The Immigrant

This graph depicts almost everything one needs to know about the four immigration waves and that is why is chose it. Most importantly, the waves are easily distinguishable together with the decades they took place in, but the graph also displays the number of immigrants who came to the USA and what were the most popular homelands. When usually talking about the immigration waves, what happened between them, is often left out. But once again, the graph saves the day, because all of that is also visible on it and in my opinion, it creates a more thorough and better understanding of the history of immigration to the USA and is comprehended more easily than a regular text.


Group 1: The 19th century

Discovery of gold and gold mining

3 MAJOR FIRST GOLD RUSHES. North-Carolina, Georgia, California

1st rush in 1799 Gold discovered in North-Carolina. The finder didn’t know its value and used it as a doorstop. In 1802 it was recognized and word spread. First miners were FARMERS. Carolina mines evolved into mine-shafts. By 1835 there was a manifold of it so president Jackson created U.S mint to process it.

2nd rush (Georgia) in 1835 created tensions with aboriginals and resulted in the removal of Cherokee tribes from the area. Also a mint founded.

3rd rush In 1848, a gold mine in Coloma, California by J.W.Marshall. At first, tried to keep it a secret, didn’t succeed. Immigrants started flowing into California. ‘Forty-niners’ rushed to Calif. thanks to which it was made a state. Amateur and pro-miners. Private companies were created to process the gold=Entrepreneurship ‘flourished’.

The construction of railroads (Union Pacific Railroad Co, Central Pacific Railroad Co)

In 1862, a Pacific Railroad Act made 2 companies start building railroads that would connect the land from West to East. In 1869 the 2 sides met in Utah.

At first, people traveled from one coast to other usually by ship which took 6 months. Unless they were willing to go to the hazardous journey by foot, but people’s wish to travel increased with finding gold. Asa Whitney recommended building railroads. Engineer Theodor Judah made it happen after 20 years gaining the approval from Lincoln. The terms included that each company got 48k dollars for each mile which forced a competition early on. The construction companies included many megalomanian businessmen who also made illegal deals for profit. Native Americans feeling threatened of white Americans’  ‘iron horse’ attacked and kept disrupting the work. Poor settlements were founded behind the railroads forming the ‘Wild West’. Railorad constructers were different immigrants. The Union Pacific railroad company managed to cover 4 times as much distance as the Central Pacific one. 2 sides met in Promontory Summit.,2478763/

Industrialisation (raw materials, effect on development of economy, main industries)

Process where an agricultural economy transforms into a manufacturing one. In USA it began in the early 1800s. After the Civil War, machines replaced much of the manual work. Industrialisation grew economy rapidly thanks to more goods being produced more quickly by machines. America had an abundance of natural resources; especially water helped to keep the machines working. Timber, iron, coal. Communication (telephones, railways, telegraph) helped businesses to succeed. New products such as photograph, telephone, typewriter. Many jobs in the manufactures to maximize efficiency in productivity. ‘Gilded era’-Mark Twain in 1920s-30; the culture of the new wealthy people building mansions and following Europe in its art design etc.

Formation of trusts

Trusts are formed when several businesses come together to standardize their rules and prices in order to increase profit. Great for businesses but bad for consumers. Trusts emerged when there rose a competition between different firms offering a similar product. Without trusts, companies would have to compete with each other which is not beneficial for either of them. Trusts helped to agree on rules so that no company would have to lower their prices. Famous trusts: Rockefeller’s Oil Trust, the Sugar Trust etc. Because of the negative effect on consumer (prices not lowering), acts were made by congress that would prohibit trusts.

(Stock-holders in a company who’d give their respective trustees the power to vote for decisions within the company. )

The role of Andrew Carnegie

  • American industrialist and philanthrophist
  • Worked in a Pittsburgh cotton factory (earning 1.20/week)
  • Worked in Pennsylvania Railroad as the assistant to Thomas Scott, one of the railroad’s top officials
  • Became a superintendent of the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1859
  • Invested in iron and oil companies while working for the railroad
  • By 1889, he owned Carnegie Steel Corporation (largest steel company in the world)
  • In 1901, he sold his business and dedicated his time to philanthrophy
  • Established the Carnegie-Mellon University in 1904–-1919-ironmaster-and-philanthropist

The role of John D. Rockefeller

  • founder of The Standard Oil Company (SOC) in 1870
  • Became one of the world’s wealthiest men, major philanthropist
  • Born in New York, entered the oil business by investing in a Cleveland refinery
  • SOC controlled 90% of US refineries
  • Was accused of colluding with railroads to eliminate his competitors
  • In 1911, US Supreme Court ordered SOC to be dissolved, in violation of anti-trust laws
  • During his life, he donated more than 500 million to philantrophy

The role of Henry Ford

  • Grew up in Michigan, 1863
  • At the age of 16, left home for Detroit to work as a machinist
  • Returned home to work on the family farm after three years
  • In 1891, he went with his wife to Detroit
  • Was hired an engineer for the Edison Illuminating Company(EIC)
  • Promoted chief engineer 2 years later
  • Spent many hours to build a gasoline-powered horseless carriage, or automobile
  • In 1896, completed the ‘’Quadricycle’’ – metal frame with 4 bicycle wheels powered by a gasoline engine
  • In 1902, established his Ford Motor Company
  • A month after, the first Ford car was assembled in Detroit (model T)
  • Assembly process was slow and cars were built by hand
  • Ford introduced new mass-production methods, including large production plants, use of interchangeable parts and the world’s first moving assembly line for cars

Group 2: Immigration to the US

Statue of Liberty – Liberty enlightening the world. Situated on Liberty Island Representing a figure of Libertas, torch in right and tabula ansata with independence dates on it in left hand. A broken chain lies at her feet as she walks forward. A gift from France to the US on October 28, 1886 for gaining independence, although the work on it began 100 years later. It’s designed by F. A. Bartholdi and the metal framework is by G. Eiffel. French financed the statue, Americans provided the site and pedestal. Head and right hand were exhibited individually before completion of the whole statute. Public access to the balcony has been barred since 1916. The Statue of Liberty was a reassuring sign that they had arrived in the land of their dreams. To these anxious newcomers, the Statue’s uplifted torch did not suggest “enlightenment,” as her creators intended, but rather, “welcome.” Over time, Liberty emerged as the “Mother of Exiles,” a symbol of hope to generations of immigrants.

Causes of immigration from Europe in the 19th century – about 30 million immigrants from Northern and Western Europe, fleeing from rising taxes, land and job shortages, crop failures and hunger. US was considered a land of economic possibilities. Some also came in search of religious and political freedom.

Different waves of immigration –

First wave 1790-1820; Europeans; religious, economical and political reasons. 1/10 died before reaching land

Second wave- 1820-1860; Europeans; industrial revolution had left European peasants jobless, about 40% came from Ireland

Third wave- 1840-1910; Asians; came for more job opportunities and religious freedom, in 1910 foreign-born residents made up 15% of American population

Fourth wave- 1965-present; Europeans, Asians, Mexicans; a new law that made people with families already in USA or skills needed in labor, preferred

Jewish immigration –

Sephardic Jews- first settlers arrived in 1654 from Brazil, by 1730 they were outnumbered by Ashkenazi Jews but the community remained sephardic

German Jews- 1840s, about 250 000 of German Jews fled persecution and restrictive laws, seeking new opportunities from USA

Eastern European Jews- after 1880, escaping overpopulation, poverty and oppressive legislation, over 2 million immigrants

Ellis Island – former immigration inspection in New York Harbour (now a museum) busiest station between 1892-1954 letting through over 12 million immigrants, was the first federal immigration station, now part of Statue of Liberty National Monument. Immigrants arriving at Ellis Island were tagged with information from their ship’s registry; they then waited on long lines for medical and legal inspections to determine if they were fit for entry into the United States.

Reed-Johnson Immigration Act of 1924 – Signed into law by President Calvin Coolidge, prevented immigration from Asia, limited the number of immigrants from Eastern Hemisphere to 2% from one nation. Many in Japan were very offended by the new law, which was a violation of the Gentlemen’s Agreement. The Japanese government protested, but the law remained, resulting in an increase in existing tensions between the two nations. The purpose was to preserve the Ideal of US homogeneity.

Differences from 1917 – They created a plan that lowered the existing quota from three to two percent of the foreign-born population. They also pushed back the year on which quota calculations were based from 1910 to 1890.

The notion of Melting Pot vs Salad Bowl – USA is traditionally a Melting Pot  – different nations and cultures have melted together

UK preferes the Salad Bowl concept, where the ideas don’t mix but simply exist together.

Both models of multicultural societies have contradictory aspects:

  • in a melting pot there is no cultural diversity and sometimes differences are not respected.
  • in a salad bowl cultures do not mix at all and it can create tensions and disagreements between different communities..

Present situation – Immigrants comprise about 14 percent of the U.S. population: more than forty-three million out of a total of about 323 million people. The laws are quite strict and and the public attitudes have grown more repulsive due to the terrorism attacks, but the number of immigrants keeps growing. Most immigrants come from South America and Southern Asia. It is estimated that the US population will grow by 100 million with immigration in less than 50 years and 20% of the population will be foreign-born.

Group 3: The US at the beginning of the 20th century

Urbanisation (living conditions, labour unions)

The US was a predominantly rural in the 18th century. In 1790 approximately 95% of people lived outside a city. At that time only 3 cities had more than 15.000 residents. However, urbanisation exploded during the Industrial Revolution. The nation changed from an agricultural to an urbanized and industrialized one. Before the Revolution, rich people tended to live in the center of the city. However, rapid urbanization opened the possibilities of larger roads and mass public transport, which allowed towns to expand their borders. Because factory workers did not need to live in a close range to their workplace, suburbs were built. The North became heavily urbanized and industrialized, while the South remained rural. Only in 1920 did the number of citizens living in urban areas become bigger than in rural areas. Because of the growing number of factory workers, more people demanded tolerable working conditions. This marked the rampant start of labour unions. Eventually, labour unions played a key role in abolishing child labour and increasing wages, reducing working hours and improving sanitation in factories across USA.

Progressive Movement: Theodore Roosevelt

The Progressive Movement, also known as Progressive Era, was a period from 1830s to 1920s. The later political movement supported equal conditions for everybody and it developed because of the socio-economic problems as a consequence to industrialization. Many progressives lived in cities and were well educated. Many problems, such as immigration, corruption, better education and the right to vote were tackled. The peak of the activism was when Theodore Roosevelt came to power as president. He was the governor of New York and he was aware of city problems, which only the government could resolve. He noticed the public’s outcry over rising prices in industries controlled by a monopoly. He began to eliminate monopoly, such as in the railroad, tobacco, beef and oil industries. His reforms’ purpose was to allow a free market and to end corruption and monopolism. To add, he claimed a lot of land in the west to harvest resources and develop an infrastructure for citizens. The Progressive Era ended after World War I, when the horrors of people were exposed and many began to associate president Wilson’s sayings with the war. He was the creator of National Pubs in the US.

An American Empire (the Philippines, Cuba)

It was a Spanish-American war. The first battle was held in the Philippines. Americans knew nothing about Philippines culture or history so American military diplomacy was being carried out in the arrogant cover of almost total ignorance. In 1896, a riot against the Spanish had started in the Philippines. The rebels had adopted a constitution modeled after the American constitution. They had elected a government, including a president: Emilio Aguinaldo. Spain agreed on a truce but then tricked the Philippines so America sent their troops to help the rebels out. Rebels didn’t accept the help put the troops never left. Spain knew they were losing so they surrendered, but only to the US. Americans stayed there and from their point of view, Filipinos were a conquered people. They had no right, US troops searched their houses without any warrants. Americans called them “indians” and the soldier referred to them as “niggers”. American soldiers also landed in Cuba. In less than two weeks of fighting, the Spanish were again defeated. Other American soldiers occupied Puerto Rico, another Spanish-owned island close to Cuba. In July the Spanish government saw it was beaten. It asked the Americans for peace.

When peace was signed, Spain gave most of its overseas empire to the United States – Cuba, the Philippines, Puerto Rico and a small Pacific island called Guam. Spain sold the Philippines to America for 20 million dollars. But not everything is bad, the Americans built schools and hospitals, constructed roads, provided pure water supplies and put an end to killer diseases like malaria and yellow fever in the lands they now ruled. They continued to rule most of them until the middle years of the century. The Philippines became an independent country in 1946. In 1953 Puerto Rico became self-governing, but continued to be closely tied to the United States. In 1959 Hawaii was admitted as the fiftieth state of the Union. Cuba was treated differently. When Congress declared war on Spain in 1898 it said that it was only doing so to help the Cuban people to win independence. When the war ended, Cuba was soon declared an independent country. Nevertheless, US used Cuba as a military base.

Dollar Diplomacy

Dollar Diplomacy, foreign policy created by U.S. President William Howard Taft and his secretary of state, Philander C. Knox, to ensure the financial stability of a region while protecting and extending U.S. commercial and financial interests there. It grew out of President Theodore Roosevelt’s peaceful intervention in the Dominican Republic, where U.S. loans had been exchanged for the right to choose the Dominican head of customs (the country’s major revenue source).Under the name of Dollar Diplomacy, the Taft administration engineered such a policy in Nicaragua. It upheld the overthrow of José Santos Zelaya and set up Adolfo Díaz in his place; it set up an authority of traditions; and it ensured loans to the Nicaraguan government. The hatred of the Nicaraguan individuals, however, in the long run resulted in U.S. military intervention too. Taft and Knox also attempted to promulgate Dollar Diplomacy in China, where it was even less successful, both in terms of U.S. ability to supply loans and in terms of world reaction. The dismal failure of Dollar Diplomacy—from its simplistic assessment of social unrest to its formulaic application—caused the Taft administration to finally abandon the policy in 1912. Dollar diplomacy has come to refer in a disparaging way to the heedless manipulation of foreign affairs for strictly monetary ends.

Monroe Doctrine

The Monroe Doctrine was a United States policy of opposing European colonialism in the Americas beginning in 1823. It stated that further efforts by European nations to take control of any independent state in North or South America would be viewed as “the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United States.” At the same time, the doctrine noted that the U.S. would recognize and not interfere with existing European colonies nor meddle in the internal concerns of European countries. The Doctrine was issued on December 2, 1823 at a time when nearly all Latin American colonies of Spain and Portugal had achieved, or were at the point of gaining, independence from the Portuguese and Spanish Empires. To simplify the Monroe Doctrine was a principle of US policy, originated by President James Monroe, that any intervention by external powers in the politics of the Americas is a potentially hostile act against the US.

The US in WWI

The United States declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917, more than two and a half years after World War I started. Before entering the war, the U.S. had remained neutral, though it had been an important supplier to Great Britain and the other Allied powers.The U.S. made its major contributions in terms of supplies, raw material, and money, starting in 1917. American soldiers under General of the Armies John Pershing, Commander-in-Chief of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF), arrived at the rate of 10,000 men a day on the Western Front in the summer of 1918. During the war the U.S. mobilized over 4 million military personnel and suffered 110,000 deaths, including around 45,000 who died due to the 1918 Spanish influenza outbreak. The war saw a dramatic expansion of the United States government in an effort to harness the war effort and a significant increase in the size of the U.S. Armed Forces.After a relatively slow start in mobilizing the economy and labor force, by spring 1918, the nation was poised to play a role in the conflict. Under the leadership of President Woodrow Wilson, the war represented the climax of the Progressive Era as it sought to bring reform and democracy to the world, although there was substantial public opposition to U.S. entry into the war. Although World War I began in 1914, the United States did not join the war until 1917. The impact of the United States joining the war was significant. The additional firepower, resources, and soldiers of the U.S. helped to tip the balance of the war in favor of the Allies.

Versailles Treaty of 1919

The Treaty of Versailles was perhaps one of the most important treaties in all of mankind, ending the Great War, or better known as World War I. Initially, it originated from President Woodrow Wilson, with his Fourteen Points Speech to the Congress on January 8, 1918. The Treaty was signed on June 28, 1919. Under the Dawes Plan and the Young Plan, Germany was held responsible for all war crimes and damages, therefore they had to pay 132 billion marks (roughly 396 billion euros in today’s economy) in reparations. This was also the cause of the hyperinflation in Germany.

Most of the border territories were either given back to the original country or given as entirely new land for neighbouring countries who aided the Triple Entente (Denmark, Belgium, Poland and Lithuania). The treaty demanded that Germany would lower their armies forces, all while prohibiting the use of certain class weapons and later on, be completely disarmed. However, due to the rise of Hitler in 1932, the treaty’s terms were completely avoided.

League of Nations

The League of Nations was to be formed under the first part of the Treaty of Versailles, later officially founded at the Paris Peace Conference on January 10, 1920. There were 42 original founding members and 15 other countries who joined later on. Its primary goal was to maintain world peace, by negotiation before things got worse. Their most successful achievement was the creation of the Geneva Protocol (prohibited use of biological and chemical weapons), while their other endeavours were not able to be enacted. It had no official army which was ever formed, so it only relied on the Allies’ powers. A lot of problems were not able to be solved because of countries not believing that they were a threat to the attackers, meaning that the League had to mostly watch from the sidelines.

Even though it was Woodrow Wilson’s plan to form an intergovernmental organization to stop wars from ever happening, the US refused to join them. This, and the Soviet Union joining the League and later declaring war on Finland severely lowered their reputation.

During World War II, the League of Nations’ members were supposed to stay as neutral, but France and Germany did not agree to this. That shows how low the organization has fallen, and in the early to mid-40’s, it basically ceased to exist. Only 26 of them remained as part of the League until its disbandment in 1946.èr:The_Gap_in_the_Bridge.png

500 words

“The Immigrant” was a movie to show the hardships of immigrating into the USA in 1920s. Although the immigration part might not be so relatable for us anymore, Ewa’s devotion to her sister, her uncle’s rejection because of rumors, Emil as the beautiful getaway versus Bruno’s unreasonably strong feelings, are timeless.

“When Jeremy Renner appears as Orlando, a magician working the burlesque house circuit, we wonder if he will offer Ewa some kind of escape route from her passive-aggressive relationship with Bruno. You can’t help but wish he would pull out a magic rope, which the pair could shimmy up and emerge in a better film.”

I, not even for once, wished for it. I liked, or even loved, Bruno from the beginning for the deep feelings he had for Ewa, even though he had a hard time figuring out how to act upon them. I even think Bruno’s feelings were one the most sincere and strong aspects of “The Immigrant” and Ewa’s gradually growing sympathy for him only complemented his.

“That first journey into Manhattan is a thrill: the old city is realised in rich and convincing detail, less ambitious in scale than the sets of Sergio Leone’s Once Upon A Time In America, but certainly with the same glister of authenticity.”

I never noticed anything that didn’t belong to the 1920s, not that I’m an expert, but the environment definitely supported the story for me. I was most amazed by the fancy dresses the women wore in the theatre and it was clear that the makers had put a lot of effort in the visual details.

“The Immigrant is almost worth seeing for its final shot: an image of forked paths and bifurcated destinies with a sense of fatalism that seems positively Dostoevskian.”

I couldn’t agree more. I even think it’s the most beautiful final scene from all those I’ve seen. I also loved the non-visual aspects behind it, that it wasn’t a typical contemporary love story, that it was kept perfectly simple and clear, that the feelings were so obvious and strong even without having to force them on viewers with redundant kisses and tears. These points were somewhat present throughout the whole movie and I admired that about the “The Immigrant”.

I enjoyed it. The shortcomings of the story’s depth were made up by the elaborate camerawork, which, as usual for James Gray’s movies, pushed exactly the right buttons and played with the watching experience.

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