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Land of Refuge

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  • Pages: 2
  • Word count: 348
  • Category: Ireland

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1.) “Throughout its history, the US has been a land of refuge and opportunity for immigrants.” Assess the validity of this statement in view of the experience of the Irish in the 19th century urban northeast.Between the years of 1830 and 1860, immigration from many Europeans countries very much shows that the United States has been a land of refuge and opportunity for immigrants. Because of the high rate of immigrants, looking for refuge from the problems of their homeland, the population of the United States shot up by about six million. The flow of immigrants, choked off by wars in Europe in the first three decades of the nineteenth century, revived in the 1830s.

The foreign-born population was vastly made up of immigrants from Ireland. In 1850, the Irish constituted approximately 45 percent of the foreign-born Americans. The mass migration out of their homeland was partly because of the oppression and the unpopularity of the English rule. But the factor that impacted the most was the greatest disaster in Ireland’s history: the Potato Famine. The entire country depended on the potato crop economically and also to feed the population.

But between 1845 and 1849, the catastrophic failure of the vital crop caused the devastation of the country. Looking for safety and refuge from this terrible disaster, more than 1.5 million Irish fled to the safe lands of the United States. They fled to the safety of the urban northeast. Without practically any money, unlike the German immigrants, the Irish immigrants settled in the eastern cities to fill them with unskilled labor.

The urban northeast gave them, mostly young and single women, opportunities of factory and domestic work. Moving rom the southern counties of Ireland, where there were little to no opportunities and an excess of devastation, to the urban northeast of the United States of America, where opportunities of work were in abundance, the immigrants of Ireland, looking for refuge and opportunity, created a dramatic rise of the population of Irish Catholics and the population of the United States as a whole.

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