Immigration in the Gilded Age
·    Between 1865 & 1920 30 million people were added to the population (31 million in 1865) 1907 was the peak year with 1.2 million immigrants
·    Desired free land (Homestead Act), Personal Freedoms, Liberties or Democratic Government
·    Crossing the ocean was difficult since many could not afford cabins – voyages took between 1 and 3 weeks
·    Since most immigrants were poor they traveled in STEERAGE = open area beneath the deck – limited toilet facilities – poor food – no privacy
·    Arrived at Ellis Island in NYC (opened in 1892)
·    Before 1880 most immigrants came from the British Isles or Northern Europe
·    After that emphasis shifted to southern & eastern Europe (Italians, Poles, Hungarians, etc)
·    By 1920 1/5th of Pennsylvania’s population was foreign born
·    Major languages were Yiddish, German, Polish, & Italian
·    50% of the Pennsylvania’s newspapers were directed at a foreign group
·    1890’s Anti-Catholic fears were sufficiently intense to give rise to American Protective Association – Protestant & Nativist (favoring native born Americans over immigrants) groups dominated politics
·    APA said, “I will use my utmost power to strike the shackles and chains of blind obedience to the Roman Catholic Church from the hampered and bound consciences of a priest-ridden and church-oppressed people…”
·    Through the 1920’s privileged & managerial positions were reserved for old-stock populations
·    Immigrants received the menial jobs

·    From 1880 to 1920 11 million Americans left the farm and migrated to the city
·    Before the Civil War, cities were no more than 3 to 4 miles across
·    Most lived near their work place
·    People who could afford to moved to the suburbs outside the city (using horse drawn rail cars to reach their job)
·    By the 1880’s motorized transportation made commuting easier – speeding the growth of the suburbs
·    Cable Cars, Electric Trolleys (1888), Subways (1897), Automobiles (1893) allowed greater growth
·    1853 Elisha Otis invented the elevator allowing the vertical growth
·    Many urban workers lived in apartment buildings – middle class residents who moved to suburbs left empty buildings behind
·    Owners converted these buildings into multi-family dwellings
·    Many Tenements were built as well
·    Tenements = low-cost apartment buildings designed to house as many families as the owner could pack in
·    Groupings of tenements would transform a neighborhood into a slum
·    Poverty, overcrowding, and neglect caused cities to decline
·    Trees & Grass disappeared – underneath the buildings
·    Hundreds of people were crammed into spaces meant for the few
·    Soot from coal-fired steam engines made the air seem dark and foul
·    Open sewers attracted rats and other vermin
·    Fire was a constant danger – even a small fire spread quickly – it leaped from roof to roof
·    Contagious diseases like cholera, malaria, tuberculosis, typhoid thrived in these crowded conditions
·    Some urban areas became Ghettos = areas in which one ethnic or racial group dominated
·    Many immigrants chose to live in areas where other like ethnicity thrived…language, religion, traditions were familiar