Failte Irish American Hall of Fame

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Building America

Cyrus McCormickFor Irish Americans, the work of the new nation was as much about building as it was about exploration.  Thousands of Irish dug the Erie Canal, built new railroads and roadways in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois and Wisconsin.  Dewitt Clinton, the grandson of Charles Clinton of Longford, Ireland and the Governor of New York was known as the father of the Erie Canal. 
In 1834, Cyrus McCormick, who can trace his Irish ancestry to Ulster, received a patent for his invention, the McCormick reaper.  McCormick’s innovation brought monumental change to agriculture in the United States, setting the course for efficient large scale farming.   In 1847, he opened a factory in Chicago and founded a company that continues to the present day.

The First Irish American President

Andrew JacksonAndrew Jackson, elected President in 1829, is the first American President who can trace his ancestry to Ireland.  His father was born in County Antrim.  Sixteen more American Presidents would trace their roots to Ireland in the years to come.  In addition to holding the office of President, Jackson was a U.S. Senator from Tennessee, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, and the military Governor of Florida.

Abundant Land and Manifest Destiny

John L. O'SullivanAt the beginning of the 19th century, the young nation began to look to the west for new opportunities.  Unlike the European countries they left behind, the new Americans enjoyed an abundance of land and natural resources in their new country.  Enterprising immigrants, including those from Ireland, engaged in the exploration of the continent.  It was Irish American John L. O’Sullivan, editor of United State Magazine and Democratic Review, who coined the term “manifest destiny” to describe the spirit of expansionism in the United States during the 19th century.

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