: Fenian Bonds, Diasporic Nationalism, and Distant Revolutions in the Mid-Nineteenth-Century United States

Sim, D; (2020) Following the Money: Fenian Bonds, Diasporic Nationalism, and Distant Revolutions in the Mid-Nineteenth-Century United States. Past and Present , 247 (1) pp. 77-112. 10.1093/pastj/gtz036. Green open access

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Abstract

This article tracks and analyses the history of bonds issued by the Fenian Brotherhood in the 1860s to argue that US Americans could take part in a marketplace in distant revolutions in the mid-nineteenth century. In this period, various, disparate nationalist groups issued bonds, suggesting a commonly understood method of generating funds, sustaining sentimental attachment, and projecting the authority of authentic nation-states. The Civil War-era United States was a particularly fertile environment for the issuance of such bonds because of its traditions of free banking, the ease with which bonds might be floated to a public increasingly au fait with their operation, and a broad rhetorical sympathy with the distant revolutions for which these bonds stood. The debt these bonds represented acted as a sentimental form of ‘special money’ and, for Irish-Americans, as for other immigrant communities in the United States, they allowed participation in a transnational movement without ever leaving their immediate neighbourhood. Tracing their issuance and circulation, then, allows us to write a material, sentimental and social history of everyday transnationalism and anti-imperialism in the mid-nineteenth century. For later generations, this sentimental quality could and did devolve into a more immediately financial form, and the article concludes by identifying the redemption of these bonds as a significant step in legitimating the new Irish republic to a US audience.

Type: Article
Title: Following the Money: Fenian Bonds, Diasporic Nationalism, and Distant Revolutions in the Mid-Nineteenth-Century United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/pastj/gtz036
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1093/pastj/gtz036
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of History
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10071779
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