Chapter 14
Immigration and Urbanization
1. The New Immigrants
• Early immigrants had been primarily protestant
(Germany); Catholics from Ireland learned to
speak English and assimilated; many settled on
“New Immigrants” – 1870’s from southern and
eastern Europe (Italy, Greece, Poland, Russia,
Hungary) in massive numbers
– Unskilled, Catholic, Jewish, poor, settled in cities
– New cultures and languages
Immigrant Experience
• Long journey, could only take essentials, tickets were
Most traveled steerage (worst accommodations – lower
decks, not private)
Filthy, disease, crowded
Processing in American ports
Requirements: Healthy, money ($20), skill
After 1892 – Ellis Island, NY
Wealthier passengers processed on board
Chinese processed at Angel Island, San Francisco
• Had to prove they had relatives; often held for weeks
Immigrant Experience cont.
New language, new culture
Those without family had a difficult time
Had to decide where to live and what to do
Lived in ethnic neighborhoods together
Exclusionary but also felt familiar
Americanization programs – helped them learn
language, adapt to U.S. way of life
• “Melting Pot” theory
• Children generally assimilated better than first
generation and felt more “American”
• Older generation clung to religion, heritage, families
Immigrant Experience
Hostility due to competition for jobs
Nativism – native-born were superior
Religion – major source of hostility
Chinese Exclusion Act – restricted numbers
Exclusions for those who were immoral,
criminals, paupers
BUT – fueled industrial growth, made their
traditions part of America, provided massive
labor supply, helped U.S. become a world power
2. Cities Expand and Change
• Urbanization
• Advantages
– Many opportunities, products, services, education,
• Disadvantages
– Tenements (low cost family housing), slums, no
heat/air, poor sanitation, no water, sewage, fires,
crime , conflict (gangs)
– Jacob Riis: How the Other Half Lives
Improvements in the Cities
• Skyscrapers made of steel
• Safety elevator that wouldn’t fall if the rope
broke (Elisha Otis)
Electricity powers mass transit – trains,
commuter rails, cable cars, underground
railways (subways) in Boston and NY
City Planners control growth
– Architectural standards, parks and recreation areas
3. Social and Cultural Trends
• Gilded Age – era of wealth, new products,
markets, growing middle class, shopping, sports
Consumerism expands greatly
Advertising attracts customers
“Department” stores emerge (Macy’s, Marshall
Field, Jordan Marsh)
Mail order catalogs (Sears)
Overall higher standard of living
– Began to get indoor plumbing, appliances, prepackaged food
Mass Culture
• Consumption patterns became similar – clothing
styles, gadgets, food preferences – mass culture
Widespread newspaper circulation
– Joseph Pulitzer – sensational stories of corruption,
politics, sports – designed to sell papers
– William Randolph Hearst – competed with Pulitzer,
papers became even more sensationalized
• Literature – Mark Twain, Horatio Alger (succeed
by hard work), Stephen Crane
Mass Culture cont.
• Education – growth of public schools, kindergartens,
literacy rate climbed, some women’s colleges
Entertainment – amusement parks (Coney island)
and first roller coasters, parks for city laborers
(Central Park)
Outdoor events – Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show,
Annie Oakley – riding, roping, rodeos
Vaudeville – medley of drama, songs, off-color
Movie theatres – The Great Train Robbery – first
movie, nickelodeons – charged one nickel!
Mass Culture cont.
• Expos and exhibitions
• Sports drew thousands, especially baseball
(Fenway Park); baseball organizes into a
business (NL), “Coloured League”
• Horse racing, bicycle racing, boxing,
football, basketball invented by George
• Sports heroes emerged

Chapter 14