I wanted to know exactly why the much of the Irish population left their home land to come to America in the 1840s and 50s. I chose this topic firstly because I thought it would be interesting to research, but also because I wanted to be a little different from most of the people in my class, and also it is a subject very relevant to my family and I was interested to learn more about it.
In beginning my research I had discovered many helpful and useful sources while some have left me a little confused and stumped. I visited many different websites, looking mainly for ones that were from foundations, museums, and organizations. As I continued to research I found three books that I immediately checked out from the library. Two out the three were very helpful, The Irish in America by Michael Coffey, and The Irish American Family Album by Dorothy and Thomas Hoober. Both of these had a lot of very useful information. Both included multiple perspectives of the same situation, for example, how the British saw their influence on Ireland during the famine, how the Irish saw it, and how the Americans saw it. Both books also had primary sources within them too, newspapers, political cartoons, interviews, quotes and exerpts from other books and novels. What I began find very difficult was that I did not know very much about the country’s geography and features. To fix this problem I found another book on the geography of Ireland and it has helped me gain a better understanding of the country and where exacatly important cities are located within the country. I then began to look for sources that had to do more with the “pull” to America rather than the “push” from Ireland. This was also one of the problems I had, most sources only focused on the “push” part of the immigration process and finiding articles was challenging. One of the ways I overcame this was to look for sources that had to do with jobs and opportunities that attracted many people, not just the Irish. Things such as the Gold Rush, the Lowell mills and so on.
In the mid to late 19th century, multiple factors caused a spike in emigration from Ireland to America. A six year potato blight, a devastated economy, and tensions with the British government were among the reasons why the Irish people left their homeland, but it was also hope and possible opportunity in factories, textile mills, and the gold rush in the west, that brought the Irish to America. Thius developing a large Irish community in the northeast United States. This push and pull effect is what caused the massive migration to America. The Irish immigration to America was an important part to the end of the 1800s and the early 1900s and its effect we still feel today, especially the northeast United States. There are large Irish communities in coastal cities like Boston, New York City, and Providence, and some aspects of their culture have been integrated into our own, such as St. Patricks Day. The Irish immigrating to America has forever changed the U.S.