Immigration In The 19th Century Essay

895 Words 4 Pages
Immigration has always been a major part of America. In fact, without immigration the creation of America would not have been possible. The majority of immigrants came to America for religious freedom and economic opportunities. However, for the most part before the 1870’s most immigrants were Protestants from northern and western Europe. These immigrants often migrated to the United States as families and usually lived on farms with family or friends who had already migrated beforehand. A lot of immigrants came to America with a plan or goal in mind. They often had saved up money for the long immigration overseas, were skilled in a certain trade, or had already been educated at a high level. Sadly, this would not last. Immigration became …show more content…
The grass always looks greener on the other side and there was plenty of green to be had in America. America had massive amounts of land for sale as well as a plethora of jobs. These conditions could not be found in most other countries. Americans were unsettled by the overwhelming amount of new immigrants. The new immigrants came in such massive quantities that in 1900 immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe made up as much as 70 percent of all immigrants. This is a dramatic increase considering that in midcentury these immigrants only made up 1 percent of the immigrant population. This overhaul of new immigrants led to severe hostility, bias, and nativism. Nativism is the belief that native-born white Americans were superior to newcomers. Competition for jobs and housing had never been higher in the late 19th century. America was in an economic recession and most immigrants were willing to work for much lower wages than natural born citizens which as a result put them out of work and ultimately housing. This however was only one problem, religion was another. American Protestants were suspicious of Catholicism which was the religion of many new immigrants including the Irish, German, Italian, and Polish. The majority of white Protestants would not hire, vote for, or even work with Catholics or Jewish people. In severe cases Americans would even sign contracts agreeing not to…