Germans, Irish, and Bigotry, Oh My!

The large influx of Irish and German immigrants to the United States in the mid nineteenth century created a few problems. These immigrants were poor laborers who possessed little wealth. Upon arrival in America, few immigrants were lucky to have enough capital to buy a little land out west, where it was cheaper. Here they were able to form close communities with the other immigrants in America.

German Immigrants


All of them worked, the continental railroad was practically built entirely by the immigrants of the 1840s and 1850s. The Germans brought new farming techniques. This was in addition to the manuel labor they provided with the help of the Irish. Throughout history, immigrants have been limited to entry level labor jobs. The majority of immigrants were young families looking for better opportunities or young lads with no one to support but themselves. They make up an ideal working class.


Cartoon depicting Irish immigrants

Also, immigrants are typically ostracized from society due to barriers existing in language and culture. For example, many German immigrants did not choose to fight in, or contribute to the Revolutionary War, as they did not see reason to fight for a country that did not attempt to include them. They chose not to fight because of their religious beliefs. The scots-irish however fully supported the war effort. In turn, Americans saw the financially stable German immigrants as greedy for not wishing to aid the war chest.


In conclusion, the immigrants created problems because they were different, like any immigrant. Even worse, they worked hard and kept to themselves out west. Americans, in turn saw this behavior and thought it odd. Yet, we owe the major construction of the transcontinental railroad to these fine immigrants of Ireland and Germany.



Characteristics of the old Immigrants of the 1840s and 1850s

In the mid 1800s, hundreds of thousands of Irish and Germans left their homes for the fruits of America. For the most part, these immigrants were relatively poor. “Irish immigrants were poorer than other immigrant groups, and therefore lived in the worst conditions.


The old immigrants came for a variety of reasons, including problems at home as well as civil difficulties. In Ireland, the potato famine was the cause for Irish withdrawing their citizenship. When the precious potato crop of the Irish was attacked by festering disease nearly two million died. The remaining starving Irish were forced off their land by encroaching land policies as the population expanded.



As detailed by the above graph, the number of Irish immigrating to the United States skyrocketed between 1845 and 1855. These years contained a decade of starvation and frustration for many native Irish. Moving to the United States was the only feasible way for them to continue prosperity.


In Germany, most of the immigrants to the United States were “farmers that were uprooted by crop failures. However a significant minority were liberals who fled after the revolutions of 1848 failed to democratize Germany.



All the immigrants fled for social, political, and economic reasons. With them, they brought little capital. Yet they indulged in a proud stubbornness for their people. It was this proud blood which carried the immigrants above the racist attitudes of many Americans.







Settling the New England and Chesapeake

English Settlers


While the English settlers of the New England and Chesapeake regions came from the same people, each region they settled evolved differently due to needs and concerns specific to each region.


Settlers to the New England region were generally young wealthy families, on the other hand many new Virginians were young able bodied males, not always of the richest decent.


In part, migrations to New England were mostly families seeking further wealth and stature in society. Migrations to the Chesapeake in Virginia were mainly lesser sons and peoples who did not possess much wealth.


For this reason, those who emigrated to the Chesapeake were more focused on farming for their primary source of income, whereas, New Englanders used their deep pockets to build up factories and infrastructure. This makes sense as the growing season in the New England area was minuscule in comparison to the growing season in the Chesapeake.


Chesapeake Farmland

The reason for the later contrast between the individuals of the Chesapeake region and New England was economic differences. The growing season of Virginia attracted many lesser sons seeking land, in turn they also brought many poorer indentured servants over to help them work the land. New England attracted a wealthy elite whom provided capital for factory expansion and start up. Witha short growing season, factories and trading were some of the few ways for New Englanders to have a solid economy. The two regions evolved so differently because their climates necessitated  specific economies which only pertained to a certain class of people, i.e. the wealthy elite and the poorer lesser sons.


Google Reader Blog Entry

Reading from The Cirque Tribune I stumbled upon a review of Cirque du Soleil’s Quidam. I saw the show live and it was fantastic. I agree with the reviewer on many notes save for his critique of the aerial contortion act. As silks are my main discipline, I was captivated by this aerial performance. I highly recommend seeing Quidam, as well as any Cirque du Soleil show. All the performers and acts are amazing and truly a sight to see. The show truly takes you on a journey, it is awesome.

Historical Significance in, The Things They Carried

The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien is a book loosely following all mental and physical objects carried by a group of soldiers during the Vietnam War. The soldiers


Soldiers in Vietnam

A main story within the text revolved around the American opinion of the war, more importantly, the opinions of those Americans chosen to fight the war. Many young Americans disliked the war and actively protested against it.

American Protesters

The book discusses the general distaste for the war, for good reason too. Vietnam’s densely forested terrain allowed guerilla warfare from the Vietnamese. This tactic proved fruitful against the young American company men, whom were usually only 19. Vietnam was their first exposure to true battle, and it showed. The young soldiers were largely unable to fully complete their duties as many were so young. The book references lieutenant Jimmy Cross being promoted to lead a company of men, even though he was largely inexperienced in command. This was cause for several mental errors which ended in the loss of some of his men.


Because the war was so unpopular, the government poured millions of dollars into troop hospitality while in Vietnam. Helicopters flew in daily to bring in more supplies. The soldiers ate and drank well, having a bottomless pit of supplies which was added to everyday. This government strategy for comfortable war worked to pacify the G.I.s against resisting the war. The government also used this wealth of resources to bomb the Vietnamese people at will. With no shortage of firepower, entire regions were decimated by bombings.




Glory DVD Cover

As I was not present on Friday, I did not have a chance to partake in the class’s viewing of the beginning of the movie on Friday. I would surely hope that there are more differences between the paper and the movie that were not in the beginning. If not, this post will be much shorter than I actually intended it to be.


In the movie, there is no mention given to Shaw’s wife and sisters. In the paper all four sisters, Anna, Josephine, Susannah and Ellen are included, as well as his wife.

Matthew Broderick as Shaw


Also, in the biography, Shaw is initially hesitant to work with the contraband soldiers and turns down the offer to command when it was first offered to him.


These are some of the few basic dissimilarities between the biography and the movie.



Cirque du Soleil (My Aerial Silks Motivation)

This year in Cirque Out I have been working extensively on the aerial silks apparatus. The silks are a fabric one can climb, wrap, and drop from. They require a great deal of strength and athletic dexterity to maintain good form.

Throughout this past school year I have learned to love the silks. I have also found increased motivation to train harder in order to preform on the silks in the school’s annual Cirque show.


At the current moment I have learned many new drops and will continue to improve both in physical ability and silks talent.


Pencil Drop -Please view my demonstration of a silks drop.


If you have any further questions on Silks please feel free to leave a comment. I hope to build on this post in the future to illustrate my progress


Silks Performer

Lyndon B. Johnson And The Great Society

Lyndon B. Johnson, or LBJ for short was president of America in the early 1960s.

He noticed all the problems on housing and employment and decided the circumstances necessitated government intervention. Through this, the Great Society was born. Basically Johnson’s idea was to create a society void of poverty. Through many different bills he raised minimum wage and helped to provide decent housing to the poor.




The one qualm many had with Johnson is illustrated in this political cartoon. His pride got in the way of his policy. He saw his success in domestic policy and believed he could use it to win in Vietnam.


He made considerable strides in domestic policy, drastically reducing unemployment and poverty. Had he stopped with these actions the man would have left a legacy. It is unfortunate most remember his for his policy in Vietnam. His efforts are still felt today in domestic industry by many poor and middle class Americans who would otherwise be struggling to pay bill. LBJ is still relevant today.



Women’s rights (No seriously, jokes aside, they got some)

Women have long been held to the injustice known as childbirth. Previous to the early 1900s, women of the United States had no access to birth control unless they were wealthy. Lower class women had no means of acquiring proper contraception. They were not allowed to have abortions and doctors were forbidden by the law to educate women on birth control.

This government censorship of information on birth control created many problems for young mothers. They were forced into unwanted childbirth. This furthered their socioeconomic concerns as the family budget was stretched in an attempt to provide for unnecessary children. As a result of this, many young parents grew quite poor and ended up hurting their children more than they helped as money was too tight to provide for them.

All of this changed when Margaret Sanger “opened the country’s first birth control clinic” in New York (source). Sanger was a revolutionary of sorts. She fought the law fiercely on the matter of the basic right of choice in childbirth. She famously declared “No woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will not be a mother” (source). Sanger had been a nurse before she opened her clinic in 1916. Previous to this, she witnessed her own mother dies young, most likely as a result of her 11 children and 7 other pregnancies. In addition to this, Sanger observed many other lower class women unable to provide for their growing families. She decided to take action on the injustice surrounding her.


Her movement was a powerful one for gender equality in the United States. Sanger “taught us, first, to look at the world as if women mattered.” (source). This was a big step for women. Their rights were being recognized and they began to receive equal protection under law that man received.



Thanks to her protest and work in development, women today can enjoy the luxury of easily accessible contraception and birth control.


the mississippi BLACK codes

The Black codes enacted by the southern United States were a ridiculously racist legal nightmare for the free blacks. The legislation was eerily similar to slavery in regards for labor contracts. While the codes did give blacks some equality, they were codes nonetheless. It made the blacks second class citizens.

Were there white codes? Of course not, those were built into the constitution as the equality of man. Had the black codes been honestly equal the constitution would have been amended to include them on equal terms. Instead  “all freedmen, free negroes, and mulattoes” were given a separate set of liberties, stuck in limbo between slavery and rights of white people (source).

As demonstrated by the above political cartoon originally from Harpers Magazine, the black codes were worse than slavery in many cases. They simply provided the illusion that perhaps a greater equality could follow as blacks were given a few rights with them, such as the right to marry. However, the latter was only legal if contained within a single race. The codes were a tiny smidgen of hope for blacks. The white government knew this, and used it to their benefit by making labor codes quite harsh. Contacts for employment were written and if broken were a probably cause for restriction of liberty and freedom.


Black codes encircled a life of pain for many african americans.