Irish History In America Essay

1511 words - 6 pages

Over the past few centuries, many countries have changed. Not only have countries changed, but the people within each country have changed as well. Some people have had to work harder and have struggled more than other people. During a time of famine and war, Irish immigrants came to America to build a better life, but they were greeted with hostility and hatred, sometimes based on religion, but yet they continued to come and build a life. Irish immigrants in America have had both good and bad events throughout time. However, those struggles did not stop Irish immigrants from coming to America in an attempt to create a better life for themselves and their family.
During the eighteenth century, many people of Irish heritage emigrated from Ireland to America in hopes of receiving the same liberty and tolerance that Americans had. Most of them were Protestant and were viewed as being comfortable financially and were able to smoothly integrate into American society. In fact, by the time of the American Revolution, nearly a quarter of a million Irishmen had immigrated to America. When industrialism took place during the nineteenth century, people abandoned farm work in search of work in the cities. Cities began to grow and finding ways to connect one city to the next became the priority. Irishmen were able to find sufficient work opportunities working in the city or along canals and railroads. Irish communities were starting to form across America, especially on the Easter Seaboard in New England, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York. It seemed as though all was going well for the Protestant Irish who had immigrated. However, it did not work out as well for the Catholic Irish who tried to immigrate to America.
In the 1840s, the Great Famine took place in Ireland. Even though people had already immigrated to America, the Irish this time were Catholic, which caused Irish immigration to take on a different meaning. The new immigrants were not only Catholic, but they were also seen as largely poor, unskilled and unfamiliar with urban life. Despite the fact that America was known for liberty and tolerance, the new Irishmen were not welcome and were met with intolerance, as well as hatred. Americans were trying to protect their thriving democracy and believed that an excess of foreigners and Catholics were destroy all that they had built so far. In fact, anti-foreign, as well as anti-Catholic mobs were formed and would go around attacking convents and Catholic schools in the Northeast. Around the same time, riots were taking place in Philadelphia and New York. But it did not end there for the Irish Catholics. They were rejected by landlords, as well as shop owners and were denied work in the city. The hostility of Americans, as well as the feeling of loneliness and the desire to return home to Ireland, only worsened the amount of Irish slums. Irish ghettos were overcome by filth, disease, crime and alcoholism. Ex-peasant Irishmen fought a sense of...

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