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									Irish Immigration

    The Potato Famine in Ireland
   By 1847, the potato famine had reached full strength and
    much of the population of Ireland was malnourished and
   This is an account written by a visitor to Ireland who notes
    much of the misery he witnessed.

    “We have just returned from a visit to Ireland, whither we had gone in
    order to ascertain with our own eyes the truth of the reports daily
    publishing of the misery existing there. We have found everything but
    too true; the accounts are not exaggerated--they cannot be
    exaggerated-- nothing more frightful can be conceived. The scenes we
    have witnessed during our short stay at Skibbereen, equal any thing that
    has been recorded by history, or could be conceived by the imagination.
    Famine, typhus fever, dysentery, and a disease hitherto unknown, are
    sweeping away the whole population. The poor are not the only
    sufferers: fever is spreading to every class, and even the rich are
    becoming involved in the same destruction.”
                 The Exodus Begins
   By the middle of the 19th
    Century, thousands of Irish
    immigrants were arriving in the
    U.S. in an effort to escape the
    devastating famine in Ireland.
   The excerpt here deals with the
    initial stages of the Irish flight.
   “The splendid emigrant ships
    that ply between Liverpool and
    New York, and which have
    sufficed in previous years to
    carry to the shores of America
    an Irish emigration, amounting
    on the average to 250,000 souls
    per annum, have, during the
    present spring, been found
    insufficient to transport to the
    States the increasing swarms of
    Irish who have resolved to try in
    the New World to gain the
    independence which has been
    denied them in the old.”
      The Waves of Immigration
   The following graphs and maps demonstrate the
    overwhelming number of Irish immigrants coming
    into the U.S. as compared to immigration from other
    European nations.
   Note also the sharp spike in Irish immigration that
    corresponded directly with the Irish potato famine
    that began in 1847 and continued for several years
   Note the wide dispersion of Irish immigrants across
    the country by 1870, reflecting the tremendous
    demographic impact of Irish migration to the United

           Nativist Response to Irish
   The influx of large numbers of
    Irish Catholics during the 19th
    century disturbed many
    conservative Americans who
    viewed the ethnic shift in
    American society as a
    potentially damaging
   Many publications argued that
    the Irish would place their
    loyalty to the Catholic Church
    above their loyalty to the U.S.
   Also, the 1856 platform of the
    briefly influential "Know-
    Nothing" party stressed the
    need for native born
    Americans to take charge.

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