Q:

Why were Irish immigrants discriminated against?

A:

Quick Answer

Discrimination against Irish immigrants targeted their Catholicism, relative poverty and willingness to work for lower wages than the average native American employee. Nativists accused the Irish of having greater allegiance to the Church in Rome than to the United States. They were also incensed by what they perceived to be the influx of cheap labor displacing them in the workforce.

Know More
Why were Irish immigrants discriminated against?
Credit: Rudi Von Briel Moment Getty Images

Full Answer

The biggest factor in the anti-Irish sentiment of the 19th century was the Catholic faith of the immigrants, according to the U.S. Embassy. Catholicism had a long history of antagonism with Protestantism and Anglicanism in Europe that carried over to America in the 1820s. Not only did the typically Protestant nativists deplore the doctrinal peculiarities of Catholicism; they believed it to be incompatible with American democracy. Nativists argued that a hierarchical, centrally-governed church went against the pluralism that made the American republic workable.

Discrimination against Irish immigrants had strong economic motivation as well. The Irish fled conditions of immense poverty in their native land. Upon arriving in the United States, they were willing to work for less money than employers paid the typical laborer. Nativists resented the threat to their livelihood, according to the Library of Congress.

Additionally, nativists believed that the poor Irish immigrants would not rise above poverty. They feared the Irish would become America's first permanent working class. This seemed to threaten the pivotal American principle of social mobility.

Learn more about Social Sciences

Related Questions

  • Q:

    Who are immigrants?

    A:

    Dictionary.com defines immigrants as people who have undertaken a migration to a different country. Typically, the word is used to indicate those looking to reside permanently in the country to which they have migrated.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What was the first Protestant faith?

    A:

    The first Protestant faith began in the 16th century, as there was a harsh split with Catholicism. This Protestant Reformation began in 1517 and was led by Martin Luther, John Calvin and others, and brought about Lutherans and Calvinists. Shortly thereafter, Presbyterians formed after the Scottish Reformation in 1536.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are the predominant religions in the Caribbean?

    A:

    The predominant religion in the Caribbean is Catholicism, followed by Protestantism and then Hinduism. The British brought Protestantism to the region beginning in the 1620s, while the earlier and much greater French and Spanish colonial influence helped Catholicism to become the major religion. The slaves that were brought to the region also added their own African beliefs to the mixture, and gave rise to new hybrid religions that combined elements of African spirituality with Christianity, such as Vodun, Shango and Orisha.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is an informed and formed conscience?

    A:

    In Catholicism, a formed conscience is one that is built upon through learning and experience, whereas an informed conscience is one that is researched and thought out through logic and reason. A person with a well-formed and well-informed conscience is less likely to reject God's law.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore