Published on March 12, 2014
Immigrant Experience and Influence in the United States
Transportation Revolution • Roads, canals, and railroads were being built at an increasing rate as the United States continued to develop and expand. • Immigrants provided the United States with a cheap labor force for these grueling labor. – Irish immigrants in the east and Midwest – Chinese immigrants in the West.
Irish Immigrants • Irish immigrants faced prejudice and discrimination because of their race • Many Americans blamed the Irish for low employment as Irish immigrants worked for very little pay • 1845 a potato famine in Ireland sparked a mass migration of Irish to America, flooding the U.S. with even more Irish immigrants.
Duffy’s Cut • In June, 1832, a group of 57 Irish immigrants from Donegal, Tyrone, and Derry arrived in Philadelphia. • They were brought to Chester County by a fellow Irishman named Philip Duffy as laborers for the construction of the Philadelphia and Columbia Railroad. • Within six weeks, all were dead of cholera and violence, and were buried anonymously in a ditch outside of Malvern.
• The men were left to die, their deaths hidden from their families • They were buried in a mass, unmarked grave • Evidence of violence has been found among the remains, including: – Gunshot wounds – Hatchet wounds – Blunt force trauma
Chinese Immigrants • There was a large increase in Chinese immigration to America during the gold rush of 1848-1855 • Chinese immigrants also were hired as inexpensive laborers for projects like the Transcontinental railroad • Chinese Americans began to be discriminated against because of their race. • Acts of violence towards Chinese immigrants was common, as Americans blamed Chinese immigrants for unemployment and low wages
Chinese Exclusion Act • The act excluded Chinese “skilled and unskilled laborers employed in mining” from entering the country for ten years under penalty of imprisonment and deportation as Chinese immigrants “endangered the good order of certain localities”.
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