The “New” Americans


Immigrants - people who enter another country in order to settle there


Changing Patterns of Immigration

o       Before the Civil War most immigrants had come from countries in northern or western Europe

o       They had customs and cultures similar to most native-born Americans.

o       Most were farmers or skilled craftsmen

o       These people were known as the “old” immigrants.

o       In the 1840s and 1850s there was a large number of immigrants from Asia

o       After the Civil War an increasing number of immigrants came from countries in southern and eastern Europe

o       These people were known as the “new” immigrants.

o       They were escaping povery, famine, war, and persecution.

o       They had customs and cultures different from native-born Americans and the “old” immigrants.

o       Most were poor and illiterate; they settled in cities and worked in factories.


Push Factors – conditions that drive people from their homes


Pull Factors – conditions that attract immigrants to a new area


New Americans

o       “New” immigrants slowly became assimilated (made part of the larger culture).

o       Their children attended American schools where they learned English and began to talk and dress like other American children.

o       Settlement houses were established to teach immigrants the ways of the new land.

o       Immigrants took jobs that forced them to mix with other Americans.

Prejudice and Discrimination

o       Some native-born Americans were prejudiced against the “new” immigrants.

o       They did not like people who

-spoke different languages,

-dressed differently,

-had different customs,

-and practiced different religions.

o       Many were afraid that the newcomers would take their jobs.

o       In the late 1800s and early 1900s Congress passed laws to limit immigration.

o       Immigration from Asia was essentially ended.

o       Quota System - limits were placed on the number of immigrants from southern and eastern Europe


Nativists:  “native-born” Americans who resented the new immigrants and worked to limit and/or end immigration