Irish Immigration

Topics: Great Famine, Irish diaspora, Ireland Pages: 22 (6554 words) Published: April 21, 2013
When the Irish immigrated to the United States in 1850 after the great potatoes famine in Ireland, the Irish natives were poor and without money, although prejudice did not seem to affect the Irish they were subjected to prejudice and segregation. Because the Irish fit in with the white race upon entry to the United States they were not discriminated against like the African Americans and Asian immigrants who were often denied entry into the United States because of their color and ethnic characteristics. However the Irish were poor and forced to live in the filthiest neighborhoods and alleys most lived in basement or apartments that were not properly ventilated and damaged by sewage. The social status of the Irish forced them to take job that were often dangerous like building railroad, these people were forced to take these jobs because no employer would give an Irish man or women a decent job. At this time in history cites needed hard manual laborers because the Irish were unskilled and poor they worked for the lower wages other ethnic groups would not. People were threatened by the Irish because of their hard working ethnics and because of their catholic religion signs for employment would often say “Irish need not apply.” (Hy Kinsella, 1996-2010.para3.) Catholic Churches were often burnt down and riots occurred protesting Irish Immigrants, America in the 1850’s recognized the Irish as poor, filthy criminal who would work for pennies, many feared their upward movement in society, but eventually the Irish overcame the new world that showed then so much prejudice and discrimination. After entering the county the Irish were not only affected by poverty and prejudice other events also plagued the Irish but some things moved the Irish up in society. The dual labor market affect the Irish, because employers were not willing to give uneducated and unskilled people...

During the 1800’s the Irish began arriving in the United States. In the 1820s there were 5 million Irish immigrants living in the United States. By the 1840s, almost half of all immigrants residing in the United States were Irish and only one-third by the 1850s (Kenny, 2008). The reception of the Irish from the native-born Americans was not one of warmth and acceptance. Fleeing Ireland was a matter of life and death for some. The quest for a better life was hindered by the “unwelcome” mat placed before them when they arrived (The History Place). During 1845 – 1849 was a period known as “The Great Famine” or “Great Hunger” in Ireland (University College Cork, Ireland). The potato, a main staple on which more than one-third of the Irish population relied upon to survive, was overcome by a fungus known today as “potato blight.” Between 1846 and 1851 over 1 million Irish died of starvation and various hunger-related infectious diseases. Many of those deaths were of the poor. It was believed that the Ireland’s Government had abandoned the people by not helping the hungry, yet continuing the exportation of food (University College Cork, Ireland). The Irish entered the United States through various routes. Some took the expensive US ships to Boston and some gained access by walking over the border into New York from Canada (University College Cork, Ireland). It was mostly poor refugees who were fleeing their famine stricken homeland and their slums of Ireland to come to America, only to face prejudice, discrimination, and hostile American nativists. (The History Place). Forced to live in basements, cellars, or one-room apartments, the Irish lived in their own section of each town, often referred to as Irish slums (The History Place). Landlords victimized the Irish settlers by charging $1.50 a week for a small room. Single family homes were sub-divided into nine-by-eleven foot rooms with no water,...

Remember, remember always, that all of us... are descended from immigrants and revolutionists. [Franklin D. Roosevelt]

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