Industrialization and Immigration

2270 Words5 Pages

An outburst in growth of America’s big city population, places of 100,000 people or more jumped from about 6 million to 14 million between 1880 and 1900, cities had become a world of newcomers (551). America evolved into a land of factories, corporate enterprise, and industrial worker and, the surge in immigration supplied their workers. In the latter half of the 19th century, continued industrialization and urbanization sparked an increasing demand for a larger and cheaper labor force. The country's transformation from a rural agricultural society into an urban industrial nation attracted immigrants worldwide. As free land and free labor disappeared and as capitalists dominated the economy, dramatic social, political, and economic tensions were created. Religion, labor, and race relations were questioned; populist and progressive thoughts were developed; social Darwinism and nativism movements were launched. The influx of immigrants created availability for cheap labor, which in turn led to corrupt business practices, urban political machines, and "white slavery". To curtail these "evils" present in society, progressivism was developed. The goals of progressivism were simple: to decrease poverty levels, to establish local charities, to fight for social justice, and to bring back good government practices. Between 1870 and 1890, in just 20 years, the population increased from 40 million to 60 million. Part of this increase was due to the high birth rate, but a significant portion of the increase was due to immigration. A handful of capitalists and entrepreneurs saw profit from heavy industrialization. However, the success of their companies resided in the availability of a working class. Immigrants to the United States, willing to do anything to set a foothold in the nation, accepted cheap labor as employment. Large corporations used this to their advantage. Profit oriented leaders did little to make suitable working conditions. With the aid of Muckrakers, journalists who exposed the underside of American life, the nation began to understand the "evils" of industrialization (599). More and more did Americans escalate their concern for reforms. The reformists promoting the ideals of Progressivism were moralists and championed the ideals of human rights. Progressivism embraced a widespread, many-sided effort after 1900 to build a better soc... ... middle of paper ... ...strialists would continue as long as the industrial sector pervaded, in turn, the industry would continue to grow as long as their was a consistent supply of cheap labor, hence the influx of immigration by increasing industrial activity evoked Social Darwinism. With the startling growth of immigration, in what seemed like overnight, immigrants were met with hostility as they were the target of religious differences as well as labor unrest, the promoted sentiment was termed, nativism. As the continuation of industrialization and urbanization sparked an increasing demand for a larger and cheaper labor force; an influx in immigrants from all over Europe, migrated in pursuit of higher wages. As the industrial revolution progressed, the country evolved from a rural agricultural society into an urban industrial nation. Capitalists now dominated the economy, sparking dramatic social, political, and economic tensions for immigrants. Although, the progressivism movement assisted immigrants by alleviating work conditions, immigrants were still left to face social and economic tension as they became the new competition for low wage earners and were ostracized for religious differences.

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