Irish Immigrants

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2017-10-15 84K 84 0 0

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Irish Immigrants

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Irish Immigrants

Immigration to the United States increased dramatically between 1840-1860. The largest group of immigrants to the United States at that time were from Ireland. Between 1846 and 1860, more than 1.5 million Irish immigrants came to the US because of a potato blight that destroyed most of the potato crops in the 1840s. A famine, an extreme shortage of food, struck Ireland. More than 1 million people died.


Irish Immigrants

Mostly farmers, the Irish immigrants were too poor to buy land. For this reason many settled in the Northeast and took low-paying factory jobs in the cities. Many of the Irish men also worked on the railroads. Accounting for nearly half of the immigrants, Irish women became servants and factory workers in the Northern cities.

Most Irish immigrants were Roman Catholics and settled in Northeast cities due to the churches. The church provided spiritual guidance and served as a center of community life.


German Immigrants

The second largest group of immigrants in the United States between 1820 and 1860 came from Germany. Some sought work and opportunity. Others came because the German democratic revolution had failed or to find religious freedom. Many arrived with enough money to buy farms or open their own business. They prospered and founded their own communities and self-help organizations. Some German immigrants settled in New York and Pennsylvania, but many moved to the Midwest and the western territories. They brought their own language as well as religion. When they settled, they founded their own publications and established musical societies.

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