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IMMIGRANTS IN AMERICA 1865 -1915 Millions of immigrants moved to the United States in the late 1800’s & early 1900’s.
“OLD IMMIGRANTS” Most immigrants before 1890: Protestants from Northern Europe U. S. culture at that time reflected the traditions and beliefs of northern Europe.
“NEW IMMIGRANTS” Southern and Eastern Europeans Jews Catholics Unskilled Settled in cities
WHY? Push Factors Pull Factors
PUSH FACTORS Things that cause people to want to leave a country, or push them out. Religious Persecution, War, Poor/unstable economy.
PULL FACTORS Things that attract people to move to a place, or pulls them in. Land, Employment, Religious or Political Freedom.
PULL FACTORS (CONT’D) Homestead Act of 1862 - Made Western farmland inexpensive. R. R. ’s offered assistance with fares. They needed customers in the West who would buy their goods. Many Norwegians and Germans settled the new, Western territories to farm.
WHO WERE THEY? The crowded steerage deck usually contained a diverse group of people. Many were poor farmers whose fathers’ or grandfathers’ land had been divided so often that the plots were no longer large enough to support even single families.
WHO WERE THEY? (CONT’D) Others were schoolmasters unable to find work or artisans looking for greater opportunities. Many were young men and women willing to risk traveling to an unknown land in hopes of finding a brighter future.
THE TRIP Think Titanic. Many traveled in poor conditions “steerage” Many people became sick because of tight living quarters. Disease spread easily.
ARRIVAL Ellis Island in the East (New York City)- This is where most people from Europe arrived. Angel Island in the West (San Francisco)- This is were most people from Asia arrived.
ELLIS ISLAND *In 1890, Congress designated low-laying, three- acre Ellis Island in Upper New York Bay as an immigration station. By the end of 1910, six million immigrants had come through Ellis Island.
IMMIGRATION STATIONS Once immigrants arrived in the U. S. , they went through immigration stations, such as Ellis Island in New York Harbor. Government workers questioned them about where they planned to work & live. Doctors also examined them to make sure they didn’t have any diseases. Almost all European immigrants were allowed to enter the U. S. initially.
WAITING *Long lines of immigrants were tagged according to what language they spoke and marked with chalk according to the medical ailments they suspected of having and they waited for the inspectors to decide their fate.
With the huge numbers of immigrants, inspectors had just 2 minutes to complete the process and many immigrants had their last names changed by the inspectors because they didn’t have the time or patience to struggle with the foreign spellings.
Only one third of the immigrants who came to the United States through Ellis Island stayed in New York City. Most scattered across the country. Immigrants were given tags to pin to their hats or coats. The tags showed railroad conductors what lines the immigrants were traveling and what connections to make to reach their destinations.
New immigrants arriving at Ellis Island. At Ellis they were "processed" before they were allowed to continue their journey to find a new home.
Where Did They Settle?
CITIES The arrival of large numbers of immigrants radically changed the face of the nation’s cities. Before the Civil War, cities were compact. Between 1865 and 1900 the percentage of Americans living in the cities doubled. Cities grew upward. Prior to the Civil War, buildings were built only to five stories.
CITIES CONT. “Noise, traffic jams, slums, air pollution, and sanitation and health problems became commonplace. Mass transit, in the form of trolleys, cable cars, and subways, was built, and skyscrapers began to dominate city skylines. New communities, known as suburbs, began to be built just beyond the city. Commuters, those who lived in the suburbs and traveled in and out of the city for work, began to increase in number”. memory. loc. gov
URBAN LIVING CONDITIONS Immigrants often lived in buildings abandoned by middle-class residents and converted into multifamily units. These tenements soon became identified as “slums”. Many families would cram into spaces only meant for a few. Many immigrants tended to settle with others from the same country creating the ethnic neighborhoods and sections that can still be found in many big cities today.
TENEMENT HOUSING Tenement housing in New York City.
IN THE TENEMENTS *
“FIVE CENTS A SPOT” ROOMS Many immigrants had no home and slept in 5 cents a spot rooms where people paid for a small space to spend the night. Can you imagine sleeping crowded against strangers?
WHAT WAS IT LIKE FOR THEM HERE? Some native-born Americans feared and resented the new immigrants. Their languages, religions, and customs seemed strange. They also competed for jobs. Desperate for jobs, immigrants often accepted lower wages and worse working conditions.
LEGITIMATE VS. IMPOSTERS Conflicts between old and new immigrant groups common. Earlier groups considered themselves to be legitimate U. S. citizens. Established groups viewed new immigrants imposters or trespassers.
EXCLUDED FROM THE “MELTING POT” “Melting Pot”: immigrants assimilated into culture through education and acculturation. Many immigrant groups maintained their ethnic identity. Does not correspond with reality of U. S. experience. Melting pot did not take into account immigrants and ethnic groups who did not easily blend into the culture. Asians, African Americans, Native Americans, and others were excluded from this process of fusion and amalgamation.
LAWS AGAINST IMMIGRATION 1882 Congress passed Chinese Exclusion Act Almost all Chinese immigrants were kept out of America. Did not allow for naturalization of Chinese residents. Limited civil rights for the Chinese already living in U. S. 1921 & 1924 Congress passed laws that lowered the number of Europeans & Asians All immigrants faced prejudice upon arrival
IMMIGRANTS HELPED THE U. S. BECOME ONE OF THE RICHEST AND FASTESTGROWING COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD. THEY BUILT RAILROADS, DUG MINES, AND WORKED IN FACTORIES. THE SUCCESS OF AMERICA AS A WORLD SUPERPOWER RESTS ON THEIR HARD WORK.
What’s on Your Mind? You are an immigrant who is moving to America in the year 1900. Imagine if Facebook were around at that time (silly concept, I know, but we’ll just pretend for today). Of course updating your status about your move is important so that you keep family and friends updated. Be sure to include: • Your name, • Where you’re moving to and from (remember the map), • Why you are moving (think of push and/or pull factors). • Any emotions: Sad? Happy? Nervous? Do you even want to move? Why or why not?