Gilded Age Immigration-The Nations Newcomers

Essay by clkdtm033High School, 10th gradeA+, March 2004

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To the 12 million immigrants who came to America from 1890-1910 the Gilded Age brought lavish dreams of vast wealth and great luck. What they found was that the crop failures, persecution, shortages of land and rising taxes that they were escaping was little worse than the racism, ill-treatment, and poor conditions they found here. Jobs were scarce for immigrants and those that could be filled by them were dirty, dangerous, and low paying leaving them impoverished as they had been in their country of origin. Whether it be Asian immigrants coming into port on the west or the vast droves of Europeans arriving on the east, the existing Americans, who had themselves immigrated here, were less than friendly to their new neighbors.

Of the many Europeans that came to America during the gilded age, the majority were from northern European countries, 2.8 million from Germany; 1.8 from Great Britain; and 1.4

from Ireland. Most all that made the trip did so in steerage of the large steamboats, which carried them across the Atlantic. Their one-week journey symbolized a bridge that would hopefully bring them to a better life with true freedoms and the opportunity for riches. At Ellis Island they found little riches; there, inspectors waited to process them, either onto new adventures or a life in quarantine and deportation. Unfortunately though the vulnerable immigrants were often taken advantage of, outside of Ellis Island thieves and grafters waited to take advantage of the new lost peoples, their struggles would not end there. The bountiful jobs that the immigrants, which bore fruitful pay, were non-existent, in fact, American born citizens were struggling to maintain the dangerous factory and mining jobs which offered little in the direction of gaining wealth. The influx of Immigrants into the U.S. during this period surged...