Between the late 1870’s and the outbreak of World War I in 1914, American’s Industrial Revolution fueled the most rigorous period of immigration in American history. Many millions of people, mostly from Southern and Eastern Europe came to America. Most were poor, didn’t speak English and almost all were strangers to America to society and culture. These were the “New Immigrants”, and they swelled to existing American cities, while also forming new cities in the process. The forces of immigration and urbanization would combine with industrialization to transform a once rural and agrarian nation into its modern form.
Before the time of industrialization, what is now called the United States, this nation was an agrarian society. Most of the people were Protestant, English-speaking, Anglo-Saxons from Northern and Western Europe. Many of them came to the United States because of political persecution, overpopulation, overused land, and shortage of jobs due to industrialization in Europe. Many of these “old immigrants” Thought that the United States would be a good place to escape these elements and start over. Industries were concentrated in the Northeast and railroads were the only “big business”. But once more and more “Big Businesses” began to pop-up, a larger workforce was needed. That is were the “New Immigrants” came into the picture.
Many of the “new immigrants” came to America for the same reasons as the “old immigrants- to escape religious and political persecution, and for a chance to start over again. Countries such as Italy, Ireland, Poland, Austria, Hungary, Russia, Greece, Romania, Croatia, and were represented in the immigration to the United States. These people came in the ten’s of millions. Before the Civil War, fifty percent of immigrants were from England, and the other forty percent were from Ireland. After the war and until 1890, almost ten million people, mainly from England, Wales, Ireland, Germany, and Scandinavia, came to the United States. Finally, between 1890 and 1914, more than 15 million immigrants came to the United States ( “Immigration”). The Irish came to escape the “potato famine", and religious persecution. Russian Jews came to escape religious persecution also.
These immigrants were important to industrialization in the United States. Because these immigrants were willing to work in unsanitary work conditions, and with little pay, American industries were able to hire more of these types of workers. Although they were unskilled, I type of jobs they would have them do were once that didn’t require little to no knowledge. Because these families were so poor, everyone had to work. Since there were no child labor laws, children were sent to work in coal mines, and silk mills. Women also had to work- mostly in textiles factories or as seamstresses ( “Becoming
American: An Ethnic History”)....