A the Irish people. Housing conditions, food,
A deadly potato famine sparked a massive exodus of the Irish people who moved to America. The Irish were already impoverished before the famine, but the famine destroyed all hope for the Irish people. Housing conditions, food, and overall living status was extremely poor in most of Ireland.
Several people struggled with starvation, and many died because of disease. Everyone in Ireland was competing for land because the main way to make money was to grow potatoes. Ireland was undeveloped and not industrialized. With no employment available due to failing industries, the Irish trapped themselves into relying heavily on potato farming.
Most of the Irish people depended on potatoes as the main part of their diet. When the blight struck, the blight resulted in disastrous effects in the Irish lifestyle. More than one million people died as a result of the potato famine. Motivated by desperation to survive, thousands of Irish turned to America as a new hope for life.After a potato famine struck Ireland, the poor and disease-ridden Irish seeked refuge in America. A severe overpopulation and a plant disease destroyed most of the potato crop, a crop that the Irish depended on.
The Irish took boats from Ireland to America usually spending their last savings on the transit fare. The boats were not in good condition, including cramped spaces, limited food, limited water, and small bed spaces. The trip lasted at least four weeks. Despite the horrid conditions getting to America, millions of Irish arrived to America between 1840 and 1860. New England and New York became the two most populated areas by the Irish during the colonial times. With massive numbers of people flooding into America, city officials had trouble integrating them into the city. Many immigrants were unprepared to work in the more modernized industry that existed in America because they were coming from a more rural lifestyle. Coming from poverty and starvation, the immigrants would take anything they could get.
The Irish were willing to do anything for money. As a result of their desperation for jobs, the immigrants were given extremely low-status jobs. Their jobs were not only low-status but also dangerous. The Irish men worked as canal diggers, construction workers, factory workers, trench builders for water and sewer pipes, and anything else they could find. The women worked as washerwomen, servants in households, and anything else they could find.
They worked long hours and given little pay in return. The Irish barely attained peasant status in the American work world. Because of the flood of Irish entering America, some Americans did not approve of the Irish immigrants.
Many Irish faced job discrimination, and some struggled to find places that would hire them. Some Americans took advantage of the influx. If there was an uncooperative worker, business owners could easily threaten to replace them with an Irish man.
This threat also led some Americans to despise the Irish. The Irish were not immediately accepted into America. Many were often treated poorly. Americans disliked the fact that the Irish were taking their jobs and straining their resources. Receiving the worst possible jobs, the Irish started at the bottom of the totem pole. Although as time went on, the Irish started to rise in the social ladder and establish themselves as a people.
Instead of factory workers, Irish began becoming firemen and teachers. The first immigrants that arrived from Ireland to America faced several challenges. Because the Irish faced severe poverty, they acquired extremely low-paying jobs. The Irish made small amounts of money, and they were often crowded into small living spaces. These cramped homes were extremely unsuitable for the amount of immigrants living in them, but the immigrants were unable to upgrade to better housing. The lack of adequate running water made the small homes extremely dirty, and several diseases resulted from the unclean state of the homes. Americans developed a negative skepticism towards the Irish due to the rise of disease where the Irish were living. As a result Americans would move out of their neighborhoods if they discovered Irish immigrants moving in.
Some Americans feared the uncleanliness, unsanitary conditions and the potential crime threat the Irish might bring.The Irish faced lots of prejudice against themselves including religious prejudice. The Irish were mostly if not all Catholic. With the thousands of Irish flooding into America, Catholicism became one of the largest Christian denominations in the country. Protestant Americans feared that the Irish would never become true Americans because they were under the power of the Pope.
In times of hardship, many people turn to their religions for a source of hope and comfort. The Irish did the same thing. The Irish were able to build an vast network of Catholic institutions that helped maintain their true Irish identity. After the brutal Civil War, the Irish began to find better-paid work. The more industrialized America became, the better jobs the Irish started to discover. The Irish immigrants were able to rise because of politics and because of education. Irish immigrants sent their children to Catholic schools, and eventually to college.
The Irish spreaded throughout the work realm of the American life. The Irish faced the toughest hardship imaginable. They faced extreme poverty and famine but managed to persevere through it all. The Irish earned the right to become part of the American mainstream, and today, most of the Irish descendants live in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Kentucky.
The Irish have become a vibrant part of American culture including St. Patrick’s Day where Americans wear green in celebration of the Irish holiday. The Irish have made their presence felt and will continue to strengthen the United States of America.