The Irish arrived in America over 40 years before the Italians and were the first wave of non Protestant immigrants to arrive on it's shores. Waiting for these immigrants in the 1840's, who were fleeing famine and British occupation in their homeland, were the same WASP prejudices they had left behind them. They fought their way out of the ghetto through organised gangs such as the Dead Rabbits, Plug Uglies and The Molly Maguires and put in place a structure that saw American politics, law enforcment and gangsterism work hand in hand - a structure that has stood the test of time over 150 years since it was first put in place.
It wasn't only America that these immigrants fled to. Waiting for them in Scotland, England, Canada and Australia was the the same religious prejudice they experienced from the occupying British in their own country. The British had already put in place a political structure in this Empire that denied the Irish in particular jobs and political influence - but this was about to change! It would have to be met head on. It proved to be bloody with violent gangs or 'The Mob' as they became known, at the forefront of this dispute.
What emerged was a new system. These gang leaders became political leaders and carried the huge Irish vote. The Nativist WASP gangs were down and out and the Irish emerged victorious. What was to follow, particularly in the US, was the birth of the Mob. The Irish now had a stranglehold in politics and along with the Irish dominated police force and criminal gangs, America's major cities saw the emergence of characters such as Old Smoke Morrissey, King Mike McDonald, Owney Madden, Legs Diamond and Dean O'Bannion. As T.J. English observes in his book Paddy Whacked: The Irish had a taste for politics that came from a culture based on social gatherings at the local pub and parish. The Irish understood the craft of giving and receiving favors. It was perfect - and the same corrupt way of doing business with the politician, the policeman and the gangster all seated around the one table has lasted to this very day. This is the true face of The Irish Mob.
No other ethnic group has ever infultrated the whole American system like the Irish have and probably never will.