Immigration to US 1850–80

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Map Code: Ax01123

Underpinning German and English emigration to the US in the middle of the 19th century were smallholders and tenant farmers escaping the impact of industrialization and agrarian reform. Overlaying this steady stream were spikes generated by specific events. A sectarian migration arose from the forced unification of the Lutheran and Reformed Churches in Prussia from 1817. The ‘Forty-Eighters’ fled the crackdown following the European revolutions of 1848; many were affluent and highly educated, becoming prominent in business, politics and journalism. There was a huge increase in Irish emigration in the wake of the Great Famine (1848–52), with America the favoured destination. After arrival, the various migrant groups adopted different patterns of settlement. The English were quite evenly spread, while Irish Catholics overwhelmingly tended to concentrate in the major cities. The Germans were often rural landowners but with major enclaves in cities such as St Louis, Chicago and Cincinnati.

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