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The Immigrant Experience: 1870-1920

The dates are rough. So was the lifestyle
by

Andrew McDowell

on 1 March 2013

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Transcript of The Immigrant Experience: 1870-1920

The Immigrant Experience: 1870-1920 The Homelands
In the 1800s, many European countries had problems
Ireland experienced a famine as potato crops failed
Eastern Europe was unstable politically, with much violence "Push factors"
Farmers forced off land by cheap grain prices
Wars and government attacks on certain religious or ethnic groups, especially Jews
These factors pushed people to leave their homes "Pull factors"
US had plenty of land and jobs
Some Europeans already had family in the US
US did not force people to vote a certain way or to be any one religion
These factors pulled people to go to the US The trip over
Immigrants had to pack only what they could carry and buy a ticket on a steamship
On the ship, immigrants were usually packed onto the lowest decks in cramped, filthy conditions "Old Immigrants" (1840-1920)
Came from Ireland and Germany
Largely Catholic, but had some common ground with other Americans
Faced some discrimination "New Immigrants" (1870-1920)
Came from Southern and Eastern Europe
Nearly all Catholic or Jewish, had a completely foreign culture
Faced massive discrimination Ellis Island
Immigration center in New York City's harbor
Opened in 1892 to process and screen immigrants from Europe Challenges
Later immigrants usually stayed in cities
They lived in dirty, crowded tenements: low-cost multifamily housing
Most immigrants worked long hours for low pay in dangerous sweatshop factories Sticking together
Immigrants who shared a country with one another would settle in the same parts of town
These areas are called "ethnic ghettos" because they often isolated individual cultures
Violence could take place where ethnic ghettos bordered one another Reform
In 1890, Jacob Riis wrote a book called How the Other Half Lives
His book examined the terrible conditions in which immigrants lived, encouraging change Social Gospel
Many Americans believed it was their religious duty to help the poor
Jane Addams began to work with the urban poor, and today is known as "The Mother of Social Work"
She started settlement houses: homes to help the urban poor
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