A History of Immigration Between 1820-1880

By Victoria Fong, Jasmine Smith, Donneka McPherson, and Chris Jeung

Overview of Migration

By Jasmine Smith

From 1820 to 1880, many different people came from all over the world for many different purposes. People came for opportunities, freedom, education, wisdom, religion, work, equal rights, etc. Migration happened all over the world, such as with the Chinese, the Irish, the Italians, the Germans, and the African Americans. The patterns that were seen with most of these groups was the desire for money, causing many people to move west to California for the Gold Rush.

Immigrants coming from America resulted in a growth in the US population. Approximately 650,000 Italians arrived in America before 1820; from 1820 through 1880, over 10 million immigrants came from Northern Europe . Some settled in the the Eastern and Midwest cities, others settled in the Midwest and West (Ships Passenger Lists, Italian Immigration to USA & Canada). 8 to 12 million African Americans were transported to slave plantations; the transporting of slaves called the transatlantic slave trade. About 6% (600,000 to 1 million) were brought to the United States. After the slave trade, African Americans continued to migrate in large groups. Between 1865 and 1880, thousands migrated to Kansas, Arizona, California, Oklahoma, and Washington. By 1880, the African Americans were settled as servants, farmers, fur trappers, entrepreneurs, teachers, and gold prospectors (African American Migration). Irish immigrants moved to the eastern cost of America, the ghettos of New York, Philadelphia, New Orleans and Boston, they were also forced to live in alleys, courts and cellars of the slum area, areas were you can get a disease. The Chinese immigrants arrived in America in 1840. By 1851, 25,000 Chinese immigrants moved to California (Immigration: The Journey to America).

Causes of Migration

By Donneka McPherson

Within 1820 through1880, migration was very common in different groups. The Western Europeans were the most common groups migrating. There were various pull factors which drove them away from their homeland or place of origin. Things such as poor medical care, not enough jobs, primitive conditons, or political fear were there some common reasons for migrating. As for African Americans, most migrated to escape the harshness of slavery (Immigration). They chose new destinations because of the transatlantic slave trade which created an enduring image of black men and woman as transported communities (The African American Migration Experience).
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Chinese Girls


The first Chinese immigrants arrived in the United States in 1847. They were brought by a missionary for schooling in Massachusetts. Most Chinese men were referred to as "sojourners" in America because they were very poor. They mostly migrated to make enough money to return to China to support their families. Common pull factors such as chances of getting a job, better living standards, education, security, and better medical care are what pulled immigrants from different countries to the United States. People migrated to the Americas for a better life (Chinese Immigration).
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African American Family

Migration Experiences and Effects

By Chris Jeung And Victoria Fong

Those who came to America during the 1800s were generally trying to flee economic depression in their country of origin, but even when coming to America, it did not seem as if they succeeded escaping the hole they were trying to dig themselves out of. (Chinese Immigration, Immigration: The Journey to America). The Chinese that came to America were mostly males who left their families behind in China with the idea that they would make enough money, from the Gold Mountain, to send back to their families and return to China; these men were called sojourners. The Chinese government and the United States government signed a treaty, the Burlingame Treaty , in 1868 which was supposed to protect the Chinese immigrants, but there were still hate attacks against them. The Chinese became the victims of violence, discrimination, and racism because "to Americans, the Chinese appeared alien." They were considered worthless and were accused of depressing wages and "lowering the standard of living." In reaction to the hostility, they established "Chinatowns"; San Francisco's Chinatown being one of the most powerful networks of Chinese people in America(Immigration:The Journey to America). These Chinatowns provided these immigrants chances to catch up on the news, worship in their own way, and to eat their own type of cuisine. They also provided jobs and care for the new immigrants who arrived and had nothing here in the United States(Immigration...Introduction). Many Chinese men worked in agriculture, as minors, as domestic servants, and as laundry workers. Another job that they had was helping to build the Transcontinental Railroad. Migration within America was primarily done by the African Americans already living in the United States; the passing of the Jim Crow Laws persuaded them to make the decision to move from the South to the North and to the West(Reconstruction). African Americans tended to band together when they were the victims of segregation, a "separate but equal" doctrine that assumingly gave blacks their rights. After the Civil War the Africans began to receive some rights that were equal to what the white people got. The 13th Amendment allowed all of the former slaves to be free. Later on, the government passed the 14th Amendment and the 15th Amendments which insured the slaves basic rights. They moved to the ghettos which was where many of the freed slaves ended up moving to. They came together to build schools and colleges for their own children and also started businesses (Reconstruction, Immigration...Introduction). Because of the many people moving to America, the 1880 United States Census totaled to 50,189,209 people, including women (1880 United States Census).
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Ellis Island


Most immigrants from the East of the Atlantic, started their new lives on Ellis Island. The Irish peasants who immigrated to America arrived without absolutely any resources or capital to start their own farms and businesses. For jobs, America was expanding greatly in terms of economy, requiring more "muscle grunt". The Irish were clearly needed, taking the jobs of railroad builders to make the first National Transportation System. They made small communities alongside the railroads they were building, while at the same time, the rapid growth of cities required more jobs to be filled. Irishmen filled up the jobs of firemen and policemen, actually fulfilling the stereotype known well even now. The Irish had no choice but to emigrate, as the fight between Protestants (England) and Catholics (Irish) escalated and the Potato Famine left many starving. However, it was very expensive to immigrate to the US; many of the Irish had to pay their way to Canada, where they then paid to get to the US or walked across the border. Germans held jobs such as beer makers, butchers, cabinet
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A German Family
makers, and even one-third of agricultural farmers were reported to be German at the time. They crowded together not unlike Chinese Chinatowns, making "miniature-Germany" towns. The Germans, moving to America because of forced modernization and population growth in their country, took a simpler route to America, compared to the Irish, by taking steam boats and steam trains through Great Britain and across the Atlantic (Immigration: The Journey to America).The Italians mostly took jobs that others would not take, even sacrificing education and food for money, but never resorting to prostitution. Some examples of the menial jobs the Italians took are shoe shining, rag picking, and sewer cleaning. As for Italian networks, they clustered all around America, staying with groups related to their place of origin; Sicilians would settle in New Orleans, northern Italians would settle in California, Neopolitans and Calabrians would settle in Minnesota, and even people from different parts of Sicily would settle on different streets. All-Italian neighborhoods were rare, allowing themselves to disperse (Immigration: The Journey to America).The Italians were forced to move to America, many being Northern Italian refugees with wars and violent events accompanying the Risorgimento, "the struggle for Italian unification and independence from foreign rule" (Destination America). Despite the horrid conditions the immigrants had to endure, they all came together and survived to this day.

Westward expansion was the cause of Native American removal of European settlements.The Native Americans were the natives of America before this land was discovered by the European people. Ever since European invasion, they have been continually pushed off their lands and become confined to the land that the American government has given them. During 1820 to 1880, some things were done that changed the way that the Native Americans had lived before. In 1821, James Monroe said in his 2nd Inaugural Address, "...flattered their pride, retarded their improvement, and in many instances paved the way for their destruction" (Immigration...Introduction). Andrew Jackson wanted Congress to pass the Indian Removal Act in 1830, which would force the Native Americans out of the U.S. and onto Indian territory, past the Mississippi River. The Cherokee Indians were supported by the Supreme Court, but were kicked off their land by federal soldiers in 1838. This became known as the Trail of Tears because a lot of the Native Americans died while walking to their new lands. During the images-1.jpgCivil War, in 1862, the Navajo Indians were offered a place in the Union Army, but after no response from these people, the Union Army took them off of their lands, putting them into prison. After all of this, the Native Americans still were not recognized as citizens, but instead had to sign treaties in order to live in the U.S. The Sioux Indians were also forced to move off their land, by one man named George Custer. Custer and his men attacked the Indian tribes, the event known as the Battle Of Little Big Horn , and were defeated. It also became known as "Custer's Last Stand" even though he was the cause of this bloody battle. The Native Americans were attacked just because they were on the land that was rightfully theirs. They were forced to move onto reservations that the government gave them. Despite America's modernization, the Native Americans are still treated this way (Immigration...Introduction).


Works Cited


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