Immigrants and Immigration Movement of the Early 20th Century

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Immigration Movement of the Early 20th Century

"Here is not merely a nation, but a teeming nation of nations."
-Walt Whitman People have been immigrating to the United States ever since the European settlers first founded the nation. The first immigrants were white European settlers who came for an assortment of different reasons, such as freedom of religion and employment opportunities. Waves of immigrants poured into the US until restrictions were made in the 1920s, which were largely for cultural and economic reasons. Many saw immigration as the only way to prevent starvation, extreme suffering and death. The US became a safe haven and melting pot for many different cultures and nationalities. However, it was not easy
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Racist sentiments were felt by the Italians as a result of the competition for jobs that resulted from their presence. The Italian immigrants were willing to work long hours for little pay in unskilled jobs. Italian migratory workers became known as "Birds of Passage," since frequently they returned to Italy after making money in the US. Italians received lower wages due to their nationality. While a native white coal miner would earn about $534 a year in the early 20th century, an Italian might earn only $286. Like other immigrants, the Italians faced much prejudice due to their different cultural norms. For example, they experienced extreme racism from the anti-Catholic KKK, since Italians were predominantly Catholic. The Italians also helped to cause prohibition, since many Americans did not approve of their drinking habits. However, like most immigrant groups, they eventually assimilated into American society after both nationalities become accustomed to each other's culture.

Jews were also at the forefront of the immigration movement in the early 20th century. Before the 19th century, few European Jews immigrated to the US. By 1840, there were only about 15,000 Jews living in America. By 1920, there were over two million eastern European Jews, which represented about one-third of the entire Jewish population from that area having immigrated to America. This was largely
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