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In this talk, Dr. Alan Kraut will focus on one group of immigrants, the Irish, and the role they played in the economic and social development of the United States, including cities such as Washington DC. In the two decades prior to the Civil War, 4.5 million immigrants arrived in the United States, doubling the population since the first census in 1790, almost a third of the new arrivals coming from Ireland. During the Civil War, Irish immigrants fought on both sides, sometimes in all Irish regiments. After the war, migration continued and at times more women than men arrived. After the Civil War, households such as Georgetown’s Tudor Place replaced newly emancipated black slaves with Irish labor. In some cities, Irish immigrants and former slaves lived side by side and even intermarried. However, in much of the South immigrants conformed to patterns of racial segregation that ultimately allowed them a significant upward socioeconomic mobility denied African Americans until well into the twentieth century.
Dr. Alan Kraut is a Distinguished Professor of History at American University and a non-resident fellow of the Migration Policy Institute.
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