Реферат: Irish and America

Irishand America

TheAmerican connection is based on such enormous numbers of Irish men and womenmaking their way to the New World for so many different reasons that nobody isquite sure of the actual numbers involved. It is estimated that in the periodbetween 1717 and 1775 something like a quarter of a million Ulstermen settledin the North American continent and, between 1820 and 1920, something likefour-and-a-quarter million people emigrated from Ireland to earn a living inthe United States. The reasons for going were many. The Ulster folk whoemigrated did so voluntarily, and were almost entirely of Presbyterian stock,seeking to escape from the Protestant Ascendancy, with which they had little ornothing in common. The early Irish from the South were often bondsmen, who hadsold their services as laborers, in advance of their emigrating. The millionswho went on the move went because of the famines in Ireland. They crossed theAtlantic in fearful conditions and they died in their thousands of cholera onarrival. They came in the «coffin» ships from Queenstown, from Galwayand from Liverpool. They were mainly from the hardest stricken areas of thewestern seaboard, from Clare, Mayo, Donegal, Kerry and Cork. They wereunskilled laborers who tended to herd into the cities of the east coast, andthey were the men who built the railroads of America and, in the main, were thehewers of wood and drawers of water. The alternatives for the log-cabin Irishwere, all too frequently, kill or be killed. They more than survived -theyprospered. They made, in many cases, vast fortunes, they gave America at leastten Presidents, if not a round dozen, and southern Ireland ultimately producedJohn F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. The round dozen would include Richard Nixonwho, on his visit to Ireland, unearthed Irish ancestors on his Milhous side,and Jimmy Carter, who can claim Irish blood from the North of Ireland on hismaternal side. The Presidents from the historic counties of Ulster inc1udeAndrew Jackson, James Knox Polk, James Buchanan, Andrew Johnston, UlyssesGrant, Chester Arthur, Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinleyand Woodrow Wilson. Three of them were born in Ulster, while the remainder wereof Irish descent. Speaking of Irish gallantry on the American scene, perhaps itis best to draw the veil quickly over the activities of the Costelloes and theO'Bannions, the Malones and the Sheehys in the bootlegging days of Prohibition.When apprehended, they all claimed in court that they were «as white asdriven snow, » for they were doing their thirsting neighbors a good turn,based on the days long ago back home when their ancestors had made«poteen» and distributed it throughout the neighboring countryside,without thought of profit. A lovable, hospitable and hardworking section of theethnic groups that go to make up the peoples of the United States, the Irishhave always and will always retain a deep love for the land of their forebears.Once the wave upon wave of Irish emigrants had found work in America they tosend remittances home to Ireland, and, of course, to encourage their relationsto follow in their footsteps. The Irish laborers of the 1840s sent about amillion dollars back to their homeland, andby the1870s, whenmore thantenmillion dollars was f1owing back to Ireland, the countvf s dependence on the'Letter from America" became not only a way of life, but a means ofexistence, particuarly in the congested districts of the west coast conties ofIreland.

Bythe turn of the century, the Irish had settled in as part of the labor force,working from dawn to dusg often in appallingly bad coditions generated by NewWorld capitalist cities. icy were shop, saloon, gamblers, prize-fighters, andrailroad gangers. They were, in the ', the pick-and-shovel brigade, who beganto move west as the railroad tracks were laid. They were the builders of roadsand houses, and diggers of gold and silver.

Theybegan to 611 San Francisco and Virginia City, and they were among the first tostrike it rich in the new silver and gold mines of the West. Some who made itto Nob Hill became bankers and industrialists, and Nevada and Virginia Cityresounded with Irish names in the mid nineteenth century.

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