Immigrants in the US

1142 Words5 Pages
In the forty years building up to 1900, the millions of immigrants from primarily southern and eastern Europe that overwhelmed the country in hopes of capitalizing on immense newfound job opportunities had a profound impact on the country. As business owners looked for the cheapest sources of labor possible, they found it in new migrants to the country, who were willing to work for much lower wage than native Americans, who were held to higher standards of living and greater expectations from employers. Companies would frequently recruit workers straight out of countries like Italy and Greece to work in factories, and likewise many Chinese were brought to America solely for the purpose of labor. The U.S. government even felt compelled in 1885 to create the Alien Contract Labor Act, which prohibited businesses to pay for the passage of immigrants to America in return for contracted labor, showing just how prevalent of a practice it was. After the Civil War, there was a huge governmental sponsorship to thrust the growth of the economy, and this along with the open policy of the government toward immigration set the stage for huge numbers of immigrants to swarm into the country.
Along with their labor, the immigrants after the Civil War brought their ways of lives and customs, which created much tension in the country and the workplace between them and natives. Mostly of Catholic faith, the newcomers were not welcomed kindly by the mostly Protestant persuasion of English and Irish descendants of America, who believed immigrants took their jobs and created competition among workers. As capitalists sponsored immigration to cheapen the labor pool, there were many clashes between the natives and new Americans. One such clash was ...

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... unions in the U.S. and the widely held belief that they were composed of foreigners causing discord and violence.
In truth, this discord that be attributed to the original promotion of immigration by greedy capitalists trying to pay lower wages, which caused the incredible flood of immigrants between 1860 and 1900. It is without doubt, however unfavorably they may have been viewed, that immigrants were the main catalyst for the rise of industry and industrialization of the United States, and were the key players in the establishment of unions and eventual reform that took place in the century following the high point of immigration. The immigrants that came into the country in the millions after the Civil War hanged the course of the United States immensely, and established it as the focal point of industry in the world going into the twentieth century.
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