Shorter Essays (approx. 5 pages)
- What kinds of occupations did Irish immigrants have in New York in the 1850s and how did those jobs differ from those held by other immigrants and native-born workers? What do these differences tell us about immigrant life in that era?
- Some Irish immigrants struggled to make ends meet after arriving in New York. Others managed to save fairly significant sums of money in their bank accounts. What factors may account for the difference between those who saved and those who did not? Use the accompanying documents to support your answer.
- Famine immigrants from Ireland’s cities such as Dublin, Cork, and Belfast only managed to save two-thirds as much in their New York bank accounts than did those from Ireland’s countryside. What factors may account for this difference? Use the accompanying documents to support your answer.
- When the refugees from the Irish potato famine arrived in New York in the late 1840s and 1850s, many observers predicted that the newcomers would never thrive as other American immigrants did. These critics charged that because the Famine Irish were more destitute than previous immigrants, rarely had vocational skills, and as Catholics lacked the Anglo-Saxon Protestant work ethic, they would be permanent paupers. To what extent were these charges true? Use the accompanying documents to support your answer.
- Were New York’s Irish immigrant widows at a disadvantage when it came to saving money compared to married women? Why or why not?