Full and Complete Account of the Late Awful Riots

Publication Year: 1844

A Full and Complete Account of the Late Awful Riots in Philadelphia: Embellished with Ten Engravings. Philadelphia: John B. Perry, Henry Jordan; New York: Nafis & Cornish, 1844. 
PHS call number: F 158.44 .F95 1844

Reading suggestions

Browse descriptions of the riots in Kensington, and the aftermath of those events, pages 2-61.

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Source note

John B. Perry was a Philadelphia-based publisher active in the mid-1800s. In addition to publishing this account of the Philadelphia Bible Riots, Perry published many salacious yet historically oriented books such as Book of Pirates and Book of Murders, which documented dozens of well-known American murders.

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Reading questions
  1. When was this source written? Who do you think was the intended audience? How reliable is it as a source of information about the Philadelphia Bible Riots?
  2. Philadelphia newspaper the Public Ledger reported that the nativists had the right to meet wherever they wanted to practice free speech, but the Irish unfairly interrupted them (page 4). Why does Perry include this excerpt in his account of the riots?
  3. How did Native American Party president, Thomas Newbold, react when the already riled up crowd suggested going back to Kensington on Tuesday, the second day of the rioting (page 13)? Did he help to quell the riot?
  4. What was the law enforcement and military presence early on in the riots (pages 17-21)? What was their role during this period? 
  5. How was St. Michael’s Catholic Church burned down (pages 24-26)? What was the mob’s reaction to this building’s burning?
  6. What orders were given to the military units in Philadelphia on May 9th, day 3 of the rioting (pages 46-48)? How did these orders affect the rioting that was still underway? 
  7. What was one major consequence of the riots for the Irish of Philadelphia, according to this source (page 54)?
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Source type
History Topics
19th Century Social Reform
American Nativism
American Religious History
Time Period
Slavery, Sectionalism, and Social Reform (1815-1861)