Lady Liberty: Immigrants In The Nineteenth Century

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Lady Liberty stood in New York Harbor welcoming all who came seeking freedom and opportunity. She watched over the arrival of many of the 24 million people who caught “America fever” and headed to the United States between 1870 and 1914 “seeking the chance to forge a better life for themselves and their families.” (Schaller, p. 619) (“Reasons for and Patterns of Immigration”) For most immigrants, coming to America was an economic decision—steamship passage was affordable, the trip was relatively short (two weeks), and the wages in America were higher than in their homeland. (Schaller, p. 587, 620) America’s rapid industrialization needed immigrant labor and it drew them like a magnet to its shores. (“Reasons) From 1870 to 1900, the two-thirds …show more content…

(Schaller, p. 619) Jews in Russia sought to escape forced re-settlement under harsh restrictions, violent attacks on their villages, and false accusations of murdering the czar. (Schaller p. 621) Overpopulation, scarcity of land, and famine also caused the outward migration from Europe. (“Growth of the Industrial Workforce”) (“Immigration at Work in the Nineteenth Century”) There were geographical, economic, and relational factors that determined where immigrants chose to settle. European immigrants, who had most likely sold everything to make the trans-Atlantic passage, settled on the East Coast out of convenience. As pointed out in the film, “Ethnic Groups in Industry”, a German from Hamburg could easily set sail for Baltimore just like an Irishman could directly sail to New York. It was the Eastern cities where the steam ships docked and where the jobs were located. Likewise, immigrants from Asia seeking to travel the least distance, arrived and settled on the West Coast. In addition to geographical and economic factors, family ties figured into where immigrants were attracted and settled. In what is termed “chain migration”, immigrants would follow their relatives to the U.S. and they would settle near family members. (“Exploitation During the Industrial Revolution”) The text has a map that shows the ethnic neighborhoods in Chicago in 1900; members of each ethnic group clustered together to provide help and community to one another. (Schaller, p.

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