Which States Did Immigrants Live In? Census of 1860

Pat Young

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Before one presumes to know what antebellum immigrants were thinking it might be wise to have some actual evidence- letters, diaries. Statistics showing where immigrants lived in 1860 do not suffice. They are influenced by multiple factors, including the existence of passenger service from particular European ports to particular American ports. It also overlooks the freedom of movement Americans enjoy. This freedom of movement was especially available in northern states which had a more extensive rail, canal and river systems leading to the interior.
The north also had more industry, so that immigrants could find ready, immediate industrial employment. The south, meanwhile, offered few employment opportunities in industry or agriculture. The plantation economy was booming using slave labor; no need to actually pay an immigrant. Meanwhile, there was plenty of rich farmland available in the interior- Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota- for those wanting to satisfy the human need to 'be one's own boss'.
I agree the statistics show the makeup of our country in 1860, and are both useful and interesting. But- like all statistics- it is dangerous to read into them what we may want them to mean.
I wonder what % of those tiny amount of Irish and Scottish immigrants in the South did serve in the CSA military?



Respectfully,
William
View attachment 134812
Hi William. The most recent scholarly study of Irish participation in the Confederate forces is The Green and the Gray by David Gleeson.

Here is a link:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ZVEBKD6/?tag=civilwartalkc-20
 

KansasFreestater

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If you want to contact me directly, I can see what I can find. I have the immigration lists through 1871, and might be able to access information elsewhere.
You are very kind!
Unfortunately, I don't even know names or dates, just the lore that came down from my dear grandmother, who's no longer with us.
Thank you, though, for your generous offer.
 

WJC

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There was very strong political appeal towards workers' rights within the German people coming to America. They were generally well educated and many were skilled tradesman. The idea of unfair economic competition from unpaid slave labor was one of their motivations against African slavery. This idea would soon manifest itself into the Union movement and during the mid-19th century was an appeal of Marxist philosophy. Marxism was ruthlessly and effectively tramped down in Prussia, but not in the other German ethnic States of Europe, from which the bulk of America's German immigrants originated.
Thanks for your response.
I heartily agree that the influence of well educated and skilled German immigrants had a profound effect, especially in our cities.
Elsewhere, I have alluded to the "unfair economic competition from unpaid slave labor" and the resulting labor strife. Specifically I mentioned the 1862 riots in Cincinnati.
Slavery most certainly kept unskilled or semi-skilled foreign workers out of the labor market in the south. In the north, the specter of newly-freed slaves competing for low end jobs was enough of a concern that many who supported emancipation in principle still saw it as a threat to their jobs.
Social change was spreading throughout the German States. Some antebellum immigrants were veterans of the social unrest and battles of the period- people we might call political refugees. Others had been exposed to the philosophy and were uninterested or had more pressing reasons to come to America.
It is a mistake, in my view, to lump them all together all of those Germans favoring social change as "Communists" or even as "Socialists" as we now understand the terms. They were not members of one monolithic movement. Some were inspired by Marx, some by other writers and philosophers.
Some had little in common with Marx. The followers of Ferdinand Lassalle rejected Marxism- particularly Marx' call for violent revolution- and tried to work within the system. Eventually they formed what later became Germany's social Democratic Party.
But I- we- digress. All of this is quite interesting, but probably veering off topic for our forum.
 

WJC

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The Irish were radicalized by the hardship of the potato famine and the repression of English.
The German immigrants were nearly Socialists, or actually Communists.
Freedom had a direct, personal meaning for both groups, who were flooding the growth areas of the Midwest.
Thanks for your response.
The Irish were radicalized by the hardship of the potato famine and the repression of English.
The direct link of the potato famine to mid 19th century Irish immigration is well documented, as is the longstanding Irish resentment to rule by their eastern neighbors.
The German immigrants were nearly Socialists, or actually Communists.
Too broad a generalization. Many were apolitical, simply seeking a better life. Others were aware of the social and political discussions going on, and may have agreed to a need, but did not actively support any movement. Still others enthusiastically embraced one or more of the movements, often at great risk. Those in this last category were what we now call political refugees.
It is risky to use modern terms like "Socialists" or "Communists" in describing the movements of that time, particularly in the German States. Some were Marxist, others had been influenced by Marx, but did not accept all his views, still others found their beliefs in other sources. the only common characteristic was a desire for social change.
Freedom had a direct, personal meaning for both groups, who were flooding the growth areas of the Midwest.
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
--- Emma Lazurus (July 22, 1849 – November 19, 1887), American poet, The New Colossus, 1883.[/QUOTE]
 

WJC

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My grandmother's father ran a Socialist paper in Milwaukee. And she was a little left of FDR.
I think the Germans saw chance to refight the 1848 revolution, and this time, win.
They were instrumental in Missouri, and suffered horribly in Texas.
Thanks for your response.
I've long been interested in the late 19th century social and political 'growing pains', possibly because of my interest in the evolution of American labor unions or early research into the Haymarket Riot.
Many today seem to have forgotten the social and political forces at work among the immigrant communities in Milwaukee, St. Louis and other urban centers.
I can't guess your interest in family history, but you might want to research and gather what you can find in your family's role in- and perspective on- that era. My guess is it would be personally rewarding as well as something you might want to take further, possibly professionally.
I think the Germans saw chance to refight the 1848 revolution, and this time, win.
We can only guess what motivated many of the soldiers in the Civil War. My guess is that some- especially those immigrants who had been involved in the somewhat recent social and political struggles in Germany, Italy and elsewhere- certainly looked at this war as an extension of those efforts.
 
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WJC

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I think you meant to say there was not an active free press in the South. Various states had laws prohibiting criticism of slavery in speech or in press -- with quite severe penalties -- because of fears that it could provoke a slave revolt.
Thanks for your response and correcting my error.
I indeed intended to point out the restrictions on media in the south, including the instructive experiences of William Lloyd Garrison in Maryland.
I took a break in the middle and lost my thought....
I'll submit a corrected comment.
Thanks again!
 

W. Richardson

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Professor Gleeson writes that "about 20,000" Irish immigrants served in the Confederate military. P. 41


Hi Pat and thank you for the source..............

"Although there is a persistent belief that large numbers of Irish and Scottish immigrants enlisted in Confederate regiments"


Could not about 20,000 Irish serving in the Confederate Army be considered a "large" number due to the Confederacy having a tiny % of Irish and Scottish?


Respectfully,
William
Scottish-Irish Flags.JPG
 

Pat Young

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Hi Pat and thank you for the source..............

"Although there is a persistent belief that large numbers of Irish and Scottish immigrants enlisted in Confederate regiments"


Could not about 20,000 Irish serving in the Confederate Army be considered a "large" number due to the Confederacy having a tiny % of Irish and Scottish?


Respectfully,
William
View attachment 134851
It was a respectable portion of a very small population.
 

Pat Young

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Hi Pat and thank you for the source..............

"Although there is a persistent belief that large numbers of Irish and Scottish immigrants enlisted in Confederate regiments"


Could not about 20,000 Irish serving in the Confederate Army be considered a "large" number due to the Confederacy having a tiny % of Irish and Scottish?


Respectfully,
William
View attachment 134851

William, here is what The Green and the Gray says:

Irish immigrants had already negotiated their Irishness with an American national identity, and now they faced adapting to a Confederate one. In this adaptation, the Irish displayed clearly the ambiguities within Confederate identity. They vividly portrayed the “serious problems,” as one scholar of the subject has assessed it, of the effort “to define a distinctive national identity and a set of expectations about the roles of individual Confederate citizens.” 25 As a result, some natives resented them for being so open, for example, in their acceptance of Confederate defeat and Federal
occupation. When the Confederacy began to crumble, the only saving grace it retained was the “shared community of sacrifice” where white southerners could unite around “suffering” and “victimhood.” 26 Irish deserters, “shirkers,” and “collaborators,” severely challenged this idea of a shared sacrifice.

Gleeson, David T.. The Green and the Gray: The Irish in the Confederate States of America (Civil War America) (p. 9). The University of North Carolina Press. Kindle Edition.

Gleeson, David T.. The Green and the Gray: The Irish in the Confederate States of America (Civil War America) (pp. 8-9). The University of North Carolina Press. Kindle Edition.
 

WJC

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It was a dream that this system could survive in a world that was converting to steam engines, electricity and an active free press.
@KansasFreestater alerted me to a mistake in my earlier response. Permit me to correct my error:
There was an "active free press" in the slave-holding states, so long as the cruel nature of slavery was not reported!
Early in his career, William Lloyd Garrison co-edited a Baltimore newspaper, Genius of Universal Emancipation.
After Garrison reported on the barbarity of slavery, he was charged by Maryland for violating laws prohibiting negative articles on slavery, found guilty and fined. He refused to pay his fine, went to jail but was released when a friend paid his fine.
On the other hand, not all northern communities supported their local abolitionist newspapers. I recently posted an excerpt from the Anti-Slavery Bugle, published in New Lisbon, Ohio, beginning in June 1845. After three months, its publisher was forced to move to nearby Salem, Ohio. Although its abolitionist message was not outlawed, the community was unfriendly. Salem, with a greater Quaker population, was far more supportive, The paper published there until 1861.
 
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Tom Elmore

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Professor Gleeson writes that "about 20,000" Irish immigrants served in the Confederate military. P. 41

I estimate that Gen. Robert E. Lee had about 3,500 foreign-born soldiers in his Army of Northern Virginia during the Gettysburg campaign. Thus far I have identified 377 of these individuals by name and unit, and, of this number, 214 (or nearly 57 percent) were born in Ireland, meaning that Lee would have had about 2,000 Irish immigrants with him at Gettysburg.
 

Pat Young

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I estimate that Gen. Robert E. Lee had about 3,500 foreign-born soldiers in his Army of Northern Virginia during the Gettysburg campaign. Thus far I have identified 377 of these individuals by name and unit, and, of this number, 214 (or nearly 57 percent) were born in Ireland, meaning that Lee would have had about 2,000 Irish immigrants with him at Gettysburg.

Joseph Glatthaar does not look exclusively at the Gettysburg campaign, but his overall analysis of immigrants and Northern-born men in the ANV is as follows:

Although Northern-born or foreign-born soldiers did not dominate the Confederate ranks, taken together they did comprise a significant portion of the Army of Northern Virginia.1 Almost 1 in 28 (3.4%) was born in a foreign country, and another 1 in 25 (4.0%) originally came from a Northern state. Northern- and foreign-born Confederates together made up 1 in every 13 soldiers (7.4%) in Lee's army. By contrast, 3 of every 4 soldiers in his army (75.1%) were born in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, or Georgia, and 5 of every 9 (54.7%) Southern-born soldiers in the army lived in the Upper South in 1860. A majority (54.8%) of the foreign-born men resided in the Deep South before the war. Northern-born troops, by contrast, migrated overwhelmingly (69.8%) to the Upper South.

The backgrounds of these adopted Confederates differed dramatically from those of their native-born comrades. When the war broke out, Northerners could return home, and those of military age who elected to remain in the Confederacy would have to serve in military units. Foreigners by birth who were not citizens had no such military obligation, yet they volunteered in considerable numbers for their new homeland. Half of
them had emigrated from Ireland, and more than another quarter were from the various German states. Northerners in Lee's army came heavily from the border states. Nearly 4 in 9 (43.3%) were born in states that abutted the Confederacy, and 1 in 3 alone were native Marylanders. An additional 2 of every 5 hailed from either New York (26.7%) or Pennsylvania (13.3%).


Glatthaar, Joseph T.. Soldiering in the Army of Northern Virginia: A Statistical Portrait of the Troops Who Served under Robert E. Lee (Civil War America) (p. 58-58). The University of North Carolina Press. Kindle Edition.
 

wausaubob

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I like the nuances and adjustments added by WJC.
While there were some immigrants and some northerners in the Confederate Armies, the number seems insignificant.
Millions of people were flooding New York, the Erie Canal, the Great Lakes, and the old Northwest.
These people were changing the country from the slow and well homogenized colonization of the 18th century to something much different.
In the 18th century, immigrants were desperately wanted and encouraged. Not enough were coming, which led to involuntary immigration.
Between 1840 and 1860 the tidal wave of humanity spread across the north, and even to California and Oregon.
It is this change that made slavery a minority economy, when previously they had been dominant.
 

wausaubob

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Of course the Civil War changed the pattern of immigration. But the pattern established in the 1850's intensified and Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan particularly grew.
 

AndyHall

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Here is an interesting table of the states persons tended to migrate to if they left the state of their birth:

View attachment 122942
This is a really interesting table, Pat. I wondered how those migration patterns would look on a map, and this is the result. Native states are shown in dark blue, and the leading states where those people ended up are in light blue:

ContactSheet-001 Small.png


ContactSheet-002 Small.png


ContactSheet-003 Small.png


It's really clear that internal migration up to 1860 was overwhelmingly from free states to free states, and from slaveholding states to slaveholding states. One outlier in that trend is Missouri, which was a slaveholding state but less so than others, and drew migrants from all over the country.

And of course, California -- everybody was going to California. Same as it ever was.
 
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Pat Young

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This is a really interesting table, Pat. I wondered how those migration patterns would look on a map, and this is the result. Native states are shown in dark blue, and the leading states where those people ended up are in light blue:

View attachment 134897

View attachment 134898

View attachment 134902

It's really clear that internal migration up to 1860 was overwhelmingly from free states to free states, and from slaveholding states to slaveholding states. One outlier in that trend is Missouri, which was a slaveholding state but less so than others, and drew migrants from all over the country.

And of course, California -- everybody was going to California. Same as it ever was.
Thanks for letting us visualize that.
 

wausaubob

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It seems like watching the true history of the lead up to Civil War being written.
Put the words in the background.
These numbers are about the people who heard the words and then had to act on them.
This is about the nation they were trying to create.
 

Pat Young

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It seems like watching the true history of the lead up to Civil War being written.
Put the words in the background.
These numbers are about the people who heard the words and then had to act on them.
This is about the nation they were trying to create.
Agreed, although labor market were very important in these decision.
 
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