In the 1850s, a large population of Irish immigrants came to Boston. In the 1880s, as Boston began to industrialize, the promise of jobs encouraged many more groups of immigrants to move to Boston. The Italians and more Irish came to Boston, but because the Irish had established communities and job connections in the city, it was easier for the Irish immigrants to have better jobs and move into positions of power. Since the Italian immigrants came later than the Irish, the gatekeepers of Boston largely defined that their ethnicity meant. By referencing secondary sources on the topic of race and ethnicity, and by using primary sources from the period on the experience of the Irish and Italian immigrants, this paper explores the difference between race and ethnicity, and how that impacted the experience of different groups as they settled into Boston.



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