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Immigration in the 1900s

Updated on March 19, 2013


Immigration in the 1900s

1900’s Immigration

The United States is known as a giant “melting pot”. People always keep using that phrase but does anybody actually know what it means? The melting pot resembles everyone that lives in the United States, because in the United States there are so many races, cultures, and religions that all coexist in the same country. We are the melting pot because we all melt together to form the United States. Immigration is responsible for millions of people living in this country today. The United States is made up entirely of immigrants and without immigrants we would not be the superpower we are today. In 1900s people emigrated from Europe, Asia, North America and the overall effect on the whole United States (Brinkley, 291).

People emigrated from Europe mostly because of famine, land shortages, religious persecution, and political persecution. During 1910 America saw millions of Europeans become United States citizens. Many of these European immigrants traveled to America on crowded boats with horrible living conditions and some would even die before they could reach the United States (Ferro, 257). When European immigrants arrived in America most of them arrived in New York where they were processed at Ellis Island. The United States had restrictions on immigrants entering the country and if they failed an inspection then they would be sent back to Europe. Through all this time, over 17 million immigrants passed through Ellis Island (Cavalleri, 256).

Once being admitted to the United States, immigrants faced tough challenges such as finding a place to live, work, and how to function in everyday life. Many immigrants lived communities that shared their same cultural values. For example, in New York, the Italians had their area, the Germans had their area and so on. During this time while people were immigrating to the United States, native born Americans feared that these immigrants would take there jobs. Also, native born Americans opposed immigration because they did not think that they belonged in the United States even though, at one point, these people were immigrants themselves. These people had many reasons why they immigrated here. The Irish immigrated to the United States because of a famine that was killing people. They saw America as a country where they could go and start over and not worry about a famine that had plagued them in their past. Many Germans immigrated to the United States to get away from political and religious persecution. European immigrants brought a diverse and fascinating culture with them to the United States (Commager, 474).

Asian immigrants came to America during this time to start over and they came for work. Asian immigrants immigrated to the west coast of the United States. They were processed through Angel Island which was the west coast equivalent of Ellis Island. These immigrants came from a vast array of countries including China, Japan, and many other countries that are in Asia. Americans did not like Asians coming to America because they were taking jobs from them. Because of this, Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act which excluded all Chinese people and later Asian people from entering the country (Commager, 474). Back then, Asians farmed the central valley and they also risked their lives in building the 1st continental railroad. Just like Europeans, the Asian people traveled to the United States on overcrowded boats. Asians lived in communities were their language and culture was very similar. By doing this, Asian Americans could function in American life without being discriminated. Asian Americans have become a large part of the American culture today and have helped America thrive (Ferro, 258).

The last major type of immigration to the United States was from North America. People immigrated mostly from Mexico, and the West Indies (Pendergast, 288). People emigrated from Mexico to escape horrible living conditions and to find work. Mexicans came to the United States by crossing the border from Mexico to the United States and registered to become citizens. Mexicans helped out in the farming industry in the western states (Pendergast, 287). Also, Mexicans lived in communities where they shared the same culture and spoke the Spanish language. People from the West Indies emigrated from such islands as Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic. These people immigrated to Florida which is the closest state to these islands. During this time, over 260,000 people immigrated to America from these places (Pendergast, 288). Immigrants living conditions were very poor and many people struggled to get by. Immigrants’ would be crowded into tiny little apartments and they would have absolutely no privacy. Mexicans have brought their culture to many of the western states. Some people have emigrated from Canada but there is no major history on Canadians immigrating to the United States. Today Canada has one of the longest unprotected borders in the entire world.

Immigration has had a huge effect on the United States. The United States would not be where it is today if there was no immigration. Americans discriminated against many immigrants such as calling the Asians Orientals. In today’s United States racism should be different but sadly their has not been much of a change. Many immigrants that immigrated here during this time are some of the most influential people in history. Albert Einstein was a German immigrant that left Germany to avoid religious persecution and he helped make the atomic bomb which helped win the war for the United States. If he had not immigrated than Germany would have been using the atomic bomb in World War 2. Many famous celebrities are the grandsons or granddaughters of immigrants. Without all of these immigrants moving here, the United States would be a one-culture country and the world would be different. The United States was the 1st country in the world to give everybody equal rights. Every person no matter what race or religion has the same rights as anybody else in America. In the constitution it states that we are allowed to free speech, free religion, and free press. The United States is the only country in the world where everyone coexists together. In the United States cultures have thrived by building their own communities. None of this wide variation of culture would be in the United States if there was no immigration. The two biggest areas of immigration in the United States were New York and San Francisco. These two cities had two of the largest immigration centers in the United States. New York is the most diverse city in the world because there are so many people and cultures within just blocks of each other (Frederick, 146). In San Francisco, more Asians than Europeans immigrated there because the west coast was a hub for Asia due to its closer proximity to San Francisco. Another place where a lot of people immigrated to was Florida, mostly in the Miami region. In Miami there are a lot of cultures from the West Indies that all blend together to form a strong community that makes Miami an intriguing place to visit to see (Kraut, 205). With immigration, there is violence because sometimes other cultures can clash. Also there are types of people that think they are better than the average person like the Ku Klux Klan. These people discriminate against people that are immigrants from a different race than they are, and these types of people are people who do not see the importance of immigration to this country.

Immigration is the melting pot that keeps America melting together. Unlike any country in the world the United States opens its doors to anyone and gives freedoms unparallel to any country. The melting pot is everyone that lives in the United States. There are so many cultures that exist in the country. The United States is made up entirely of immigrants and it was immigrants that fought for are freedom in this country and still do today (Brinkley, 291). Coming to America was very tough for immigrants because it was such a struggle. People often struggled to find jobs and provide for their family. These immigrants that immigrated here dealt with the challenge of learning a new language while at the same time preserving their old culture. The culture of these immigrants is very important to the history of immigration, and the history of the United States. Having so much culture in the United States makes it easier to learn about the worlds cultures. In different regions of the United States and learn just as much about peoples cultures than going over to Europe or Asia. Immigration to the United States during the 1900s might not be the most important event in American history, but it is a major event that welcomed millions of new citizens into the country.


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      ur gr8 3 years ago

      That was everything I needed to know

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      faith 3 years ago

      this really helped me under stand the stuff more my history teacher just zips though everything..... thanks

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      olivia 3 years ago

      that was fantastict!!!!!

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      Matt 4 years ago

      Yes, yes i am.

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      Eric 4 years ago

      Matt is a lonely, defenseless, manchild

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      jada 4 years ago

      this website is dumb

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      ayo 4 years ago

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      Chuey 4 years ago


    • pramodgokhale profile image

      pramodgokhale 4 years ago from Pune( India)


      very interesting and proved greatness of America. Why people migrated to this new country? First very important is the freedom and and of course freedom of expression. The land of opportunity welcomed immigrants on mass scale and allowed them to settle and provided nationality.

      European immigrants contributed with sincere efforts and their integrity paid back.

      Asian immigrants mostly after WW--II also contributed in America's growth.No doubt America has her own mould and during Great depression and world war two , they proved that they had best crisis management abilities and skills.

      Innovative America is still attractive model for me like third world nation's person.Blue collar , white collar, now green collar workers, transformation of society with own technologies and methods are really laudable.

      Hopefully melting pot will come out of economic crisis and global community will prosper.

      thank you sir.

      pramod gokhale

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      Howard Schneider 4 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

      Great Hub, Dman2k8. Immigration in the 1900s was a major, positive factor in America's growth. I wish our nation would learn that lesson and facilitate common sense immigration reform now.

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      kalie 5 years ago

      This was not what i was looking for but thank you for wandering

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      23467hjugwyguyt 5 years ago

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      francis5k 5 years ago from New York, New York

      interesting article! I'm glad to read you're article... great job!