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A. Who are They
1. Old Immigrants (18001880)
– Northern and Western
– UK, Netherlands, Sweden,
Germany, Norway
– Religion: Protestants
2. New Immigrants (Starting in 1880)
– Southern and Eastern Europeans
– Czech, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Russian
– Religion: Roman Catholics, Orthodox Christians,
and Jews
B. Coming to America
1. Why come to America?
– Seeking a better Life
– Poverty and little opportunity
in their own country
– Religious Persecution
– US viewed as the land of
2. The Trip Across the Ocean
Passage to the US was cheap for a reason
Ships were crowded
Unsanitary conditions
Most poor immigrants traveled in the steerage or
bottom of the boat
“The ventilation is almost
always inadequate, and the air
soon becomes foul. The
unattended vomit of the
seasick, the odors of not too
clean bodies, the reek of food
and the awful stench of the
nearby toilet rooms make the
atmosphere of the steerage
such that it is a marvel that
human flesh can endure it…All
of these conditions are
naturally aggravated by the
3. Ellis Island
– In New York Harbor
– Gateway for 112 million
– Used from 1892-1954
– Immigrants held in holding pens
– They were interviewed for radical ideas and
inspected for diseases
– If immigrants had trachoma (an eye disease) they
would be deported immediately
– Some were held for weeks
4. Angel Island
– San Francisco
– 1910-1940
– Immigration Gate of the West
– Immigrants in the west – Many
Chinese had come to America
during the California Gold Rush.
– The Chinese Exclusion Act 1882
stopped immigration for
10 years. Renewed in 1892.
– Japanese went to Hawaii for
the sugar plantations Later they moved to the mainland.
Japanese were put in segregated schools.
– Angel Island – Like Ellis Island only outside San Francisco.
More prison like than Ellis Island.
C. Conditions for Immigrants
1. Living Conditions
– Most immigrants lived in
large cities
– Lived in Tenements (run
down apartment
– No indoor plumbing
– Overcrowded
– Small
– No sewage or trash
2. Working Conditions
– Routine repetitive tasks
– 10-12 hrs a day 6 days a
– Low pay = $400 -$500 a
– Unsafe unhealthy
– Women and children
work too
D. Reaction to Immigrants
1. Nativism
– The idea that those who had
been here longer were
– Viewed immigrants as a
threat to society
– Viewed them as a threat to
the economy
Accepted low wages, took
jobs from Americans
2. Immigration Laws
– Number of immigrants
continued to increase
– US passed laws limiting
the number of
immigrants that could
come in
– Chinese Exclusion Act:
1882, Bans immigration
for 10 years
– In 1917 Congress passed
a Literacy Test. You had
to be able to read English
to come here.
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