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Essay about The Italian Immigrants of Post-1880

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“Between 1880 and 1920 more than 4.1 million Italians were recorded as entering the United States” (Daniels, p. 188). The Italian immigrants of post-1880 were different from other immigrant groups by these topics of religion, labor, family orientation, politics, and education. The 1880s brought a change not only in the amount of Italian immigrants but also the characteristic of them as a group. This group of immigrants was incredibly male dominated, in comparison to the other immigrants of this time, most settling in New York and Chicago. The living conditions that these Italians encountered were not pleasant. It was common for them to live in very crowded four bedroom apartments. Compared to other immigrants, they had one of the worsts living conditions usually very close to industrial working sites. These apartments commonly did not have plumbing. As unskilled workers, they tended to work in manual labor, on the railroad and in steel companies with dangerous conditions. These work areas were so dangerous that over forty deaths were common for each year. Sometimes Italians in construction would live in boxcars while working on a long-term project. This can be seen in the third picture of the additional links, Italian Laborers, Padrones, and Pernicious Pasta. The boxcar is not very large space and is being shared by three workers. There is obviously no plumbing, very filthy, and most likely without furniture inside. The men look grimy and worn out in the photo. The workday would usually be over ten hours a day, more than five days a week so it is understandable why some would opt just to live on the worksite. Although they worked all these hours, many still picked through garbage for food and scrap resources. Many of these im...


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...rthy Italian has his redeeming traits” (Reading 11, p. 2). These better traits are their honesty, hotheadedness, faithful wives and devoted mothers, and lastly happy and lighthearted. As for being lighthearted, Riis compared the Italian to a child in that there is no social filter, which can come off as rude. Although there are mixed feelings towards the Italians as a whole, Riis felt that they are preferable to Germans and other immigrants because they can be taken advantage of. He feels pity and sympathy for them. The comparison to a child connects to an image of the children of the Gilded Age (Slideshow 7:33). In this image the child is depicted to be serious and not to to what a child is usually thought to be. If an immigrant is like a child, then Americans must teach them to become a responsible American and educate them to progress, known as progressivism.




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