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The American Dream In The Nineteenth Century

1011 words - 4 pages

In the late nineteenth century, an increasingly flow of immigrants from many parts of the world made their way to America searching for a dream that gave birth to term “American Dream” still alive today. Driven by economic and financial hardships, persecutions, and great social and political turmoil of the nineteenth century, millions of people and families left their homelands and embarked on the difficult journey to the United States of America.
Immigrants came to America from their homeland for many different reasons that were shared equally among men and women of the time. “Faced with poverty, limited opportunity, and rigid class structures at home, families dispatched members to work in the United States and send money back” (Through Women’s Eyes, Pg 404). In addition, according to Through Women’s Eyes, other women also came to the Unites States as wives or to become wives, to join husbands who had migrated before them or to complete marriages arranged in their homeland. They believed that the United States could provide them with a productive land, paying jobs, freedom of life and expression, and good schools for their children. Reasons for coming to America were financial, others political, others were too personal while yet others were religious, whatever the circumstance was; the United States was becoming a mixture of different cultures.
Despite the ultimate dream, new comers faced obstacles and hardships upon arrival. They came to America usually not knowing the language, they usually did not know anyone already living here, and did not have a place to stay in the beginning. Upon finding lodging, many had to live in small rooms, sharing them with other people. The majority also worked under tough conditions; they ended up working in factories and because they were immigrants they were usually paid the lowest wages and were put in the most resented and risky jobs. Although their lives seemed and felt harsh, they were better off than where they were in their homelands. They knew that through dedicating, schooling, and hard work they would be able to make a better life for themselves and their families in the new country. Also, according to Through Women’s Eyes, Asian Immigrants also had to endure anti-immigration laws like The Page Law of 1875 and the Chinese Exclusion Act. European Immigrants on the other hand were targets of substantial prejudice and resentment. Americans also were convinced that the new immigrants were taking their jobs away which caused some hatred on the new immigrants.
The wave of immigration in the late nineteenth century brought many conflicts in regards to religion and race. At that time America was mainly liberal and Christian. Jews and Catholics were among the first to settle in the United States and their ways of religions became wary to Americans. Despite the hatred, the immigrants often became much more religious than they had been in their homeland in order to establish their new identity without...

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