Journal Entry Irish American Subordinate

Journal entry
Irish American Subordinate

April 5, 1849
My name is Elizabeth O’Brien and I am sixteen years old. I immigrated to the United States of America only six months ago. I used to live in Dublin, Ireland but now I call Philadelphia, Pennsylvania home. As much as I love America I will never give up my allegiance to Ireland.   To stay in Ireland meant more poverty, disease, and English oppression. I came here alone because the rest of my family got a sickness from the potatoes we grew on our farm that cost them their lives. As better off as I am here in America there are still problems. The United States is mostly Protestant and so of you are Catholic like I am, people look down on you just like back home in Ireland.   It is also very difficult to find work here. A lot of places have signs on their doors saying “No Irish Need Apply.” I have been lucky enough to secure a job as a maid and a cook in a hotel and do well enough to feed myself. I do feel grateful for my job because there are lots of people here who can’t find work at all. The other day I heard the hotelkeeper I work for talking to one of his patrons. The patron asked, “Why are all the women servants in your hotel Irish?” His reply was, “The thing is very simple: the Irish girls are industrious, willing, cheerful and honest—they work hard, and they are very strictly moral. I should say that is quite reason enough.” It felt really good to hear him say that because most people seem to feel quite different. I heard two men talking about an article in the Chicago Post that said, “The Irish fill our prisons, our poorhouses…Scratch a convict or a pauper, and the chances are that you tickle the skin of an Irish Catholic. Putting them on a boat and sending them home would end crime in this country.” Most people tend to think that all Irish people are drunken thieves. I don’t understand why we are seen this way just because we are Irish. We just want a job and wage, we really don’t care about the...