The Irish experience was one of the most successful attempts made by any ethnic group to fully assimilate into the American society. Obviously, they had a huge advantage from the get-go on most of the other races simply because they were already white. Irish immigrants came to the United States out of necessity and most didn’t even want to leave their homeland. (Takaki pg. 131) However, driven by the Potato Famine and persecutions, they came in droves to escape the harsh landscape that Ireland had become. From 1800-1900 around 4 Million Irish immigrants came to America seeking a new life free from the harsh treatment they had received in their homeland, where they could have a chance to live without fear of starvation and sickness. (Takaki pgs. 136-137) Upon arrival here, particularly in the 1830s and 40’s, the vast amount of foreign Catholics scared the protestant dominated Americans, who were also impacted by a lingering notion many English immigrants held of the w...
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...an, Chinese, and Japanese immigrants were all welcomed and yet hated as they arrived to their new homes. Though they came for different reasons, and the responses and attempts to fight against them were different, the common denominator for all of them was road-block after road-block to prevent them from becoming even marginally successful in achieving their American Dream. But yet they persevered, and fought back. The Irish and African American examples are only two tales of how these immigrants stood in the face of gross discrimination and pushed for change. Being on opposite ends of the Great Chain of Being, they demonstrate the struggle that all immigrants in the middle of these two cultures had in finding their way to better living on the American continent, and showed how the stage was set as the Second World War arrived for the changes that would soon follow.
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