Immigration A. Who are They 1. Old Immigrants (18001880) – Northern and Western Europeans – 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 opportunity 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 crowding.” 3. Ellis Island – In New York Harbor – Gateway for 112 million immigrants – 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 buildings) – No indoor plumbing – Overcrowded – Small – No sewage or trash systems 2. Working Conditions – Routine repetitive tasks – 10-12 hrs a day 6 days a week – Low pay = $400 -$500 a year – Unsafe unhealthy atmosphere – Women and children work too D. Reaction to Immigrants 1. Nativism – The idea that those who had been here longer were better – 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.