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Coming through the Golden Door: Immigrants & American Life,

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Presentation on theme: "Coming through the Golden Door: Immigrants & American Life,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Coming through the Golden Door: Immigrants & American Life, 1860-1900
How many of you can trace your family history to another country? Where? Common topic for history—connects to students personal histories, also provides context for current immigration debate. Usually think of immigrants from Europe, and most did. But some from Asia, Central & South America, Canada, and Middle East. Almost none from Africa. Peak period late in century. Coming through the Golden Door: Immigrants & American Life,

2 The New Colossus By Emma Lazarus, 1883
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, With conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. "Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!“ Poem on statue of liberty

3 Key Questions Who were they?
How were they integrated into American society? Demographic questions provide foundation; entry to historiographical .

4 How Many? 1800-1870: 10 million 1870-1920: 26 million
Northern and Western Europe : 26 million Eastern and Southern Europe ~ 20 million stayed Foreign-born less than 15% Hebrew lang poster. Meaning? Different figures depending on time period. US population—immigrants significant part of growth : 1860: 31.4 million ; 1900: Not all immigrants remained. (transnational) Movement not confined to immigrants: working people looking for jobs, moving for better opportunity. Families with means leaving city; rural coming into city. Also travel for leisure increases with easy transportation. Foreign-born never exceeds 15%.

5 Old Immigrants Arrived before 1880
Came from Northern and Western Europe Were mainly Protestant Christians Were culturally similar to original American settlers Settled both in cities and in rural areas

6 New Immigrants Arrived 1880 to 1910
Came from Southern and Eastern Europe Were mainly Catholics, Jews, or Orthodox Christians Were often culturally different from the original American settlers Generally settled in cities

7 From Where? “Old” vs. “new” immigrants Pre-Civil War: Ireland
: Germany England, Scotland Scandinavia Old v. new refers to two waves: historians moving away from term: global view. first predominately northern. & western. Europe; 2d predominately eastern. & southern. Europe. Distinction obscures immigrants from Asian, W hemisphere and some similar pattern among 1/2d wave. Vast majority European until post-WWI. Popular perception emphasis differences. Irish leading source pre-C War, esp (famine); con’t to come, esp. late century. Dominant numbers post C War(in millions): German took over 1870s; but Eng/Scot/Welsh more than Irish in Welsh usu. Small. Majority Scandinav were Swedes. German immigrant family, 19th c.

8 Invented by Hoboken’s Italo Marchiony,
From Where? “New” immigrants 1880+ Austro-Hungary “Poland” Jews Greece (after 1900) Italy(esp. after 1900) A-H: Czechs, Slovaks, Croatians Ethnic Poles under control of various other countries(Germ; Austria, Russ) Jews persecuted everywhere: ¾ from Russia, also A-H & Romania. Italians—largest single group , much after 1900. Italo Marcioni(Marchiony)– first to mass-produce ice-cream cone(started making waffles to fold); Mother Cabrini(first Amer saint); Sacco and Vanzetti Invented by Hoboken’s Italo Marchiony, emigrated 1895

9 From Where? China Canada: 2 million+ (1870-1920) (esp. 1890+)
Mexico, Caribbean (esp ) Nearly 300,000 Chinese bet & 1880 (legislation excl.—later) esp. after discovery of gold. French & Eng spkg Canadians esp (Mexicans & Canadians lots of regular travel) Vast majority from Europe/Brit Isles, but signif others, esp after Most students can connect to immigrant experience. African/Middle East missing: thousands mostly from Lebanon esp after 1890. Overall numbers: : Germany, Ireland, Italy, followed closely by Austro-Hung & Russia. Peak decades: ; then 1880s: 5.2 mill Bloomington IL immigrant, 1890s

10 Why did They Come? “Push” & “pull” factors
Home countries: declining opportunity America: available land, jobs RS: born Russian-controlled Poland; emigrated 1890 at age 8; photo probably Push factors are reasons they left their homeland Pull factors are reasons why they settled where they did Individual reasons & culture/political/social reasons. European population increases(less avail land); improved farming techniques; limited industrialization (not enough for existing labor) Temporary problem(Irish—famine-tho recurring) Relig/polit persecution(notably Jews of Russia: repression/viol/”pogroms”; military conscription; political turmoil Russian control: also German Mennonites(compulsory military, other mandates). Some saw as temporary sojourn—esp. Italian men. Gaining income to take home. Going other places too—Engl, S America, Europe. “Golden Door”; “Gold mountain” Rose Schneiderman Polish immigrant, 1890

11 What Assists? Triumph of steam technologies
Immigrants at Castle Garden, Ads in several languages for railway stations—ship will take to station. Before steamships replaced sailing ships in early 1870s, journey of months. Reduced to 2 weeks or less. Also cheaper/safer. Development of railroads allowed movement beyond port cities; north/south/interior. For S americans/Canadians, allowed easier travel by land. Trolley system enabled easy travel within and bet. Cities especaially N and Midwest. Booming industry—1000 or more in single ship’s steerage ($20 trip); competition for passengers—advertising, sales reps. Technology also facilitated return trips. Many came intending to return or to bring other family members. . Triumph of steam technologies

12 Who were They? 80% aged 14-44 Overall, mostly male Irish/Swedes:
more balanced ratio Jews: Family migration Most young adults, esp. 20s, 30s (G Hay in 20s) By turn of century, 70% male overall. But differed by ethnic group. Italians: more than ¾ male. Also Slavs, Greek: more men. After 1910, ratios become more balanced. Motivations: job seeking, intending 2-step process or returning home. Many followed earlier migrants—knew where they were headed. Italian Ellis island arrivals

13 Gaining Entry Castle Garden at Ellis Island, 1892 Angel Island, 1910
12 million Angel Island, 1910 Registration & inspections at all entries Ellis Island prototypical. Attempt to regulate, protect from scam artists, provide accurate info. Could exclude for health/politic, but only 1.7 percent were. Angel Island—established Mostly to restrict (following) Asians most were held in prison lie conditions for weeks or months awaiting a ruling on whether they could stay or not Took up to five hours at Ellis island NYC most popular: Castle Garden, 1892 Ellis Island established. Ethnicity played factor: Irish preferred Boston ; Germans-Baltimore; Germ & Brit-Philadelphia. Ital: Boston, Philly, Norleans. Chinese, etc: San Francisco, later Seattle; Japanese prefered Los Angeles. Germ companies had links to Balt, for ex; easier to access Midwest transport from Norleans. NO also easier for chinese to get through after exclusion Ellis Island Health Inspection




17 Inside Ellis Island


19 In the hospital wing

20 Where did they settle? Rural: Czechs Urban: Irish Target industries
Earlier migrants China town, Little Italy Hagebak: Norwegian. Urban: Jewish, Germans(Milwaukee) Rural: Scandinavians, Germans(Mennonites-Iowa); land seeking declines after 1890s Welsh: looked for areas with mining; Germans: brewing like Midwest. Many settle near others from their homeland, who spoke their language and shared their culture and customs They experienced hardships, lived in crowded tenements and took low paying jobs as unskilled workers. Beret Olesdater Hagebak, Wisconsin, 1896

21 “The Usual Irish Way of Doing Things,”
Nativist Sentiments 1830s: Anti-Catholic/Irish 1850s: Know Nothing Party Focus on background Anxiety over magnitude Track back to colonial period. Not unique to America(even Native American movements). Cartoon: drunken, on powder keg; ape-like—sense of inferior race, “white Negroes”: issues of whiteness: hebrew, Slav, Celt, Nordic—considered races more than ethnicities in late 19th c. Could be regional: despised Celt in 1877 Boston, yet member of Order of Caucasians for the Extermination of the Chinaman in Sfran, defending from invasion of “Mongolians” 1850s: Know N: formed anti-Catholic Germans and Irish—power of pope-hostile to Protestant values. Widened in west to anti-Chinese. Strongest in parts of N Eng. 1790 naturalization law(first one)—limited to “free white persons” –race and fitness for citizenship conflated. Period of mass immigration: to 1924: “fracturing of whiteness into a hierarchy of plural and scientifically determined white races” who was fit for self-gov’t? Ultimately led to restrictions in 1920s—by that time, Celts, Slavs, hebrews had become “Caucasian”. “Ethnicity” not really adequate term—all plays out against abolition of slavery, 14/15th amendment and history of African-Amers—race as perception, as organizer of power. Natives hostile to newcomers coined term “immigrant” in 1880s and 1890s. Before then termed “aliens” Nativists blamed immigrants for increases n crime and poverty because they took American jobs. Matthew Jacobson: whiteness of a different color, 1998. “The Usual Irish Way of Doing Things,” Thomas Nast, 1871

22 Anti-Immigrant Laws 1875: Page Law: keep out “undesirables”
1882: Chinese Exclusion Act European restrictions in 1920s Undesirables defined as Asian, esp. Chinese laborers and women. Page Law mostly ignored except for Chinese women, who were thought prostitutes. Chinese men saw as sojourn so few wives/family came. Very skewed gender ratio actually encouraged prostitution. Exclusion act: skilled/unskilled laborers, miners. (response to Gold Rush). Banned immigration for 10 years with a few exceptions and barred Chinese immigrants from becoming citizens. Separate schools for Asian students Little concern about Europeans because filling jobs?

23 Historians’ Views What was the immigrant experience? Uprooted?
Transplanted? Ask the teachers—which is it? What difference is suggested by these terms? How to characterize the immigrant experience. No single experience. Country of origin, age, partic exper in cult/within indiv fam all pertinent. Uprootedness: Handlin, focus on alienation Transplantation: Bodnar—attempt to maintain culture Attention to transnational—ties to homeland. More global view today. Lewis Hines, Italian family leaving Ellis Island, 1905

24 Historians’ Views Did immigrants co-exist or assimilate?
Is America a melting pot or a pluralistic society? Americanization No single model of national integration. Process of building community/home NOT linear. Examples: Hasidic Jews(post WWII) vs. Russian/Polish Jews coming earlier. Americanization – schools and voluntary organization taught immigrants English literacy skills and subjects needed for citizenship – history and government (most felt a loss of cultural heritage) 1905

25 “Melting Pot”? “Understand that America is God's Crucible, the great Melting-Pot where all the races of Europe are melting and re-forming! Here you stand, good folk, think I, when I see them at Ellis Island, here you stand in your fifty groups, your fifty languages, and histories, and your fifty blood hatreds and rivalries. But you won't be long like that, brothers, for these are the fires of God you've come to – these are fires of God. A fig for your feuds and vendettas! Germans and Frenchmen, Irishmen and Englishmen, Jews and Russians—into the Crucible with you all! God is making the American.” Idea present for a century. Specific phrase attributed to hit play by Brit immigrant(Russ Jew). Zangwill, The Melting Pot, 1908

26 Historians’ Views How does the history of immigration intertwine with the development of American national identity? Issues of race Issues of citizenship Issues collide with history of Afri-Americans, esp. Reconstruction. (after 14th(1868)/15th(1870) amendments. Racism/nativism. The Civil Rights Act of 1866 had already granted U.S. citizenship to all persons born in the United States "not subject to any foreign power." 14th(1868)—reverses Dred Scott to allow citizenship for black Americans: All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. Some historians see as attempt to gain Republican votes to offset Democratic power. 1876 Harper’s Weekly cartoon ►

27 19th C. Immigration No single immigrant experience
No one model of national integration Same issues for immigration today Political cartoons sometimes played on Americans' fears of immigrants. This one, which appeared in a 1896 edition of the Ram's Horn, depicts an immigrant carrying his baggage of poverty, disease, anarchy and sabbath desecration, approaching Uncle Sam. Summary: transplanted & uprooted; assimilated & co-existing; intersection with race/citizenship One scholar: contributions rose-colored in hindsight, different in present day—range of issues to explore with students

28 Questions? Striking comparison to today and southern “wall”.

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