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Immigration. Chapter 7. Objectives:. To look at the rise of immigration at the turn of the century To evaluate the promise of the “American Dream” To analyze the economic, social, and political effects of immigration and to understand the immigrant experience.

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Chapter 7

  • To look at the rise of immigration at the turn of the century
  • To evaluate the promise of the “American Dream”
  • To analyze the economic, social, and political effects of immigration and to understand the immigrant experience

Immigrants came to US for a better life.

  • Some were “birds of passage” intending to earn $ and return home

Between 1870 – 1920, about 20 million people came to America.

  • Before 1890, immigrants came from western and northern Europe.
After 1890, they came from southern and eastern Europe, esp. Italy, Russia, and Austria-Hungary.

(lots of prejudice against new immigrants) Why?

why these immigrants came
Why these immigrants came:
  • Escape persecution
  • Better jobs
  • Independence/freedom

7 steps an



at Ellis Island

Chinese and Japanese immigrants came through Angel Island in San Francisco.
  • They were discriminated and restricted.
All Immigrants suffered from culture shock.
  • Some Americans took advantage of this.
  • Ethnic communities sprang up for protection.
  • They thought of themselves as “hyphenated Americans” – Chinese-Americans, Italian-Americans, etc.
Some immigrants refused to “melt in”, causing anti-immigrant feelings among native born Americans. (salad bowl idea)
Nativism – favoritism toward native-born Americans.
    • Led to xenophobia and restrictions on immigrants.
  • Nativists believed Anglo-Saxons were superior to other ethnic groups.
Chinese immigrants worked for lower wages, so….
  • 1882, Chinese Exclusion Act - closed Chinese immigration- except for students, teachers, merchants, tourists and gov’t officials.
  • Law was not changed until 1943.
This fear was extended to most Asians.
  • 1907-1908 –Gentlemen’s Agreement between Pres. T. Roosevelt and Japan, required limited emigration of Japanese unskilled workers to the US, and in exchange, San Francisco would not segregate Japanese already in America.
  • To explore the rise in urbanization
  • To understand the problems faced by people in the new cities
  • To describe the attempts at reform of the cities
factors leading to urbanization
Factors leading to Urbanization:

1. Population Explosion. Between 1870 and 1920, the urban population exploded from 10 million to 54 million causing serious problems in the cities of the Midwest and Northeast.

3. 1890-1930, Southern African-Americans moved north and west to cities to escape oppression.
  • Job competition between blacks and whites caused racial tension and segregation in Northern cities.
urban problems
Urban Problems:

1. Housing:

Row houses

Tenement houses

Slums resulted….

2 transportation
2. Transportation:
  • Lack of transportation for the poor
  • Result: street cars and the electric subway.
3 water
3. Water:
  • Safe drinking water was a problem, little indoor plumbing..
  • Cholera and typhoid fever were spread in water supplies

Result - Filtration and chlorination were introduced in the late 1800’s and early 1900’’s

4 sanitation
4. Sanitation:
  • horse manure in the streets
  • sewage in open gutters
  • foul factory smoke
  • undependable trash collection
  • garbage in the streets
  • dirty outhouses

Result - sanitation departments were opened

5 crime
5. Crime:
  • Pickpockets and thieves flourished

Result - New York City organized the first full time police force in 1844. too small to make a difference

6 fire
6. Fire:
  • Limited water supply, wooden housing, candles and kerosene heaters contributed to fires.


  • First fire departments (mostly voluntary, but by 1900, cities had full time fire depts.)
  • Brick and stone replaced wood.
two major city disasters
Great Chicago Fire, 1871

Burned for 24 hours

Killed about 300

3 square miles burned

17,500 bldgs. destroyed

San Francisco Earthquake, 1908

1000 people died

200,000 homeless

Fire swept 5 square miles

28,000 bldgs. destroyed

Two major city disasters:
city reformers
City Reformers:
  • Social Gospel movement preached

salvation through service to the poor.

  • Settlement houses – community houses in the slums to provide services and education for the poor.

Hull House was started by Jane

Addams (in Chicago).

politics in the gilded age
Politics in the Gilded Age:
  • Political Machines took over city politics.
  • Mostly operated like a pyramid with the mayor at the top – The Boss.
city bosses
City Bosses:
  • Bosses provided services in exchange for kickbacks.
  • The machine helped immigrants get jobs and places to live in exchange for their votes.
Political Machines used fraud and graft (illegal use of political influence for personal gain) to gain power and wealth.
boss tweed of new york
Boss Tweed of New York:
  • William Tweed of New York City became the head of Tammany Hall, NYC’s Democratic machine (1868) and got wealthy from kickbacks, etc.
  • Tweed Ring
Thomas Nast, the cartoonist, helped turn the public against Tweed and brought his downfall in 1871.

Boss Tweed

Politicians gave patronage (giving government jobs to people who helped them get elected). Like Jackson’s spoils system.
  • Many government officials were not qualified for their jobs.
1876, Pres. Hayes tried to reform the patronage system.
  • Stalwarts – opposed changes in the patronage system
  • Mugwumps – wanted civil service reform
  • Half-Breeds – wanted reform but were loyal to their party
Garfield became president in 1880; his vice president Chester Arthur was a Stalwart. Garfield gave jobs to reformers.
  • Garfield was shot July 2, 1881, by a Stalwart (died in Sept.)
  • Chester Arthur became president (1881) and turned to reform.
Pendleton Civil Service Act, 1883 – authorized a civil service commission to make appointments to federal jobs based on a candidate’s performance on exams (merit system).
An alliance grew between politics and business leading to the question of protective tariffs.
  • Businesses wanted a high tariff to protect their goods.
  • Reformers wanted a lower tariff to help competition.
President Grover Cleveland (1885) tried to lower the tariff, but failed.
  • Cleveland didn’t think the government needed lots of money. He didn’t want the government to take care of the people. He believed people should take care of themselves
Pres. Benjamin Harrison (1888) defeated Cleveland in the next election with help from big business.
  • He passed the McKinley Tariff Act of 1890 which raised tariffs.
Cleveland (1892) was reelected after Harrison and tried to lower the tariff again.
  • Then, after him, President McKinley(1896) raised the tariff.