In the 1800s Irish immigrants to the United States faced intense discrimination. The treatment of the Irish raises the historical question of whether the Irish were considered "white" in the 19th century. In this lesson, students examine political cartoons, a Know-Nothing party speech, and a historian's account to consider how racial categories may be ambiguous and change over time.
Image: Sheet music cover of The Lament of the Irish Emigrant, a Ballad published by Geo. P. Reed in 1843. From the Library of Congress.