The Irish-American Fenian Invasion of Canada 1866

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Fenian Invasion of Canada

"Here's to the Irish

The Men that God made mad

For all their wars are merry

And all their songs are sad."

- G.K. Chesterton

The rise of the Fenian Movement in the United States grew from a long tradition of revolutionary movements to free Ireland from the oppressive rule of the British Imperialists. Irish who immigrated to the United States during the 1840s- 1860s were drawn to the Fenian movement as these were people who had seen first hand the effects of 19th century British Imperialistic rule on their homeland. The primary example of this is the Great Famine of the 1800's.

Many Irish, on both sides of the Atlantic, placed the blame for the famine solely on the "heartless tyranny of the British government and on the cruel greed of the Protestant landlords." Generations of immigrants had their views shaped by these events and thus, many of them became determined to seek revenge and retribution for the genocide and misery that resulted from these policies.

Hence, many joined organizations such as the Fenians to extract that revenge

Most of the members of the Fenians ended up in the United States because of starvation, eviction and emigration. The potato crop in Ireland failed for five successive years, culminating in "Black 47" , 1847, when hundreds of thousands of Irish perished from hunger or disease. In addition, during this time period more than a half-million Irish men , women and children were evicted from their cottages by landlords who were predominantly English. They were eager to enlarge their pasture lands and at the same time rid themselves of starving dependents.

The policy of the British government during this period can best be summed up through the words of Sir Charles Trevelyan, who directed the Irish relief...