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A Republican Constitution, and the Conundrum of Orangeism on American Soil


William Sampson, constitutional law

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By appreciating the influence of United Irish rhetoric upon early American constitutional doctrine, we can see better the continuing social implications of their commitment today, as well as the full international repercussions of their radical political movement. Nevertheless, by the 1820s a fissure opened between this socially transformative United Irish ideology and the impatient new ethnic separatism of more recent arrivals from Ireland. This general shift was vividly demonstrated in New York City and Philadelphia courtrooms where Irish Catholic and Irish Protestant immigrants were tried for rioting on the Twelfth of July trials in which the banished United Irish lawyer William Sampson used his own inclusive and egalitarian ideals as the basis for his postcolonial, republican legal arguments.