Italian Immigration In The 20th Century

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At the beginning of the century over four million Italian immigrants arrived in America. It was the largest wave of immigrants the country has even seen. Although many of those early immigrants would choose to leave and return to Italy, those who did remain in America struggled to find their place in the American mainstream. Before 1861 there was no country called Italy, the peninsula was largely a collection of small kingdoms divided into north and south. In the North was Rome, Milan, and Florence. In the South was an impoverished land were Southern Italians were under the control of the Spanish Bourbon Monarchy whose kings left southern peasants living in poverty. In 1860 Italian revolutionary Giuseppe Garibaldi began a military campaign to create a new republic, he wanted…show more content…
In 1870 the economic conditions in the South forced Southern Italians to search for work in America. By the 1900s America was in the midst of their second industrial revolution as mechanization transformed almost every industry. Cities, like New York, began to grow rapidly with a high demand for male workers. Over the first two decades of the 20th century three million Southern Italian immigrants passed through the gates of Ellis Island. They left their wives and families at home with the hopes of returning to Italy with the money they made in America. Italian immigrants worked very hard jobs, they built the subways, did construction of most the buildings in New York, and they were grossly exploited by the people who hired them taking most of their wages. They also lived in horrible conditions crowded together in boarding houses or in railroad cars. Eventually Italian workers began to lay down roots in cities across America, in time they sent for their wives and children and together as families they moved ahead, starting new lives as Italian
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