Why Did Irish Immigrants Come to America?

why did irish immigrants come to america

There are many reasons why Irish immigrants came to the US, including the potato famine of the 19th century and World War I. However, there are also many other reasons that people have come to the US from other countries. This article explores some of those reasons and the impact they’ve had on the country.


Scots-Irish immigrants came to the United States from the 1600s onward. They settled primarily in Virginia, the Carolinas, and Pennsylvania. Some came with a British Army regiment, and some were indentured servants. Most immigrated in family groups. But a few migrated in larger numbers, as part of a larger group migration.

The first census of America showed that people of Celtic descent accounted for two to one of the population in the South. They were often associated with aristocratic neighbors. Their ‘clan loyalty’ developed into sharing aristocratic paraphernalia. Nevertheless, many Celts died in the cause of independence.

The first recorded Scots-Irish immigration to America was by the Rev. James McGregor and a group from County Londonderry to New England in 1718. This was not the only example of large-scale immigration of the Scots-Irish to the American colonies. Others, including Flora MacDonald and her husband, escaped the English after Culloden and populated North Carolina in 1774. Another notable group, the Cumberland County Soldiers of the War of 1812, were also of Scottish descent.

Other Scots-Irish immigrants came in a variety of ways. For instance, some were indentured servants and others were involuntary laborers. Generally, the earliest immigrant groups travelled down from Pennsylvania to Virginia. As the American Revolution approached, immigration to the United States began to slow. Many Scots-Irish immigrants, like their American counterparts, continued to come to the United States after the war.

Another group of Scots-Irish immigrants migrated to the United States in the mid-18th century. These migrants included William Campbell, a Patriot commander. He commanded a regiment of Highlanders. At the Battle of Kings Mountain in 1776, a high percentage of men in the ranks were of Scottish bloodlines. In fact, the name ‘jacobite’ is derived from the Royal House of Stuart.

Other group migrations may have been rooted in a larger area in Ireland. There were many Quakers, Anglicans, and Catholics who emigrated to the United States during the colonial period. Nonetheless, the Scots-Irish were the movers and shakers of the day.

One of the most interesting aspects of the migration of the Scots-Irish was the fact that many of the new immigrants retained some elements of their culture. It was not unusual for ordinary white farmers to feel a sense of ‘clan loyalty’ to their aristocratic neighbors.

Another important feature of the Scots-Irish migrants was their ability to speak Gaelic. According to a Raleigh Register report, many residents of Cross Creek were fluent in the language. Though it is not as widespread as in other parts of the country, the Gaelic language is still used in the area.

Lastly, a number of immigrants were involved in a secret society. This group was known as the Society of Horsemen. During the 1700s and 1800s, they were a highly elite group of farm workers and aristocrats. Eventually, this group evolved into the Ku Klux Klan. Ultimately, this group survived into the 20th century.

Potato famine

The Irish Potato Famine of the 1840s led to the first mass migration of Irish immigrants to the United States. Over a million people died during this period, a figure comparable to the population of major U.S. cities. Despite the fact that the Famine officially ended in 1849, the effects of the famine continued into the 20th century.

In the aftermath of the potato famine, many peasants and agricultural laborers left Ireland for the United States. These immigrants were illiterate, poor, and most lived in attics or basements. While some were able to find jobs, most could not. Their livelihoods were largely dependent on potatoes. They also faced disease and overcrowded housing.

As the potato crop failed, many peasants became hungry and homeless. Many of them were afflicted with diseases such as diarrhea and typhus. Others died from starvation. This situation worsened as the population decreased.

During the Famine, Ireland’s population fell from 8.5 million to fewer than four million. The resulting shortage of food and industry affected the economy of the region. It also resulted in impoverished Catholic farmers. The poor were especially vulnerable to diseases.

Aside from the disease, the potato crop suffered from Phytophthora infestans, a fungus that destroyed the plant. This fungus infects the potato plant, causing it to decay rapidly and produce little to no edible roots. The potato was a key food source for millions of people in Ireland, and its destruction was catastrophic. Because of the fungus, the Irish Potato Famine of the 1840s was a major disaster.

In 1845, a new fungus called Phytophthora infestans started attacking the potato crop in Ireland. When the blight began to spread, it left more than one million people dead and millions more unable to feed themselves. During the ensuing four years, the fungus killed almost half of the country’s population.

As a result of the blight, more than one million Irish immigrants left for the United States and Canada. Most settled in Boston, New York, and other East Coast cities. However, the majority of the population was impoverished and lacked skills to support large-scale farming in the American West.

Many people blame the British government for the famine. They believe that the government should have banned exports, or at least provided more aid to Ireland during the famine. But the reality is that the British did little to alleviate the situation.

In the wake of the potato famine, the Irish diaspora became a vibrant and integral part of the American culture. Today, a significant percentage of Americans have a heritage from Ireland.

After the famine, the Irish diaspora continued to expand throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. In 1870, the number of people living with Irish roots in the United States was 15 percent.

World War I

The United States entered World War I on April 6, 1917. Irish immigrants to America fought with distinction in the military. Many of these immigrants were motivated by the same reason that other immigrant groups served – to prove loyalty and patriotism for the new country. Some also lost their lives in service.

World War I was a watershed event for Americans. In many ways, it helped to settle ethnic tensions in the U.S. and it served as a catalyst for many other issues, including civil rights. It also helped to define a new American identity. Thousands of immigrants served in the armed forces. A number of units in particular became known for their numbers of immigrant members.

During World War I, Ireland was part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. It was a neutral country, but the Irish people did not feel comfortable with British rule. Irish nationalists hoped to bring about a revolution in Ireland during the war. They formed organizations to support Sinn Fein, an Irish resistance group. While some Irishmen volunteered for the British army, a large number joined the United States.

One of the most important events in World War I was the Easter Rising of 1916. The resulting rebellion angered the influential Irish-American community on the East Coast of the United States. However, the rise of radical nationalism did not make life easier for Irish volunteers. There were still a number of concerns about the success of the Easter Rising.

Another event in the First World War was the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. It was a successful military effort, and the Germans were driven back from much of the territory they had gained in the previous four years. This was a major victory for the Allied Forces. When the Germans attacked, the Germans used a large number of tanks and a lot of explosives. Despite these advances, the battle proved too much for the Germans and an armistice was signed on November 11, 1918.

The Sacred Heart Review held a neutral view of the war. President Wilson was particularly concerned about the division within the United States. As a result, many Irish-Americans were given a cold reception by the majority of the pro-British American population.

Despite the aforementioned pro-British treatment, there were still a number of Irish-Americans who fought with distinction. The 16th (Irish) Division began forming in Ireland in September 1914. After a period of intensive training, the division moved to England and joined the British Expeditionary Force in December 1915.

Other notable figures include Harry Frieman, a Russian Jewish immigrant who served in the Army’s 79th Division. He celebrated the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah with the YMCA in France in September 1918. Also, the Statue of Liberty was erected in New Jersey to commemorate the arrival of a new generation of immigrants to the U.S.