In the nineteenth century immigration to the United States progressively increased and compared to the previous centuries the locations that these new arrivals arrived from shifted both geographically and more concerning to more prejudicial elements in the US religiously. While anti-Semitism toward Jewish immigrants were definitely present this trend was most active in the last decades of the century and a trend that stretched further back was the apprehension about Catholic immigration to the United States particularly the Catholic immigrants from Ireland. The theory they based their ideology was that these waves of Catholic immigrants would overwhelm the native protestants and fundamentally alter the culture of the United States (and also establish a Catholic theocracy but as that obviously did not happen this paper will just focus on the population shift) and with the population data available including the 1855 census, the 1915 state census, and finally NY religion by county to determine if this prophecy came to pass (without their bias that such a population shift would be inevitably bad). The census data consists of excel spread sheets with the critical national origin data and the religion piece consists of spreadsheet data which will be mined for data relating to Catholicism. To gauge this theory the censuses will be gauged to determine the number of Irish immigrants and compare how much of a percentage of the overall area population to show immigration to the area from Ireland and then use the religion by county map to show how Catholicism spread across New York as a test case for the rest of the US.
The first question is why Irish immigrants to test this theorem and how it is or is not a stereotype to categorize said immigrants as inherently Catholic and that Irish immigration begins in the nineteenth century, both of these two facts in a vacuum are of course false but in context they hold a number of truths. In regards to the Catholic nature of the Irish the timing of said immigration is crucial, prior to the mid nineteenth century Irish immigration to the United States absolutely existed and these first Irish Americans have notable contributions to the colonial period as well as early American history there was a massive demographic as well as numeric shift at the mid point of the nineteenth century. In the 1840’s the potato crop in Ireland was hit by pestilence which lead to the Potato Famine which devastated the population with both death from starvation as well as prompting a mass exodus of individuals from Ireland primarily to Great Britain and the United States. In regards to geography this exodus included individuals from across Ireland which is important because in Ireland religion and geography are closely linked, Northern Ireland which following the partition of Ireland when the country gained its independence from Britain became the country of Northern Ireland (I think it was a little unorthodox but to each their own). How religion plays into this is that the northern areas of the country have majority protestant populations as opposed to the overwhelmingly Catholic southern portion of Ireland. How this ties back to America is that prior to the Potato Famine many of the first Irish immigrants came from the protestant north but the famine saw masses from the Catholic south depart for America marking the influx of Irish Catholics and also explaining why the data sets I chose to use being in the 1850’s and why I choose Irish immigrants as opposed to other largely Catholic populations such as Italians or Poles as Irish immigration began earlier and thus yields a wider data set to compare.
With the reasons behind my choice of figures established as well as the original question that lead to my choice in data sets and methodology what is left is to present how the data will be used to present the findings for the analysis. The two data sets that matter to the analysis are the Irish population seen in the censuses and the Catholic population within New York and to present these the two items that will cleanly and effectively lay out the conclusions are a series of charts show dispersion of population percentages and then a timeline graph showing the rates of immigration overtime which might require looking up additional immigration statistics but this will be determined later. Finally what the religions data set may reveal is how Catholic immigrants moved from the coastal entrance centers to the United States which for our state would mean New York City to the rest of the state.