Irish Immigration History

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History of the Irish immigration to the United States is rich and can be divided into several important periods. Between the years of 1845 and 1855, more than 1.5 million Irish adults and children left the country for America, in search for the refuge. The reasons for such an influx were numerous: many Irish were desperately poor, and many were suffering from starvation and disease. One of the most widely spread reasons was the so-called Potato Famine. It killed more than 1 million people in five years and caused great acrimony and anger at the British for providing too little help to their Irish subjects. Those immigrants, who left Ireland, settled in Boston, New York, and other cities where they lived in poor conditions. Despite living conditions…show more content…
Religion of the immigrants was equally disturbing to American nativists. Would Irish-Catholic immigrants eventually be loyal to the United States or to the Roman church? Why did Irish Catholic immigrants send their children to private, separate, parochial schools rather than sending them to free public schools? The major reason for such a tendency was that Evangelical Protestants dominated the public school boards. They did not see any opportunities for their children to cultivate the Catholicism in America in the public schools. As a result, the tension between Americans and Irish immigrants, because of religion, reached its peak in the beginning of the 1830’s. American nativists launched a continued attack on Irish immigrants because of their Catholicism. In 1834, a crowd burned down the Ursuline convent in Charlestown, Massachusetts. In 1836, American nativists in New York published the Awful Disclosures of Maria Monk. In this book, they described the events, witnessed by an emotionally troubled young woman by the name of Monk, who claimed to have seen debauchery and infanticide during her stay in a convent. These were not the final attacks. Later on, in 1844, nativist rioters burned two Catholic churches in the Philadelphia suburbs. The reason for this was the dispute over the dilemma of which Bible should be taught in public schools, the Catholic or the Protestant…show more content…
Because the Irish spoke English and were the first Catholics, who arrived in the United States in large numbers, the Irish took control of the American-Catholic Church very quickly. The Irish-American identity started developing in the country, and Catholicism became the single most important ingredient. Despite success of the Irish immigrants in America, Anti-Catholicism remained a significant part of American culture until 1960, when John F. Kennedy was elected to the presidency. In addition, the Irish dominated the politics of many American cities, such as New York, Boston, and Chicago, where they headed the local Democratic Party. The beginning of the 1920s marked their standing on the national political stage, when Al Smith became the first Catholic to run for
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