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Gabi Gallo Ms. Kelley and Ms. Whipple AP Language and AP US History 5 February 2013 Rhetoric of Culture Project Irish immigrants during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were consistently a large portion of immigration to the U.S. They flocked to America in large numbers, hoping for freedom and basic necessities that they were unable to access in their homeland. The potato famine, which began in 1845 and lasted until 1847, devastated the Irish. People relied on the potatoes for sustentation as it was their main source of food and income. Without it, there was no way for the Irish to provide for themselves. Many people had their homes taken away by the government because they could not pay taxes. Not only the famine influenced the Irish to flee to the United States, the Act of Union of 1803 incorporated the Irish into British policy, but did nothing to aid their other dilemmas. Because Ireland had become part of British policy, they began feeling political subordination to the British parliament because their parliament and political power was placed under that of the British. The British Parliament was not concerned with the well-being of the Irish people, so political decisions made by the government were not in the best interest of the Irish. Ireland had become extremely overpopulated as well as impoverished as a result of the Napoleonic War. Also, Catholic Irish were receiving much religious prejudice from the Protestant Masters. All of these struggles were

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factors in the mass immigration of over 3.5 million Irishmen to the United States between 1820 and 1840. The Irish immigrants traveled to America by ship to ports on the East coast, or to Canada where they could travel across the border to the United States. The British Passenger Act tried to deflect Irish immigration to Canada instead of America by making the fare cheaper. However, this encouraged the immigrants to travel to Canada and then proceed to cross the border for a smaller cost. The ships that the immigrants traveled in were miserable, often called coffin ships. These ships had cramped quarters and were unsanitary, so the journey to America was not a pleasant one for the Irish immigrants. The majority of the Irish immigrants came to America through New York City, making the city one of the most Irish-dense cities in the United States. The trouble with the vast numbers of poor Irish immigrants coming to New York City is that once they arrived, they had no means to travel farther to a different city, so they were stuck where they were. This made it extremely difficult for the new citizens to find jobs, as their numbers were vastly greater than the number of open jobs. The immigrants quickly realized this when they arrived, and many sent word back home, like Mary McCarthy, who wrote her father saying, The Emmigrants has not money Enough to take them to the Interior of the Country which oblidges them to remain here in [New] York and the like places for which Reason causes the less demand for Labour and also the great Reduction in wages. The Irish immigrants found that they were very unwelcomed when they arrived. Their fight for low-paying jobs, extreme poverty, and expansion of slums caused New Yorkers and

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Americans to see the Irish as equivalent to the blacks, as expressed in the cartoon by Thomas Nast, shown in the product. Not only were they viewed as scum, but they were often denied jobs before even being given the opportunity to have one. Many advertisements expressing needs for workers were accompanied with the words No Irish need apply, to ensure that no scum would be working for them.