Ch.7 – Immigrants & Urbanization (1870 – 1920)
Urbanization Rapid Growth of
During the Industrial
Age, manufacturers
built many new
factories in cities to be
near workers.
Created new jobs,
drew more people
(immigrants) to cities.
Urban boom strongest
in Northeastern U.S.
The Pull of America
 People came to U.S. for many reasons;
 1) political and religious freedom 2) unable to find work in their
mother country 3) land was scarce & could no longer support the
population 4) escape from famine & disease.
Passage to the United States
 Most immigrants came by ship. Often cost a life savings. Bought
cheapest tickets in steerage – area underneath ship near engine
& rudder.
 Immigrants were packed tightly. Had little to eat & endured filthy
conditions. Diseases were common.
Ellis Island, New
Port of entry for most
European immigrants
after 1890.
Immigrants tagged by
native language.
Inspected for
disease, mental
competency, criminal
history (could be sent
back if they failed
Name changes
sometimes occurred
for non-english
speaking immigrants.
Angel Island, California
Port of entry for most Asian immigrants. Angel Island in
San Francisco Bay.
Processed mostly Chinese immigrants. Endured longer
detentions in filthy buildings & more harsh questioning
than European immigrants.
The “New” Immigrants
After 1890, most immigrants
came from countries in
southern & eastern Europe
(Poland, Italy, Russia,
Austria-Hungary, Greece,
Immigrants were Jewish,
Catholic, Orthodox.
Majority were unskilled &
uneducated. Worked for low
pay as factory laborers,
miners, or construction
Immigrant children usually did
not go to school, but worked
to help support their family.
Settled in ethnic
neighborhoods in large cities
of the Northeast & Midwest.
Asian Immigrants
(Chinese & Japanese)
Immigrated primarily to
West Coast (California to
Chinese came to seek
fortune in California gold
rush. Later turned to
railroad building, farming,
mining, domestic service.
Japanese moved to Hawaii
to work on plantations.
When U.S. annexed Hawaii
in 1898, Japanese
immigrated to U.S.
Discrimination toward Immigrants
Nativism – Belief that U.S. should be
preserved for native-born Americans.
Resented immigrants because they
competed for jobs (accepted low wages &
poor working conditions).
Often felt “new immigrants” threatened
America’s democratic institutions
established by America’s founders
(immigrants were Catholic, Jewish, etc. &
came from poor, less advanced
Languages from southern & eastern
Europe sounded strange.
Protestants offended by Catholic festivals
& Jewish beards & head coverings.
Chinese Exclusion Act (1882) –
Banned Chinese laborers from
entering the U.S.
Contributions to American
Immigrants helped America to
grow by staffing industries.
Introduced new festivals,
holidays, ethnic foods.
Variety of churches &
Most became assimilated –
blended into American society.
Children were quick to adopt
new clothing & habits.
Urban Problems
Inadequate housing, poor transportation, lack of clean water,
poor sanitation, crime, fire.
Most immigrants lived in Tenements – multi-story housing located
in the center of cities. Often overcrowded & a breeding ground
for crime & disease.
Solutions included:
 full-time Police & Fire Departments
 Sanitation Departments (trash collection, sewer lines)
 Mass Transit – public transportation (subways, trolleys)
 City Parks for recreation (ex: Central Park in NYC – designed by
Fredrick Law Olmstead)
NY City Tenement Dwellings (Late 1800s)
Urban Reform
Concerned Americans, especially women, pushed to improve life
in the cities.
Jacob Riis – photographer & author of 1890 book, How the Other
Half Lives. Brought attention & demand for reform in city slums.
Social Gospel Movement – preached salvation to Christians who
helped the poor.
Settlement Houses – Operated by women. Jane Addams
“mother” of settlement house movement – built Hull House in
Community centers built in middle of slums. Offered
schooling, daycare, medical services to poor, especially

Ch.6 – A Nation of Cities