Looking for a better life away from death, oppression, and destruction the Irish headed to America by the thousands in the 1840’s. Ireland’s staple food was the potato, it was the main means of subsistence for the poor. Then in the 1840’s cataclysm struck, the potato blight caused famine, disease, death and despair. Close to a million deaths were blamed on the potato blight in Ireland. The potato blight was caused by a disease that rendered the potatoes inedible. It lasted for several years, from 1845-1849 the country suffered great hardships, sickness, and death. The blight was the final straw to push many immigrants out of Ireland and to America looking for a chance of survival (Marger, 2015, pg. 284) The potato famine was not the only reason …show more content…
Yet, they were not black either, instead they were classified as in-between the two. Irish only slightly stood above blacks in the racial hierarchy. It took several decades before they received full “white” status (pg. 292). Slowly throughout the 19th century the Irish made their way out of poverty into middle-class status, by taking advantage of growing industrialization. 2nd generation immigrants were able to use labor unions for upper ward mobility into middle-class. Then post WWII many Irish took advantage of the GI Bill, which allowed them to go to college and get low mortgages. Today Irish are still a strong part of America’s middle class (pg. 290). 170 years after the potato blight sent the Irish to America they are said to have assimilated to the point of over-acculturalization. Today Catholicism and St. Patricks’ day are the only things that differentiate this group from other Anglo-American groups. Not only were they able to conform to mainstream society they have been referred to as America’s favorite group (pg. 294). Although they are still characterized today as heavy drinkers and fighters, they are no longer considered sub-human and
“It must be understood that we cannot feed the people” (Kinealy Calamity 75). The mid 1800s in Ireland were characterized by extreme poverty, death, and emigration. The Great Potato Famine, also known as “The Great Hunger,” first hit in 1845; however, its effects lasted into the 1850s and can still be seen today. Prior to the famine, Irish manufacture and trade was controlled and suppressed by British government, which made Ireland an extremely poor country. Farmers in Ireland were forced to export crops such as corn, wheat, and oats to Britain, which left the potato as the main dietary staple for the people, especially the poor. Therefore, when the fungus Phytophthora infestans caused some, and eventually all, of the crop to rot over the next couple of years, the reliance on the one crop made the people of Ireland extremely susceptible to the famine. The effects were devastating, and poverty spread across the nation causing a huge increase in homelessness, the death-rate, emigration, and a change in the Irish people and country overall.
Immigration to America from Europe was at an all time high in the mid-1800s. After the potato famine in Ireland in the 1840s, a large group of Irish immigrated to the United States. Since then, increasing numbers of Irish people have been moving to the United States, especially in Chicago. The Irish had come to realize that the United States really is the land of opportunity. With jobs being available to the immigrants, many more shipped in to start new lives for their families. However, for quite a while they did not live in the nicest of areas in Chicago. Many of the Irish resided in low-class areas such as overcrowded parts around the Loop, and out in the West Side. Not only did the West Side shelter the Irish, but many Germans and Jews lived in that area.
The first thing that we will look at is the Irish demographics. The Irish population had fluctuated tremendously over the years. When looking at where they came from, the highest group seems to have been coming from Dublin and Nothern Ireland, along with Kerry County, Ireland as well. Previous to the the 1840's, there were two other waves of Irish immigration in the US. According to the Colombia Guide to Irish American History, the first of the Irish immigrants came in the 1500's due to Sir Walter Raleigh's expedition and the population has continued to grow even since. The third wave began in the 1840's. From census data from US during the Gilded Age, in the 1860's the total number of Irish born immigrants were 22,926. Throughout this time, until around 1910, that number decreased. The number of I...
We see this most notably socially, but also politically. Very often, Irish describe the a form of abuse they endure at the hands of the “native” Americans. This is unfortunate, but the reality of immigrant live for the Irish in the 1800’s. At the core of “natives” concerns was a shift from political power in the hands of “natives” to political power in the hands of the Irish immigrants, who could be loyal to the pope in Europe. Despite this, the Irish still enjoyed the benefits of the United States nation state and celebrated in the benefits, far superior to those of Ireland at the time.vi As was seen in the movie Gangs of New York, many corrupt politicians persuaded immigrants for support in elections and often employed illegal and manipulative tactics on election day to cast multiple votes.vii There were even political cartoons included in immigration reading excerpts depicting the irish as barbaric monkeys and blaming them for election day violence as well as showing them tear apart the democratic system established by “native” Americans.viii These were likely intended for distribution amongst “native” Americans,
The life of Irish immigrants in Boston was one of poverty and discrimination. The religiously centered culture of the Irish has along with their importance on family has allowed the Irish to prosper and persevere through times of injustice. Boston's Irish immigrant population amounted to a tenth of its population. Many after arriving could not find suitable jobs and ended up living where earlier generations had resided. This attributed to the 'invisibility' of the Irish.
Many of the Irish who immigrated to Boston during the years before the American Revolution were part of "a poor, hardworking class." Most could not even afford to pay their way over and came as indentured servants instead. They came from all walks of life and many different backgrounds. There were tailors, cabinet-makers, carpenters, shoemakers, and bricklayers, as well as farmhands and laborers. The one thing...
Many Irish peasants were forced to deal with the hardship of the Irish potato famine from about 1845-1850. Said famine wiped out roughly the entire potato crop in Ireland, thus causing much of the Irish population to decrease by about one quarter. The English who did little to help despite their leadership position indirectly fueled the famine. Prior conflicts between the Irish Catholics, and British Protestants continued to make matters worse, until the end of the famine in about 1850. During 1845, the Irish people were plagued by a fungal epidemic in their potato crop. Due to the past cultural conflicts the British government took no action, and this eventually led to the emigration and death of hundreds of Irish Catholics.
The Great Irish Potato Famine was during a period of mass starvation, disease and emigration through 1845-1850. According to the journal, “The Context of Migration: The Example of Ireland in the Nineteenth Century” by James H. Johnson, this caused the population of Ireland to decrease 20-25% and it did not stabilize again until the 1930’s. Although there was a potato crop failure in Europe in the 1840’s, one third of the Irish population was dependent on this crop. This was inevitable due to the sole dependency of the Irish people on home-grown potatoes and the population almost doubling from 1800 - 1840. The journal, “Spaces for Famine: A Comparative Analysis in Ireland and the Highlands in the 1840’s” by Liz Young states that “if the crop was poor or failed, families could not manage and to compare, 50,000 people died when crops failed in 1817-1819.” The Irish people could not sustain could not sustain their diet of potatoes because they had not the means to buy more seed or, indeed, purchase the land on which to grow enough potatoes to feed their rapidly multiplying families for a year. As families increased in size, their excess produce, that previously would have given them a means to purchase livestock etc., was consumed. There were many factors that were involved in this catastrophe. The main causes were environmental conditions, agricultural practices and climate conditions, economic faults, and social and political trends. Social unrest and the history of Irish poverty was the direct cause of the Irish Potato Famine and the sole dependency on the potato crop which inevitably led them to starvation.
America is a melting pot of different cultures, religions, ideas and identities, a country which over the years has been molded, shaped and changed by its people. There are many historical factors that gone into creating the country as we know it today, but none so influential as the immigration of millions to “the land of opportunity”. The millions of people who came to the United States in hopes of finding a better life greatly affected the course of American history, bring the the country new cultures, customs and beliefs . Irish-Catholic immigrants, “. . . the first great ethnic ‘minority’ in American cities,”(1) had a substantial influence on the industrialization, labor movement and politics of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
During the 18th and 19th centuries, the Irish rapidly flowed into the United States. The Irish immigrated in different waves and for various reasons, only to be greeted with significant barriers when landing in America. The Irish were essentially pushed out of Ireland because of the awful economy and the great potato famine. Upon arriving in the United States, the Irish had a difficult time with jobs, discrimination, housing, and money in the populated urban cities in which they settled. Having a rough life in the New World, the Irish still managed to leave a powerful legacy and an influence still visible today.
When many think of the times of immigration, they tend to recall the Irish Immigration and with it comes the potato famine of the 1840s' however, they forget that immigrants from the Emerald Isle also poured into America during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The assimilation and immigration of the Irish has been difficult for each group that has passed through the gates of Ellis Island or South Boston. Like every group that came to America, the Irish were looked down upon; yet, in the face of discrimination, political, social and economic oppression, the Irish have been a testament to the American Dream as their influence in the political and business world increases with each generation. The tradition and family upbringings of the Irish culture has served as the bridge to allow the "great race" to both prosper and persevere through the hardest of times. Although Irish immigrants were mixed into and not originally part of American culture, they enriched their new country with their cultural contributions, active participation in politics, and their wealth of influential individuals.
Between the years of 1845 and 1850 a fungus swept through Ireland’s crops. During these turbulent times starvation, and diseases set in and claimed millions of lives. While starvation and diseases spread 500,000 immigrated to the United States. These large waves of Irish immigrants accounted for more than half of all immigrants in the 1840s. In addition between “1820 and 1975 4.7 million Irish settled in America claiming it as home”. (PBS.)
Ireland had over eight million people during the mid-19th century. They were heavily reliant on agriculture and many of the Irish people were impoverished and living in poor conditions. The Irish were considered some of the poorest people of the west. They had a low literacy rate, low life expectancy rates, and although Ireland was an agricultural nation, they were generally low income. Because they could not afford anything else, the Irish were very dependent on potatoes. The potato was a cheap source of protein, carbohydrates, and vitamins that were suitable for survival. The substantial reliance on potatoes was one of the main reasons the famine was as destructive as it was. It started in the summer of 1845, when the blight was first discovered. It sickened all of Ireland’s potato crop and the vast majority of the Irish people depended solely on potatoes. Hayden describes it as “simply the most violent episode in a history characterised by violence of every conceivable kind, the inevitable con...
The Irish Potato Famine was a period of starvation, disease and emigration, and was known as one of the biggest tragedies from 1845 to 1847. Many people depended on potato crops to survive; however [comma] the potato crops acquired blight, a disease that caused the potatoes to rot while still in the ground. No good crops could be grown for two years [comma] causing Irish tenant farmers unable to pay rent and was forced off their land causing over 21,000 people to die of starvation. The Irish Potato Famine caused many people to leave Ireland to seek work overseas in areas such as England and America. The Irish Potato Famine had a big impact on the history and the economy of Ireland.