I wanted to use the Daniel O’Connell post to continue with this. What I am writing here is by no means scholarly.
On my old blog Irish vs. Blacks was one of the biggest hits. Therefore, I try and cover it.
The Irish were coming to the United States at the bottom of the scale. Just to give an example, the Irish who were brought to New Orleans were brought there to do things like dig canals in bayous in sub-tropical heat, with all the diseases and nasty critters South Louisiana has. From a historical perspective, you may ask, “Why weren’t slaves used?” As crude as this sounds, slaves were property. you didn’t care if the Irish immigrant died, but a slave was a major investment at the time.
Irish immigrants feared that free African-Americans would take their jobs if slavery ended. Irish immigrants fought for both sides in the American Civil War. For later history, read Dennis Lehane‘s novel about the 1919 Boston Police Strike. Boston‘s busing crisis in the ’70’s is an entire dissertation in itself.
- Discussion and Debate: A Response to ‘On Stereotyping Irish Soldiers’ (irishamericancivilwar.com)