Guiding Question:

How did Irish immigrants contribute to the political and social landscape of the antebellum period?

Yankee Notions

"Fresh Emmigrant" by Howard Del
from Yankee Notions, Courtesy of Boston Public Library, Prints Division

 

Introduction

It's 1852 and you are an Irish newspaper editor for the Daily Atlas observing a ship from your office window that has just brought in a large group of Irish immigrants to Boston. They need jobs, however jobs are difficult to find. Not because Boston has no job opportunities, but because many Bostonians don't want to employ an Irish person. The Irish are highly discriminated against in Boston. Politicians fight for their return to Ireland. Employers hang signs in the window, “No Irish need apply.” Bostonian public opinion feels that the Irish are a burden on society. Will they be able to find jobs? What is the public opinion of the native Bostonians regarding these new immigrants? How will these immigrants contribute to the political and social landscape of this time? How will they help to define our concepts of "We the People"?

 

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