Immigrants in the 1800’s had a tough time a lot of them had a language barrier. The industrial revolution started before the civil war and immigration to the USA is not new. There was new generation of immigration called the ‘new immigration’. It was named to distinguish who came in European Jews, Italians and others. They were crowded into sweetshops and factories, these new immigrants tied to develop their old skills in to their new surrounding and workplace. All the immigrants that came made a strong local presence, even though they were poor.
Each nationality had their own little place or town. That is why a lot of cities now have china towns and other immigrated towns. Most immigrants lived in tight apartments or houses, most apartments were filled with many families. One apartment held the same nationality of immigrants, an apartment that was designed for 3-4 people a group or 10 or more could’ve been there. According to document 1 (Chinese Immigrant lee chew Denounces Prejudice in America, 1882 .pg 72) a Chinese boy goes from china to San Francisco and is treated unfairly.
He gets a job but is shunned upon. He gets $3.50 which he saves $3 per week. They were not allowed to bring their wives in to America and marrying an American is an outcry. Other immigrants are allowed to citizens if they pass Chinese men aren’t allowed to be, according to him all the other immigrants are below his nationality. But the Chinese are fit to become citizens if they were allowed to be. Many immigrants suffered hardships; the places they lived in were dangerous and full of crime. They lived in self-contained communities separate from the Americans.
These self-contained communities were called slums. In these communities they had the freedom of speaking their own language and were able to follow their own customs. They followed their own religion freely. Document 3(Immigrant Thomas O’Donnell Laments the workers Plight, 1883. Pg74) shows a testimony on how his life was. How the child and adult labor laws were held. For the companies it was more valuable for them to take men with children. The salary was tiny only 133 dollars a year and the man of the house had to support his family with that.
The children would get sick on the account of insufficient supplies. Women and children had it rough, Women could not work, and most of them couldn’t. So that brought the family down with less income that meant less food. There is also a problem going or running away. To move somewhere out of an area is expensive. To get or try to get a better chance costs around 1500 dollars which is hard to come but at those times. The children are starving and there isn’t enough money to feed them. The times are tough for people. It is a choice to go hungry or homeless.
To keep a family together and supported on a factory salary looks almost impossible. The dream to move to America is shattered. People are still being looked down upon and the work is scarce. The labor laws are clear but there are loop holes in them. Factory managers fire workers so they don’t have to keep them and make sure they are safe. The industry provided immigrants with both new opportunities and crushed some people. Not all were crushed since people are here today. New opportunities came about for some people. Some people where stuffed together in tiny living arrangements somewhere hungry and somewhere overworked.
The intent from the factories was to get as much work done in as little time as possible not matter the cost. Emma Lazarus wrote a poem to raise money so there would a pedestal for the statue of liberty. When immigrants arrived they would have some hope of surviving. It shows the devastating poverty that has occurred by many working families. The poem tries to inspire the immigrants that there is hope. America is said to be the dream land to solve all problems. When the immigrants arrived they saw that is untrue, in some cases it was better than home. Workers had to come up with their own strategies to live and survive.
As a European boy hears many stories of successful immigrants that returned with profit. Some returned to the old country as heroes and proved something that it can be done if enough work goes into it. In Document 7 (A Slovenian boy remembers tales of the golden country, 1909 .pg 81) the boy hears stories of people with nothing on their back but their clothes go into America and come back tailored well dressed and something to bring back.
It takes 5-10 years to succeed as the stories tell but these men come back with something and become an inspiration to some. The stories tell of people being treated as equals, people regular people can meet the leader of the USA the president, and shake hands. Women and men both as immigrants were already below that line. Women were treated lower than men. An immigrated woman was at the bottom. Men worked and the women stayed home. If there were children the boys would go to work or school depending on the family situation.
The labor laws were cruel and it did not matter of age the children did what the adults did, and vice versa. Though the children worked less due to the labor laws they were weaker and that made them sick often. Near the end of the industrial revolution there were fewer children and it was much safer to work there, people didn’t have to worry about becoming sick or injuring themselves as much anymore. The industrial revolution was rough and a lot of people suffered and struggled. Some came back victorious and as heroes in their own countries.
The living conditions were horrible the labor and law were unjust. Children had to work instead of getting educated otherwise the family would not survive, either due to the money situation or due to the fact that the father would get fired. Some nationalities got treated different even though all of the nationalities were immigrants from different countries. Different people copped with their problems their own ways, some planned ahead to move to another area and find better luck. Some people saved up enough to live fine on their own.
Men and women were not treated as equals, the men worked and the women stayed home. Some women took a stand and tried to make thing better , like Emma Lazarus did. Some people held testimonies to try and combat the labor laws and try to survive a little better. People adapted to their own circumstance and tried to survive as best they could eventually the industrial evolution ended and thing became a little easier on some people.