Influence Of Irish Catholic Immigration In Boston

The probe evaluates the significance of the consequence that big Numberss of Irish Catholic immigrants had on the American educational system of the 1800 ‘s. Two beginnings are evaluated in this essay: Servants of the Poor: Teachers and Mobility In Ireland and Irish America, by Janet Nolan, and The Irish Emigrant ‘s Guide for the United States by Edward J. O’Hanlon. These beginnings are assessed for their significance and public-service corporation in the research.

The probe does non give an in-depth analysis of the grounds for in-migration to America or the political aspects of the dealingss between England and Ireland during this clip period.

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Summary of Evidence

In the old ages 1845 to 1850, a great dearth ensued in Ireland, mostly due to a murphy fungus. The murphy provided the pillar of the diet of for 66 per centum of the population ( Harris, p.2 ) . Between 1.1 and 1.5 million people died as a consequence of the dearth between 1845 and 1851, and 2.1 million immigrated, with 1.9 million of those immigrating to America ( Miller, p.181 ) . Irish immigrants coming to America were advised that “ Schools are all of import in the vicinity of those raising a turning household, standing in demand of simple or advanced instruction ” ( O’Hanlon, p.160 ) .

By 1820, Boston was the first American metropolis to implement a primary school system. Schools were seen as a manner to absorb immigrants. The educational doctrine at that clip was to “ advance schools instead than prisons as a agency of transforming the turning Numberss of undisciplined urban hapless into utile citizens. ” Under this mostly Protestant doctrine, values of other faiths, such as Catholicism were ignored. This was put to a strenuous trial as 1000s of Irish Catholic immigrants flooded the metropolis in the late 1800 ‘s. Schools rapidly became overcrowded.

The wealthier citizens of the original population felt threatened by the inflow of Irish Catholic immigrants, and they began to put their kids in private schools. Some Irish Catholics besides chose to direct their kids to parochial schools, which really took root in America in the 1500 ‘s. The original Catholic parochial schools were founded by the Franciscans and have their beginning in Florida and New Mexico. ( Burns, pp. 39-40 ) . Approximately one hundred old ages subsequently, Catholic schools associated with Gallic settlements developed near the Mississippi Valley ( Lee, p. 255 ) .

Anti-Catholic sentiment remained strong, though, and took further clasp when the Know-Nothings gained control of the province and Boston metropolis authoritiess. They passed Torahs necessitating the reading of the King James Bible in public schools ( Nolan, p. 54 ) . Father John Talbot Smith stated that “ The kids in the common school were neglected by the Protestant instructors ; and frequently beaten by the bookmans out of pure malignity, whether Irish Borns or of Irish parents, or remotely of Irish blood, and their blood mattered nil if they were Catholics ” ( Weisz, p.97 ) . An incident in 1859 in which a pupil was beaten and suspended for declining to declaim the Protestant version of the Ten Commandments, rallied the Irish Catholic community and resulted in the execution of a policy in which pupils would non hold to declaim anything he or she felt was contrary to his or her spiritual beliefs. Reading of the Protestant version of the Bible and other Protestant supplications still remained in the schoolroom, even though Catholics were non required to take part ( Nolan, p. 56 ) . Catholic parents reacted by directing their kids to freshly emerging Catholic schools in Boston ( Nolan, p. 54 ) , but most maintain their kids in the public schools and fought for alterations in the course of study.

By the late 1880 ‘s the power in Boston had shifted to go a Catholic bulk. Anti-Catholic literature was removed from the schoolrooms and Catholics took a more hawkish attack in procuring a less Protestant accent in schools. In 1880, the power shifted back into the Protestants and anti-Catholic text editions on medieval and reformation history were adopted ( Nolan, p. 56 ) . While the constabulary and fire sections had mostly overcome their anti-Catholic biass, the Protestant policy shapers saw the schools as the “ last bastions of the traditions of their Puritan forbears ” ( Nolan, p. 56 ) . The Committee of One Hundred, one such group, was an anti-Catholic group whose intent it was to support Protestantism and see it presented in the public schools.

The Irish Catholic population has continued its support for the public school system. The Irish Catholic ‘s doggedness and continued support for the Boston populace schools was helped by the turning population of Irish- American instructors fall ining the ranks of the public school modules. ( Nolan, p. 58 ) . As this figure increased, the Protestant cabal pushed for more rigorous demands for instructors ; non merely to better pupil accomplishment, but to maintain the turning figure of Irish Catholic instructors from turning farther. The Irish one time once more met the challenge, and by 1919, there were 3,500 instructors in Boston and 3,000 of these were adult females, chiefly of Irish descent ( Nolan, p. 61 ) .

Evaluation of Beginnings

Servants of the Poor: Teachers and Mobility In Ireland and Irish America, by Janet Nolan is a really well-researched historical history of immature Irish adult females who immigrated to America in the 1800 ‘s, and who became instructors of the poorest Irish Catholic immigrants. In add-on, history of Irish instruction in Ireland is given, every bit good as information on how the immense inflow of Irish immigrants affected the established American instruction system, particularly in Boston. The most valuable facet of the book is that writer includes information gathered from primary historical beginnings such as journals and public records, and she uses descriptive linguistic communication to assist the reader understand the troubles and challenges that the Irish Catholic immigrants, particularly females, experienced. It is rare to happen the female position described in historical literature.

In contrast, The Irish Emigrant ‘s Guide for the United States by Edward J. O’Hanlon, provides advice and cautiousnesss written from a male position. The writer, a priest, wrote this usher in order to help Irish Catholics immigrate to America and settle into the civilization. He gives advice based on his personal experiences. Practical advice is given for the ocean trip, obtaining employment, certification demands, and where to populate. It provides many sentiments of the writer, so it is non an nonsubjective beginning, but its value lies in the first-hand descriptions of the bing civilization in America at that clip, and the bing attitudes of the autochthonal people of America. The book is really comprehensive, and the information about schools and what may be expected was really accurate and similar to the information provided in Servants of the Poor: Teachers and Mobility In Ireland and Irish America.


This probe is of import in its historical context because it demonstrates that schools have historically been topographic points where societal and cultural struggles are played out. They are topographic points where political and economic forces collide, and where the toll or benefit of that is seen in kids, households and communities. The Irish battle was, at times, a violent 1. Today, we see much of the same dissensions and hear the same duologue, as communities attempt to cover with swelling immigrant registration. History tells us that in-migration conflicts will play out in instruction and schools, and cardinal alterations will probably happen.

In Boston public schools in the 1800 ‘s, course of study was determined by the bulk. As the figure of Catholics increased, course of study was really changed. Textbooks were used as instruments to advance certain doctrines and to indoctrinate pupils in a peculiar political orientation. History books, in peculiar, were written and selected to back up assorted beliefs. Those in power at the clip, take the victors and the also-rans. In add-on, those who have fiscal resources, have the ability to take themselves from the system, and take advantage of resources which meet their peculiar political orientation. This all holds true today as it did in the 1800s.

Today, there is a really little function for faith in American public schools, and Torahs are in topographic point to guarantee that. However, there are ever challenges to these Torahs, and some groups are looking at ways to integrate spiritual philosophy into the public schools any manner they are able. Much of the historical focal point of this probe involved racial and cultural favoritism of the Irish, and much of this was driven by the economic menace posed by competition of the immigrants for occupations and resources. Again, much the same is seen today.


It is of import to observe that other immigrant groups and Catholics of other nationalities have faced similar favoritism in America and have fought the same battles over course of study, text editions and just intervention in schools. What lessons of the Irish battle can the current immigrant groups take to bosom and learn from? How may our schools be structured to suit the assortment of cultural beginnings and include them all reasonably in the course of study? Are today ‘s attempts to back up or take away development in the biological science curriculum a “ repetition ” of past history, as seen in the Know Nothing stance of “ We ‘ll do them include our version ” ? By analyzing the experience of the Irish Catholic immigrants, one may see the consequences of and hopefully larn from the political, societal and economic challenges they have overcome.



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