Watson A-E Group 3

Immigration to the U.S./ Migration within the U.S. from 1880-1930

-edited by Jennifer Yu


by Sierra Mitchell


Immigration in the late 1800s was known as the “New” Immigration. During this time period, various groups of immigrants immigrated to the United States, but this time, there were more immigrants than the prior years (Immigration 1820-1930). A major migration movement was the Great Migration which was from 1915 to 1940. These were the time when African Americans felt they could make a better life by migrating from their farm life in the South to the industrial life in the North. (Field to Factory: African American Migration 1915-1940). During these years, approximately seven million African Americans migrated from the southern states of United States to the north, mid-west, and the west (Great Migration (African American)). Ever since the use of steam power increased, waves of people from across the world, such as from Italy, Russia, China, and other countries. Roughly forty-six million Italians arrived from Italy, twelve million Chinese from China, and three million from Russia (The Peopling of America). Many saw the United States as the land of opportunities. Along with migration and immigration, the Industrial Revolution was working their way in giving these opportunities. Factories grew rapidly. Wars were erupting all around the world. America was both the most productive and safest place to be in. However, the United States' view on immigration changed over this time period. After World War I, in fear of spies or invasions, the country passed certain Acts to limit certain people's immigration to the U.S., and also grew more reluctant in allowing people to immigrate to the United States.(The Peopling of America). Immigration to the United States slowly began to decrease, and the economy took a turn for the worst, leading into the Great Depression.

The Italians

by Jennifer Yu

The mass migration of Italians from Italy to the United States was due to the fact that large groups of people from various countries were immigrating or migrating into the United States as well. In Italy, the northern Italians controlled the Italian government. They placed high tariffs or tax on their industrial goods, leaving the southern Italians distressed from these high prices. Italians were also mentally abused by their own people of the same nationality. Their lives were based on family rules. Instead of being united as a society, they were more independent on their families (Italian Immigration).Standard for living weakened; poverty began because food was very expensive. Italians lacked nutrition and were starved. In the north of Italy, diseases such as pellagra and malaria spread that took lives of many residents (Causes of the Italian mass emigration). Another factor that stirred the Italians to migrate was natural disasters. Mount Vesuvius erupted following by Mount Etna. In 1908, an earthquake shook Italy. These three disasters caused more than 100 thousand casualties. Italians see that they are residing in a risky environment and decided to leave (Italian Immigration).

New lives in the United States were not as satisfying as Italian immigrants thought it would be. Italian migrants lived in filthy, crowded houses. Italians came together to establish mutual aid societies based on human relationship and their native land. Some migrants became well known as fruit merchants in New York and wine growers in California. These migrants wanted high salary jobs, but did not want to be farmers. Most worked in heavy construction jobs, digging tunnels, laid railroad tracks and constructed bridges or roads. Although Italians migrated to the United States, most did not want to become permanent residents. They hope to earn a living in order to return to Italy (Italian Immigration). To save money to return, many ate not much food, resulting in lack of nutrition (The Italians). Over the years, 11%-73% of the Italian migrants returned to Italy (Italian Immigration).

The Chinese

by Jennifer Yu

The first Chinese immigrants came to the United States because of the Gold Mountain, the Gold Rush. Young men from China left their villages and signed labor contracts to cross the Pacific Ocean to this new mysterious land. Most of the immigrants during 1882 through 1965 were diplomats, merchants, and students because only they were allow traveling to the United States (Chinese Immigration to the United States). Many came because of famine and poverty in China (Chinese Immigration History).The United States offered many work opportunities and allowed Chinese immigrants to send some of their monies to their families in China (The Chinese).

In the United States, the Chinese faced discrimination from the Whites for a long period of time. They were named the “yellow peril”, the yellow terror (Chinese immigration to the United States).The Whites believed that they are the superior race while the Chinese was the inferior race. The Chinese were segregated in ghettos called Chinatown. The Chinese were only allowed to stay in their areas-Chinatown, but not anywhere else. In the United States, the Chinese worked as cooks, peddlers, or storekeepers. The Chinese brought many of their language dialects as well as cultural practices and customs (Chinese Immigration to the United States). Apparently, the mass immigration of Chinese eventually led to the Chinese Exclusion Act of May 6, 1882. The Chinese Exclusion Act suspended Chinese immigration for the next ten years, because there were many Chinese immigrating into the United States. However, Chinese immigration suspension lasted more than ten years. The Geary Act of 1892 extended this suspension. The Act required Chinese residents in the United States to obtain residence certifications, if not, he or she will be forced to return back to their homeland. Until 1910, the Angel Island Immigration Station opened and accepted Chinese immigrations. Another act, The Immigration Act of 1924 separated the Chinese. The Chinese were not allowed to start any classes and forced to live on their own without any support. Again, Chinese immigration was limited until the later years (Chinese Exclusion Act (United States)).

The Jews

by Jesus Gallardo

The greatest wave of Jewish immigration was between this time period, 1880-1930. Jews believed that immigrating to the Americas would be less dangerous than staying in Russia (Main Jewish immigration history America north-east). Why was there danger in Russia? In 1881, emperor of Russia, Alexander II or the Tsar of Russia was assassinated. The Russians blamed the Jews for this cause. His son Alexander III became the next emperor. During Alexander III’s reign, his power grew much and he turned great interest in anti-Semitic (Alexander III of Russia). The Russians and the emperor developed an anti-Semitic policy, discrimination against Jewish people. In addition to this policy, there were also pogroms, organized persecution against the Jews (Jewish Immigration). Jews were either forced out of their homelands or executed (Main Jewish immigration history America north-east). Other than persecutions, the Jews also wanted better education and a happy life in the United States for their next generations. The Jews were also in search of gold and the United States of America Dream (Main Jewish immigration history America north-east ).

In the United States, Jews formed organization to help the poor as well as received help form other Jews. Jewish immigrants also formed committees based on their town of origin (Jewish Migration to the United States). Jews had harsh living conditions in the Unites States. Jews faced discrimination from the Americans. Before Jews arrived to the United States, they were shopkeepers, merchants, craftsmen, professionals and factory workers (AILF Overview). In their new world, they lived in crushed small tenements that were not healthy, but filthy. These horrible living conditions increased the death rate among Jewish people comparing to other Americans (Jewish Immigration to the United States from 1881 to 1910). New York Times’ news reporters on location in these neighborhoods “recoiled from the clamor and stench of its half-starved inhabitants” (Jewish Migration). Jews suffered bad reputations from Russia. It was hard for Jews to apply to college or school even if they were accepted, those schools were not the best ones. Homeowners would not sell their houses to Jews, so the Jews had to continue to live in the poor and dangerous neighborhoods. Jews faced many different challenges, not until the 1930s, their lives began to improve (Jewish Migration).

The Great Migration

by Marcus He and Eduardo Lepe
Other than immigrations into the United States, there were also migrations within the United States. The Great Migration was the migration of African American from the south of the United States to the north and the west (Great Migration). Many African Americans migrated to escape racial discrimination and for the opportunity to various jobs in industrial cities. Similarly to other immigrants, the African Americans also migrated for better education for their children. Others migrate to escape the Ku Klux Klan, a white terrorist group. Along with the terrorist groups, there was segregation from the Whites. The North passed the Jim Crow Laws (Great Migration (African American)). In the South, African Americans work, but do not profit from them, because they received cheap labor. Although the laws may appear that African Americans are as equal as the Whites, they are actually not (Field to Factory: African American Migration 1915-1940).

African Americans migrated either in individuals or with their families. Throughout their journey, they received little or none support. Some northern industries recruited African Americans. African Americans had trouble traveling up North. They mainly traveled by bus or in overcrowded cars. African Americans had many concerns once they arrived in the North. They feared that too much of their own kind in one setting would cause even more discrimination. Other than discrimination, they also received support from organizations. These organizations would hold boycotts against companies that would not hire African Americans (Field to Factory: African American Migration 1915-1940). Migrants worked in various fields, in steel, automobile, and meatpacking industries (Great Migration (African American)). Children migrants also received education and took advantage of it. African Americans found churches that help them feel like they are in their hometowns. As days passed, African Americans adapted to their new lives and began to see the changes in their new lives. African Americans also made influences to the American society (Field to Factory: African American Migration 1915-1940). The Great Migration lasted until 1940 (Great Migration (African American)).


by Marcus He and Eduardo Lepe

At the start of the 1880s, steam boats made it possible for people to come to the United States at a much higher and faster rate. From 1880-1930 over 27 million people entered the United States from all over the world. With the opening of Ellis Island on January 1st of 1892, 20 million of 27 million people had entered the United States through Ellis Island (The Peopling of America).

Most immigrants who arrived, arrived through the New York Harbor. Usually the men came here to find work. Then when they earned and saved good amounts of money, they would bring over their children and their wives. Once they have arrived in their destinations, first and second class passengers were not required to undergo inspection but instead they were already lightly inspected when they boarded the ship because people thought that since first and second class passengers could afford the tickets, they shouldn't be a huge threat. Poor immigrants would most likely end up in hospitals or institutions. Chinese immigrants, when arriving at this time period, almost all arrived in San Francisco. Usually, they(immigrants in general) knew where they wanted to go because of family, that were already there, or relatives. Most of them lived in particular areas.

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