Immigration to the U.S. 1880-1920 The Jazz Singer Demographic Shifts of 1880-1920 • In 1880, the population of the United States was 50,189,209. • By 1920, the population of the United States was 106,021,537. • Between 1880 and 1920, over 20 million immigrants came to the United States. • Unlike previous waves of immigrants to the U.S., most of the new arrivals were from central and southern Europe. • Although most of these people came for the same reasons as previous groups (religious oppression/persecution, famine, better opportunities), this changed the U.S. dramatically. • The Statue of Liberty was opened in 1886. At the opening of the Statue of Liberty, Emma Lazarus read her poem “The New Collosus” which is written inside her. Demographic Shifts of 1880-1920 Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, With conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. "Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" Ellis Island and Angel Island • In 1892, Ellis Island, an island outside of New York City, was opened as an immigrant processing center. • Between 1892 and 1954 when it closed, millions of immigrants came through Ellis Island. – It is estimated that 40% of all Americans have at least 1 direct relative who came through Ellis Island. • Between 1910 and 1940 a similar immigration processing center for Asian immigrants was located on Angel Island in San Francisco. – Over 1 million Asian immigrants came through Angel Island. • Although millions were let into America, approximately 2% of all immigrants were sent back for being too sick, or because they were considered “likely to become a public charge”. Urbanization and Immigration • Aside from being racially and religiously different from prior immigrants (prior to 1880, most immigrants were Protestant and after 1880 most were Catholic and Jewish), another big change came in where the immigrants settled. • Prior waves of immigrants quickly spread across the country through government acts such as the Homestead Act, and acquired land and became farmers. – The new arrivals, however, primarily settled in the cities along the East Coast, and worked in factory or industrial jobs. – For example, in 1875, the population of New York City was about 1 million people. – By 1900, the population of New York City had reached 3.5 million people! Urbanization and Immigration Urbanization and Immigration • Aside from being racially and religiously different from prior immigrants (prior to 1880, most immigrants were Protestant and after 1880 most were Catholic or Jewish), another big change came in where the immigrants settled. • Most of the immigrants came from rural areas, but their children grew up in urban centers which were quite different than their homelands • Changes in agriculture also made it possible for more people to live in cities instead of in farms. – In 1850, nearly 50% of all Americans lived on farms and 64% of all American workers were farm workers. By 1920, less than 25% of all Americans lived on farms, and about 21% of all American workers worked on farms. • These changes gave rise to a new, modern American identity and culture from the century before with different roles for men and women. Melting Pot • America between 1880 and 1920 was known as the great “melting pot” in which a new American identity was forged from all the differences between the different ethnic groups. • The children of immigrants mostly wanted to identify with America and American culture and often shed their parents traditions. • Most immigrant children became fluent in English whereas many immigrants read native language newspapers. • Most immigrant children became much more successful and educated than their immigrant parents. • This created generational tensions as the immigrant parents had a different culture and range of acceptable norms that were quite different than those of their children. Immigration and Resentment • As the number of immigrants increased, many restrictions started to appear on legal immigration. • Initially, immigrants only had to pay a $0.50 tax as they entered the country. • In 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act prevented any more Chinese workers into the United States and barred any Chinese worker from becoming an American citizen. • In 1907, the United States and Japan entered into an informal agreement called the “Gentleman’s Agreement” in which both countries agreed not to allow any more Japanese workers into the United States. • In 1924, Congress passed The Immigration Act, which limited immigration from any country to no more than 2% of the total population from that country in 1890.