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Daniel O’Connell’s call for Irish American and African American solidarity was met with great hostility by many Irish Americans.  As a result, O’Connell would fall out of favor with many Irish Americans committed to the cause of Irish freedom.  O’Connell would die in 1847 and so he never lived his dream of an independent nation come to fruition.

The Civil War would transform the lives of African and Irish Americans in ways that they never could have predicted.  The commitment of Irish Americans to the Union cause helped to ease their paths to social and economic advancement and the sheer numbers made them a powerful political force in urban areas.  African Americans would help to bring about the end of slavery and the 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution would expand their legal rights.  However the forces of white supremacy in the North and South would hinder this progress at every step of the way.

These two groups seemed to have much in common in the antebellum period, but ultimately issues kept them separated.  What later events in Boston history indicated this separation between the groups continued or resurfaced? What lessons can we take from the past to apply to the struggles for liberty and equality today?  Have definitions of freedom and liberty changed?