The end of the civil war and the beginning of the industrial revolution sparked an increase of immigration into the United States because of a need for low paid workers. Immigrants from around the world fled to America taking valuable jobs away from American citizens. The OGreat WaveO of immigration halted the development of black improvement. The fault lies not on the immigrants, who sought out salvation, but in government, who made no serious attempts to stop the flow of immigration.
The industrial revolution opened up a vast market of job opportunity. The expansion of railroads and mining industries increased in a rapid frenzy across the United States. The people that allowed this to happen were not the people that were born in America, they were immigrants. The American people had been waiting for a time where they could have economic opportunity. The industrial revolution was the American-bornOs time taken away. Immigrants who came to the United States sought out every job known to man. Anything from sweeping floors to craftsman were available to the immigrants. From 1880-1920 the population of the United States ascended from 50,155,783 to 105,710,620.1 An increase of approximately 55 million people marked the start of the industrial revolution. The population of immigrants that came to the United States in the time period of 1880-1920 was about 15,000,000.2 Fifteen million immigrants just in the period of forty years came to the United States and all in need of a job. Immigrants took the jobs where Americans were paid unacceptable wages.3 One group in particular, the Irish, came in massive numbers due to a struggling economy in result of the potato famine and ruthless English rule. The Irish were considered the Ofirst great minority in American cities.O4
Ireland was composed of mostly farmers. The Irish economy was based on the production rates of farming. Living conditions in Ireland were below moderate. Most common types were considered fortunate to have a house with a sturdy roof. From earlier years of British rule in Ireland, the Irish people in the late nineteenth century were still rebuilding their somewhat hopeless economy. Their main crop was potato . However, in the mid 1800Os the Irish people suffered a severe impact when the Potato famine struck. It left many Irish poor beyond poverty. With the drastic loss of their main source of economy the Irish people were left no other choice then to come to America. By 1914 the population of Ireland was one half what it had been in the 1840Os.5 Irish immigration into the United States was far from easy. Most of the Irish immigrants were extremely poor and had to sell almost everything they had to afford the price of their voyage. The cost of immigration for Irish people was greater than that of other nationalities because the Irish came with all of their family with intent of permanent residency.6 The trip was one of the hardest parts of immigration. Immigrants were given a small area to sleep in and the quarters in which they slept were filthy and had an inhabitable smell which was probably left by the last voyage. In the middle of the nineteenth century 40 percent of Irish immigrants died as a result of the voyage. In relation to that only 9 percent of black slaves died on the voyage.7
For the Irish immigrants that survived the voyage the choice was New York or Boston. This was because of the location of these two cities and their easy seaport harbors. Irish immigrants did not usually posses any real skilled forms of labor. So the work which they received was very menial. They worked the jobs that American citizens left behind, like cleaning and excavating. (Basically jobs that were surrounded by filth) The living conditions of Irish immigrants were extremely hazardous. Outdoor plumbing and garbage infested streets as well as houses caused a breakout of cholera, disease transmitted by unsanitary condition that is transmitted to humans by food and water, was dominant among Irish people. The breakout was so significant to Irish people because they all lived in the same neighborhood. One family homes were divided into apartments were many families would live.8 Irish people lived so compact because they were so outcasted from society that they, as well as most other ethnic cultures, lived together for social acceptance. But the filth and wretch which they lived in and worked in was so disgusting that it would effect its surroundings. The smell would carry on and contribute greatly to their cities pollution. The real estate would also be effected. The presence of large masses of Irishmen and their poor lifestyles would turn investors and buyers away.
Ireland also had another industry besides the potato, whiskey. Whiskey as well as other alcoholic refreshments was very popular among Irishmen. The alcoholism by Irishmen in America was extremely evident and as result of their alcoholism the Irish immigrants were treated with distaste and as subhuman.
With the turn of the century Irishmen started to care more for their reputations. They cleaned up their streets and attitudes. Many Irishmen and other immigrants formed immigrant organizations to be able to have the power to fight unjust things such as long work days and extremely low wages. Since the government neglected to issue laws and regulations on immigrant affairs, the organizations which were formed to work as an immigrant constitution. They went on strike when they were dissatisfied with their jobs. Because most businesses were held together by immigrant workers, many business owners compromised with the immigrants. Immigrants worked most of the jobs in the United States during 1880-1924 and became very accustomed to their fields of work. As a result of immigrant specialization in the work force, Irishmen and other immigrant groups started to receive jobs with railroads and other skilled labor jobs like management. These jobs which they acquired were the ones that the American citizens needed and had a right to have. AmericanOs were being turned away from jobs because an owner could pay an immigrant much less then an American-born worker. There still was a prominent American-born population which was jobless because of immigrants, many who were or were becoming skilled laborers because of their experience. The lack of government control to stop the ever spreading flow of immigration caused many Americans to become forgotten. By 1918, immigrants had taken over almost every elected office in the nation.9 The overwhelming population of immigrants and their power to achieve high office before American-born people was outrageous. Immigrants should have been given the chance but there was no chance for an American influence because all the immigrants would vote for an immigrant candidate. Americans would vote for their representatives and had a widespread collection of…