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Historical Event & Research

In Theme: Approaches to History, you will learn more about the struggle of immigrants to win equal rights in American society. Our first case study will look at the experience of Irish immigrants in the United States in the 19th century.

Between 1820 and 1860, more than one-third of all immigrants to the United States came from Ireland. This wave of majority Catholic immigrants reached its peak during the failure of the potato crop, known as “the Great Hunger.”

Many Irish immigrants were poor and uneducated, making them initially ill-equipped for the emerging industrial economy of America. These immigrants experienced religious discrimination and backlash against their presence in major industrial centers like New York, Boston, and Philadelphia.