For many people, the American dreams and promises brought ideas and new hopes of a better life. For the Irish, the American dreams and promises weren’t just ideas and hopes, they were the way to a new beginning in America, a way to start over and forget the horrifying past they encountered. The Irish struggled day after day to pay for fair travel to America. To many people, the challenge the Irish overcame seemed to deserve praise. Today, the Irish are honored and commemorated for their hard work and desire for a better life.
The start of the Irish’ peoples struggles began when the British came and destroyed their way of life. The Penal laws of 1691 stripped Irish Catholics of their freedoms by taking away their rights to become officers in the British Army or Navy, hold any government office, vote, buy land, practice law, attend school, serve an apprenticeship, possess weapons, and practice their religion. These weren’t the only laws that stripped the British stripped the Irish of their culture, they also decided to reform Ireland by yanking out the Gaelic traditions and replace them with British ways of life (Philip).
At first, the reformation of Ireland seemed like a good idea. The reformation brought bountiful harvests and the population nearly doubled. However, as Britain continued to industrialize, they used Ireland as a dumping ground. 75% of Ireland was out of work because their economy was absorbed by Britain. The living conditions of the Irish people diminished as there was no work to pay for food. The British came up with a solution to the Irish’ problem.
The Poor Law Acts of 1838 were put into action. The British modeled the English workhouse system in Ireland. Upon arrival at a workhouse, a family would be separated and forced into uniforms. Men, women and children were always segregated, adults worked ten-hour workdays while children were drilled in strict, daily school lessons. To avoid the poor living conditions, people that lived in extreme poverty avoided workhouses and stayed potato farmers (Philip).
Unfortunately, in September 1845, the potato leaves became black and curled. People worried about the potato crop. At first, the potatos seemed fine, but after further examination the potatos were rotten. In October of 1845, Britain’s Prime Minister, Sir Robert Peel, established a scientific commission to discover over half of Irelands potatos had been ruined by “wet rot.” The potato crop failed time and time again. Irish people began to lose hope in receiving better living conditions, but the shipping lanes opened to America after they had been closed by the war (Philip). Irish began to think of the American dream and promise.
The American dream and promise changes a nations state of mind. It originally comes from the Declaration of Independence. The promise is “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” The dream: “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” All of...