Life in America For the Polish and Irish Immigrants By Claudia Cramer and Alessandra Griffin


Many immigrants left their home country because of war, economic problems, famine, governmental issues and religious beliefs.

When immigrants left their home country many expected the streets to be “paved with gold”, everyone to be rich, and the jobs to be great. But what they got was nothing like that...

A city of immigrants



Polish Immigrants fought to stay free but by 1795, the ruler of Russia, Prussia and Austria controlled all of Poland, so teachers couldn’t use the Polish language or teach Polish history, instead they had to teach the language and history of the country they were ruled by.

Immigrants are getting ready to get on the boat.

What Were Polish-American Communities Like?

When the Polish moved to America they usually formed groups to keep their language and culture alive.

These groups also helped them feel less separated from their family back in the homeland and their homelands.

Polish-Americans lived in neighborhoods where everyone spoke Polish.

In these neighborhoods stores sold traditional Polish foods and the newspapers were printed in the Polish language.

A polish neighborhood

Some families took in boarders because they paid for a bed and food, giving the families extra money.

The houses everyone lived in were in bad conditions, there were leaks and many times the roof was falling apart.

But, Polish-American women wanted their houses to be clean and neat, in other words they were proud of their houses.

The women would plant flowers and decorate their houses with beautiful things.

A common Polish Store

What Was Church and School Like?

Church was a very important part of a Polish immigrant’s life.

Many people gave money to build churches and schools.

Most Polish-Americans were catholic, so they built many catholic schools.

On Sunday mornings everyone went to church.

Not many kids went to school, so if you went to school it was a privilege and if you did go to school you usually only went till 6th grade, and at that point you worked.

What Were New Jobs?

A mill on the country side

Back in Poland many people were farmers, therefore jobs in America were very different and much harder.

Many Polish Immigrants that came between 1880 and 1914 came as the result of the country’s enormous industrial expansion.

When the Polish found work they usually worked in mines, mills, factories and even slaughter houses.

You could work in factories for making steel, cloth and later on cars.

a old machine

Back then machines were dangerous so many people got badly injured or even killed.

Women and children worked in textile mills, young men worked in coal mines.

Kids could also have jobs like working in stores, factories or you could sell newspapers.

And Guess What? Kids gave most of what they earned to their parents!

Fun Facts

More than 2 million Polish Immigrants came to America between 1870 and 1914.

Many Polish Immigrants that came to America usually entered into New York, Philadelphia and New Jersey.

Many Polish Immigrants only stayed in the U.S. so they could earn money and when they had enough they would go back to Poland and buy land.

The Irish

A old castle

Problems In The United States For the Irish

Basically all Americans did not like the Irish.

The Irish were hit or called names just for being Irish.

The Americans did not allow the Irish to go to the same schools as them.

So the Irish built their own school. One man really did not like the Irish so he burnt down an Irish school.

The Americans did not want any more Irish coming so most employers would not hire any Irish.

Ireland and USA flags crossing

What Jobs Did They Have?

Most Irish men had hard jobs like: railroad workers, builders, and farmers.

No one really liked the Irish. So no one really hired the Irish.

If the Irish did get hired, the Irish would most likely be working for double the hours, and get less pay.

Women and children would most likely be working in a factory.

A train dock

Where did The Irish Settle?

The Irish immigrants would usually settle in large cities because no one really wanted anything to do with them. It was easier to find houses and work in the cities.

Basically all Irish immigrants lived in tenements.

If you were allowed in, most Irish would go to Manhattan, New York.

much of what the tenement buildings looked like.

As you can see there were ups and downs for the immigrants in America. They did an amazing job putting together the life that you now have.

The Recent New York City

The End!


Created with images by Unsplash - "statue of liberty new york manhattan" • skeeze - "new york city 1890 vintage" • tpsdave - "covered bridge bridgeton indiana" • MichaelGaida - "architecture industry factory building" • michaelmep - "fort ireland leave" • skeeze - "railroad yard winter snow" • yugofuchiwaki - "statue of liberty new york city"

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