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What region in Europe was the source of the most immigrants to America at the turn of the 20 th Century? . I. Who were the “new” immigrants?. Before 1890, most immigrants were from Northern and Western Europe. After 1890, most “new” immigrants were from Southern and Eastern Europe.

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What region in Europe was the source of the most

immigrants to America at the turn of the 20th Century?


I. Who were the “new” immigrants?

Before 1890, most immigrants were

from Northern and Western Europe

After 1890, most “new” immigrants were

from Southern and Eastern Europe


II. Reasons for immigration:

“Push” Factors

“Pull” Factors


II. Reasons for immigration:

“Push” Factors

“Pull” Factors


III. The Journey


Journey: 3,000 miles, 2-3 weeks

Steerage- 3rd class, below deck-

cargo section of steamboat


“First-Class people, all the

rich people, were way

above. I’d look up at them,

they were all dressed nice,

and we were like a flock of

sheep down below.”

Paulina Caramando,



The Statue of Liberty

was a sign the immigrants

had made it to America

“Give me your tired ,your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”

Emma Lazarus, 1883


Ellis Island- primary

processing station for

European immigrants


1907 peak year with 11,747

in one day!


“Line inspection”- doctors observe

immigrants for physical or mental “defects”


Check for trachoma,

contagious eye disease


“Registry Room”-

immigrants questioned about

political beliefs, marital status,

prospective employment, skills,



80% of immigrants through

Ellis Island “admitted”

to America


“New” immigrants (Slavs, Italians, Poles) contributed the

primary labor force for America’s Industrial Revolution

Textile Mills, Steel Mills, Coal Mines—

low pay and dangerous conditions


IV. “Nativist” Resistance

(1880-1910) 8.4 million immigrants arrived

1,285,000 in 1907

Immigration Restriction League, American Protective Association

fear immigrants would take jobs, prejudice based on

religious and cultural differences


Eugenics- “well-born,” belief that through selective “breeding”

humans could improve their condition- poverty, alcoholism, thievery, etc. were inherited traits

(favored sterilization, euthanasia of “defected” babies, execution

of “feeble minded”, no intermarriage, limitation of “new”


"The population of the United States will, on account of the great influx of blood from Southeastern Europe, rapidly become darker in pigmentation, smaller in stature, more given to crimes of larceny, kidnapping, assault, murder, rape and sex immorality. And the ratio of insanity in the population will rapidly increase."

Charles Davenport, 1911

Eugenics Records Office


“Black Stork”

Dr. Haiselden


children with


to die–

supported by

some as humane


Every 7 ½ minutes

a high grade person

is born who will

have ability to

do creative work

and be fit for

leadership. About

4% of all Americans.

Every 18 seconds a

person is born

who will never

develop mentally

beyond a normal

8 yr. old

Every 50 seconds

a person is put in

jail. Very few

normal persons

go to jail.

Every 16

seconds a

person is

born in U.S.


“Every 15 seconds $100 of your money goes for the case of persons

with bad heredity such as the insane feeble minded criminals and other



Fitter Family Contests-

measured beauty, intelligence,

morality, mental health


What does

this political

cartoon suggest

to solve the

immigrant problem?


V. Congress Acts to “Protect” America from

“inferior” peoples- “genetic suicide”

Immigration Restriction Act of 1921

(Emergency Quota Act)- limit each nationality

to 3% of census in 1910

Johnson-Reid Act 1924- limited each nationality to 2% of

census in 1890

***Both lows cut off most immigration to America for several decades


Huge influx of immigrants lead to the development

  • of cities (urbanization): New York, Chicago, Detroit,
  • Cleveland, Pittsburgh

Factories provide jobs but workers

often lived in poor conditions.

Tenements- cheap housing in city

multifamily dwellings


Slums associated with

overcrowding and

poor sanitation


Little Italy

To cope in their new

surroundings immigrants often

settled in ethnic neighborhoods



Rapid growth of cities caused housing shortages

and need for new public services- sewage and

water systems and public transportation

N.Y. City 1st subway system


VII. Becoming American

Immigrants began process of assimilation- “Melting Pot”

Children learn English, American customs, citizenship.

Public school served an essential role in assimilation.

What does this process of assimilation resemble?



What if immigrants worked hard and learned English and still

were poor? What social theory attempted to explain why many

“new” immigrants lived in poor slums at the turn of the 20th?

Social Darwinism- “survival of the fittest”


Jane Adams- opens settlement house in

Chicago called Hull House. Outlet for

charity work. Rejected blaming

immigrants for being poor.


Hull House provided classes--

English, civics, cooking, dress making

kindergarten, laundry, employment, day care, legal aid, health care


Charles Loring Brace-

founded New York Children’s Aid Society

alternative to slums- Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA)


Brace- takes on issue of orphans

Orphan Trains--- children taken from streets and

sent to western farms, Christian families