Immigration to America in the Early Twentieth Century

The Great Gatsby By F.Scott Fitzgerald

Why did so many people flock to America?

After the depression of the 1890s, immigration jumped from a low of 3.5 million in that decade to a high of 9 million in the first decade of the new century. Immigrants from Northern and Western Europe continued coming as they had for three centuries, but in decreasing numbers. After the 1880s, immigrants increasingly came from Eastern and Southern European countries, as well as Canada and Latin America. By 1910, Eastern and Southern Europeans made up 70 percent of the immigrants entering the country. After 1914, immigration dropped off because of the war, and later because of immigration restrictions imposed in the 1920s.

The reasons these new immigrants made the journey to America differed little from those of their predecessors….


9 thoughts on “Immigration to America in the Early Twentieth Century

  1. Hello everybody!
    I think that this article is quite impressive because many people were attrected to the United States and people from everywhere travelled to go and work there or maybe just for ethnical reasons. Also it is quite striking the fact that America was accepting a lot of immigrants, they were very precise in controlling wether they were criminals or not, nowdays we do not control too much the immigrants.
    In conclusion I think that many people were disapointed by America, they thought about it as a kind of “wonderland” but in the end it was just like any other place.

    1. hello!
      by reading this article we can see how people were attracted to America and how they thought it was the best eaten if they actually hadn’t been there and probably lots of them were disappointed. Another striking thing is that the USA accepted to have so many immigrants entering their country because now they are very strict. All in all by reading this article we can see how people believed America was like paradise and how they all tried to move there to find the fortune.

  2. It is impressive how people from all over the world felt the urge to immigrate to America, and most of them in the same period of time, having similar push and pull factors; famine, poverty, discrimination, but even the hope to find better opportunities from the ones they were offered in their countries. The most interesting fact regarding this ‘mass immigration’ to the US is the precision and perfect planning that the Americans used to confirm the immigration of the people that wished to become ‘Americans’. The system of grouping the immigrants in Ellis Island asking them questions and having doctors to control if they were affected by some illnesses was the best way to be sure that the people that were going to live and work in the US were healthy both physically and mentally. Of course the foreign immigrants were dissatisfied with America once they started living in it, since most of the job conditions they needed to face were horrible and the neighborhoods in which many of them lived were overcrowded and relatively poor; large amounts of the immigrants returned to their homelands after a short period of time, disappointed with the country they once longed for living in.

  3. In the early decades of the US, mostly western and northern Europeans immigrated there. In the first decade of the twentieth century, the whereabouts of the immigrant’s origin altered. Eastern and southern Europe, Latin America and Canada made up the majority of the new immigrants. Their ambitions and destinations differed as to America’s previous immigrants. The dominant intention was to have a better style of life and to proceed with a modern, wealthy way of living being the cause of the ‘roaring twenties’ and economical improvements of the time.

  4. Hi
    I think that especially these huge amounts of immigrants made the US the place it is today. Not only can most US citizens nowadays trace back their ancestors to mainly German (19%) and Irish (10%) but the common misconception of people thinking the USA would mainly be english is false as english ancestries are with (7%) only third. Famous modern immigrants to the USA include Obama (Kenya), Einstein (Germany), JFK (Ireland) and Madonna (Italian/french) of which all are important in the culture and history of the USA. In conclusion immigrants to the US are vital to the success of the country.

  5. Howdy class!
    It is very interesting to see how many immigrants (especially from Europe) abandoned their country to fleed to the US for religious, racial and political reasons. Also, I particularly loved the quote of the Italian men that says: “I came to America because I heard the streets were paved with gold. When I got here, found out three things: First, the streets weren’t paved with gold; second, they weren’t paved at all: and third, I was expected to pave them.” This phrase perfectly summarises the hope and the disappointment of the American dream. Another striking fact is the strict way in which the Americans controlled the immigrants at Staten island, which, now, has got lost since immigrants are not controlled at all when entering a country.
    In conclusion this article is very interestin because it made me understand how America begun to become the multiethnical country it is now.
    Yeah buddy

  6. Hello!
    In my opinion, this article is very interesting because it explains the main factors which attracted so many people to migrate to America. A fact which I found particularly intriguing was that when people arrived to America, they had to pass through controls at Ellis Island where they were either accepted or sent back to their country.This was a very strict way to “welcome” people, but it helped to see if there were criminals and to see if people had diseases. Some people though, once arrived felt dissapointed because they expected to find a different life, full of opportunities and fled back to their home. Even though many people stayed and went to cities to find a job. This shows that they didn’t give up with their dream of having a better life there.
    In conclusion, by reading this article I have been able to understand better the reasons for immigrating to America in those years and also what opportunities they found there.

  7. Hi!
    I find it interesting how so many people leave their homes, to move to a different country, just to follow the American Dream. It is amazing to see, how these people built America to be the country it is nowadays. Without these people, who moved to America to follow the American Dream, America’s economy would probably be much worse.
    In conclusion, it is clear how America was the place, where people could make a fortune, and also be happy.

  8. Hello,
    I think this article portrays perfectly how life in America was and still is for immigrants. USA is a country created by immigrants but that still discriminates newcomers and takes advantages for them. As said in the text, people came to America with promises of prosperity but when they moved there they were stricken by the crude reality of how the so called “american dream” was just a lie. Americans business man or “padrones” took and still do advantage of this people, who moved to an other country willing to succeed by any cost.

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