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Immigration of Poles to the

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Immigration of Poles to the USA The American Polonia was formed by three great waves of immigration. The first Poles who arrived in America were skilled workers hired by London Company in 16081. They arrived at Jamestown, Virginia, and built a glass house shop and pitch and potash burners. They played an important role in a lot of areas of industry. At that time Poles were seen as good workers. What is more, they behaved outstandingly. Captain John Smith, who established the Jamestown colony, expressed his appreciation for the Polish workers2. Also a historian Conway Whittle Sams wrote in his book The Conquest of Virginia - "Everything we know about Poles is complimentary for them." 3 Another group of Polish immigrants came in the time of the American Revolution about 1776. The Poles were leaving Poland as a result of the Polish partitions and the unsuccessful Kosciuszko resurrection. They were also eager to fight for American independence and democracy. ...read more.


They came to America mainly for economical but also political and religious reasons. Many of them were illiterate and low skilled laborers. They came from very poor and overpopulated areas. Those immigrants took low-paying jobs and lived in crowded dwellings just to make a meager living. They found employment in coal mines, in the steel industry, in slaughterhouses, in ports and shipyards and in municipal service establishments of some big cities. Women usually worked as maids and in textile industry. The educated spheres of Polish society opposed immigration. They considered immigration a national danger because it weakened the resistance of the nation by reducing it numerically. They worried about Polish racial cohesion and finally about importing foreign values, which could influence the purity of the national culture already affected by strong Russification and Germanization of schools and other public institutions. However, since Polish colonies often lacked intellectual leadership and were endangered by being absorbed in their American environment the opposition to the immigration of intellectuals began to weaken. ...read more.


The first immigrants came after the imposition of martial law in December 1981. Some of them were very skilled professionals. Quite a numerous group of faculty in American universities consists of well educated Polish immigrants of the newest wave. Some, especially illegal immigrants are not still that well settled down in the society and they live in low-income housing, mainly in Polish quarters of Chicago, New York or Detroit. Such a great popularity of immigration as a way of improving life conditions was undoubtedly a result of the American myth. People strongly believed that leaving the country and going to the USA, was the only way to survive. Letters from immigrants seemed to confirm them in that conviction.7 1 Brozek, A. (1985) Polish Americans. Warszawa: Interpress 2 Wloszczowski, S. (1971) Polonia Amerykanska. Ludowa Sp�ldzielnia Wydaw 3 Gorecka,D. (1979). Polonia amerykanska. Warszawa: Krajowa Agencja Wydawnicza 4 Brozek, A. (1985) Polish Americans. Warszawa: Interpress 5 Kapiszewski, A. (1977). Stereotyp Amerykan�w polskiego pochodzenia. Wroclaw: Zaklad Narodowy im. Ossolinskich. 6 Gorecka,D. (1979). Polonia amerykanska. Warszawa: Krajowa Agencja Wydawnicza 7Kula, W. (1973) Listy emigrant�w z Brazylii i Stan�w Zjednoczonych. Warszawa: Ludowa Sp�ldzielnia Wydawnicza ...read more.

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