Immigrants coming to the U.S. between 1840 & 1860 were mostly from Northwestern Europe. Between 1880 and 1920 Southern & Eastern European immigrants arrived in the U.S. in great waves. Many native-born Americans felt threatened by these newcomers with different cultures & languages.
Causes of Immigration
Religious & Political Freedom
Lack of Jobs
Family in the United States
Catholic & Jewish
Both escaping poverty, religious, and political persecution.
Moved to farms in the Midwest.
Moved to cities in the Northeast.
The Immigrant Experience Immigration officials determined who could stay in the U.S. To enter, immigrants had to be healthy and show that they had money, a skill, or a sponsor to provide for them.
Most European immigrants arrived in New York Harbor. Beginning in 1892, they were processed at Ellis Island. The goal was to “screen” immigrants coming from Europe. Immigrants took physical examinations & were held at Ellis Island before they were released to the U.S. mainland.
Chinese and other Asian immigrants crossed the Pacific Ocean,
arriving in San Francisco Bay. They were processed at Angel Island,
which opened in 1910. Angel Island was not as welcoming as Ellis
Island was to immigrants.
Chinese immigrants were turned away unless they could prove that
they were American citizens or had relatives living in America.
According to this theory, people from various cultures have met in the United States to form a new America.
The contributions of individual groups are not easily distinguished. The resulting culture is more important than its parts.
This theory recognizes that groups do not always lose their distinctive characters. They can live side by side, with each group contributing in different ways to society.
This approach is sometimes called the salad bowl theory since groups, like different vegetables in a salad, remain
identifiable but create a new
larger whole. This theory is
also referred to as pluralism.
Accepting immigrants into American society was not always easy. Newcomers often faced nativism, which was a belief that native-born white Americans were superior to newcomers.
Historical Significance: Old immigrants resented new immigrants. New immigrants came to this country for the same reason as the old immigrants.
Chinese Exclusion Act
Some native-born Americans labeled immigration from Asia a “yellow peril.” Under pressure from California, which had already barred Chinese from owning property or working certain jobs, Congress passed this law sharply limiting Chinese immigration. Many Chinese dared not visit their families in China, fearing they would not be permitted to return to the U.S.
President Rutherford Hayes vetoed this act and Congress would
override it. Hayes would not be reelected. Chinese immigration
In 1860 no American city boasted a million people. By 1890, New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago had spurted past the million mark. Cities grew rapidly because they were near raw materials, industrial areas, transportation routes, and had jobopportunities.
Urbanization – Expansion of cities and/or increase in the number
of people living in them.
Most immigrants settle in cities to get cheap housing and factory jobs.
In cities, immigrants assimilated into the main culture (Americanization). Many rural-to-urban migrants moved to cities because farm technology decreased the need for laborers, so people moved to cities for factory jobs.
“The Gilded Age” was a phrase penned by Mark Twain as satire for
the way America had become. It revealed the “best and worst”
of America. The Gilded Age suggests that there was a glittering layer
of prosperity that covered the poverty and corruption that existed
in much of society.
Reform was Needed! Twain depicted American society as gilded,
or having a rotten core covered with gold paint.
Americans Become Consumers
More people began to work for wages rather than for themselves on farms. More products were available than ever before and at lower prices. This led to a culture of conspicuous consumerism.
Conspicuous Consumerism –Purchasing of goods and services
for the purpose of impressing others.
All but the very poorest working-class laborers were able
to do and buy more than they would have in the past.
Americans all across the country became more & more
alike in their consumption patterns. Rich & poor could