Immigration Exit Project By: Eugene Fernandez The “push/pull factors” that “lured” immigrants to America While there were various reasons for such an increase in immigration during the time period between the 1840’s and 1920’s, one of the most prominent were “pus/pull factors.” The promise of freedom of religion, better job opportunities, and a better life for their families are some of the things the “pushed” people to America. During this time period, there were many countries that still would not grant its residents with freedom to express their religion. They would be coerced into following a certain religion which their countries leader approved of. Furthermore, birth rates were increasing and there were less jobs that were needed to support families, so some babies had to be aborted or killed for the sake of salvaging certain economies. This was why families wanted to ensure the survival of their children and themselves by relocating to America. There were also things that “pulled” immigrants to America. First, America was going through a process appealing to many foreigners, industrialization. This meant that there would be more factories to produce the various materials that would be made, therefore increasing the amount of It was imperative that immigrants do all jobs available to families coming to America. Also, the promise of religious freedom ensured that the they could to succeed because it was immigrants wouldn’t be persecuted for the practice survival of the fittest. of a certain religion. What types of discrimination did each immigrant face and endure, and how were they treated by “native born” Americans? The promise of religious freedom, a better life for their families, and better job opportunities did not guarantee that they wouldn’t be looked down upon by the American people. Also, their voyage into America was harsh, and often littered with deaths. Few made it off the boats and some were shot as soon as they stepped of the ships by “native born” Americans who felt that immigrants didn’t belong in America. There was even hostility within the same countries. For example, Irish that stepped of the boats were persecuted by Irish already living there because they felt that they Many immigrants felt that were superior. Basically, Immigrants is they could succeed in just weren’t considered the equals of native born Americans. America, they could succeed anywhere. Where did each immigrant settle when they arrived in America? Further proof that immigrants were considered inferior to “native born” Americans were the “houses” that they were forced to reside in. They were called tenements, which were small apartments that housed up to 30 immigrants into one small apartment. Furthermore, there was almost no heat during colder months, virtually no electricity, and the bathrooms were small and disgustingly dirty. Also, they could not depend on their jobs to help pay the rent. They received far below what we considered to be minimum wage and salary deficits weren’t uncommon during their usual 12 hour workdays. Their jobs were also dangerous with unsanitary working conditions for children as well as adults It was factories such as these that most immigrants inside the factories. As bad as this all was, were sent to work for under extremely unsanitary there was no security guarantee for any working conditions and no security or guarantee that immigrant, which meant that they could be they would have a job tomorrow. They had boring fired at any time for any reason. repetitive tasks and were lucky to be paid 1 dollar and hour for their labor. How did each immigrant group affect America politically, economically, and socially? Immigrants drastically impacted the economy. Since immigrants came to this country, there were more jobs taken at factories which meant that more materials were produced with cheaper prices. This benefited consumers of products because the prices were more affordable for middle and lower class families. Since some immigrants’ only option were jobs at factories, it was in this way that America’s economy flourished because the government was gaining money, thereby strengthening the country as a whole. Also, with immigrants coming from so many This is Ellis Island, the location where all countries, their customs and traditions immigrants had to report to for their were eventually established in America as citizenship to be allowed in the United part of our own. States.
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