Immigrant Life in the 19th and 20th Centuries

Essay by pennst061223High School, 12th gradeA+, May 2005

download word file, 8 pages 4.3

American was a prosperous country with incredible economic growth between the end of Reconstruction and the Great Depression. It was during this time that "industrial expansion went into high gear because increasing manufacturing efficiencies enabled American firms to cut prices and yet earn profits for financing still better equipment (Henretta 488)." During this era, the manufacturing of steel, the construction of railroads, factories, and warehouses, and the growing demand for technological advancements, increased greatly. Philanthropists, such as Andrew Carnegie, Andrew Mellon, and John D. Rockefeller, took advantage of the situation they were in by investing large sums of capital into the growing economy. Carnegie constructed an enormous steel mill outside of Pittsburgh that became one of the worlds' largest. Mellon started the Union Trust Fund in Pittsburgh, which developed in its later years to one of the largest financial institutions in the country. Rockefeller, who was involved in the petroleum industry, built the Standard Oil Company.

Philanthropists were not the only group of people funding the growth of Corporate America. "The federal government, mainly interested in encouraging interregional development, provided financial credit and land grants (Henretta 490)." As a whole, the American economy was growing at an incredible rate. It was due to this growth that countless immigrants from Europe made their way over the Atlantic, as well as African Americans migrating from the South, both with hopes of improving their own standards of life.

When Europe fell into its depression, many European peasants were struggling to live. It was not a struggle of providing good lives for their families, it was a struggle of providing lives in general. When word of the economic boom in America reached the European shores, many European farmers decided to pack up and set off for a better life in America. Farming in Europe...