Irish Immigration 18001880 INTRODUCTION The history of Ireland "that most distressful nation" is full of drama and tragedy, but one of the most interesting stories is about what happened to the Irish during the mid-nineteenth century and how millions of Irish came to live in America (Purcell 31). Although the high point of the story was the years of the devastating potato famine from 1845 to 1848, historians have pointed out that immigrating from Ireland was becoming more popular before the famine and continued until the turn of the twentieth century. In the one hundred years between the first recording of immigrants in
1820 and the passing of immigration restrictions in 1924, over four and one half million Irish immigrated to…show more content… In 1776, right after the Declaration of independence was signed, Congress made qualitative restrictions for the immigration of people from other countries to the United States in order to make sure the good health of foreigners entering this country (Danilov 3).
ACCEPTANCE AND NONACCEPTANCE IN AMERICA The Catholic Church and politics were very important to the Irish Americans. The church in Ireland had been a bulwark of strength against English oppression. When the Irish suffered the same hostility as the British to their religious beliefs, the church in America became a source of spiritual comfort. French and native-born priests controlled the American Catholic church when the Irish arrived in large numbers, but the Irish quickly moved up, becoming priests, nuns, and archbishops and leaders in the church. Archbishop John Hughes of New York in the 1840s was the first of many Irish leaders in the Catholic Church.
Politics and religion helped the Irish overcome the bitter poverty they faced in the mid 1800s. As of 1980, the nearly 20 million Irish Americans were more likely than other immigrants to be professionals and managers. Irish Americans had also earned the admiration of other Americans through many special contributions to culture in the United States. The novelists John O'Hara, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Mary McCarthy, and William Kennedy; the playwright Eugene O'Neill; and the film actor Spencer Tracy are just a