Date of Award

Spring 2004

Document Type

Restricted Thesis

Terms of Use

© 2004 Mariah Montgomery. All rights reserved. Access to this work is restricted to users within the Swarthmore College network and may only be used for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes. Sharing with users outside of the Swarthmore College network is expressly prohibited. For all other uses, including reproduction and distribution, please contact the copyright holder.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


History Department

First Advisor

Allison Dorsey


Montgomery explores riots in Philadelphia between 1834 and 1844, particularly their backgrounds in conflict over standards of citizenship and the role of free African-Americans. Contradictions between racial slavery and the ideology of the rights of man led white Americas to define African-Americans as the opposite of citizens. White skinned Irish immigrants were caught between freedom and slavery and regarded as racially ambiguous. Using assorted personal writings and publications, Montgomery examines clashes between the Irish and African-Americans and reactions of the dominant white society. Through five riots, she argues that questions of citizenship were central to the violence of this time.


Co-recipient of the Paul H. Beik Prize in History, awarded in 2004.