Date of Award

Spring 5-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Atkinson, Connie

Second Advisor

Mitchell, Molly

Third Advisor

Dupont, Robert


In New Orleans during the 1830s, Irish immigration became a source of tension between newly settled Anglo-American elites and the long-established Creole hegemony. Out of this tension, in 1835 Anglo-American elites established the Louisiana Native American Association (LNAA) to block Irish immigrants from gaining citizenship and, ultimately, the right to vote. The Whig Party, whom most Louisiana Anglo-Americans supported, promoted nativism to prevent naturalized Irish from voting Democrat, the preferred party of the Creoles. This study will argue that the LNAA, under the leadership of William H. Christy, was not merely a reaction to increased Irish immigration, but was also a strategy used by the Louisiana Whig Party to gain dominion over state politics. In the end, this strategy did more harm than good to the Whigs as the nativist movement led to a fatal split within the party.


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