Five Points: New York’s Irish Working Class in the 1850s

New York’s Five Points, the most notorious urban slum of the antebellum period, is seen through the conflicting perspectives of a native-born Protestant reformer and an immigrant Irish-Catholic family. Members of the Mulvahill family describe daily life in a complicated neighborhood, contradicting nineteenth-century stereotypes about the immigrant poor. (Length: 30 minutes)

Chapter selection

  1. Reforming the Five Points (0:25)
  2. Surviving in a New Land (4:41)
  3. The Manly Art of Politics (8:30)
  4. Youth and Entertainment (12:30)
  5. Boyhood in the Streets (15:54)
  6. Workingman’s Life (18:07)

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Teaching Materials

Viewer’s Guide (.pdf)

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