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Irish Famine and Hurricane Katrina

Essay by   •  September 25, 2012  •  Research Paper  •  2,473 Words (10 Pages)  •  1,963 Views

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The Irish Famine and Hurricane Katrina, even though 160 years apart, are historical catastrophes that with many similarities as well as differences. The Irish Famine started in 1845 and ended in 1852, killing thousands upon thousands of citizens who were not given a surviving chance because of system of laws put in place by a "greater" race. The outcome of the Irish Famine has people screaming genocide, as I am one of those people. Hurricane Katrina was a category 5 hurricane that destroyed most of the Gulf Coast, including the city of New Orleans. New Orleans, known for its Jazz and French Quarter, has always been threatened by hurricanes. Much of the Greater New Orleans is below sea level, making it a "bowl" city. New Orleans is also known as the city with thousands of cultures, making it a tourist attraction, however the "real" New Orleans is a city of divide, a city over run by poor people who, like the Irish, were oppressed by laws.

The Irish Catholics were prohibited by the Penal Laws from owning or leasing land, from voting or holding political office, from living in a town or within 5 miles of a major town, they could not obtain an education, could not enter a profession. The Penal Laws, passed and upheld by Great Britain, oppressed the Irish citizens from doing anything necessary in order to succeed and prosper in life. A new system for managing land was adopted in the 18th century making land owning a middleman system. Collection of rent was left in the hands of the landlords, who were the middlemen, assuring the landlord of a regular income. Irish Catholics made up the majority of the population in Ireland, where they lived in poverty. The Irish Catholics, banned by law to own land, were subject to work the fields that they did not own while paying rent for the same land that they "lived" on. These harsh conditions are a major condition as to how and why the Irish Catholics became dependent upon the potato crop. The potato can grow almost anywhere and mainly on its own, which allowed the Irish Catholics to work the landlords farm land while the potato grew on its own. As the blight hit the potato crop in Irelands, thousands of oppressed citizens were left with NO food, causing them to hope and pray for help from the same idiotic government that caused them to become dependent on the potato. One of the first reactions that Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel inflicted was the Corn Laws. The Corn Law was a trade law designed to protect corn producers in Great Britain and Ireland from competition from foreign imports. This law insured that the British landowners would still make money because the Corn Law made it too expensive for anyone to import grain from other countries. The Irish Catholics are starving to death, as the British government is sending the grain that is produced in Ireland back to the motherland to feed the British citizens and their mil workers.

After the Civil War in the United States, the African American slaves were freed. Freed slaves that are a funny statement considering the "freed" slaves encountered the Black Codes and the Jim Crow Law. The Black Codes limited the basic human rights and civil rights of blacks. The codes, enacted by the former southern states, provided African Americans a limited "second-class" civil rights. The freedmen were not allowed to vote or hold public office. They were allowed to own property, though only in a certain area. They had limited access to the courts, but were not allowed to testify against whites, were not allowed to serve on juries or serve in the military. The Jim Crow laws mandated de jure segregation in all public facilities in the south, starting a "separate but equal" status for blacks. These laws led to conditions that tended to be inferior to those provided for the whites, causing a number of economic, educational and social disadvantages. The Jim Crow laws caused entire states to be segregated, segregation of public schools, public places, public transportation, bathroom, restaurants and drinking fountains. The Black Codes and the Jim Crow laws caused the African American race to be at a disadvantage to climb up the social hierarchy chain. They were not given the same opportunity to purchase land in "safe" areas such as the white race. These setbacks, basically gave the white race a 50 year head start on purchasing all of the good land and the taking over of the economy thus never giving the blacks the chance to better their lives. In Ireland PM Sir Peel enacted the Poor Law, hoping to jump start the working class to produce more goods which in turn produce more money for Britain. Workhouses, place where those unable to support themselves were offered accommodation and employment, were set up in Ireland. The government was trying to reverse the economic trend by discouraging the provision of help to anyone who refused to enter a workhouse. Life in a workhouse was INTENDED to be harsh, to deter able-bodied poor and to ensure that only the truly destitute would enter the workhouses. With these laws in place the Irish were subjected to having their best lands stolen in order to for English capitalists to make more profit off of the land with things like wool from livestock, meat, leather and milk from cattle. The more power the British government gave the land lords the more they imposed harsher conditions on the Irish, until they were able to throw them out and burn their homes for more profitable land. The Irish became a problem for the British government's capitalist ways; however the Irish became a burden for the landlords, because they would not simply die away. After Katrina hit many of the housing projects were selected to be demolished therefore leaving thousands of families homeless. These families were not given much or any notice of eviction. Most of these families were displaced to other states because they had no other means of evacuation therefore they were stuck on a bus and shipped to wherever they could fit them. Over 200,000 citizens of New Orleans were not able to make it back home after Katrina. New Orleans, which compiled of many rental properties, lost over 40 thousand rental units. People who had the means and resources to move back were unable to because they did not have any place to rent and the places that were able to be rented were 3 times the normal renting price. During the Famine many families became known as the Wondering Group, families that had no place to call home and wondered around cities looking for any kind of work or any suitable shelter. Many lower-income people who were displaced from New Orleans these people lived in numerous places and did not get to come back home until YEARS later, and the sad part is many people were NEVER able to come back to their "Home Town".

The exact number of casualties during the Irish Famine

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