Immigration in the United States 1870-1930

Immigration is the movement of an individual from their home country to permanently reside in a foreign country. In the years between 1870 and 1930, there was an industrial revolution in the United States. At the same time, in Europe, there was mass migration before the Civil War. There were also immigrants coming from Asia. Immigration into the United States diversified society. The main point of entry for most of the immigrants was New York City popularly referred to as the Golden Door (Akron University, 2008).  Being an immigrant during this time was a difficult phase of life. There were no jobs and the pay was meagre. The immigrants were always treated as slaves. They were often scrutinized so much before being granted entry into the United States. Most immigrants settled close to the ports through which they came in probably because it was easy to stay around familiar people. They would only wander further into the country and look for employment on the land of the settlers from their original land. Therefore, it was common for an individual to look for jobs from people whose culture was similar to theirs, to sustain themselves which was difficult at the time. 

The scarcity of jobs was caused by the slow growth of the industries and the high influx of immigrants. Being an immigrant during those times in the United States meant being away from family and a society that one was not accustomed to. People would then hurdle together with others from the places they were familiar with and form associations and clubs (Dee, 2019). This meant that immigrants during that time lived within communities that shared their native societies. It is important to note that immigrants during this period were able to develop movements that were meant to protect their well-being, as they were mainly workers (Immigrants 1870-1920). The perception of immigrants in the United States was that they were thought to be criminals running from their native countries. The population of the United States was being affected by the vices brought in by the immigrants across the border.

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An immigrant in the United States during the industrial revolution was likely to live in hardship, diseases, and lack of food. Immigrants in the United States had to endure hardships to survive. They had undergone the phase of being told that America was the best place to be and most of them were willing to relocate. However, there were farmers in Europe who considered going to America a disgrace (Akron University, 2008). Additionally, there were people who went to the United States to avoid being drafted into the military. They may be considered unpatriotic for running away from the call of serving their country. Compared to Europe, America was more productive and vast enough to accommodate more people. As a result, immigrants preferred being in America than being back at home. It means that they were often people who were stuck in a difficult situation in terms of places that were habitable and productive. The home was hard on them and being new in America was equally tough for the immigrants.


Akron Univeristy. (2008). Immigration & Migration in the Industrial Age 1870-1930. Rising of Industrial America Retrieved from 

Brady, M. (2016, November 20). Immigrants 1870-1920. American History. Retrieved from

Dee, I. R. (2019). Daily Life in Immigrant America, 1870–1920. Rowman & Littlefield. 

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