Irish Voice and Organized Labor in America: A Biographical Study

Irish Voice and Organized Labor in America: A Biographical Study

Irish Voice and Organized Labor in America: A Biographical Study

Irish Voice and Organized Labor in America: A Biographical Study

Synopsis

Devoted exclusively to the study of Irish-American leadership of American unions by presenting a biographical study of a number of prominent leaders.

Excerpt

One of the developments that make history is the migration of peoples. The human drama of movement of massive numbers from one geographical area to another, and their encounter with other economic and social environments is a major source of change in the human condition. The causes of these movements are no less important for our understanding of human history. It is from this vantage that a study of the Irish and organized labor in America begins. This chapter commences with a concise treatment of the causes and magnitude of the Irish immigration, analyzes the entry of the Irish into the work force and finally deals with their first encounters with, and early participation in, organized labor.

IRISH IMMIGRATION

Hibernian migration to America took place in the context of an outflow of humanity from Europe in the nineteenth century. This outflow was the result of a doubling of the population of Europe in the century from 1750 to 1850 and the modernization of European economies in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It was a complex process involving different regions at different times, but our purpose is to concentrate on the emigration from Ireland to the United States by way of providing background for understanding the emergence of Irish in trade unions.

Emigration from Ireland to America (and elsewhere) took place in a period when the conquering British were consolidating their control of the island. It occurred when landlords, both British absentee owners and Anglo-Irish Protestants, were transforming agriculture in Ireland from a backward, small-scale, primarily subsistence activity to a modern . . .

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