Essay On Italian Immigration

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Although few Italians came to the United States before 1870, after 1900, Ellis Island inspectors were processing thousands per day. At the time, Italy was one of the most overcrowded countries in Europe. From 1890 to 1900 alone, 655,858 Italians, of whom two-thirds were males, left their rural communities for the United States. Between 1900 and 1920, total immigration from Europe exceeded the population of all states west of the Mississippi River except California, Missouri and Texas. More Italians immigrated than were found in Genoa, Florence, Milan, Palermo and Rome. Poverty was the chief reason for immigrating, but political hardship and the dream to return to Italy with enough money to buy land were motivators as well. For 80 percent…show more content…
Many did not come to stay; rather, they came to earn money to purchase property in the old country. Many who intended to return to Italy never did, while others made several voyages to the United States, some annually. These people were known, somewhat derisively, as “Birds of Passage.” Historian Robert Foerster estimated that, between 1902 and 1914, 300,000 to 400,000 nationals returned to Italy each year. Sociologist Francesco Cerase found two peaks of return immigration for Italians: the first after six to ten years of residence and the other after thirty…show more content…
The economic-caused hostility derived from Italian immigrants’ roles as strikebreakers. From 1870 onward, American workers, fearing that the new machinery being introduced in multiple industries would cost them their jobs, began to hold strikes. Italian immigrants, desperate for work, would fill the positions of the striking workers. Prejudices were especially aimed at Southern Italians who became “scabs” during strikes in construction, railroads, mining, long shoring, and industry. Often times these southern Italians, who were called derogatory names such as “guineas” or “dagoes,” were the only workers to work alongside black
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