Living the American life during the 1870s was not an easy thing to do. Foreigners, freed slaves and immigrants were all desperately trying to better their lives. Although this was the beginning of industrialization in the United States, people, especially immigrants and African Americans found it rather difficult to be accepted into society. The white men had it a bit easier than others but they were not much better off. This essay aims to compare the lives of a woman Irish immigrant, an African American, and a white railroad clerk's lives in the 1870s and in 1914.
Many Irish found the need to come to America in the late 19th century. Some were trying to escape English rule while others hoped to better their lives in America. Mary O"Flannagan came to New York City from Ireland in 1870 at the age of twenty. She came to America in hopes of economic survival. A friend's letter inspired Mary to take the journey. The letter spoke of how women in America could marry for love and not money. The letter also said that if a woman were to save half of her earnings for ten years, she herself could be rich. When Mary first stepped off the boat she was a frail young women. She spoke mostly Gaelic and had hoped to find work. Luckily for her many Irish women were getting involved in the maid business. She found a family willing to take house her, feed her and pay her minimal wages until she learned her chores better. Her chores included cooking, cleaning and tending to the children.
After a few months, Mary got the hang of what she was doing as was paid about $9 a week plus food and shelter. She loved her host family's children as if they were her own. Knowing that Mary would never return home to Ireland she thought she must learn how to become an American woman and she felt that living in the home of one was the best way to learn. The children were very found of Mary but the Mr. And Mrs.