Immigration to the US before 1900

Immigration to the US before 1900
Before 1900 immigrants had an easy time adjusting to America. They experienced no economic hardships and met with no prejudices from former European immigrants who were already settled in the United States and considered themselves "Americans"

From the very beginning it would be essential to focus on the fact that this phrase is quite controversial and millions of people who immigrated to the United States since the Mayflower times met significant difficulties at their new motherland, national prejudice could be mentioned among them too. It would be essential to note that this question has been raised a number of times and the scientists find it really very complicated. This argumentative essay is an attempt to analyze the historical data and reveal whether this statement could be considered true or false. The essay is based on the academic researches by Roger Daniels (2002) and Thomas Dublin (1993) and provide analytical examination of the available scientific data.

As it was mentioned earlier the question raised is not among the easy ones and very contradictory for examination. It would be essential to begin with the reasons that caused so huge immigration floats to the United States. Thomas Dublin in his Immigrant Voices: New Lives in America, 1773-1986 (1993) came to the conclusion that severe economical situation as in Europe (it is based on the diary of John Harrower) and in the Far East (the memoirs of Mary Paik became reasonable data for that) became the main reasons for the immigration set up in the 18th century. It won’t be a secret that immigrants looking for the new home were seeking fist of all suitable economic facilities for themselves and their families. The majority of them were not satisfied by such conditions in the motherland that is why they were seeking for them in the new land (in our case the United States): “John Harrower, whose diary leads off this col¬lection, left his wife and children in the Shetland Islands, north of Scotland, because of economic difficulties in December 1773. Despite three months of searching, Harrower found no work in Scotland or London and no ships heading to Holland. Reduced to his last shilling, he signed up as an indentured servant bound for Virginia” (Dublin, 1993). But whether they chance to realize their dreams? It should be noted very small amount had enough costs to start the prosperous life on the new land that is why the majority of the immigrants started their new life with the hardships building a new country and personal prosperity: “Compared with later periods, immigration was extremely modest in the years before independence. An average of 5,000 individuals arrived annually in the British North American colonies that became the United States. Two major social groups, both drawn by the demand for agricultural labor, played leading roles in "peopling" the American colonies: in¬dentured servants from the British Isles and African slaves. Few English men or women had both the resources for and an interest in migrating to the American colonies as independent settlers in the sev¬enteenth or eighteenth century” (Dublin, 1993). It perfectly illustrate that there could be hardly spoken about equality in America. Equality was depending directly from the classes people had. The workers and servants were working hard on the few representatives of the upper classes, who came to the United States for the new fortune. The Southern States demonstrated different situation and much more adventures were coming there to seek their fortune and some of them were even lucky. So when we speak about easy time adjusting to America and no economic hardships, we should take into account that this was partially true: “That individual immigrants have been able to make a new start in this country and achieve success and even great wealth is taken as a vindication of the superiority of the American eco¬nomic and social system. Yet the picture that emerges from the myth of the immigrant success story is too rose-colored and stereotyped to illuminate this nation's history accurately” (Dublin, 1993). The representatives of the upper classes were meeting no economical hardships and there was an easy time adjusting to America. For those, who were hard working in Europe America opened new working places and perspectives.

The distinctive feature of the United States immigration is its cultural diversity. In the other countries of the both Americas continents were some kind of predominating nation (Portugal and Spanish in Mexico and Brazil would be really good example). But the United Sates observed wide variety of immigrants as from Europe as well from the other countries: “In the United States, immigrants have been far more diverse, and over time there have been startling shifts among the nationalities constituting this flow. Finally, immigration to the United States has persisted for al¬most four hundred years, with more immigrants today than in earlier periods. Immigration to the United States has been greater, more diverse, and longer lasting than that of any other nation” (Dublin, 1993). But the cultural prejudices arrived with the immigrants from their motherland. Te best illustration for this would be slavery and the treatment to the slavery in Southern and Northern States. It goes without saying that the attitude to the Irish immigrants at the United States before the 1900 was quite ambiguous. The cultural peculiarities of this nationality could not leave the other immigrants indifferent (some of them supported Irish people some were strongly against). It goes without saying that such a complicated attitude was brought from Europe. It won’t be surprising that because o such cultural prejudice, which arrived with the immigrants, the newcomers of the same nationality lived close to each other: “Cultural differences, poverty, the discriminatory attitudes of older-stock Americans, and immigrants' needs for mutual social and eco¬nomic support led immigrants to cluster together and rely on one another during their first years in the United States. Evidence of such patterns abounds in the letters and reminiscences reprinted here. German immigrants in Michigan clustered together to such an extent that two years after immigrating Sophie Frank Seyffiirdt still had not learned much English” (Dublin, 1993).

So we see that none of the facts provided in the statement ahead was observed at the early years of immigration to the United States. Yes, it provided brighter perspectives, but they got to meet severe economical hardships and experienced racial and cultural discrimination, as well prejudice. These factors did not developed themselves they arrived from Europe with the immigrants. That is why I cant agree to this statement and disapprove it.


1. Daniels R. (2002). Coming to America: A History of Immigration and Ethnicity in American Life. Second Edition (Perennial/HarperCollins)
2. Dublin T., (1993). Immigrant Voices: New Lives in America, 1773-1986. University of Illinois Press

Immigration to the US before 1900 7.8 of 10 on the basis of 2889 Review.