The Molly Maguires, a terrorist group that existed in the decade between 1860 and 1870, developed from a labor organization that protected the rights of coal-mine workers (Moffet, 2010, p. 1). The name actually belongs to a widow who was firm in Catholicism despite the efforts of Protestants to remove her from her religion. The group was thus ethno religious in nature and it developed from the aforementioned labor organization that was fond of intimidating, crippling and even killing coal owners and supervisors on grounds of mistreatment during working hours (Tonny, 1998, p. 1). It is these origins of the Molly Maguires terrorist group that gave them their thirst for blood and led to the killing of a myriad of Irishmen until the group was exterminated in the proximities of 1970.
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The organization of the group was the major contributing factor to the terrorism it used to execute. Men were killed for mere disagreement and dislike. They even killed people they had no grievances. Others killed just for beer and terminated the lives of people without any qualms. There were ready killers armed with borrowed thirty-two caliber pistol waiting for instructions from their commanders to kill in cold blood without regrets. These acts of the group made the name some kind of an enigma with people being assured of their death whenever they received the note they termed as the “Coffin notice” (Kenny, 1998, p. 13)The killings went on despite efforts by the church, and the community to stop the members of the Molly Maguire from executing them. No viable solution to the problem was foreseen until a strategic intervention was made by the Pinkerton’s Detective Agency.
The success of the Pinkerton’s Agency in handling the Molly Maguire nightmare started with the hiring of a former night watchman, James McParland, as their detective. McParland was sent to Europe, under the masquerade of McKenna, to look into the Molly-Maguire issue (Bimba, 1970, p. 22).
With unequalled skills in detective work, McParland was able to become initiated to the Molly Maguires. He was not only a member but a leader after a number of conquests with renowned members of the Molly Maguires. While in duty as a leader of the Molly Maguire, McParland saved the lives of targets of the group by feigning sickness or procrastinating when he was supposed to order the killing of an identified target. He identified scores of assassins who were subsequently charged with first degree murder and hanged. He also gave leads to the arrests of offenders and became feared by even the members of the group (Weisman, 1999, p. 1).
Ultimately, McParland learnt the structure of the entire organization of the Molly Maguires (Campbell, 1992, p. 34). He identified the most notorious members of the group and gave all the information to Mr. Pinkerton, the detective who had sent him. He managed to escape numerous poisoning attempts by suspicious members of the Molly Maguires and returned to Philadelphia. He testified in the cases of the Molly Maguires and nineteen Molly-Maguire members were hanged and the group was exterminated (Dugas, 2002, p. 1).
The Molly Maguire had established an extensive network in America. Despite the terrorism they perpetrated on Irish men and women, America should be grateful that the group ever existed because it gave American authorities an insight to the intricate dangers of vigilantism. Since the extermination of the Molly Maguires, America has been keen of developing vigilante groups to ensure that they do not develop into domestic terrorists.
Bimba, A. (1970). The Molly Maguires. New York. International.
Campbell, p. (1992). A Molly Moguire Story. Jersey City. Templecrone Press.
Dugas. B. (2002). Molly Maguires. Web.
Kenny, K. (1998). Making sense of the Molly Maguires. New York. Oxford University Press.
Moffet, C. (2010). The overthrow of the Molly Maguires. Web.
Tony, A. (1998). The Molly Maguires. Web.
Weisman, P. (1999). The Molly Maguire. Web.