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Sample Essay on American History II (Cities, Immigrants, and the Nation) 1880-1914

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Sample Essay on American History II (Cities, Immigrants, and the Nation) 1880-1914


The history of America has been associated with immigration. In fact, the population of America is believed to be highly dominated by immigrants. The topic of immigrants in the United Sates is crucial even in the present situation. There are mixed reactions on the best way to deal with the issue of immigration, especially in the political front. Immigration in the United States is quite extensive and began long time ago. This essay will address the American Immigration history, featuring the cities and community of nations between 1880 and 1914, as well as the urban politics at the turn of the century.

Immigration an Immigrants 1880-1914

Between 1880 and 1914, there was a massive movement of people from Eastern Europe who migrated to the United States as immigrants. These immigrants were part of the commonly called new “second great wave” of the American immigration. This immigration entailed approximately 27 million immigrants who settled on the shores of the United States. Most of these immigrants came from Austria, Poland, and Russia among other Easter Europe’s nations. Poland immigrants at the time entailed three main empires Russia, Prussia/Germany and Austria. These category of immigrants at the time of immigration were landless peasants as a result of displacement emanating from land redistribution following the abolition of serfdom. These peasants were going through a rough time as a result of poverty, overpopulation, religious and cultural oppression as well as violence. Many of these populations moved to urban centers in the continental Europe around their homeland or near Germany that was beginning to be industrialized. Before migration to the United States, these groups of people worked for the industries of mining cites. The hope for better lives through high wages was their greatest motivation towards moving to the United States.

Due to the fact that they were peasants and squatters in their home nations, these groups of immigrants represented the poorest ethnic group that was entering America. Most of them were unable to even move away from the port cities they had arrived due to lack of money. Some got stuck at different transit centers but at the end they found some industrial jobs in the different locales. Some of the immigrants also landed in rural areas in the US where they resorted to work as agricultural laborers.

These immigrants added to the swelling number from other parts of the world in the United States. This wave of immigrants evidently altered the conformation of the American population. By 1910, a third of the American population was foreign born or had one parent who was not of the American origin. The non-nationals together with their children constituted three quarters of the cities in America, for instance, New York city, Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Minneapolis as well as San Francisco. Through immigration, several characteristics of American cities were also transformed especially the southern cities. Approximately one third of the total population of Tampa, New Orleans and Miami incorporated immigrants and their children. Borderland States like Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and Southern Carolina entailed similar percentage of immigrants most of whom originated from Mexico.

As indicated initially, a good number of these immigrants arrived in the United States for economic, political and religious reasons. A larger population of the immigrants were poor individuals and they hoped to transform this state in the United States of America, their new land. This was enhanced by the US railroads and steam steamship organizations marketed in Europe that recruited passengers in the name of enhancing economic opportunities in the US. Moreover, initial immigrants would also write to their relatives back at home commending on the new kind of life they have found, perhaps exaggerating. The significance of the economic luring of the immigrants to the US was emphasized due to the fact that some of the immigrants had returned to their home nations after making some fortune through savings to begin good lives. 

Immigrant Communities Nation

The immigrant’s details were processed at the entry points, mainly cities and the nation did not play any part in their relocation in the United States. The new immigrants would be on their own in their effort to search for the settled relatives or countrymen. In some cities for instance, New York, Chicago and Boston, immigrants settled in the neighborhoods thus forming ethnic characteristics of the inhabited groups. There were several different languages heard in the streets since the new residents would communicate in their native languages and mother tongues. These neighborhood cohorts were bunched together thus representing community in the nation.

These creation of neighborhoods subjugated by single ethnic, racial or an immigrant group made it easier for the immigrant’s transition process to the American society. Without any help from authorities, the immigrants were able to face the challenges they encountered as well as adjusting to the new environment through helping each other.  Living together as community of immigrants was significant in getting food, housing, employment opportunities and welfare benefits. They also established social centers where they could have some fun time together as people of the same heritage. This happened for all the immigrant communities across the United States. The most benefiting group form these associations was the first generation of immigrants as they would easily find jobs. The immigrant community cohesion was also felt in other aspects such as in religion practices and languages. Through languages, several newspapers for instance came up with local languages publication, an aspect that recognized a given community nation. All these elements enhanced in the creation of immigrant community nation in the United States.

Urban Politics at the turn of the Century

Despite the initial welcoming of the immigrants in America, the beginning of the new century marked a turn of events in the politics of urban cities. Many natives began to see the influx of immigrants as a danger to their nation.In as much as the immigrants provided cheap labor and services in the industrial settings, they were now being perceived as threats to the economic, political and social stability. The whole scenario brought about the concept of nativism, a belief that foreigners present a great danger to a native society and culture. This created a reactionary response to the immigrants. There were several proposals that were made, aiming at restricting further immigration. However, this did not address the situation since a massive number of immigrants had already settled in the United States. These brought about harsh measures like biological engineering performed to the immigrants if order to reduce their multiplication. Other measures include assimilation into the dominant culture in adoption of American way of life and exhibit loyalty to the American authorities. These provisions also fortified the immigrant’s children to go through American systems like schooling, which helped in the American culture and practices.

Nevertheless, not all immigrants were fully assimilated nor did they remain the same. Some of them resorted to becoming fully Americans. Immigrants did not fully loose their social, cultural and political identities. This presented one of the greatest challenges to the immigrants on whether to assimilate or hold to their heritage. One of the major characteristics of the immigrant communities in the United Sates was high crime rates and alcohol consumption. This also enhanced the Native American to use it as a way of compress down the immigrant population through police actions.


Immigration is an ongoing process in the history of mankind. In the United States, the effects of immigration are already being felt during the discussed period of time. Nevertheless, immigrant’s benefits to the nation are more than negative effects. In as much as the American citizens feel threatened by the immigrants, they are already settled in their midst. The important thing is to ensure harmony between these two groups of people in order to experience national building and cohesion.

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Sample Essay on American History II (Cities, Immigrants, and the Nation) 1880-1914

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