The New Immigration
In 1886 the statue of “Liberty Enlightening the World,” a
million arrived in each of the years 1905, 1906, 1907, 1910,
1913, and 1914.
Not everyone had to travel in steerage. Passengers who
could afford the expense paid for first- or second-class
quarters. Upon arrival these immigrants were examined by
courteous officials who boarded the ships at anchor. But those
in steerage were sent to a holding center for a full physical and
mental examination. The facility at Ellis Island which opened
between 1905 and 1914 it had to process more than 10,000
immigrants a day.
Many arrivals had left their homelands to escape mobs who
often cruelly mistreated them.
Until 1899, U.S. immigration officials asked arrivals
which nation they had left, not their religion or ancestry. So
oppressed people were listed under the countries from which they
This so called “new immigration” was different in many
other ways from previous immigration. For the first time,
Catholic an Jewish immigrants outnumbered Protestants, and still
Orthodox church members.
Until 1897, 90 percent of all overseas immigrants had
among the poor, many had spent a few years in school or had
agriculture regions of the Untied States. Their goal was to buy
readily available land and start small family farms.
The people of the new immigration differed from earlier
arrivals on other ways. Very few spoke English, and some could
percent were Jewish.
All of this was soon proved to be not true. Only one
third were actually illiterate, and 90 percent of those who could
not speak English learned to do in less than ten years after they
arrived. Their stamina helped make America an industrial giant
and the world’s economic power.
The new immigrants came at a turning point in American
growth. Bosses rarely knew their workers. Class animosity often
Corporations showed little interest in their workers.
Instead, these business sought to maximize profits.
To lower wages, plant managers often tried to pit one
racial, religious, or ethnic minority against another to keep the
were “keeping up a constant war of the races.” Bosses placed
- any who urged workers to organize unions.