The population of the Irish in America ranked second to the English during the colonial period. Many early Irish immigrants were Scotch-Irish and were quite influential. These immigrants moved out of Ireland due to religious conflicts, economic conditions, and lack of political independence. Immigrants moved to America with the hope of land ownership and greater religious freedom. Economic and religious reasons were the main cause of motivation for immigration.
A major factor that led to Irish immigration was the potato famine. Most immigrants were from farming community and rural part of Ireland. They had limited or very little knowledge about business or trade. Land tenure system in Ireland became very unfair and people immigrated by thousands when the famine subsided. Many Irish immigrants faced a problem of unemployment thereafter. Irish hence became one of the largest cultural groups that migrated to United States.
Employment opportunities in America attracted the Irish in large numbers. Many other immigrants considered the United States as a temporary refuge from political disarray, while there were those who left Ireland to break free from religious harassment.
Most Scotch-Irish immigrants were educated and some were skilled workers. Many immigrants became carpenters, clerks, blacksmiths, shoemakers, lawyers, tailors, and masons. Immigrants, who opted to work as servants, also lead a successful life subsequently. They financed their emigration by working as servants and led independent lives when their period of service was over. They readily adjusted in the new nation.
Many Scotch-Irish chose to settle in Pennsylvania, which was a middle colony. Many people settled in the city of Philadelphia, which was the port of debarkation. Over a period of time these Scotch-Irish migrated south and followed the Great Philadelphia Road, which was the main route used for settling in the interior southern colonies. These immigrants eventually became fighters and frontiersmen.
Many people still try to immigrate to the U.S. Irish government laws have now made it difficult for Irish people to migrate elsewhere.