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‘Old World Behaviorism’
Historical Account of the Mollie Maguires by A. Monroe Aurand, Jr.
A 32-page booklet by Aurand Press, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
There is no copyright date. The most recent book in the author’s bibliography is from 1935. His catalogue of 32-page pamphlets is headed by a laudatory quote by H.L. Mencken, the most renowned opinion writer of the day. All of these nine books, except for this tenth volume, are about the experience of the Pennsylvania Germans.
The subtitle of the pamphlet reads:
The True Illustrated Story Of The Origin, Depredation and Decay of a Terrorist Secret Organization in the Pennsylvania Coal Fields During and Following the Civil War
The cover illustration is of Thomas Sanger being shot by Thomas Munley at Raven Run just before noon on September 1, 1875 by four gunmen, who also slew his body guard. The shooting was on the orders of the “body-master” of the Raven Division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, an Irish resistance society, closely associated with the Mollie Maguires. The AOH came to America along with the millions of refugees from the British pogrom to remove Irish foodstuffs and replace the population during the potato blight, which was the trigger for the atrocity, not the author, as historians suggest.
The targeted for murder were typically killed by hand gun, shot in the back, and were either members of the brutal police establishment, or, were like Sanger, officials of mining operations.
The evil authors of misery in the Pennsylvania coal fields were never targeted by this reactionary organization. Rather police enforcers and mostly mid-level managers with families and good community standing were slaughtered, developing animosity towards the Irish mobsters and union men, who were operating in a predominantly German community. The immigrant miners, paid in script and brutalized by private police and kept in bondage as debt slaves, got little sympathy from the descendants of German slaves shipped over against their will in the 1700s and as voluntary [though often defrauded and trafficked] time slaves in the early 1800s, and free German immigrants in the 1870s.
The Old World behaviorism that so appalled the author was class warfare, the accepted European norm that there was little social mobility, with men of the same “race’ habitually hating one another. Racial self-hate across class lines is a legacy that continues in America unabated to this day. This was supposedly corrected in America—at least in the academia-induced trance of the popular mind—by focusing on the tiny minority of forced laborers shipped to the Plantations who achieved upward mobility. During the time that the author lived and even wrote his book, the time of social mobility generally engaged in by southern and eastern European immigrants was through crime.
Much of the Mollie Maguire killing was ethnically inspired such as the shooting of a Welshman, though the author, a first generation scion of the American “melting pot” downplays this angle. In Schuylkill county, 50 murders were attributed to the Mollie Maguires between January 1863 and March 1867. In 1865, in the middle of this period, Pennsylvania lawmakers authorized the formation of private police departments and the enforcement of private company laws. Over one half “were committed by unknown persons, and of men more or less prominent.”
This was certainly a terrorist criminal outfit practicing economic guerilla warfare. The organization had its origins, it was said, in the depredations of a woman [possibly a man dressed as a woman] back in Ireland known for her ferocity, who had killed several agents of the Irish landlords.
“Land and labor troubles, already experienced by the poor Irish peasants [poor in their ancestral lend while English waxed rich] before they settled in America, paved the way for their lawlessness which broke out during the Civil War period, and the “hard times” following that critical epoch.”
Irish immigrants were sent to the slaughter right off the boat to fight for the freeing of the southern slaves who would, once freed, do the jobs that the Irishmen had come to America to do for lower wages. It was no accident, that after the slaughter of poor men at the orders of rich men in the Civil War, over whether or not to continue undercutting American working men with slave labor or switch to even cheaper immigrant wage labor, that the working man saw his fortunes drop and the West beckon as a way to escape the vice of industrialized Plantation America.
Industrial work, whether it be sugar cane processing, iron foundry work [with iron foundries in Maryland suffering mass breakouts of slaves in 1775], mining or textile work, were far more dehumanizing, dangerous deadly and soul-crushing than agricultural labor. For this reason, while most agricultural slaves could be kept on the plantation out of fear of the unknown and of leaving food, hearth and home, the industrial worker had to be terrorized by an actual armed force of policemen, compared to the agricultural slave who would be recovered by the odd jailer [gaoler] or slave catcher. Slave patrols were as much devoted to keeping slaves [who were generally unchained] from destroying the property of neighbors as recovering them for the owner, who would sometimes have no problem with his restive property looting the wealth of his neighbors after nightfall, when his neighbors must keep vigil against his rampaging slaves. For if his neighbors moved, he had access to more cheap land.
Why shouldn’t an Irishman, caught between the Anglo-Elitist and his African American lackey resort to crime?
James “McKenna” McParlan, an Irihsman, infiltrated the organization for the Pinkerton Agency, a private terrorist security army, and brought them down as an undercover agent.
The Mollie Maguires were too specifically ethnic, did not have enough money-making criminal operations, or enough popular support, to accomplish what criminal cartels and labor unions would in the future Industrial America: safer streets and higher wages. Only with the War on Urban Family Home Ownership [1968-2020 and the War on Drugs [1974-2020] would organized crime lose the ability to keep American city streets safe from the southern rural population that had been imported to terrorize the industrial worker’s family on one hand and work for less wages on the other, resulting in suburban flight and the cheap sale of homes.
Most interesting is the list of bad actors which the author claims struck terror into the hearts of Pennsylvanians in chronological order:
-Buckshots [?]
-Black-riflemen [?]
-Indians! [the original slave catchers and paramilitary arm of Penn Family government from the 1680s thru 1750s]
-Police! [did the same job as the earlier Indians]
-Sheriff! [did the same job as the earlier Indians, namely rounding up runaway slaves.]
-Black-Hand! [Mafia precursor]
-Ku Klux Klan [second iteration that waxed strongest around 1920 nationwide]
Such are the illustrious associations that the murdering Mollies were numbered with. Interestingly, the last four all worked and still do work with government agents and the Indians were finally slaughtered by other Indians and the Paxton Boys against government wishes.
I must look into the Buckshots and the Black-riflemen.
Thank you to Mister Grey for this pleasing little book.
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