America was not always open to immigration and known as the land of the free as it is now. Instead, xenophobic acts were more apparent as anti-immigrant riots and discriminatory acts were quite common towards the Germans and Irish. Between the years 1840 and 1850, a large influx of European immigrants fled to the United States in search of opportunities and equality but they were met with discrimination and prejudice. Although being the largest minority groups in America at the time, the Germans and Irish were treated like anything but American citizens. As the competition for jobs grew more demanding so did the idea of nativism as the Germans and the Irish made the United States their home. In the 1840s, Ireland was suddenly hit with the Potato Famine which led to the death of two-fifths of the population (about one million people). Ireland, already being one of the least financially wealthy countries in Europe, made it difficult for the immigrants as much of their population was in poverty. This made it difficult for the start of a new life in America as many Irish citizens simply did not have the wealth to buy land. Although most of the Irish population were farmers in the 19th century, they moved to the larger cities in America as they could not afford land. Among these cities were New York City and Boston. The Irish mostly relied on building railroads as a source of income; even building the famous Union Pacific later on in the late 1850s. Yet, their contributions meant nothing to those Protestants who opposed Catholics. Following the first amendment of the Constitution, it states that people have the freedom of religion yet this openness to other beliefs was not widely accepted for all Americans. In particular, Roman-Catholics were the largest religious group discriminated against in the mid 1800s. Fortunately enough for the Germans, the Irish made up the majority of the Catholic population. NINA signs (“No Irish Need Apply”) became quite common throughout the country as American born citizens felt that their low paying occupations were threatened by these Catholic foreigners. The Irish were treated on the same terms as blacks and even saw the latter minority as competition. Furthermore, the Irish experience proved to be difficult due to the prejudice they experienced.The life of a German was quite different in comparison to the life of the Irish in America. Seeing as most German immigrants did not speak English like the Irish did, the former relied on farming as a way to support their families. Many of these families settled in Pennsylvania and moved out West. The Germans were also able to bring a sense of unity as the community of Germantown was founded in August of 1683 in Philadelphia by German Quakers which inspired the boom of Germantown’s throughout the country in the 19th century. During the late 1840s, Germany was also going through a period of revolutions which caused an economic distress and led to many Germans fleeing to countries, like America, in hopes of discovering new opportunities. German immigrants also introduced the guilds system which became trade unions that led to the general labor-union movement. These hard working Germans set standards and gave the power of employment to the employees whose jobs they were once denied. As oppressed immigrants, the Germans and Irish did share many experiences as they settled in their new homes. One being that the large majority of these European ethnic groups were democrats. This was due to the importance that this political party put towards the life of a commoner which did make up the majority of this caucasian population. This political identity is another cause of the bigotry they were met with. These foreigners were also met with nativist parties like the Know Nothing party which promoted the unequal treatment of non-Americans. The Know Nothing party, founded in 1855, advocated for xenophobic practices which made it more difficult for an immigrant to procure a job much less to become a citizen. These obstacles did make life as an immigrant difficult yet the Germans and the Irish overcame the prejudice and oppression they were met with once again. In a country built by immigrants, the contributions that both the Germans and the Irish had in the founding of this country has certainly been impactful. Assimilating into a new culture that was strongly xenophobic was exceedingly difficulty, yet time proved these immigrant groups proved to be resilient and successful as they willingly responded to Lincoln’s call for soldiers to preserve the Union. Risking their lives for a country not native to them is one of the most patriotic action that one could do; this showcased the importance and reliability of immigrants in America for the first time.