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Progress? - Immigration

Progress? - Immigration

Author: Jason Symes

The learner will be able to explain the factors contributing to Irish immigration to the United States during the middle of the 19th century.


The learner will be able to discuss the impact that immigration had on the social climate of the United States during the middle 19th century.


The learner will be able to make an informed opinion on whether Irish immigration to the United States demonstrates progress of a nation.

During the middle of the 19th Century many people came from around the world to the United States.  One group that made a significant impact on the nation was the Irish.  The Irish arrived in America and quickly found some resistance from the people of the United States.  What happened to the Irish in the 1800's has happened to many other groups of people over time in this country.  

The questions to consider are:

  1. Does immigration and the diversity it brings to our country improve our nation or continue to weaken our nation?  
  2. Is the period of history evidence of progress in our nation?
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Create a section in your notebook titled, "Irish Immigrants in America".  You should answer the questions of this tutorial on that page.  All the time while you work, consider the essential question of our work.  Is this period of our nation's history evidence of progress?


Push/Pull Immigration Factors

The factors that contribute to groups of people migrating around the world are commonly known as push and pull factors.  Push factors are the forces that encourage people to leave a place.  Pull factors are the forces that draw people towards a location.  In the majority of situations where people are moving the reason is a combination of both push and pull factors.

Take some time to explore the following web page about push/pull factors.  When you are done answer the following questions in your notebook.  

BBC Page on Push/Pull Factors on Migration


  1. Knowing what you know about the United States in its very earliest phases, what would you guess are three pull factors that might lead to people to migrate there in such large numbers.
  2. Where in the world today do you think people might be leaving due to strong push factors?  If you can't think of a place in the world today, what factors would need to exist to cause you and your family to leave a location?


Irish Potato Famine

While watching the video below identify 4 push factors that contributed to the huge number of Irish leaving Ireland for North America. List the push factors in your notebook.

Source: Euro Section ATPFO

Irish in America

Look at these pictures and view the webpage linked below.  In your notebook write out 10 words that describe the living conditions that most new Irish immigrants found themselves in when they arrived in the United States.


Here is the link to the page that will help you gather what the living conditions of the new Irish immigrants were like, Irish Adaptation and Assimilation

Questions to Answer:

How might the living conditions of the Irish have influenced their acceptance in the United States?
Do you feel groups new to the United States today might be stereotyped by their living conditions?  How?












































Source: Website Link: Library of Congress

The Irish "Welcome Mat" - Nativism

Use the link here, "Chaos in the Streets", to learn about the roots of Nativism.  You only need to read the 1st paragraph to understand where this idea has its roots.

  1. In your notebook; Imagine you are part of an immigrant group.  How would these types of ideas effect your existence in a new country?

During the time of Irish settlement in the United States, a political party came into existence called the American Party. The American Party earned the nickname the Know Nothing Party.  Follow this link to, "Freedom: A History of US. Who's Land is This?"  

  1. List 5 reasons for why didn't people like these new immigrant groups to the United States?
  2. Why do you think the American Party became known as the Know Nothing Party?  Look up the nickname for the party.  Were you right?  If not, what is the origin of the nickname?

The "Know Nothings" in Song

Follow the link, "History - Music for the Nation".  Look at the two songs posted on the page.  One is anti Know Nothing Party, while the other supports.  Answer the questions on the bottom of the page in your notebook.  In addition to the questions on the webpage answer the following question.  Why do you think groups link their views to songs?


Source: Library of Congress


Consider the story of Irish immigrants to the United States and the reception they received from groups like the Know Nothings.  

  1. Do you believe there are similar stories of immigration today, or have we as a nation progressed from that history to something better?  
  2. Did you enjoy learning about this theme of social changes?  Why or why not?
  3. Did you enjoy learning in this method of using an individualized tutorial?  Why or why not?