Irish Immigrants In The 19th Century

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During the late 1800 's, there was a large influx of people emigrating from Ireland. The Great Famine in Ireland and recruiting for the American Civil War caused millions of Irish to leave their homeland for the United States. Between 1850 and 1860 alone, one million Irish immigrants came to America. They dreamed of a land of riches where they would be accepted and equal, unlike it was in Ireland at the time. The reality was shy of Eden. Their "white negro" reputation followed them from Britain to America. The treatment of the Irish immigrants of the colonial period paled in comparison to the discrimination and obstacles faced by the immigrants of the 19th century. Margaret Fuller, an American journalist of the 1800 's, wrote how the Irish…show more content…
They had high hopes of freedom and equality, however, were sadly disappointed upon arrival. They quickly became the "poorest of all whites." Known as the "white negroes" and "paddies," the American theater stereotyped the Irish as "happy, lazy, stupid, with a gift for music and dance." This was not as strong, however, as the drunk and criminal stereotype of the Irish. White Americans also tended to pick out these Irish immigrants ' Celtic ancestry, even having stereotypes just from that. Characterized as having "small upturned noses, high foreheads, and black tint of skin," further separated the Irish from their American neighbors. Their religion was another grand factor in the delaying of their assimilation. The Protestant Irish immigrants of the colonial era faired better than the Roman Catholic Irish of the 1800 's due to their shared religion with the Americans. Catholicism began to have a negative connotation with Irish. The religion only created a huge gap between the predominately Protestant…show more content…
They did not have the same opportunities as the native-born Americans and were left to fight for themselves. Examining two songs, "No Irish Need Apply" and "What Irish Boys Can Do," [documents found at the end of paper] that highlight anti-Irish prejudice gives a better view of what the Irish expected coming to America, how they were treated and how they reacted when dealt with such discrimination. In 1862, a songwriter believed to be Kathleen O 'Neill released a new version of the British song, "No Irish Need Apply." This edition of the song had an additional stanza dedicated to showcasing anti-Irish prejudice in America. At the beginning of the song, the writer shares her experiences of finding a job and the poor treatment of her fellow Irishmen. The last portion of the song describes America as "the land of the Glorious and Free" and the "kind faces" of the Americans. It seems patent that O 'Neill saying with this reputation of America 's greatness in addition being the "Land of the Free," native-born Americans should be treating newcomers and immigrants much
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