Policy Market Blog

They Didn't Send Us Their Best

Martin Kennedy - Friday, March 22, 2019

Tennessee developed primarily as the result of the first migration 

The Cream of the Crop? Geography, Networks, and Irish Migrant Selection in the Age of Mass Migration

Dylan Shane Connor  
Published online: 14 March 2019
Forthcoming in Journal of Economic History
Abstract (partial)
Using new data from Ireland in the early twentieth century, I provide evidence… showing that the sons of farmers and illiterate men were more likely to emigrate than their literate and skilled counterparts. Emigration rates were highest in poorer farming communities with stronger migrant networks. I constructed these data using…to follow people over time and to measure chain migration from origin communities to the United States.

TPM:  He studied the second migration. 

There were two distinct Irish migrations.  The Scots-Irish (aka Ulster-Irish) came first, primarily between 1720-1770.  Think (southern) Appalachia, frontiersmen, banjos, settling western NC, Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky etc. 

Irish-Catholics poured in primarily between 1830 --1880.  Think Boston, NYC, Phila, Chicago etc. 

Distinct groups with different cultures, but both immigrant groups were poorly educated and unskilled when they arrived.      

If you want to understand the Scots-Irish, read 'Born Fighting' by Jim Webb.  Quite good and an easy read.  

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