The Irish South: 1815-1877. by David T Gleeson
The Irish came to America in the 19th century seeking a better life for themselves and their family . The Irish South : 1815-1877 . By David T Gleeson details the struggles that the Irish faced in their new homeland . The Irish Famine of 1845-1849 , propelled nearly a million immigrants to America . Many made their homes in the Northern cities of Boston New York and Chicago but there was a sizable population that made their homes in the south . This overlooked chapter in the story of the Irish immigrant is revisited in David Gleeson ‘s book [banner_entry_middle]
and gives a new face to the Irish immigrant and their story . Gleeson ‘s book is a much needed addition to the scholarly works of the Irish immigrant . The book details the history of the Irish immigrant in six southern communities Charleston , South Carolina , Memphis , Mobile , New Orleans , Richmond and Savannah . What has been largely ignored in the story of the Irish immigrant , Gleeson ‘s book helps to correct the notion that the Irish experience was contained only in the Northern city
In to fully understand the Irish immigrant ‘s view of life in the American south , one must first understand what he left behind in Ireland . A casual observed of history would assume that the Irish did not come to America until the Great Potato famine of the 1840 ‘s . During the potato famine , the society of Ireland left no opportunity for the poor to rise above a miserable existence , but Gleason ‘s book details the Irish immigration to America decades before the potato famine
The Scotch-Irish migration began in the 18th century . The Scotch Irish were the first to cross the Shenandoah Valley and made the South their own . Gleeson points out that the average rate of migration after 1815 increased to over 30 ,000 a year and that from between 1815 and 1850 another 800 ,000 to one million Irish came to America (Gleeson , 2002 For the ones that came to the south , the Irish made a name for themselves by building canals , railroads and populating some of the biggest cities in the south . New Orleans during this time was over 25 Irish . Gleeson then answers the question : Why was the south so attractive for the Irish ? In New York City , where the majority of the Irish immigrants resided , many found a very harsh existence with stiff competition for the most menial jobs . In the south however , Gleeson says that the area was more tolerant as opposed to the North . The Irish could retain a degree of their heritage as well as the fact that the South offered many high paying jobs in the decades leading up to the Civil War
Another appealing aspect of the South , according to Gleeson was the fact that the South did not pressure the Irish to assimilate to the same degree that the Northern cities pressured the Irish . During the great famine , many southern cities set up voluntary relief committees to help aid the famine stricken Ireland… [banner_entry_footer]
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