Immigration in the Gilded Age - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Immigration in the Gilded Age

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  1. Immigration in the Gilded Age SSUSH12 The student will analyze important consequences of American industrial growth. a. Describe Ellis Island, the change in immigrants’ origins to southern and eastern Europe and the impact of this change on urban America. SSUSH14 The student will explain America’s evolving relationship with the world at the turn of the twentieth century. a. Explain the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and anti-Asian immigration sentiment on the west coast.

  2. What was the Gilded Age? • The period after Reconstruction is often referred to as the Gilded Age • gilded means “covered with a thin layer of gold” • “Gilded Age” suggests that a thin layer of prosperity covered the poverty and corruption of the era • this was a golden era for the wealthy industrialists, but their wealth helped hide the problems faced by immigrants, laborers, and farmers

  3. Why did immigrants come to the US? • Many sought to escape difficult conditions and find a better life • Many wanted to escape famine, land shortages, or religious or political persecution in their home countries • Others intended to immigrate temporarily to earn money and then return to their home countries

  4. European immigration • Immigrants from northern and western Europe rose dramatically in the US between 1830 to 1860 • The majority of the immigrants were German or Irish (many escaping the Irish Potato Famine) • Most immigrants avoided the south because slavery limited their economic opportunity and southerners were known to be less tolerant of immigrants • Most settled in the Northeast and Ohio Valley in cities and found work in growing factories

  5. Between 1870 to 1920, 20 million Europeans came to the US • Before 1890, many came from countries in western and northern Europe (“old immigrants”) • After the 1890s, many came from southern and eastern Europe from places like Austria-Hungary, Italy, and Russia (“new immigrants”)

  6. Other Immigrants • In the 19th Century, immigrants also arrived from other spots on the globe • From 1851 to 1883, 300,000 Chinese immigrants arrived on the West Coast • Japanese immigrants began coming to the West Coast as word of high American wages spread • Between 1880 and 1920, about 260,000 immigrants arrived from the West Indies • From 1910 to 1930, about 700,000 Mexicans immigrated to the US

  7. Coming to the new world • Virtually all immigrants up to the 20th Century traveled by boat • In the 1870s, the trip across the Atlantic Ocean from Europe took about one week • The trip across the Pacific Ocean from Asia took almost three weeks • Many immigrants traveled in steerage, the cheapest accommodations on the ship • Passengers from steerage were rarely allowed on deck and crowded together in the cargo hold of the ship • They often slept in louse-infested bunks and shared toilets with many other passengers • In these conditions, disease spread quickly and some immigrants died before reaching their destinations

  8. Ellis Island and Angel Island • For most immigrants, their first American experiences were the inspection stations where they may or may not be admitted into the country • European immigrants went through Ellis Island in New York • Asian immigrants went through Angel Island in San Francisco Bay • About 20% were detained a day or more before being inspected • Only about 2% were denied entry • From 1892 to 1924, an estimated 17 million immigrants passed through Ellis Island • Between 1910 to 1940, about 50,000 Chinese immigrants passed through Angel Island

  9. Inspection Stations • To gain admittance to the country, immigrants had to: • Pass a physical examination by a doctor • Anyone with a contagious disease, such as tuberculosis, was sent home • Meet with a government inspector who checked to see that the immigrants had the legal requirements to enter the US • They had to prove they hadn’t been convicted of a felony, demonstrate that they could work, and show that they had some money (at least $25 after 1909)

  10. Challenges to Survival • Once admitted to the country, immigrants had to find a place to live, get a job, and get accustomed to life while trying to understand an unfamiliar language and culture • Many immigrants sought immigrants with a similar background to theirs • Many immigrants faced discrimination by people who were native-born – they saw the immigrants as a threat to the American way of life • Most of the immigrants settled in cities because of the many job opportunities in mills and factories • They lived in overcrowded and unsanitary multifamily apartment buildings called tenements • Cities had to deal with all of the problems of a place that grows too quickly – how to get the people clean drinking water, how to deal with sanitation issues, how to control crime, and how to control the threat of fires