The United States at the start of the 20th Century
Between 1850-1914, 40 million people emigrated to the USA.
For most the journey was hard and consisted of two weeks in the cheapest
class of travel with little or no privacy. There was also no guarantee that they would be allowed in!
Immigrants arriving at Ellis Island in 1902. From
Overcrowding in Europe.
Lack of Opportunity.
America offered escape from these.
Who were the Americans?
Immigration had made the USA a very mixed society.
America was like ‘a melting pot’.
The idea was that the immigrants lost their old identity and became AMERICANS!
Old Immigrants. These were the first European settlers from Britain, Germany
and Scandinavia. Their descendants tended to hold the best jobs, the most
money and political power- WASPs.
Native American Indians. These people originally lived across the whole
of the continent. Between 1850-90 they were forced off their land.
By 1917 many Indians lived in reservations across America.
Black Americans. In the C18th and C19th millions of Africans were brought
to America to work as slaves. By 1920 there were 11 million Black people
living in America.
Southern and Eastern Europeans. In the late C19th most new immigrants
came from Russia, Poland and Italy. Many were Jews and Catholics.
Island Immigration Centre. The Wikipedia entry for the Ellis Island
Immigration to America. Eyewitness history’s account of immigration into the United
States in the early 20th century.