What caused people to leave their homeland and move to America?Some people were pushed people out of their home country and some people were pulled to America by their wants or needs. Below is a list of these "push" and "pull" factors.
Push Factors: Some people leaved to avoid starvation or to escape from the potato famine that struck Ireland in the mid-1840’s. Others wished to escape unbearable family situations, wars, revolutions, and political unrest. Religious persecution was a big emigrating factor.
Pull Factors: Some people were seeking adventure. Others desired to be reunited with loved ones who already made the trip to America. Economic opportunity, of better land, a better job, and a better life also lured people to the U.S. In the early 1900’s, southern and eastern European immigrants sought work in the growing U.S. factories. Discovery of gold in California urged people to sail across the Pacific Ocean and have their chance at finding some gold nuggets. Providing their children with the education and opportunities only available in the United States pulled people to America too.
Groups of people:
From 1820 to 1870, almost 7.5 million newcomers entered the United States. Nearly all of them came from northern and western Europe. About a third that came through were Irish. Another third were German. The last third was people who came from Poland, Scandinavia, France, Italy, Russia, and other countries in Northwest Europe.
Integration is how immigrants adjust to a new society. In order to minimize difficulties in language, many immigrants first settled into a community that included people from their native land. But in time, most immigrants and their children, begin to integrate. They learned their new country’s language and tried to adapt to the new culture. Most immigrants found a low paying job in the factories in their city. They tried to provide their children with the education and opportunities not available in their home land. Many became citizens of the U.S. They would vote and take part in politics and government, but this was achieved with difficulty. For example, in the 1920’s to the 1960’s, the United States had national origins policies. This made it easiest for northern Europeans to immigrate, but not per say the Chinese. Although some of the immigration laws were relaxed, they still had difficulty in gaining full acceptance in the U.S.
From During the 1870’s, the U.S. went into the Great Depression while the economies of Germany and the United Kingdom improved. German and British immigration to the United States then decreased while immigration increased from Canada, China, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and southeastern Europe. During this time, U.S. immigration dropped sharply. Only about 500,000 immigrants came from 1931 to 1940 and more people left than arrived. From 1881 to 1920, more than 23 million immigrants poured into the United States from almost every part of the world. There came to be two different types of immigrants. There were "old immigrants", that came before 1880. They came from northern and western Europe. There were also "new immigrants", that came during and after 1890 and came from southern and eastern Europe.
The Americans feared job competition when the immigrants came. Some disliked the politics of newcomers, or that many were Roman Catholics. Because of these fears, the citizens of the United States tried to restrict the immigration. In 1875, the United States passed its first restrictive immigration law. It prevented convicts and prostitutes from entering the country. During the late 1870’s, the government demanded a stop to Chinese immigration. In 1882, Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act, which made Chinese laborers not able to enter the United States. Many American citizens believed that these waves of immigrants threatened the nation’s unity. Hostility turned against all the new immigrants. In 1882, expanded its list of unacceptable immigrants people as beggars, contract laborers, people with mental illness, and unaccompanied children. 1911, southeastern “inborn socially inadequate qualities than northwestern Europeans.” In 1917, Congress that required immigrants 16 and older show that they could read and write in at least one language, excluded immigrants from an area most of Asia and most islands in the Pacific Ocean. In 1921, new laws reduced immigration and limited the number of immigrants from any one country. more people left than arrived. World War II (1939-1945) led to an easing of immigration laws. China became an ally during the war, ban against Chinese immigrants was lifted. In 1952, the Immigration and Nationality Act (McCarran-Walter Act), for the first time, made citizenship available to people of all origins.
Entry to America Process & Location:
Ellis Island has been a United States reception center for immigrants for more than 60 years. It is located in New York Harbor, just north of Liberty Island. Over 12 million people entered the United States through Ellis Island. The government bought the island in 1808 from Samuel Ellis, which explains the name. They started to use Ellis Island as an immigration station in 1892. About 35 buildings were constructed on the island. New immigrants were taken to the main building. The main building was 2 wooden stories, but it burned down in 1897. It was later replaced by a three-story brick building. Once inside the main building, immigrants were questioned by government officials and examined by doctors. Criminals, the insane, and people who had infectious diseases weren't allowed inside the United States and were sent back. Even with all the restrictions on people allowed into the U.S., still about 98 percent of those that came to Ellis Island were allowed into the country. Ellis Island stopped being used as an immigration station in 1924. The island was reopened to the public in 1990. The main building was restored and is now the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. In the museum you can see old photographs, clothing, toys, and passports of immigrants that passed through. Visitors can listen to recordings of immigrants and their memories of Ellis Island. Several rooms appear as they did between 1918 and 1924. These were the island's busiest years. The American Immigrant Wall of Honor stands outside the museum. There are hundreds of thousands of names on the wall in order to honor all the immigrants who made the journey to the great states of America.