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Immigration in the 1840s

Symbolic of one of the major changes in American demographics was the large influx of immigrants in the 1840s. In what ways were these new immigrants (primarily Germans and Irish) similar to other immigrants such as the British and the Scots-Irish and in what ways were they different?

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When considering immigration, there were several reasons for the massive influx of people to the United States. These include business cycles, famines, persecutions, and wars, which drastically affected the flow of immigration. Keep in mind that individual migrants were different; families and even communities sometimes departed together. Once established, often the immigrants called on relatives and friends to join them. Thus there emerged settlements in the U.S. which were linked to specific villages in Europe. The history of American mass immigration falls into four periods. During the first 1840-1890, almost 15 million arrived - primarily Germans, Irish, British, Scandinavians. During this period, the U.S. admitted immigrants with few restrictions.

British immigrants were readily absorbed. They were made up of ...