Early American Life Of Irish And German Immigrants

1284 words - 5 pages

During the nineteenth century and the early twentieth century the rise of immigration centered around two specific ethnic groups. Irish and German immigrants provided a large portion of immigrants that were entering the United States between the 1820’s and 1920’s. Both ethnic groups invested in making the journey to the United States for several reasons, however some immigrants were not given much choice. Economic opportunities attracted both ethnic groups into making the migration to the America, however others came because they felt dislocated or threatened in their own country. Choosing to come to America for these two groups was a similar decision but with their similarities came differences as well.
The force that brought Irish immigrants can be described in two ways, both negative in the way of the Famine Years and the control of Protestant England. On the other hand, Irish immigrants were able to use the United States as a chance for economic opportunities as well as a chance to be free to practice their Catholic faith. The economic events that helped fulfill the need for Irish workers were thanks to the Industrial growth of the United States. The Transcontinental Railroad was completed by the continuous harsh labor that was done by Irish immigrants. The Eastern half was largely built by Irish men that were hired by the Union Pacific Railroad Company. The chance to make a life and put some money in their pockets was an attractive situation for struggling Irish immigrants. The inevitable factor for Irish immigrants to leave their homeland was the effects of famine that was occurring among the rural population of Ireland. Ireland depended heavily on potato crops, but as the crops failed they diminished the hopes of survival for many Irish families. Those years of famine in Ireland pushed families out and on the road to immigration, not only to the United States but also to Canada and Australia. When the Irish arrived in the United States they began their settlements in the cities of New York and Boston. As a result, much of New York was built on the muscles of Irishmen, they not only helped paved the way of railroads, but also helped create much of America’s infrastructure (Daniels, 130).
The country of immigrants was surely living up to its name, however the likelihood that all immigrants would be accepted was yet to prove truth. As much as the Irish dominated the immigration from Europe to America, German immigrants provided the United States with another ethnic group to help settle its land and build its cities. German immigrants came to the United States looking for land and a way to modernize; they saw opportunities to grow in the American cities. German immigrants migrated as families and were farmers that came in search of rural land to cultivate. Germans immigrants were being isolated and overpowered in their homeland, the economy in Germany was inactive and a search for growth brought them to America. Unlike the Irish, the...

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