• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Account for the making of the multi-ethnic American city from the 1880s to the 1920s.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Account for the making of the multi-ethnic American city from the 1880s to the 1920s. The United States has always been a nation made up of many nationalities. In little more than two hundred years of its existence, it has taken more than 55 million people, from nearly every corner of the world. People of different countries have brought varied ideas about religion, politics, tradition, and custom to American shores. At the beginning of the twentieth century a Jew immigrant from England, Israel Zangwill, wrote a play entitled "The Melting Pot". Its message still holds a tremendous power on the American imagination - the promise that all immigrants can be transformed into Americans, a new alloy forged in a crucible of democracy, freedom and civic responsibility. The term melting pot refers to the idea that societies formed by immigrant cultures, religions, end ethnic groups, will produce new hybrid social and cultural forms. The notion comes from the pot in which metals are melted into new compound, with great strength and other combined advantages. In comparison with assimilation, it implies the ability of new or subordinate groups to affect the values of the dominant group. Although the term melting pot may be applied to many countries in the world, mostly referring to increased level of mixed race and culture, it is predominantly used with reference to United States and the creation of the American nation, as a distinct "new breed of people" amalgamated from many various groups of immigrants. ...read more.

Middle

Organized labour tried to prevent the factory employment of unnaturalized foreigners, while New York charged immigrants $20 for a hunting license compared with the $1 it charged citizens. The Immigration Restriction League joined labour officials to fight competition from cheap immigrant workers. Nevertheless, these kinds of leagues proved unsuccessful in curbing the massive late nineteenth century immigration. The anti-immigration leagues failed in large part because of the political clout of manufacturers. Manufactures valued immigrants because they wanted the cheap labor immigrants provided. Even the Chinese, who were excluded from immigrating by the Chinese Immigration Act of 1882, received praise from railroad Robber-Baron Leland Stanford for being diligent workers able to survive on very low wages. The result of the fairly free immigration policy, pushed by big corporations in search of cheap labor, resulted in a more ethnically diverse America by the end of the nineteenth century. The US was transforming into a multi-ethnic society during the era, but as the treatment of blacks in the South and the exclusion of Chinese immigrants show, it was not yet ready to become a multi-racial society. Along with providing cheap labor to the corporations, the ethnic diversity immigration caused helped manufacturers in yet another way. Because American workers were from so many different ethnic backgrounds, worker groups always found it difficult to unify. While socialism and communism began to gain strong footholds in European industrial countries, the ethnically diverse American working class found cooperation difficult. ...read more.

Conclusion

The moving of the upper and middle classes only added to the poverty of the cities. And because these upper classes were generally native rather than immigrant, the cities became predominantly immigrant. However, the American cities benefited greatly from the diversity of their population. Different racial and ethnic groups gifted the country in a variety of ways. From the English, came the gift of democracy. From Africans, came art, music, poetry, and inventions. Mexican Americans contributed ranching, Spanish architecture, salsa, and irrigation. Native Americans gifted the nation with many of the crops that now feed American citizens, a sense of respect for the environment, and spiritual sensitivity. Immigrants have made enormous contributions to the culture and economy of the United States. But their accomplishments have been made with great difficulty as their living and working conditions have been precarious in most of the cases. Also, at times, the United States has restricted immigration to maintain a more homogeneous society in which all the people share similar ethnic, geographic, and cultural background. Although some immigration laws have been relaxed, still today many new immigrants of different backgrounds face challenges in gaining acceptance to the United States. Returning to the idea of the "melting pot", as far as a preference for assimilation or pluralism is concerned, immigrant thinking varies. In an ideal world, the two would coexist, enabling newcomers to continue to observe the cultural practices that sustained their communities in their country of origin, and at the same time that they participate in American society in a productive way. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 essays

  1. The league of nations - How successful was The League in the 1920's?

    This was the League's biggest success. It did a tremendous work in fighting diseases such as yellow fever and malaria; it started a global campaign to exterminate mosquitoes and worked hard to defeat leprosy. The L.O.N made recommendations on marking shipping lanes and produced an international highway code for road users.

  2. American Westward Expansion and the Pacific Railroad.

    Thomas Durant, the Vice President of the Union Pacific. Stanford swung at the spike first and missed. Then Durant swung and missed. The telegrapher tapped the three dots anyway, moments before the Union Pacific's chief engineer drove the golden spike.

  1. How Successful Was the League in The 1920's and 1930's? The League of ...

    The report, entitled the "Lytton Report" took over a year to be written, in which Japan had settled into Manchuria. It placed the blame of the war onto both the sides, Japan and China. By this time, Japan could not be removed from Manchuria.

  2. The American Revolution

    The Stamp Act Congress was called into session in New York City in 1765 and brought together representatives from nine separate colonies. After a number of spirited debates, the delegates drew out a list of grievances against the King and his government and pleaded with him to repeal the Stamp Act.

  1. history essay 1880 to the present day

    These laws had a major impact upon Jews living since both education and work was affected. But it was persecution that increased the flow of Jews into Britain, Western Europe and North America. The May laws did not drive all the Jews from Russia, 76,000 remained but they had extremely small farms.

  2. Which of the following problems do you consider to have been the most serious ...

    Anti-foreigner feeling had increased during the war, especially against Germans. They brought in a literacy test where immigrants had to read a 40 word passage to be able to come to America. This was bad for uneducated people usually from Eastern Europe, Italy and Russia who were also feared as they might bring over communist or socialist ideals.

  1. Nation of Immigrants

    In his nationally syndicated column, Pat Buchanan, a past Presidential candidate, wrote "immigration should be suspended to preserve the nation." This appears to be a case of "the pot calling the kettle black." Buchanan's ancestors had to have immigrated from somewhere, so should they have been kept from immigrating "to preserve the nation"?

  2. How Strong was Opposition to Continental Commitments in the 1920's

    continental alliances and in a way dilute the power between the nations that it was believed Britain had after the war. Britain faced a lot of problems due to its illusionary status and becoming a member signifies Britains willingness to step out of the continental limelight and share responsibility with other nations.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work