Irish Immigration to US Peak period, 1815-1920 5.5 million
Causes for Irish Flight British exploitation began in 1166 local laws abolished land confiscated excessive tax burden land use changed from crop to livestock exportation prioritized over Irish domestic needs The Potato Famine, 1845-54
The Irish Response to Their Oppressors• By the 1840s many Irish became migrant workers (spalpeens)• The formation of clachans (small family communities) to work the land• Resort to terror tactics against the British (e.g. Molly Maguires)• “Emigration” to other lands
Irish Acculturation GEN 1 GEN 2 – Canal builders – Politicians – Railroad construction – Nurses – Coal miners – Office workers – General laborers – Government employees – Maids/domestics – Skilled craftsmen – Soldiers – Trade unionists – Needle trades – Teachers – Students
An Inevitable Class Conflict Once pitied by Frederick Douglass for their miserable fate at home, the Irish vied for jobs previously held by the freedmen in the North – Cooks – Domestics – servant class predominantly Irish by 1850 – Laborers – General fodder (“flunkies”) Negroes, Irish, Chinese, American Indians and Mexicans catagorized as sub-human by the American Nativists In this struggle Irish attitudes changed from empathy for the slaves plight to opposition to their freedom at what the Irish believed would be at their expense.
PrologueThe gradual path to acceptance for Irish immigrants - economic and social exploitation - gang warfare (Five Points cir. 1850s) - urban riots (Draft Riot of 1863) - terrorism (Molly Maguires 1870s) - church and family - trade unionism - political mainstreaming
IRISH SLAVES/AFRICAN- ECONOMIC ISSUES SOCIAL ISSUES AMERICANDuring great famine over a half Competing with Irish British colonialism and Irish emigrated to America as amillion Irish fled to the US workers its emphasis on exports result of the oppressive treatment by had reduced the Irish the British and the terrible povertyCatholic, strongly GAELIC in Forced to speak English people to quote and famineculture and language and not use native tongue extremely poor tenantsmaintain culture at all cost Speak to Memmi with regards to the Same deplorable travel Those that remained in British being the colonizers whoBrought to America by ship conditions Ireland became forced the Irish to become20% died during the passage or migratory workers left Protestantimmediately after arrival for work in the spring No link to their history and returned in the fall Slaves were captured and brought toMaintained connection with the ate one meal a day of this country not by their own accordHomeland potatoes Called Names Irish exploited as laborers-pittedDepicted as APELIKE-a race of Subhuman Fungus hit potato crop against workers of other racessavages-inferior in nature and distorted 40% of the including the Chinese and Blacks. Slaves’ life was too crop in 1845While in Ireland considered valuable for the master Condemned for lacking the habits ofslaves of the British supported to risk in mines due to During famine years punctuality and industry. Dismissedthe abolition of slavery in the their economic value exported grain and from jobs for laziness, gambling,USA cattle to British markets drinking, levity, impudence and other debaucheries.Lack of our sympathy for blackslaves once arrival in Americaanti-black
IRISH SLAVES/AFRICAN- ECONOMIC SOCIAL ISSUES AMERICAN ISSUES Irish pulled to America by the Captured and enslaved Choice of integrating Labor strikes led to themarket revolutions demand or suffering destitution establishment of the secret orderfor labor and death of the Knights of St. Crispin- Called derogatory largest labor organization in theYankees versus Irishman names 1854 the blight United States“Irish miners sucked up the stoppedblack dust into the long as Commercialism of Attempted to unionize Chinesethey dubbed the bloody coal- aquaculture, eviction workers but unsuccessfuldeplorable working of families from theirconditions-very unsafe many lands and the declineaccidents of Irish crafts due to the importation ofIrish built waterways, British manufacturedthousands of miles of rail lines goods continued to pulverize the IrishCalled derogatory names peasantry and depopulate IrelandUnsafe working conditions Considered subhumanIrish laborers thought to be as noted in Memminothing more than dogs
IRISH SLAVES/AFRICAN- ECONOMIC ISSUES SOCIAL ISSUES AMERICANAs white immigrants they were Blacks unable to vote Irish women became Ironic Irish who came America were theeligible for naturalized and ineligible for famous for being maids outcast scum of European society howevercitizenship citizenship many unmarried could they enjoyed the full social and political obtain employment more privileges where as the native bornEstablishment of the political Blacks not allowed to readily than men American and African slave with woolymachines and political bosses establish political or hair and dark complexion were made the economic base under Women forced to work victims of social ostracism Jim Crowe seven days a week from 6 According to Stephen Steinberg: until 11 at night “Domestic service equals exploitation of the whole person” Awarded public works Lack of personal freedom forces many to projects to Irish building choose to work in factories rather than do the contractors provided service type work preferential treatment to 1900 compatriot subcontractors Many Irish were attending Harvard and workers-highly University in great numbers and were concentrated a in building initially resented. trades became highly According to Harvard president Abbott unionized Lowell, Irish could be more readily absorbed into American society because of their “whiteness”. He stated that the Theory of universal political equality should exclude and not be applied to tribal Indians, Chinese, or Negroes under all conditions but only to our own race and should be applied only to those people who we can assimilate readily into our society being of our own race. Irish made great social and economic strides due to settling in cities rather than country which was diametrically opposed to their rural background in Ireland.