Irish Immigrants To America
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Ireland was in a tough time. There was a lot of poverty, diseases, and English oppression, and the Irish people were tired of it. Then they heard about America, and it seemed just like a dream. Early immigrant letters described America as a wonderful country, and urged the others to follow them. People fell in love with that dream, of a wonderful country, so they left in ships. The ships were often called “Coffin Ships” because they were so crowded and had terrible conditions. And so they left, to the land they thought would be a dream come true, but sadly it wasn’t. Large greedy men were waiting at the docks, almost forcing immigrants to work for them for an outrageous fee. And the poverty continued, but some had work. One Irishman wrote home “My master is a great tyrant, he treats me as badly as if I was a common Irishman.". During the 1850’s in America, there was no other group considered lower than an Irishman.
The conditions for the Irish in New York City were extremely bad, so bad that it was estimated that 80% of all infants born to Irish immigrants died.
They were treated badly, in newspaper they wrote things like crime would end if they sent the Irish home with a boat and such. Irish people became offended by this, and insult or intimidation was often met with violence. They stood together to become Americans, and to survive in America. They prayed and drank together. The men seemed to do more drinking than praying. So they gained a little more respect than before, but there was a long way to go. When the Irishmen arrived in America, they arrived at a time in need for America. The country was growing, and it needed men to do all the heavy work, building bridges and railroads etc. These jobs were hard and dangerous, but people was desperate.
Other jobs that were “fitted” for the Irish was to be servants and such jobs that were disdained for early Americans. So these jobs went to Irishmen and black people in America, but Blacks and Irishmen didn’t have a good relationship. The Blacks hated Irishmen, and the feeling was mutual. The Blacks were the first to call the Irish “white nigger”. In the years to come, there was a lot of fighting for the Irishmen. They started riots in New York City, and kept on fighting for their rights. The Irish used brutal methods to fight brutal oppression. Soon, new nationalities immigrated to America. Italians, Jews, and Slavs, so the hostility against the Irishmen went over to the new nationalities. The Irish was now truly Americain.
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