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The New Immigration

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  • Essay length: 1463 words
  • Submitted: 15/03/2008
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AS and A Level Modern European History, 1789-1945

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The New Immigration

In the half century after the civil war immigration exceeded twenty-six million- five times greater than in the previous fifty years and three times greater than in the previous two and a half centuries. Up to 1880 or so immigrants came predominantly from northern and western Europe. Thereafter a growing majority-85 percent by 1914-originated in southern and eastern Europe, more particularly Austria-Hungary, Italy, and Russia. This so-called 'new immigration' brought to the U. S. a bewildering variety of unfamiliar types : Poles, Czechs, and Hungarians; Finns, Ukrainians, Croats, Slovaks, and Ruthenians ; east European Jews; Portuguese, Italians, and Greeks; Turks, Armenians, Syrians, and Lebanese.

The new immigration from southern and eastern Europe resulted basically from the same economic changes that had earlier affected the north and west of the continent-a massive population increase, the collapse of the old agricultural order, the industrial revolution. However, many emigrated to avoid compulsory, military service. Others fled religious persecution, notably the Russian Jews forced out by Czarist pogroms like those of 1881 and 1904. The transition from sail to steam, virtually complete by 1870, helped swell the exodus by robbing the Atlantic crossing of its worst terrors. Steamship

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