"New vs Old Immigrants: The Impact of Immigration and Urbanization"


This article explores the influx of Southern and Eastern European immigrants to the US from 1870s until WWI. The new immigrants, largely poor and unskilled, were met with fear and discrimination by American natives, who felt threatened by their presence.

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2. New Immigrants New Immigrants= Southern and Eastern Europeans during 1870s until WWI.  Came from Ireland, Germany, Italy, Greece, Poland, Hungary and Russia.  Often unskilled, poor, Catholic or Jewish, and planning to save some money to take back home. Old Immigrants- Came before the Irish and German immigrants. After 1900, New Immigrants made up 70% of all immigrants. American natives felt threatened by the new immigrants

3. Immigrants from Europe Old New New New

6. RELIGION BIRTHPLACE REASONS DESTINATION OCCUPATION Protestant Catholic and Jewish North/Western Southern/Eastern Europe Europe Both escaping poverty, religious and political persecution Moved to farms Moved to cities in the in the Midwest Northeast Became farmers Unskilled workers Old v. New

7. Push Factors Push Factors = Things that force/ “ push ” people out of a place or land.  Drought or famine  Political revolutions or wars  Religious persecution  Economic struggles

8. Push Factors 1880s- Farmers had a difficult time in Mexico, Poland, and China. 1840s- many wars and political revolutions in China and Eastern Europe which caused economic troubles. Russian and Eastern European Jews faced religious persecution and fled to the U.S. for safety.

9. Pull Factors Pull Factors = Things that attract people to a place or land.  Plentiful Land  Employment  Religious Freedom  Political Freedom  New Life

10. Pull Factors 1862 Homestead Act and aid from railroad companies made western farmland inexpensive. Workers were recruited from homelands to build railroads, dig mines, or work in factories. Many wanted to find gold. Chain immigrants = come to be with family or friends who had gone before to start new lives.

11. Journey to America Many immigrants could barely afford a ticket to come to the U.S. They could only pack what they could carry. (Clothes, photograph, tools for their trade) Many would wait in line for hours to try to get on a ship and in many cases it was very dangerous to do this.

12. Journey to America Steerage = Where most immigrants traveled on the ship. Steerage was located on the lowest decks of the ship with no private cabins, and was dirty and crowded. Seasickness was an issue in rough weather and illnesses spread quickly in the lower decks.

15. Immigrants Arrive in America 2 ports of entry into the U.S.  Ellis Island- New York City  Angel Island- San Francisco Bay To enter the ports immigrants had to be healthy and show they had money, a skill, or a sponsor to provide for them. They had to go through a series of health tests and evaluations and could possibly be sent back to their homeland if they did not meet proper guidelines..

16. Ellis Island Ellis Island was built in 1892 as the 1 st “ Immigration Center ” Later, closed in the 1940s Today it is a museum. • The goal was to “ screen ” immigrants coming from Europe. • Immigrants took physical examinations and were held at Ellis Island before they were released to the US mainland.

17. Ellis Island Most European immigrants came through here. (NYC) 1 st and 2 nd class passengers were inspected on the ship then released. 3 rd class had to go in to be inspected. A series of medical and legal inspections would take place before you were allowed to take a ferry in to the city. Ellis Island was the more welcoming of the two ports.

22. Angel Island Most Chinese and Asian immigrants came through here (San Francisco Bay) Opened in 1910. Made it very hard for Chinese immigrants to come into the U.S. Most had to prove they were American citizens to be let in. Immigrants were sometimes left here for days or weeks in poor conditions.

25. Immigrants Assimilate Into Society Assimilate = to fit in. Most immigrants stayed in cities and lived in ethnic neighborhoods called ghettos. These neighborhoods would share the same language, religion, and culture. By 1890 many cities had a huge immigrant population. 4/5 people in NYC were immigrants.

26. Assimilation Americanization = helping newcomers learn American ways. (Language, customs, dress, and diet) In many cities Americanization institutions arose to help immigrants fit in. America became known as the “ Melting Pot ” . Immigrants usually stuck with their native cultures but children of immigrants were more likely to adopt American ways.

27. Immigrants Face Hostility Nativism = belief that native born white Americans were superior to immigrants. Competition for jobs and homes often fueled resentment and religious and cultural differences caused tensions as well. Chinese Exclusion Act = 1882 Prohibited immigration by Chinese laborers, limited civil rights of immigrants in America, and forbade naturalization of Chinese residents. A later ruling said the Chinese who were already in America were considered U.S. citizens.

28. Chinese Exclusion Act • Resentment and discrimination against the Chinese. • First law to restrict immigration. • Taking away jobs from Nativists

29. Congress also passed another act that prohibited the entry of anyone who was a criminal, immoral, or someone who handicapped. These were the beginnings of immigration restriction in America. A quota act is later going to be placed on how many immigrants can come to the U.S. from a given country.

30. Immigrants Change America Immigrants changed America in many ways.  Fueled industrial growth  Acquired citizenship  Elected politicians  Made their traditions a part of American culture.  Mexican Americans developed ranching techniques.  Chinese, Irish, and Mexican workers built railroads.  Immigrants worked in coal mines, steel and textile mills, and factories.  Women immigrants worked in factories, seamstresses, laundresses, made piecework, and worked as servants.  Immigrants helped the U.S. become a world power.