Question 1: While individual circumstances can be unique, certain generalizations can be made about broad groups in specific times. Why did Irish and Germans immigrate in the 19th century before the Civil War? To what extent were their motives and circumstances similar, to what extent were they different, and how did this show in their choice of settlement patterns?
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In the middle of the 19th century, half of the Irish and German population immigrated to America. Almost everyone in the city felt the impact of this immigration in the United States. Between 1820 and 1870, approximately 7.5 million people settled in the United States as immigrants (Takaki, 2008). This was advantageous for companies that required a labor force. Several reasons were behind these immigrations as discussed below.
One of the main reasons that made Irish and Germans immigrate was the presence of large land in the United States. They saw the opportunity of every immigrant securing a big land for his family. For instance, the Irish used to complain that, their land was small making homesteads have a neighbor within a space of hundred yards. They even made jokes about enjoying neighborhood two or three miles away in America (Takaki, 2008 p. 234).
The scarcity of land in these countries was associated with other problems such as unemployment. There were high levels of unemployment that made the living standards of people extremely low, due to lack of enough finances. These immigrants considered America as the land of opportunities. They all intended to secure quality jobs and make money in the United States.
Lack of decent jobs and money had led to much immorality in such nations; hence, the lives of the citizens were full of hardships. The immigrants were searching for peaceful lands, where they can settle and enjoy with their families. According to confessions that were received from some immigrants, they declared that they came for prosperity in America. In addition, some immigrant bought pieces of land, at a relatively lower price, ready to own estates.
They would narrate how settling in the United States had saved them from tax-gatherers, and property owners in their home country. Some immigrants were giving their prior plans of cultivating so much food to feed the Americans and the remainder to feed the whole world (Takaki, 2008 p. 304). They knew that the land had no limitation in America, and nobody would prohibit them from cultivating.
Both Germans and Irish immigrants had a common theme of looking for settlement in America. They both run away from social problems from their motherlands. They considered the ticket for landing America cheaper than long-term subsidies that were responsible to pay. Both immigrants settled for farming as their main activity in America (Takaki, 2008 p. 266). Some groups of Germans were exceptional, especially the Jews, who emigrated due to economic and social discrimination from their homeland. The young generations were reluctant from serving in the Prussian military. Although the two immigrants settled in America, it was hard to assimilate Germans. Germans were the most in the immigrants’ population, and they occupied the largest part.
Most of the Germans were in professional practices such as businesses, and clergy jobs. These are the reasons that made the assimilation of Germans harder than for other immigrants. The immigration patterns of Irish and Germans were different. The Germans occupied a large space than the Irish (Takaki, 2008 p. 119). Once they first arrived in America, German-occupied Oklahoma, northeastern regions, and north-central states.
Before German arrived in Oklahoma, they first had occupied Texas and Louisiana. The big population of German in America increased and continued occupying most of the parts that were available. Irish migration patterns were unique, as they immigrated in waves joining their fellow Irish people who were already settled. Most of them had a place to stay, and a job to do. Their fellow Irishmen provided these. The Irish immigrants had some people to welcome them to America.
Question 2: Free African-Americans and Irish immigrants encountered harsh prejudice in the mid-19th century. What impact did such prejudice have specifically on women in these two communities, and why? Could some of the consequences of discrimination be seen as having an unintended positive result for these women, or not?
The act of injustice was commonly practiced in America against immigrants. For instance, African American and Irish immigrants received many forms of discrimination. Women felt the greatest impact of discrimination. Women were encountering many instances that subjected them to injustice effects. Most of these injustices had serious impacts on women. There are those African American and Irish women, who considered themselves as equal human beings and reported fewer depressive symptoms. Some women persevered while some suffered serious complications because of such acts (Diner, 1983 p. 103). The unfair treatment that these women faced undermined their confidence and capability to handle their life issues.
These women were left most of the time feeling defenseless and depressed. The older women were mostly affected than the younger ones. The psychological stress that these women went through resulted in racial health disparities. According to the information obtained from NIA scientists, it is evident that women who suffered psychologically from racial discrimination, their bodies have increased levels of oxidative stress (Diner, 1983 p. 117).
Other common diseases that were reported by these victims included high blood pressure and premature disabilities. According to the research done at Harvard University, the women who faced racial discrimination reported regular tobacco use, alcohol consumption, and other permanent use of marijuana and cocaine. The use of drugs resulted in serious impacts on these women, some becoming addicted. The use of drugs and other substances were meant to reduce the stress that these women experienced. On the other hand, the use of drugs and other stress-related diseases that these women suffered affected their health greatly.
However, the injustices applied to these women ended up affecting everyone in the community. For instance, the challenges faced by the oppressed women because of their skin color led to unacknowledged advantages to women and men from the favored groups. The reluctance to realize these advantages affects discrimination, and prevent society from developing in positive ways (Diner, 1983 p. 118). Moreover, this status leads to an invitation of all men and all women from the field of endeavor to become full partners of promoting real peace and justice in the community. For instance, the Baha’i International Community has spoken many times internationally, about the beneficial impacts of discrimination, especially on women’s equality.
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Women faced harsh conditions that made their lives miserable and their healthy affected. The injustices that were done to them affected the economic development of the community and spoilt the reputation of the people behind the acts. Any form of discrimination whether based on gender, race, or class would always be discouraged, as it brings more harm in the community (Diner, 1983 p. 128).
Every human being should be accorded his or her rights, especially with the freedom to exercise his or her rights. The discrimination subjected to women ends up affecting the entire human race. This is because of social divisions and undefined power structures. The full episode of discrimination against the immigrants may be associated by the level of illiteracy that existed during that period. Such acts should be long gone, and people realize they should be united for easier development of in their communities. In some communities, there are still different forms of discrimination practiced, which ends up affecting their efforts of development.
Diner, H. (1983). Erin’s daughters in America: Irish immigrant in the nineteenth century. New York: JHU Press.
Takaki, R. (2008). A different mirror: a history of multicultural America. New York: Back Bay Books.