The United States of America is a country composed of many nations. Since its colonial era, people from all over the world has immigrated to America in pursuit of a dream. One of the largest an successful groups of settlers is the Irish immigrants one. This essay will trace the history of the Irish immigrants and their experience in America. Encouraged by King Charles II, the Irish American immigrants were one of the first nations to settle in America. Escaping from an Ireland marked by economic discrimination, the first group of Irish immigrants arrived in America during the First Wave of Immigration, period between 1680-1776.
This first group, known as Scots-Irish, spread over the country according to their preference for land. Their decentralization resulted in the weakening of their culture. During the Second Wave of Immigration to America in the 1800’s, internal factors once again led the Irish to leave their homeland, thus America seemed to be the promising land: gold was discovered, high demand for workers, immigration encouraged by the American government and high wages.
However, in the 1830’s the Irish immigrants started to suffer discrimination.
Religious opposition and attempt to Americanize their children were the most serious offense against their culture. Catholic churches and convents were burnt, and controversies raised about the content taugh in public schools. During the period of the First and Second Wave, the Irish came to America in pursuit of economic and social freedom. Ireland was under the English influence and the Irish culture was being depreciated.
Their language was being lost and they suffered religion persecution due their catholic roots.
Economic factors also influenced the Irish to emigrate. The rapid population growth in Europe and the Agricultural Revolution forced the closure of common land, leaving many farmers without a job. The Industrial Revolution absorbed a certain level of manpower, but it was not enough to cover the whole unemployed population. Therefore, America was seen as the land of hope. The Third (1890- 1930) and Fourth (1965 to present) Immigration Wave is marked by immigration policies.
The rate of immigration from Ireland to America decreases, and the Irish community in the USA succeeds. The Irish succeeded greatly in America. Economically speaking, they achieved much more than they would have in Ireland, they supported and offered a better life to their families. Culturally, they absorbed and influenced the American culture, and also retained their pride and roots. They became from elected leaders, such as the former President John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, to celebrities, such as Sean Penn and Ben Afflec.
Encouraged by the English King and the economic and social issues in Ireland, the Irish emigrated to America in pursuit of a dream. Along its history in America, they were victim of discrimination and religious opposition, together with attempts to undermine their culture and beliefs. In spite of these hard times, they achieve economic success and a cultural equilibrium, establishing themselves as one of the most successful groups of immigrants in the USA.