Patterns of immigration

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Chapter 14 Section 1 Notes

The Hopes of Immigrants”

EQ: How did immigration and social reform change the nation in the mid-1800s?


  • Most immigrants faced hardships on their journey to America. Although some brought their families with them, many men went through the journey alone.

  • Most immigrants made the voyage in steerage.

  • Steerage: the cheapest deck on a ship. Conditions were crowded and unhealthy, many passengers became ill and died on the journey.

  • Why People Migrated

    • Push Factors: a reason or force that causes people to leave their native land.

    • Pull Factor: a reason or force that causes people to choose to move to a new place.

    • One push factor was population growth. A boom in population had made Europe overcrowded. Another push factor was crop failure. Poor harvests brought widespread hunger to parts of Europe.

    • 3 Main Pull Factors

      1. Freedom

      2. Economic Opportunity

      3. Abundant Land


  • The Germans were the largest immigrant group of the 1800s. They settled in cities as well as on farms.

  • Many were drawn to the fertile and newly available land in Wisconsin.

  • Thousands more settled in German speaking communities in Texas.

  • Many things we think of as American actually came from Germany, such as kindergarten, gymnasiums, the Christmas tree, and the hamburger and frankfurter.


  • Thousands of European immigrants were lured to the Midwest because of the promise of cheap land. Land sold for $1.25 an acre in the mid-1800s.

  • Scandinavians fled poverty to settle in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

  • Thousands of British farmers came to America because of a land shortage in Great Britain.

  • The Chinese went to California after the 1849 Gold Rush. By 1852, there were an estimated 25,000 Chinese in California. Most were miners.


  • Most Irish immigrants were Catholic.

    • They had been denied their rights for centuries by their Protestant British rulers.

    • Irish Catholics could not vote, hold office, own land, or go to school.

    • Because of this and the poverty produced by it some Irish had emigrated to the U.S. in the early 1800s.

    • In 1845, a disease attacked the potato, Ireland’s major food crop.

    • This caused a severe food shortage or a famine.

    • The Irish Potato Famine killed 1 million people and forced many to flee the country.

    • By 1855, and estimated 1.5 million people had left Ireland, most going to the U.S.

    • Once in America, many Irish farmers were forced to settle in cities due to a lack of money to travel elsewhere.

    • By 1850, the Irish made up ¼ of the population in Boston, New York, Baltimore, and Philadelphia.

    • The uneducated Irish came with few skills and were forced to take low-level, backbreaking jobs.

    • The women washed clothes or served as servants while the men dug canals and built railroads.

    • The Irish competed with freed African Americans for jobs that no one else wanted. They had few other choices in the 1800s.

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