The Irish Immigration to America

Ivy Gerber

One Reason They Left

The Irish people have migrated for many reasons. Though out of all the reasons, the lack of food and the diseases that took over would probably be the biggest. In the 1800’s, millions of people died from a large lack of food in Ireland that was later called the Irish Potato Famine. During this time many people were poor and ended up living in houses with other families that were called communal clusters. Within these communal clusters the people often were living with the host family’s pigs and chickens. One of the reasons that people living in communal clusters really pushed people out of the country is if someone came home with a contagious disease, the disease would spread effect a bigger group of people due to multiple families living in one house.

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A Second Reason They Left

Another reason is that if they were living on a communal farm and the crop started to fail, it would affect more than one family. This is something that happened with families that grew potatoes in the Irish Potato Famine. The other reason that the potato dying off was such a problem would be because over ⅓ of the Irish population was dependent on the potato. With ⅓ of a population living of one crop that has died off and couldn't be grown anymore, many people would die. Hundreds of thousands of people would die, and that's why we should care because it wouldn't even be a quick death. It would be slow and painful and full of agony.

Journey and Treatment

Before the Irish made it to America, they had a terrible and rough journey. They were crammed onto small ships with limited supplies. Many left with nothing other than the clothes on their backs and hardly enough food. Over half couldn't even by the food sold on board due to being so poor. Few people chose to go to Australia and Great Britain while many others went to America because it was cheaper. Those who went to America on the Canadian timber ships were in terrible conditions, though if they could afford to pay a little more and went to America on the American ships, they were in much better conditions. When they arrived to America they settle in New York and Boston, and in a few other cities. At first the Irish people weren't really accepted by the American’s. They were looked at as drunks, uneducated, and many discriminated them for being catholic. Though the Irish weren't the only ones. Eventually the Irish people in New York gained power and influence in both the Democratic Party and in the Police Force.

Contributions the Irish Have Made

There were many ways that the Irish have contributed not only to America,, but to the world. I have an example for both. The Irish have made a pretty large impact on the work life within America, especially one woman in particular. Mary Harris, or latter known as Mother Jones. She came from Ireland at about 5 years old, and moved around a lot during the time she lived here. Her influence and motivation to later help workers across America unite was after she lost her husband and 4 children to yellow fever. Later after, she ended up completely devoting herself to improving worklife. After devoting herself, and much planning, in 1877 in Pittsburg Mary had her first strike. Later this lead to her first riot, the Haymarket riot in Chicago. All this was because she was working towards making sure that the lives of working citizens was better due to the poverty and many were in, and how people were underpaid for their long hours. Mary Harris devoted over 50 years of her life to making other’s lives better. Someone that has had a great contribution to the world is John Philip Holland. He was born in Ireland and later moved to America years after he lost 3 members of his family. Two of his uncles, and one of his brothers. John was influenced greatly in life by his father who was as interested in the sea as he was. When John moved to America, he was working of past research of submarines. His brother was funding it, and later James Philip Holland was known as the father of the submarine.


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