The Irish and the American presidency : the impact of Irish and Irish-American issues on U.S. presidential politics.

Date of Award


Document Type



Caspersen School of Graduate Studies

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


This project explores the impact of Irish and Irish-American affairs on U.S. Presidential politics throughout American history. Scholars have given limited attention to the impact that political events in Ireland have had on U.S. presidential politics. Moreover, when historians have written about Irish Americans' engagement in U.S. politics, they generally have focused on their role in state and local politics, with scant attention to presidential politics other than the 1928 and 1960 elections. Irish Americans, however, have had a consistent and noteworthy impact on presidential careers, policies, and elections from the administrations of George Washington to Barack Obama. Utilizing U.S. Party Systems as an organizational framework, this project will take a conceptual/narrative look at the various ways that the Scots-Irish and then later the Catholic Irish in America, as well as the Irish who remained in Eire, have shaped, altered, and sometimes driven such presidential political factors as party nominations, campaign strategy, elections, and White House policymaking. Indeed, this project unquestionably demonstrates that the Irish always have been and continue to be a potent force in American presidential politics.