Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)




Kathrin Levitan

Committee Member

Andrew Fisher

Committee Member

Fabricio Prado


Spirits of Settler Colonialism: Alcohol Consumption and the Temperance Movement in Irish and Indigenous Communities in Nineteenth-Century AmericaThis paper contends that excessive alcohol consumption in Irish and Native communities was a cultural remnant of the violence, erasure, and poverty created by the mechanisms of settler colonialism, rather than a reflection of any moral or genetic weakness. Like all other elements of colonization that their people were combatting, alcoholism was opposed through tactics of resistance and subversion, including the temperance movement. The commitment of Native and Irish people to eradicating intemperance in the nineteenth century demonstrates strength in communal, cultural, and familial survivance. While Native peoples were the original inhabitants of North America, it will be necessary to examine Irish circumstances in both Ireland and Irish America, as the Spirits of Settler Colonialism will also argue that Ireland had longer and more dire issues with alcohol and a failure of temperance movements due to the persistent burden of settler colonialism, particularly surrounding the Great Famine. The Luck of Jesse Fish: The ‘Hispanicized’ Englishman of Colonial St. Augustine A protean businessman, rumored to be British or Spanish spy depending on who was asked, and a self-proclaimed “Hispanicized” Englishman, Jesse Fish’s complex life is exemplary of the powerful capabilities of the Atlantic World to mold men of hybrid identities, and to both shape opportunity and utterly destroy it. His involvement in numerous financial ventures with assorted levels of success (and seemingly with little concern for their moral integrity) indicates the shrewd, upwardly-mobile motivations of a man in the colonial borderlands. Jesse’s identity and outlook was uniquely Atlantic – an amalgamation of British, Spanish, New Yorker and Floridian. Though Fish appeared as a cultural chameleon, a British Protestant by birth and Spaniard in culture and community, his run-ins with both empires indicate a personality willing to take significant risks and switch alliance at a whim. Born with privileges not available to its other citizens, the ambitious Fish navigated the vibrant city of St. Augustine during all three of its supposedly distinctive eighteenth-century periods. He lived through the War of Jenkins’ Ear, the Seven Years’ War, and the American Revolution, survived pirate attacks, and (largely) got away with treason. Despite this, Fish found at the end of his life that his carelessness had caused his luck to run out.



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