The New Immigrants
Where did the immigrants come from?
Old Immigration & New Immigration
1. Between 1820 and 1920, about 33 million people
immigrated to the United States.
2. Members of the “Old” group came to the US
between 1840-1890. Most of the these people came
from northern & western Europe. Majority were
Protestants. Several thousand Chinese also came.
3. New Immigration grew rapidly after 1890. Many
came from southern & eastern Europe. Mostly were
Catholics & Jews. It also included people from
Mexico; other nations in Latin American and Japan.
4. New Immigrants were even different from Old
Immigrants in their clothing; religion; and
Why did they come?
Push factors or Pull factors
Push factors (negative):
1. Injustice
2. Poverty
3. Religious or political
Pull factors (positive):
1. Democracy
2. Freedom of religion
3. Economic opportunity
Life in the New Land
Most immigrants boarded a ship at a
European port and were then
directed to the ship's steerage. The
majority of people could not afford
first class or cabin passage.
In 1910 a steerage ticket cost between
$10.00 to $35.00. Steerage was near
the bottom of the boat, very cramped,
offering little light, ventilation or
privacy. At worse, it condemned
individuals to 10-15 days of total
Onboard Ship
Lady Liberty
The millions of immigrants who sailed
to America were greeted by the Statue
of Liberty. The statue was a gift from
France in 1884. Frederic Bartholdi
designed and sculpted the statue. He
decided to make the statue a symbol of
Lady Liberty would face the ocean
with a greeting and a
promise. The seven spikes in the
statue's crown stand for seven
liberties: civil, moral, national,
natural, personal, political, and
Ellis Island
• Ellis Island served
as the portal for a
majority of new
immigrants from
1892 till it closed in
• More than 12
million immigrants
were processed
Baggage Room
• The arriving
immigrants checked
most of their
heaviest baggage in
the first-floor
baggage room
before heading to
the great hall for
processing by U.S.
The Great Hall
The Great Hall cont.
• Also known as the
Registry Room, this
is where millions of
immigrants were
processed for
admission to the
United States.
• After waiting in line
for hours, an
interview with the
inspector would
determine the
applicants future.
With the huge numbers of
immigrants, inspectors had
just 2 minutes to complete
the process and many
immigrants had their last
names changed by the
inspectors because they
didn’t have the time or
patience to struggle with the
foreign spellings.
Stairs of Separation
• As the immigrants
walked up the
staircase, U.S.
Public Health
Officials watched
them for signs of a
number of illnesses.
The Inspection Line
The Waiting Is Over
• Now began a series
of tests that would
determine your fate
• Only 2 % were sent
• 2% of 12 Million
• Would you like to
have 2% of $12
Million Dollars?
Medical Exams
• The Inspector would
take about 7 seconds
to determine if the
immigrant had any
infectious diseases.
• Some would be sent
back and some
detained in
• Only two percent of
the arriving
immigrants were
excluded from entry.
The Medical Exam
• Medical Inspectors
watched the people
& marked them with
• The exam was
frightening &
• Many varied
ailments could send
you home
Chalk Marks Used at Ellis Island
• X – Suspected Mental
• Circled X- Definite
Signs of Mental Defects
• B – Black
• C- Conjunctivitis
• CT – Trachoma
• E- Eyes
• F- Face
• Ft- Feet
G- Goiter
H- Heart
K- Hernia
N- Neck
L- Lameness
P- Physical & Lungs
PG- Pregnancy
SC- Scalp
S- Senility
SI- Special Inquiry
The Questions
• Asked a Series of 29
• The Same as Were
Asked Before
Leaving Europe
• To See if Your Story
Remained the Same
• Immigrants that
were detained for
medical or other
reasons stayed in
these rooms, tightly
packed with rows of
bunk beds.
Making it
• Once All the Testing
Was Done, You Were
Allowed to Leave the
Island & Become an
• Or Become a “Bird of
Passage” intended to
immigrate temporarily
to earn money; and
then return to their
The Kissing Post
• After immigrants
were approved for
admission, they
would walk down
the stairs to meet
their loved ones.
• This area became
known as the
kissing post.
Angel Island
• Asians immigrants arriving on the west
coast went through Angel Island in San
• The inspection process on Angel Island
was more difficult than on Ellis Island.
• Immigrants endured harsh questioning
and a long detention in filthy
ramshackle buildings
· Immigrants adjusted by settling in communities with
people of their own ethnic group. This made them feel more
at home.
Little Italy, New York City
A Jewish vendor in Lower
East Side, New York City
Adjusting to a New Land
· Most immigrants stayed in the cities where they landed.
· By 1900, lower Manhattan was the most crowded place in
the world.
Hester Street, ca. 1900
Americans’ Reaction to Immigration
1. They did not like the idea of so many
immigrants living in their country.
2. The arrival of so many immigrants led to
the growth of nativism & xenophobia.
3. Nativism is the preference for native-born
Americans. Xenophobia is the fear or
aversion of foreigners.
4. It gave rise to anti-immigrant groups.
5. It also led to a demand for immigration
Immigration Restriction
• By the turn of the century; some
observers called America a melting
pot. The blending of many different
cultures and races in the United States.
• Many new immigrants refused to give
up their culture to become part of
American society.
Anti-Asian Sentiment
· Many Americans feared they would lose their jobs to the
Chinese. As a result; labor groups pressured politicians to
restrict Asian immigration.
Asians were prohibited
from buying land in
Chinese immigrants were
frequently attacked, and
occasionally killed, by
racist mobs.
Seattle's anti-Chinese riot of
February 8, 1886
Congress passed
the Chinese
Exclusion Act
- In 1882; it closed the
door on Chinese
immigration for 10
years. Only students;
teachers; merchants;
tourists and government
- It was renewed
several times by
Congress before
being repealed in
1943 by the Supreme
The Gentlemen’s Agreement (1907)
• Americans showed prejudice
against Japanese
immigrants as well.
• In San Francisco; the local
school board put all Chinese;
Japanese; and Korean
children in special Asian
• This led to anti-American
riots in Japan.
• Under the Gentlemen’s
Agreement; Japan’s
government agreed to limit
immigration to the US in
exchange for the repeal of
the San Francisco
segregation order.
Quota System (1924)
• This system established the maximum
number of people who could enter the
United States from each foreign
• The goal of the quota system was to
cut sharply European immigration to
the United States.
• Favors “desirable” immigrants over
• The system achieved that goal!
The End