Immigration Groups/Experiences
  • High rates of immigration 1880-1920
  • Many northern cities had half immigrants or 1st generation Americans
    • Vast majority of working-class ethnic, except in South

The immigrants were sorted out to three different groups of immigrants

Old Immigrants
  • Before 1880
  • Mainly Northwestern Europeans and Germans
  • Religious and political persecution, economic hardship
  • Seen as:
    • Racially Fit
    • Politically Educated
    • Culturally Superior
Immigrants
New Immigrants
  • 1880-1914
  • Mainly Italians, Slavs, and Southern Europeans
  • Religious, political persecution
  • Economic hardship
  • Overpopulation
    • Rural threatened by industrialization and urbanization
    • Village artisans unable to compete with mass-production
  • Competition from American grain exports force peasants off land
  • Seen as:
    • Racially Unfit
    • Politically Retarded
    • Culturally Lacking
  • Received "easier" jobs
    • Meatpacking was dominated by Slavs
Immigrants
Chinese and Japanese Immigrants
  • Reasons for immigration were similar to those of the new immigrants
  • Were to affect the railroad and agriculture business
  • Many forced to sign contracts that kept them poor conditions
    • dangerous working conditions
    • poor wages
    • bound to employers for many years
  • Several laws stopped immigration
    • Chinese Exclusion Act , 1882
      • Prevented Immigration of Chinese
    • Japanese Immigration Prevented, 1907
      • Government looked at a previous law and interpreted it to say that Japanese Immigration was to be prohibited
    • Forged papers saying they were merchants (allowed class)
      • Majority landed at Angel Island in San Francisco, interrogated by U.S. Bureau of Immigration
      • Attempted to enter through Canada or Mexico
      • first illegal immigrants

Patterns of Immigration

  • Many immigrants depended on having a contact in the U.S. to help
  • whole villages would sometimes disappear and reappear in America
  • Temporary residency
  • Jews came as families
  • Moved with business cycles (immigration fell with wages, any hope of economic recovery could be squashed by an influx of immigrants)

Immigrant Labor

  • Worked heavily with the Triangle Shirtwaist Company
  • Given most arduous tasks
    • Backbreaking, tormenting tasks
      • Many suffered from chronic fatigue and malnourishment
  • Most vulnerable during depression
    • Working 60 hour weeks
    • Earned $400-$500 a year

Living Conditions

  • Crowded living conditions
    • Families packed into tiny apartments
      • Lack of windows
      • Rarely did a person get one's own bed
    • Poor sanitary conditions
      • Many diseases (such as Thyphoid)
  • In the 1900's, cities started making better conditions
    • Only in the rich communities
    • Sewage system improved
    • Housing inspections were created
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