Families typically pooled money to send strong young sons to the New World, where they would earn wages to pay the fares for those who remained behind. These "famine Irish" mostly remained in the port cities of the Northeast, abandoning the farmer’s life for the squalor and congestion of the urban metropolis...
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The Irish newcomers were poorly prepared for urban life. They found progress up the economic ladder painfully slow. Their work as obmestic servants or construction laborers was dull and arduous, and mortality rates were astoundingly high. Escape from the potato famine hardly guaranteed a long life to and Irish-American most of the new arrivals toiled as day laborer! s...