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German, Irish, and Jewish Migration to the US Essay

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Updated: May 4th, 2022

Since a very long time ago, the United States has been a land of opportunity and many immigrants came from different parts of the world. The population of the USA today consists of mostly European people who immigrated for personal and political reasons. The dominant ancestors of the modern-day United States, among others, are Germans, Irish and Jewish people.

One of the earliest immigrants to the US were Germans. They came in great numbers, starting at the end of the 1600s, up until middle 1700s. There were several major reasons for immigration, one of them were the hardships that people were subjected to in their native country. Land ownership and the ability to farm with the following permission to prosper were very much limited. The economy was on a fall and people were faced with harsh living conditions.

The journey itself was very strenuous, as people had little food, resources and often, had difficulty surviving due to diseases, particularly typhus. As medicine was not as well developed as it is today, a lot of people died before reaching the United States of America. Upon arrival, many German immigrants settled in the area of the present-day New York and had a chance to begin anew. They could buy land and develop their farming, as the soil was of good quality.

Large numbers of Germans also settled in the Southern parts of the States and became involved in farming livestock, agriculture and many types of businesses. Later, the German population took an active part in the human rights movement, as well as the Civil War. They were very much focused on anti-slavery laws and fought for equal treatment, religious practices, and justice. Presently, German people live all over the United States, and a lot of modern Americans have German ancestry (Trumbauer 43).

Another group of people that were searching for a different land were Irish. Their immigration began in the 17th century, but the major wave came after the 1840s when Ireland was experiencing the Great Famine. This was a time when a great number of people were starving and by some estimates, close to one million people lost their lives. Most of the potato crops were lost to disease but political, social and religious reasons were among others that had a harsh toll on the people.

Upon arrival to the United States, Irish settled in major cities, such as New York, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, and San Francisco. The reason was that they were in very poor physical and financial state, thus they had little opportunity to move around in the search of any specific region. The fact that they settled in the cities, gave them plenty of opportunities to prosper and choose their communities, creating much support for each other in the newly established environment. Very many Irish immigrants took a significant part in the American Revolution which made them even closer to the new land and the life they have become a part of.

The Irish population has had a significant effect on the culture and social life of the United States, as they greatly contributed in arts, more particularly folk music, traditions of their homeland and participation in the strengthening of the American infrastructure and other projects. Presently, Irish-Americans are proud of their roots and stay true to their ancestors. St. Patrick’s Day has become a widely celebrated holiday and has become a tradition deeply enrooted in the United States’ culture (Byrne 30).

A significant part of the American population is comprised of Jewish people. An interesting fact is that Jews were a mix of many people, including Germans, English, Russians, and other nations from Eastern Europe. Their population was starting to grow at the end of the 1970s and became considered by the end of the 18th century. The main reasons for immigration were social opportunities and involvement in entrepreneurial activities. Jewish people were very much focused on trade and development of businesses and the new land looked very prosperous. Their goal was to quickly become assimilated with the local population and take a large part in the manufacturing, trading and store ownership (Worth 40).

A lot of Jews came to the United States in the middle and late 19th century. Immigration began with oppression and harsh condition of life until the onset of the First World War. By some estimates, as close as two million Jewish people moved to America and settled in New York and close-by regions. During World War II many Jews enlisted in the service and we’re proud to fight for the American way of life. After the war, they focused on assimilating to the culture, settling in large cities, like Los Angeles and Miami (Worth 71). As of today, Jewish people have numerous communities with well-established businesses and enjoy a life full of prosperity and success.

The United States of America is made up of many people who came from the Old World in search of a better life. They were not mistaken in their hopes to build a New World, making it one of the most desired places to live on the planet.

Works Cited

Byrne, Stephen. Irish Emigration to the United States. Carlisle, United States: Applewood Books, 2010. Print.

Trumbauer, Lisa. German Immigrants. New York, United States: Infobase Publishing, 2009. Print.

Worth, Richard. Jewish Immigrants. New York, United States: Infobase Publishing, 2009. Print.

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