In the decades following the Civil War, the UnitedStates emerged as an industrial giant. Oldindustries expanded and many new ones, includingpetroleum refining, steel manufacturing, andelectrical power, emerged. Railroads expandedsignificantly, bringing even remote parts of thecountry into a national market economy. Americawas the ideal place.
In the late 1800s, people inmany parts of the world decided to leave theirhomes and immigrate to the United States. Fleeingcrop failure, a shortage in land, and employment,rising taxes, and famine, many came to the U.S.because it was perceived as the land of economicopportunity. Others came seeking personal freedomor relief from political and religiouspersecution.
With hope for a brighter future,nearly 12 million immigrants arrived in the UnitedStates between 1870 and 1900. During the 1870s and1880s, the vast majority of these people were fromGermany, Ireland, Russian, Italy, and EnglandImmigrants entered the United States throughseveral ports. Those from Europe generally camethrough East Coast facilities, while those fromAsia generally entered through West Coast centers.More than 70 percent of all immigrants, however,entered through New York City, which came to beknown as the “Golden Door.” Throughout the late1800s, most immigrants arriving in New Yorkentered at the Castle Garden depot near the tip ofManhattan. In 1892, the federal government openeda new immigration-processing center on EllisIsland in New York harbor.Although immigrantsoften settled near ports of entry, a large numberdid find their way inland. Many states, especiallythose with sparse populations, actively sought toattract immigrants by offering jobs or land forfarming.
Many immigrants wanted to move tocommunities established by previous settlers fromtheir homelands. Once settled, immigrants lookedfor work. There were never enough jobs, andemployers often took advantage of the immigrants.Men were generally paid less than other workers,and women less than men.
Social tensions were alsopart of the immigrant experience.Oftenstereotyped and discriminated against, manyimmigrants suffered verbal and physical abusebecause they were “different.” The Irish werecalled white niggers.
They came to America becauseof An Gorta Mor. (Thats the great hunger for thosewho didnt know). The Britts hated (and still hate)the Irish, and they made them work like slaves,and paid them very little. The Irish, who camebecause they thought they could get some land, andbe free in America, were starving in the streets,and dying in the factories. When the Chineseimmigrated, they did it because conditions inChina were so poor, (and they were so poor), thatimmigrating to the U.S.was their only solution.They got extraordinarily wealthy when they cameback from the U.
S. They were extremely hardworkers despite the fact that they were callednames, and were low on the ladder. They were alsodespised by labor unions because they refused tojoin them out of principle. The Italiansimmigrated in large numbers. They came becausethey were dying in the streets of Italy. They werealso seeking the money that was famed in America.
The Italians were despised not only beingdifferent in religion, and skin color, but thatthey also brought with them, organized crime (themafia).They banded together, and lived incommunities in New York. They spoke Italian beforeEnglish. As hard as things were, their faith keptthem together, and allowed them prosper. Whilelarge-scale immigration created many socialtensions, it also produced a new vitality in thecities and states in which the immigrants settled.The newcomers helped transform American societyand culture, demonstrating that diversity, as wellas unity, is a source of national strength.Bibliography:.