Essay about Hull House: Turned Immigrants into Americans

Essay about Hull House: Turned Immigrants into Americans

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The United States is a nation of immigrants but also a nation of Americans, when exactly does it happen that an immigrant becomes an American? Most of the people in the United States came from Europe or their ancestors came from Europe. Many immigrants were poor, day laborers who chose to live in the city. They came to America in hope of a better economic life. Many lived in sections of the city that suffered from severe poverty. They often lived in run down tenement houses that were unsafe. All the while, they clung to the cultures of the “old world” they just left. It was not until the 1880s that things began to change. Jane Addams, a middle class woman, decided to help the impoverished immigrants. She opened a settlement house and she called it Hull House. It was the first settlement house in the United States. She focused on Chicago’s most poverty-stricken area. The Hull House became the social center for immigrants. It offered night school for adults, kindergarten classes, clubs, a public kitchen, an art gallery, a coffeehouse, a gym, a bathhouse and so much more. Hull House helped immigrants become part of the social world in America. It also tried to Americanize the immigrants and encouraged them to assimilate into the American culture. In short, when Jane Addams founded the Hull House she wanted to help immigrants become part of the American culture and she persuaded them to leave the customs of the “old world” in their past.
In Jane Addams’s effort to try to assimilate immigrants into the American culture, she targeted the immigrant children first. Addams believed if the children became assimilated, the adults would follow suit. Hull House offered cooking classes and adolescents often took them so they could learn how...

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...nted them to become American and lose the culture of their homeland. Throughout the century of immigration, immigrants reacted differently once they got to America. Some people, like the Irish for example, engrossed themselves in American culture and politics. The Chinese on the other hand lived in China town, practically a replica of the life they left behind Addams wanted immigrants to assimilate like the Irish. She did not want them to live like the Chinese. She wanted all the cultures to come together into one unified body. She respected individual religions but wanted them unified in worship. She wanted them to speak, cook and dress like Americans. She imagined a society where immigrants could live together not as hyphenated Americans but as full-fledged Americans.

Works Cited

Addams, Jane. Twenty Years at Hull House. Boston: Bedford/St.Martin's, 1999.

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