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Irish Potato Famine
Transcript of Irish Potato Famine
Push and Pull Argument
Of all the various reasons the Irish migrated to different regions, the loss of the potato crop was the strongest push factor. The Irish relied on potatoes for everything. According to the Constitutional Rights Foundation, “More than half of the Irish people depended on the potato as the main part of their diet, and almost 40 percent had a diet consisting almost entirely of potatoes, with some milk or fish as the only other source of nourishment.” This shows how much the people relied on potatoes. However, when disease had devastated the potato crops, there was nothing left for them to eat. Also according to the CRF, “ people were eating food “from which so putrid and offensive an effluvia issued that in consuming it they were obliged to leave the doors and windows of their cabins open,” and illnesses, including “fever from eating diseased potatoes,” were beginning to spread.” This evidence shows that when the potatoes were ruined, nearly everyone was starving, and was one of the main push factors of this migration since they had no choice. Either stay and starve, or leave. No potatoes had left millions of people starving. so the loss of the potato crop was the strongest push factor for their migration.
During the potato famine, the Irish had to move in order to survive. Their journey was very tough and the conditions were terrible for many. According to HistoryPlace, many of the Irish traveled through ships and were crammed onto them. “in the spring of 1847, shipload after shipload of fevered Irish arrived, quickly overwhelming the small medical inspection facility, which only had 150 beds. By June, 40 vessels containing 14,000 Irish immigrants waited in a line extending two miles down the St. Lawrence.” In addition, History Place also explained how horrible the conditions were on the ships. “Belowdecks, hundreds of men, women and children huddled together in the dark on bare wooden floors with no ventilation, breathing a stench of vomit and the effects of diarrhea amid no sanitary facilities. On ships that actually had sleeping berths, there were no mattresses and the berths were never cleaned. Many sick persons remained in bare wooden bunks lying in their own filth for the entire voyage, too ill to get up.” Their journey consisted of horrible conditions that were unhuman. This shows how hard their journey was through the ships and how much of a struggle it was for them to move to find a place to live.
The Irish were not accepted anywhere for many years, however through time they finally became accepted. According to the Constitutional Rights Foundation, the Irish at first had faced “religious prejudice.” Since almost all of them were Catholic, many Protestants feared that the Irish could never be “truly patriotic americans.” In addition, according to the History Place, “Everyone feared fever and thus shunned the Irish no matter how much they pleaded for help.” Also such as the Jews, who according to Museum of Family History, during their journey many Americans who had “feared that the great wave of immigrants would take jobs away from them”, they were also considered rivals. According to the History Place, “Working men also viewed them as rivals for unskilled jobs.” This shows just how bad they were treated at first and how much people would not accept them when they tried coming, whether out of fear or thought of as a rival, they just were not accepted. However through time, the Irish were treated well and finally became accepted by others. According to the CRF USA, after the civil war when America became more industrialized, Irish found new and better work. “The Irish rose out of the ghetto not only because of politics, but also because of education.” Since they became more prosperous they were to get more jobs. Lastly CRF explained how “The election of John Fitzgerald Kennedy as president in 1960 showed that the Irish Catholics had been assimilated into American culture and had left the misery of the Potato Famine behind them.” This shows as although they had horrible treatment and were not accepted when they first moved, over time with the election of Kennedy and more jobs becoming available for them, it is clear that they did eventually become accepted and treated right by putting the Potato Famine behind them.
Identify Push and Pull Factors
The Irish had many push factors that influenced them to migrate to other regions. From the beginning the Irish were known as the “among the poorest in the Western World.” They had horrible housing conditions, a short life expectancy, and were struggling from many diseases and illnesses. They were pulled to other lands for opportunity and fair treatment.
Contributions of the Irish People
The Irish have had many contributions to American culture. For example, their religious celebration St.Patrick’s Day has been celebrated throughout the world. Also, their traditional Irish folk music such as the pipes and the fiddle have been contributed to the American culture along with the traditional Irish dancers and variety of foods.
Most Influential Contribution
Of the many significant contributions the Irish people have made to American culture, their contribution of music is the most important. According to EveryCulture, "Irish music and song brought to America by generations of immigrants have played a seminal role in the development of America's folk and country music. Elements of traditional Irish ballads introduced during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries are easily discernible in many American folk songs." This shows just how much of an influence their music has had on America, and how they have been incorporated in many American songs today. In addition, EveryCulture added that "“Today Irish music is extremely popular not only among Irish Americans but among many Americans in general. Many learn to play such Irish instruments as the pipes, tin whistle, flute, fiddle, concertina, harp, and the bodhrán. Many also attend Irish céilithe and dance traditional reels and jigs to hornpipes.” This clearly shows how much Americans have been impacted by Irish music and how the different instruments are played all over America.
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