Coming to America: For reasons that too many of us take for granted, people have been trying to start new lives in America for over four centuries. The era of the 1830s-1860s was particularly big for people coming to the United States from Ireland and Germany, as well as many other places. What were the dynamics that drove people to leave their lives in the old country and make their way in America? What did they find when they came here? Did they think their new home was better than the old one? What new challenges and fears did they have to deal with in the United States? What resources for survival and improvement did the immigrants find when they arrived here? How did their lives compare to the lives of today’s immigrants?
Important note: In America today we welcome about 1.1 million new immigrants to our country as either citizens or resident aliens. Few people have issues with them. There are also, however, an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants who have come illicitly into the USA, and most Americans have very great issues with them. Please acknowledge the very large difference between legal and illegal immigrants.