New Life for the Irish 1
New Life for the Irish
Axia College of University of Phoenix
New Life for the Irish 2
In 1845, the great potato rot touched of massive migration. Hundreds of thousands of peasants were driven from their homes and forced most of them to immigrate to North America. Unlike earlier migration, these people had no skills and no previous experience in adapting to a new country. They had no money, little clothing, and very little hope. Most had no education. The only way of escape was emigration. Starving families that could not afford to pay landlords faced no alternative but to leave the country in hopes of a better future. In the next seven years over one million Irish would immigrate to the United States.
The decision to leave Ireland was only the beginning of a long a difficult journey. Irish emigrants set sail for America from Liverpool. Already weak from hunger, they were packed into overcrowded ships for the voyage across the Atlantic, which would take two to three months to arrive. Men, women, and children (as many as 900 people) were crowded together. The close quarters, unsanitary conditions, and poor food created infectious diseases caused by fleas and lice. Sometimes these ships would arrive in port with less than half of their original passenger list; even so, the ships represented hope. Those who pursued this path only did so because their future in Ireland would be more poverty, disease, and English domination. America became their dream, letters described it as a land of abundance and urged others to follow them through the “Golden Door.” These letters were read at social events to encourage others to join them in this wonderful new country.
New Life for the Irish 3
The two main port entries to the United States were New York and Boston. Because they had no money to travel any further inland, the...