The Help (Viivika)

The help notions

Cicil rights movements

The Civil Rights Movement encompasses social movements in the United States whose goals were to end racial segregation and discrimination against African Americans and to secure legal recognition and federal protection of the citizenship rights enumerated in the Constitution and federal law. This article covers the phase of the movement between 1954 and 1968, particularly in the South. The leadership was African-American, and much of the political and financial support came from labor unions (led by Walter Reuther), major religious denominations, and prominent white Democratic Party politicians such as Hubert Humphrey and Lyndon B. Johnson.


Brown VS Topeka

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka was a landmark United States Supreme Court case in which the Court declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students to be unconstitutional. The decision overturned the Plessy v. Ferguson decision of 1896, which allowed state-sponsored segregation, insofar as it applied to public education. Handed down on May 17, 1954, the Warren Court’s unanimous (9–0) decision stated that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” This ruling paved the way for integration and was a major victory of the Civil Rights Movement. However, the decision’s fourteen pages did not spell out any sort of method for ending racial segregation in schools, and the Court’s second decision in Brown II only ordered states to desegregate “with all deliberate speed”.


Little rock nine

The Little Rock Nine was a group of nine African American students enrolled in Little Rock Central High School in 1957. Their enrollment was followed by the Little Rock Crisis, in which the students were initially prevented from entering the racially segregated school by Orval Faubus, the Governor of Arkansas. They then attended after the intervention of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.The U.S. Supreme Court issued its historic Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, 347 U.S. 483, on May 17, 1954. Tied to the 14th Amendment, the decision declared all laws establishing segregated schools to be unconstitutional, and it called for the desegregation of all schools throughout the nation. After the decision, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) attempted to register black students in previously all-white schools in cities throughout the South. In Little Rock, Arkansas, the school board agreed to comply with the high court’s ruling. Virgil Blossom, the Superintendent of Schools, submitted a plan of gradual integration to the school board on May 24, 1955, which the board unanimously approved. The plan would be implemented during the fall of the 1957 school year, which would begin in September 1957.


The role of Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks was a political activist and a black woman. One day she refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white man, a long standing tradition in the south, which triggered huge chain of events that ultimately helped start the civil rights movement. After she was arrested for not giving up the seat a boycott of black people riding buses in Montgommery, Alabama ensued, that lasted for a year and inspired many to rise up and demand equal rights.One of them was Martin Luther King.


NAACP, Jim Crow and disenfranchisement

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is an African-American civil rights organization in the United States, formed in 1909 by Moorfield Storey, Mary White Ovington and W. E. B. Du Bois. Its mission is “to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination”. The group enlarged its mission in the late 20th century by considering such as police misconduct, the status of black foreign refugees, and questions of economic development. Its name, retained in accordance with tradition, uses the once common term colored people. The NAACP bestows annual awards to African Americans in two categories: Image Awards are for achievement in the arts and entertainment, and the Spingarn Medals are for outstanding positive achievement of any kind, frequently political. Its headquarters are now located in Baltimore, Maryland.
Disenfranchisement after the Reconstruction Era in the United States of America was based on a series of laws, new constitutions, and practices in the South that were deliberately used to prevent black citizens from registering to vote and voting. These measures were enacted by the former Confederate states at the turn of the 20th century, and by Oklahoma when it gained statehood in 1907, although not by the former border slave states. Their actions were designed to frustrate the objective of the Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, ratified in 1870, which sought to protect the suffrage of freedmen after the American Civil War.


March on Washington, the role of Martin Luther King

The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the March on Washington, or The Great March on Washington, was held in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, August 28, 1963. The purpose of the march was to advocate for the civil and economic rights of African Americans.
On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat.The Montgomery Bus Boycott, led by King, soon followed. The boycott lasted for 385 days, and the situation became so tense that King’s house was bombed. King was arrested during this campaign, which concluded with a United States District Court ruling in Browder v. Gayle that ended racial segregation on all Montgomery public buses. King’s role in the bus boycott transformed him into a national figure and the best-known spokesman of the civil rights movement.Among many efforts, King headed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Through his activism, he played a pivotal role in ending the legal segregation of African-American citizens in the South and other areas of the nation, as well as the creation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. King received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, among several other honors. King was assassinated in April 1968, and continues to be remembered as one of the most lauded African-American leaders in history, often referenced by his 1963 speech, “I Have a Dream.”


Loving vs Virginia case

Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967), was a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court which struck down all state laws banning interracial marriage as violations of the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The case was brought by Mildred Loving (née Jeter), a woman of color, and Richard Loving, a white man, who had been sentenced to a year in prison in Virginia for marrying each other. Their marriage violated Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act of 1924, which criminalized marriage between people classified as “white” and people classified as “colored”.


Civil Rights Act of 1964, Voting Rights Act of 1965

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a landmark civil rights and labor law in the United States that outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It prohibits unequal application of voter registration requirements, and racial segregation in schools, employment, and public accommodations.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is a landmark piece of federal legislation in the United States that prohibits racial discrimination in voting. It was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson during the height of the civil rights movement on August 6, 1965, and Congress later amended the Act five times to expand its protections. Designed to enforce the voting rights guaranteed by the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, the Act secured the right to vote for racial minorities throughout the country, especially in the South. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the Act is considered to be the most effective piece of federal civil rights legislation ever enacted in the country.


Black Power movement, Black Panther Party

The Black Power movement emphasized racial pride, economic empowerment, and the creation of political and cultural institutions for African-American people in the United States.The movement grew out of the Civil rights movement, as black activists experimented with forms of self-advocacy ranging from political lobbying to armed struggle. The Black Power movement served as a focal point for the view that reformist and pacifist elements of the Civil Rights Movement were not effective in changing race relations.
The Black Panther Party, originally the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, was a political organization founded by Bobby Seale and Huey Newton in October 1966 in Oakland, California.


Visual portrayal

As my visual for the movie “The Help” I chose to add a picture of Elizabeth Eckford on her first day of school in a formerly all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, in September 1957. I find this picture relevant, because Elizabeth along with the little rock nine were very brave to be the first black people to attend Central High School. I also find that this picture expresses very much of how people acted at that time. In the background you can see white students screaming at Elizabeth and I can only imagine what they were saying. I think Elizabeth and the rest of little rock nine were a very good inspiration to other blacks to step up and speak their mind and demand to get the equal rights and treating they deserved.


Critical response

“The Help” is a 2011 movie, that tells us the story about the lives of white and black people living in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1963. Especially the film shines a light on the lives, feelings and thoughts of black women working as maids for white families. Their stories are told through a book written by a young and ambitious writer Eugenia, or “Skeeter”, who manages to befriend Aibileen and Minny and writes their, and other maids’ experiences into a book, without revealing their identities. The book soon becomes a hit amongst people of every colour, but the maids’ employers soon figure out that the book talks about maids in Jackson and they recognize the people in the stories. The movie ends with Aibileen getting fired and finally after a long time feeling relieved.
“If this film were total fiction bearing no relation to reality, it would still be worth seeing … But it wasn’t fiction–at least, the depiction of Southern society wasn’t.” (https://www.imdb.com/review/rw2488236/?ref_=tt_urv) I definitely agree with this person’s opinion. In the rest of their review the person talks about growing up in the 1950s and how their experience was similar to the movie. How a lot of the things almost exactly line up with real life and how blacks were treated back then. I also entirely agree with the first sentence, I also would love to watch this movie even if it was not based on real life events, because it is just a good movie and absolutely worth seeing.
“On the surface, The Help looks like yet another civil rights story told from the perspective of an open-minded white character who acts as the catalyst for change. But director Tate Taylor is careful not to put an overwhelming spotlight on Skeeter at the expense of Aibileen (who narrates the drama) or Minny.” (https://www.commonsensemedia.org/movie-reviews/the-help) I undoubtedly agree with this. When the audience learns that Skeeter is going to write about the maids’ experiences I expected the movie to focus mostly on her point of view, but I was pleasantly surprised to be proved wrong. Even though the main point is Skeeter trying to collect stories to publish her book, the main focus is still on the maids and that I really appreciate.
In summary, the movie is obviously historically correct and just overall a good movie. I personally very much enjoyed the movie and would even watch it again in my free time. Usually I am not the biggest fan of historical movies, but this movie I liked very much. I think watching this with students can easily create a very good discussion about the topics of racism, but also just how to treat one another with respect.

References:

  1. https://www.imdb.com/review/rw2488236/?ref_=tt_urv
  2. https://www.commonsensemedia.org/movie-reviews/the-help

“The Immigrant” (by Ott)

Notions

Group 1

Discovery of gold and gold mining

The first documented commercial discovery of gold happened in 1799 when a 52-year-old male named Conrad Reed found a 17-pound yellow “rock”. He used it as a bulky doorstep until 1802 when a jeweller identified the rock and asked how much did Conrad Reed want for this. Reed asked only 3.50 dollars or a week’s worth of wages but the real value of the gold nugget was around 3600 dollars.

Another remarkable event in the gold mining history in the United States is the California Gold Rush. In 1848 a man named James Wilson Marshall found gold in Coloma, California. The news spread and soon approximately 300 000 prospectors in total arrived from other states and abroad to California to seek fortune. The thinly populated area of California soon gained statehood with the Compromise of 1850. California Gold Rush also caused the existence of ghost towns in California. These towns were usually formed when gold or silver was found. Eventually, these boom towns were deserted once gold opportunities were dried out. In the end, some became rich and most were left empty-handed. The sellers of mining equipment often became richer than the miners themselves.

The USA suffered a great decrease in gold mining due to the closure of gold mines during World War II. This was followed by another boom of gold production during the 1980s. Gold is still mined and exported in the USA to this day. Nowadays, the USA is the fourth-largest gold-producing nation in the world with 6.4% of the gold in 2018 produced by them.

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

In the construction of railroads, the Americas closely copied the British railroad technology. The first known railroad was used to build a French fortress in Louisbourg, Nova Scotia in 1720. The development of the first steam-powered locomotives was started in 1829. Before it, horses were used to pull the train cars. The first passenger service and the first common carrier was the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad which started operating in 1830. By 1850, 14 000 km of railroads had been built. There were massive land grants by the federal government to build further new railroads.

The scheme of the First Transcontinental Railroad. Source

This all led to the First Transcontinental Railroad (also known as the Overland Route and the Pacific Railroad) which was 3 077 km of a continuous railroad connecting the existing eastern rail network to the Pacific coast. The railroad was constructed by three private companies: the Western Pacific Railroad (212 km), the Central Pacific Railroad (1110 km) and the Union Pacific Railroad (1746 km). The First Transcontinental Railroad was opened on May 10, 1869.

The Central Pacific Railroad Company operated from 1861 to 1885. In 1885 the company was acquired by the Southern Pacific Railroad Company. This rail company was chartered by the US Congress and its purpose was to build a railroad eastwards and complete the western part of the First Transcontinental Railroad. The Union Pacific Railroad Company was also a part of the First Transcontinental Railroad project. The company began operating in 1862. It finally merged into being the Southern Pacific Transportation Company. Union Pacific Railroad exists to this day and is the second largest railroad network in the USA (after the BNSF Railway) and one of the biggest transportation companies in the world.

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

During the 19th century, there were two Industrial Revolutions in the US and over the world. The First Industrial Revolution happened from 1760 to the time period between 1820 and 1840. This Revolution included mechanising the workforce, the increased use of steam and water power, new chemical manufacturing and iron production processes. The Revolution also caused a huge population growth.

The Second Industrial Revolution happened between the late 19th century (1870) and early 20th century (1914). It mainly featured advancements in technology. For example, the developments of railroads, telegraphs, sewage systems, gas and water supplies which were then widespread.

The Industrial Revolution caused a huge shift in the US economy. The Revolution was itself caused by an increased necessity and demand of resources, so, for example, canals and railroads became instantly important to the success of the economy, especially in the Western frontier where resources were rich. All this led to the expansion of technological capabilities which in the future caused the dominant role of the USA in the worldwide economy.

Formation of trusts

A trust is a large grouping of financial interests with significant market power. The financial use of the word “trust” dates back to 1825. The term trust is often used in a historical sense to refer to monopolies or near-monopolies in the United States during the Second Industrial Revolution in the 19th century and early 20th century. Originally, trusts were made to consolidate power in large American corporate enterprises. The idea of trusts was not well received in the state courts. New American competition laws were created which were also known as antitrust laws. In 1898 an US President named William McKinley started a campaign of “trust-busting” and the next president Theodore Roosevelt did then the same.

The role of Andrew Carnegie

Andrew Carnegie. Source

Andrew Carnegie was a Scottish-American philanthropist, industrialist, Conservative and a business magnate. He led the expansion and development of the steel industry in the USA. He is identified as one of the richest people in American history with the net worth of 372 billion US dollars. He was born in Scotland in 1835 and emigrated to America in 1848 with his parents. He started working as a telegrapher moving his way up while investing in several ventures railroads, oil derricks, bridges, etc. He then founded a steel company and sold it later to J. P. Morgan in 1901 for 303,450,000 US dollars. After selling the company, he passed John D. Rockefeller as the richest American for the next few years. He devoted the rest of his life to philanthropy which seems to be quite similar to what Bill Gates is doing as of now.

The role of John D. Rockefeller

John D. Rockefeller in his late age. Source

John D. Rockefeller is also considered as one of the wealthiest Americans of all time. He was also a philanthropist and industrialist. Rockefeller was born in a large family in New York in 1839. He became an assistant bookkeeper at the age of 16. By the age of 20, he had already been in a few business partnerships and then decided to concentrate on oil refining which caused him to found the Standard Oil Company in 1870 while being 31 years old. The company rose to be the biggest company in the world. He ran it until 1897 and remained as its biggest shareholder. At his peak, he controlled 90% of the oil in America. The violation of the anti-trust law caused the Standard Oil Company to be split into 34 separate entities in 1911. Some of the pieces had even a bigger worth than the whole company ever did. This was caused by the doubling of shares. Rockefeller then became the first billionaire in US history. His treasure rose to be worth as much as 2% of the US economy. Rockefeller’s net worth was 409 billion US dollars. He died in 1937 aged 97, though he had a great desire to live to the age of a hundred.

The role of Henry Ford

Henry Ford. Source

Henry Ford was the founder of Ford Motor Company which still exists to this day. He was a sponsor of the development of the assembly line technique in mass production. He did not invent the automobile nor the assembly line but he developed and manufactured both. The most significant invention was the affordable car. Before it, the car had been a curiosity but Ford brought the car to the masses, he made it affordable and wide-spread. He also became one of the richest people in American history. He was born in 1863 and died in 1947 aged 83. Ford left his wealth to the Ford Foundation and arranged for his family to control the company permanently. Henry Ford was known for his pacifism during the years of World War I. Later on, he promoted and created antisemitic content. Ford blamed the Jews for causing both World Wars. He also was against the USA joining the Second World War.

Group 2

Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty nowadays. Source

The Statue of Liberty is a copper 93-metre-high statue on Liberty Island in New York. The statue was a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States. It was designed by a French sculptor named Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and dedicated on October 28, in 1886. The Statue of Liberty plays a role in American immigration as it was (and still is) the sign of freedom to the newcomers. For example, between 1886 and 1924, almost 14 million immigrants arrived in the United States and for them, the Statue of Liberty was a reassuring sign that they had arrived in the land of their dreams. The statue later claimed the nickname “Mother of Exiles”, a symbol of hope to generations of immigrants. The torch in its hand was meant to express enlightenment but instead seemed like a symbol of welcome to the immigrants.

Causes of immigration from Europe in the 19th century

Main reasons: fleeing crop failure, land and job shortages, raising taxes; the US being perceived as the land of economic opportunity, personal and religious freedom.

New York City quickly earned the nickname of the “Golden Door” as more than 70% of all immigrants entered through there.

One of the biggest waves of immigrants from Europe happened around 1815 to 1865. Most of them came from Northern and Western Europe.

One-third of them came from Ireland because of the massive famine there in the mid-19th century. Between 1820 and 1930, about 4.5 million Irishmen emigrated to the US and in the 1840s half of the immigrants in total were Irish. The mainly settled in the cities along the east coast.

About 5 million Germans emigrated to the US during the 19th century. Many of them went to the present-day Midwest in the hope to buy farms or settled in cities such as Milwaukee, St. Lois and Cincinnati.

Asian immigrants started to pour in during the mid-1800s brought by the news of the California Gold Rush. By 1850s, about 25 000 Chinese immigrants had settled in the US.

Rapid industrialization and urbanization between 1880 and 1920 brought more than 20 million immigrants to the US, another one of the biggest waves of Europeans. Most of them arrived from Central, Eastern and Southern Europe.

About 600 000 Italians emigrated to America. By 1920, more than 4 million had arrived in the United States.

Jews in Eastern Europe were trying to flee religious persecution as over 2 million of them entered the United States between 1880 and 1920.

Different waves of immigration

The First Wave happened between 1790 to 1820 when Northern and Western Europeans (for example, the English, Irish, Germans, Dutch, French Spanish, etc) fled because of religious, political and economic reasons. Shipwreck, starvation and disease killed 1 of 10 immigrants who travelled to the USA by ship before reaching their destination.

The Second Wave happened between 1820 to 1860 when many peasants in Europe were made jobless because of the industrial revolution. Germans escaped economic problems and sought political freedom, whereas the Irish were escaping poverty and famine. Many of them received letters from America encouraging them to join these friends and relatives in the US.

The Third Wave happened between 1880 to 1914 when many Asians (mainly from China and Japan) migrated to the US in search of job opportunities and religious freedom.

The Fourth Wave is still happening but started in 1965. A new law was set in place that gave priority to the immigrants who already had family in the US or had skills which were needed in the labour market. Most of the immigrants were Europeans, Asians and Hispanics (they were mainly from Mexico). In the 1980s and early 1990s, Asians made up about one-third of the immigrants entering America. Hispanics made up about one-half of the number of immigrants in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Jewish immigration

The Sephardic Wave happened when the first group of Sephardic settlers arrived in New Amsterdam in 1654. They had come from Brazil. This was followed in the next decades by the Sephardic and Ashkenazic establishing homes in American colonial ports, including Newport, New York, Philadelphia, Charleston and Savannah. Jews were escaping taxes for commercial transactions and regulations for Jewish publications.

The German Wave began in the 1840s when large numbers of Jews started arriving in America trying to escape persecution, restrictive laws, economic hardship and the failure of movements which advocated change and were largely supported by German Jews. By the beginning of World War I, about 250 000 German Jews had arrived in America. These Jews established themselves in smaller cities and towns in Midwest, West and the South. They also created the city of Cincinnati.

Eastern European Wave happened after 1880 when Jews started escaping Europe because of overpopulation, oppressive legislation and poverty. The prospect of financial and social advancement lured them to migrate to the United States. Between 1880 and 1924, over 2 million Jews from Russia, Austria-Hungary and Romania arrived in America. They found work in factories, garment industry, cigar manufacturing, food production and construction. The wave came practically to an end in 1924.

Ellis Island

Ellis Island in 1907. Source

Ellis Island was an immigration inspection station in New York Harbour. It was the nation’s busiest immigration inspection station from 1892 until 1954. The station was a gateway for over 12 million immigrants to the United States. From 1900 to 1914 about 5000 to 10 000 people passed through the station every day. The period was also the peak of Ellis Island’s operation. The immigrants on Ellis Island had to wait in long queues for medical and legal inspection to determine if they are fit to enter into the United States.

Reed-Johnson Immigration Act of 1924

The Reed-Johnson Immigration Act was signed into law by President Calvin Coolidge in 1924. The act established a national origins quota, limiting the number of immigrants allowed entry into the United States. The principle was that 2% of the total number of people of each nationality were provided visas. The act excluded immigrants from Asia completely. This means that Asian people were no longer admitted access to the United States. The Japanese were very offended as the Japanese government protested and thus raised tensions between the two countries, though without any result.

The notion of Melting Pot vs Salad Bowl

The Melting Pot – generations of immigrants have melted together, they’ve abandoned their cultures to become totally assimilated, there is no cultural diversity, sometimes differences are not respected. Describes the assimilation of immigrants in the US.

The Salad Bowl – cultural diversity is considered a positive thing, immigrants maintain their traditions and native languages, racial integration, living in harmony, cultures don’t mix at all. Describes the situation in the UK. The principle is based on the example of lettuce, carrots and tomatoes living in harmony in a salad.

Present Situation

14% of the US population consists of immigrants. That makes more than 43 million out of 323 million people. When we add their US-born children to the numbers, they make up about 27% of US inhabitants. The undocumented population is about 11 million and started decreasing since the 2008 economic crisis which led to many of the immigrants to return to their homes. The economic crisis also discouraged others from even coming to the United States. More than 71% of the people in the US consider immigration a good thing for the United States.

Group 3

Urbanisation (living conditions, labour unions)

Urbanisation kicked off with the Industrial Revolution. Before it, only 5% of people lived in cities and only 3 cities had more than 15 000 residents. But then the USA was industrialised and urbanised. Though the South remained mainly rural for some time as later in 1920 the number of people living in cities exceeded the number of people living in rural areas. Still, rapid urbanisation caused the creation of larger roads, mass public transport which allowed towns to extend their borders. Factory workers no longer needed to live near their workplace as also suburbs were built. Labour unions were created as the increasing number of factory workers started demanding for tolerable working conditions. These unions eventually played a big role in abolishing child labour, increasing wages, reducing work hours and improving sanitation in factories all across the USA.

Progressive Movement: Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt. Source

The Progressive Movement was a period from the 1830s to 1920s. The movement was created because of the socio-economic problems which had derived from industrialisation. The Progressive Movement supported equal conditions for everybody and tackled problems, such as immigration, corruption, bad education and lack of right to vote. The movement reached its peak when Theodore Roosevelt became the President of the United States. He had been the governor of New York before it, so he knew the city problems which could only be resolved by the government. He heard the public outcry over rising prices in industries controlled by monopolies, so he began to eliminate monopolies, for example, in the railroad, tobacco, beef and oil industries. His purpose was to establish a free market and to end corruption and monopolism. The Progressive Movement ended after World War I.

An American Empire (the Philippines, Cuba)

In 1896, the Philippines carried out a rebellion against the Spanish. The locals established a local government, a president and a constitution very similar to the US one. This was a rebellion against the Spanish conquerors. The Spanish agreed on a truce but followed to trick them, so the Americans sent their troops out, having no knowledge about the Philippines culture or history. Rebels didn’t want the American help but after the Spanish lost the Americans continued to stay and treated the locals with ignorance. The locals’ houses were searched without a warrant. The locals were treated like conquered people, they were called “Indians” or “niggers”.

Then the American troops also landed in Cuba. They fought again with the Spanish for a few weeks which was followed by another American victory. They continued their advance to Puerto Rico and once again beat the Spanish. The Spanish government saw that they were beaten and opted for peace. Thus they gave most of its overseas empire to the United States (including Cuba, the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Guam). The Philippines were sold to the Americans for 20 million dollars. On the bright side, the Americans built schools and hospitals, constructed roads, provided pure water supplies and put an end to killer diseases like malaria and yellow fever.

Then the USA began to lose its empire. The Philippines gained independence in 1946. Puerto Rico started to self-govern itself in 1953 while still preserving close ties with the USA. Hawaii was admitted as the 50th state of the US in 1959. Cuba was used as a military base, though the USA had promised it was only helping the Cuban to gain independence by fighting the Spanish. Still, Cuba became an independent country.

Dollar Diplomacy

Dollar Diplomacy was a foreign policy which was created by the US President William Howard Taft and his secretary of state Philander C. Knox. The purpose was to ensure the financial stability of a region while protecting and extending US commercial and financial interests there. Dollar Diplomacy grew out of the peaceful intervention of President Theodore Roosevelt 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 US 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 manipulation of foreign affairs for strictly financial purposes.

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 been 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 Monro, 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 US had remained neutral, though it had been an important supplier to Great Britain and the other Allied powers. The US 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 US 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 US Armed Forces. After a relatively slow start in mobilizing the economy and labour 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 US entry into the war. 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 favour 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 an 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 logo of the League of Nations. Source

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. 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 neutral, but France and Germany did not agree to this. That shows how low the organization had fallen, and in the early to mid-40s, it basically ceased to exist. Only 26 of them remained as part of the League until its disbandment in 1946.

Visual

I have chosen a diagram as my visual. I do not think it pictures the conditions and challenges that the immigrants suffered and went through but it creates a simple visual understanding of the waves of immigration. The diagram pictures US immigration flows by country. It is a good way to visualise the waves of immigrants pouring into the United States from the 1820s to nowadays. For example, I was surprised to find out the contrast between the numbers of Irish immigrants and Chinese immigrants. I figured the numbers to be more equal but apparently, that is not the case. For anyone who is having trouble remembering the waves of immigration, this is a great visual to scrutinise. The source offers also many other great ways of visualising immigration history in the United States.

Essay

“The Immigrant” is an American film published in 2013, starring a French actor Marion Cotillard playing a Polish immigrant who is trying desperately to settle in the United States. She faces several challenges when her sister is put in an infirmary, she herself is facing deportation and then suddenly she is mixed into the world of prostitution to gain money for her sister’s treatment. Eventually, a somewhat lethal love-triangle emerges which changes everything.

Seemingly, the purpose of the film was to picture the harsh life of the immigrants arriving in the United States. It is hard to find reviews which evaluate the accuracy of the historical integrity but I personally think that the film was a success in that matter. The immigrants did not get to choose their fates. In order to stay alive and earn money, they had to accept what they were offered. Whether the events actually took place is disputable, though the director James Gray himself has said that “The Immigrant” is based largely on the remembrances of his grandparents (Callahan, 2014). There are also reviews that consider the film totally non-historical. For example, one review has given this film such a verdict: “The Immigrant’s triumph isn’t revealing the illusion of the American dream, but showing how two souls push past doubt and toward an understanding and appreciation of their interdependence as necessary to their human survival.” (Gonzalez, 2013)

Many people do not like the film but I do. The film has earned a fairly low rating of 6.6 in IMDb and many of my fellow students considered the film to be way too long and way too boring. I frankly liked the film. I found the film to be interesting and intriguing. It was exciting to discuss the events later with my classmates because each and every one of us saw the events differently. We saw different meanings and different perspectives. This film reminds me of a classical Estonian film: the colours are somewhat dull; there is not much speaking, especially by the main character; you have to kind of invent the ending yourself.

According to the director, “The Immigrant” is based on the remembrances of his own grandparents and the film seems to picture the harsh life of immigrants arriving in the United States but some of the reviewers see the film as not revealing the illusion of the American dream. The ratings are low but despite that, I personally liked the film and saw it as intriguing and interesting as people understand it differently.

1. Callahan, D. 2014. The Immigrant, RogerEbert.com. Available at: https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/the-immigrant-2014 (Accessed: 26.05.2019)

2. Gonzales, E. 2013. Review: The Immigrant, Slant. Available at: https://www.slantmagazine.com/film/the-immigrant/ (Accessed: 26.05.2019)

“The Immigrant” part 2

I found “The Immigrant” to be a rather boring movie. There was not enough action and the movie felt stretched out. Though the movie depicted the life in that time (the 1910s) pretty well, I feel like the nearly 2 hours run time was what killed the movie for me, it was plainly just not interesting to me. But do the critics agree?

I was surprised to find a lot of positive reviews for this movie, as I didn’t like it at all. One review that I found goes as follows: “A slow, simmering film with intense characters and a drama that demands patience and rewards with a rich drama about the American experience”. One thing is for sure, the movie was slow and simmering, but this is the only part of the review that I agree with. I did not find this movie to reward my patience after a 2 hour watch, nor did I find the characters to be “intense”. While the acting in the movie wasn’t bad, it was not particulary good either.

Even though there are a lot of good reviews about the “Immigrant”, there are also some bad reviews, that I agree with. For example: “There are love rivals vying for the same women. However is this enough to save the film? Not really as it’s hard to connect with the two dimensional Ewa”, and: “Technically there is nothing wrong with The Immigrant, but it never engages or even really touches the audience”. I found these reviews to have the same main criticism about the movie as I have. Ewa was definitely a dull character and I feel like the movie never really engaged the audience. You might think the slow pace of the movie might pay off in the end, however I did not find this to be the case.

To summarize, a positive side of the movie is that it gave a generally good overview of the life in that time, however the movie itself was quite boring and the relatively long run time did not help this. The main character was, also, dull and hard to feel sorry for. I think this movie could have been so much more and I find i t to be a shame that it wasn’t.

The Immigrant (Tõnis)

Rationale

A photograph of immigrants arriving in Ellis Island in the early 20th century United States

(image source)

I chose this photograph as my visual because it depicts the people coming from war into unknown territory. Most of them didn’t have a choice as to whether to move into a completely different continent, not knowing what awaits, or stay at home and possibly get killed. These immigrants can be seen wearing what I’d say to be “higher-class” garments. So it is heavily implied that a lot of rich families had a better chance of escaping war in Europe. Ellis Island was the second hurdle to jump over, first, of course, being the long voyage on the ocean. The inspection was long and dull, so whether they were completely healthy or not, showing any symptoms would possibly mean deportation. Families usually had relatives living in New York City or somewhere near the area. If not, then people had to make due with what they had and work hard to even get a living space.

Notions

The 19th century

(image source)

Discovery of gold and gold mining

First rush was in 1799. Gold was 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.

Second rush, found in Georgia in 1835 created tensions with aboriginals and resulted in the removal of Cherokee tribes from the area. Also, a mint was founded for it.

The third rush was, in 1848, a gold mine in Coloma, California by J. W. Marshall. At first, he tried to keep it a secret but that didn’t succeed. Immigrants started flowing into California in hopes of finding riches. ‘Forty-niners’ rushed to California. Thanks to this finding, it became a state. Amateur and pro-miners now became two separate professions. Private companies were created to process gold. Entrepreneurship in California flourished.

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

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

At first, people travelled from one coast to the 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 megalomaniac businessmen who also made illegal deals for profit. Native Americans felt threatened by the white Americans’ “iron horse”. This gave them reasons to attack and keep disrupting the work. Poor settlements were founded behind the railroads forming the “Wild West”. Railroad constructers were different immigrants. The Union Pacific Railroad Company managed to cover four times as much distance as the Central Pacific one. Both sides met in Promontory Summit.

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

A process where an agricultural economy transforms into a manufacturing one. In the USA it began in the early 1800s. After the Civil War, machines replaced much of the manual work. Industrialisation grew the 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 photographs, telephone, typewriter. Many jobs in the manufactures to maximize efficiency in productivity. ‘Gilded era’-Mark Twain in 1920s-30; the culture of the newly 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 consumers (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

Photograph of Andrew Carnegie (image source)
  • American industrialist and philanthropist
  • 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 philanthrop
  • Established the Carnegie-Mellon University in 1904

The role of John D. Rockefeller

Photograph of John D. Rockefeller (image source)
  • The founder of The Standard Oil Company (SOC) in 1870
  • Became one of the world’s wealthiest men, a 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, the US Supreme Court ordered SOC to be dissolved, in violation of anti-trust laws
  • During his life, he donated more than 500 million to philanthropy

The role of Henry Ford

Photograph of Henry Ford (image source)
  • Born in 1863 and grew up in Michigan
  • 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 to 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

Immigration to the US

(image source)

Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World; French: La Liberté éclairant le monde) is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor in New York, in the United States. The copper statue standing at 93 meters, a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States, was designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and its metal framework was built by Gustave Eiffel. The statue was dedicated on October 28, 1886. The Statue of Liberty is a figure of Libertas, a robed Roman liberty goddess. She holds a torch above her head with her right hand, and in her left hand, she carries a tabula ansata inscribed in Roman numerals with “JULY IV MDCCLXXVI” (July 4, 1776), the date of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. A broken chain lies at her feet as she walks forward. The statue became an icon of freedom and of the United States and a national park tourism destination. It is a welcoming sight to immigrants arriving from abroad.

Fundraising for the statue proved difficult, especially for the Americans, and by 1885 work on the pedestal was threatened by lack of funds. Publisher Joseph Pulitzer, of the New York World, started a drive for donations to finish the project and attracted more than 120,000 contributors, most of whom gave less than a dollar. Between 1886 and 1924, almost 14 million immigrants entered the United States through New York. 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

Fleeing crop failure, land and job shortages, rising taxes, and famine, many came to the U. S. because it was perceived as the land of economic opportunity. Others came seeking personal freedom or relief from political and religious persecution. More than 70 per cent of all immigrants, however, entered through New York City, which came to be known as the “Golden Door.” Throughout the late 1800s, most immigrants arriving in New York entered at the Castle Garden depot near the tip of Manhattan.

A major wave of immigration occurred from around 1815 to 1865. Majority of the immigrants came from Northern and Western Europe. Approximately one-third came from Ireland, which experienced a massive famine in the mid-19th century. In the 1840s, almost half of America’s immigrants were from Ireland alone. Typically impoverished, these Irish immigrants settled near their point of arrival in cities along the East Coast. Between 1820 and 1930, some 4.5 million Irish migrated to the United States.

Also in the 19th century, the United States received some 5 million German immigrants. Many of them journeyed to the present-day Midwest to buy farms or congregated in such cities as Milwaukee, St. Louis and Cincinnati. In the national census of 2000, more Americans claimed German ancestry than any other group.

During the mid-1800s, a significant number of Asian immigrants settled in the United States. Lured by news of the California gold rush, some 25,000 Chinese had migrated there by the early 1850s.

Between 1880 and 1920, a time of rapid industrialization and urbanization, America received more than 20 million immigrants. Beginning in the 1890s, the majority of arrivals were from Central, Eastern and Southern Europe. In that decade alone, some 600,000 Italians migrated to America, and by 1920 more than 4 million had entered the United States.

Jews from Eastern Europe fleeing religious persecution also arrived in large numbers; over 2 million entered the United States between 1880 and 1920.

Different waves of immigration

First Wave 1790 – 1820

Groups of immigrants came for a variety of religious, political, and economic reasons. Northern and Western Europeans (English, Irish, Germans, Dutch, French, Spanish etc). Starvation, disease, and shipwreck killed 1 in 10 of those immigrants who set sail for America before they even set foot on land.  (relatively little immigration, significant emigration to Canada)

Second Wave 1820 – 1860  

Immigrants came for new opportunities because, in Europe, peasants displaced from agriculture and artisans were made jobless from the industrial revolution. Some immigrants received “American Letters” which were encouraging friends and relatives to join them in America. German (escaping economic problems and seeking political freedom), British, Irish 40% (poverty and famine encouraged emigration). The Roman Catholic church was the single largest religious body in the United States by 1850.

Third Wave 1880 – 1914  

Immigrants came over to America for more job opportunities and freedom of religion. Chinese, Japanese, and other Asian countries (migrated to the western states). In the 1910 census, foreign-born residents made up 15 per cent of the U.S. population and 24 per cent of the U.S. labour force.

Fourth Wave 1965 – Present  

A new law that altered the selection of immigrants from the country they were from, to giving priority to people who already had family in the United States or had skills that were needed in the labour market. Europeans, Asians, Hispanics (Mexico). In the 1980s and early 1990s, Asians made up about one-third of the immigrants entering America. Hispanics made up about one-half of the number of immigrants in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Jewish immigration

Sephardic wave

The first group of Sephardic settlers arrived in New Amsterdam in 1654 from Brazil. For several decades afterward, adventurous Sephardic and Ashkenazic merchants established homes in American colonial ports, including Newport, R.I., New Amsterdam (later New York), Philadelphia, Charleston, S.C., and Savannah, Ga. This was a departure from the Old World, where synagogues in places like Amsterdam, London, and Recife, taxed commercial transactions, regulated Jewish publications, and punished members for lapses in individual or commercial morality.

German wave

German Jews began to come to America in significant numbers in the 1840s. Jews left Germany because of persecution, restrictive laws, economic hardship, and the failure of movements — widely supported by German Jews — advocating revolution and reform there. Some 250,000 German-speaking Jews came to America by the outbreak of World War I. This sizable immigrant community expanded American Jewish geography by establishing themselves in smaller cities and towns in the Midwest, West, and the South. If German Jews had one city of their own invention, it was Cincinnati.

Eastern European wave

Eastern European Jews began to immigrate to the United States in large numbers after 1880. Pushed out of Europe by overpopulation, oppressive legislation and poverty, they were pulled toward America by the prospect of financial and social advancement. Between 1880 and the onset of restrictive immigration quotas in 1924, over 2 million Jews from Russia, Austria-Hungary, and Romania came to America. The immigrants found work in factories, especially in the garment industry, but also in cigar manufacturing, food production, and construction. Large-scale Jewish immigration to the United States ended in 1924.

Ellis Island

Ellis Island is a former immigration inspection station in New York Harbor, within the states of New York and New Jersey. It was the gateway for over 12 million immigrants to the United States as the nation’s busiest immigrant inspection station from 1892 until 1954. After an arduous sea voyage, 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. From 1900 to 1914 – the peak years of Ellis Island’s operation – some 5,000 to 10,000 people passed through the immigration station every day. On January 1, 1892 – her 15th birthday – Annie Moore from County Cork, Ireland, became the first person admitted to the new immigration station on Ellis Island. On that opening day, she received a greeting from officials and a $10.00 gold piece. Annie travelled to New York with her two younger brothers on steerage aboard the S.S. Nevada, which left Queenstown (now Cobh), Ireland, on December 20, 1891, and arrived in New York on the evening of December 31. After being processed, the children were reunited with their parents, who were already living in New York.

Reed-Johnson Immigration Act of 1924

The Immigration Act of 1924 limited the number of immigrants allowed entry into the United States through a national origins quota. The quota provided immigration visas to two per cent of the total number of people of each nationality in the United States as of the 1890 national census. It completely excluded immigrants from Asia. Signed into law by President Calvin Coolidge.

The 1924 Immigration Act also included a provision excluding from entry any alien who by virtue of race or nationality was ineligible for citizenship. Existing nationality laws dating from 1790 and 1870 excluded people of Asian lineage from naturalizing. As a result, the 1924 Act meant that even Asians not previously prevented from immigrating – the Japanese in particular – would no longer be admitted to the United States. 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. Despite the increased tensions, it appeared that the U.S. Congress had decided that preserving the racial composition of the country was more important than promoting good ties with Japan.

The notion of Melting Pot vs Salad Bowl

The USA is traditionally called a melting pot because with time, generations of immigrants have melted together: they have abandoned their cultures to become totally assimilated into American society. Historically, it is often used to describe the assimilation of immigrants to the United States.

But in the UK, where cultural diversity is considered a positive thing, immigrants have always been encouraged to maintain their traditions and their native language. This model of racial integration can be described as a salad bowl, with people of different cultures living in harmony, like the lettuce, tomatoes and carrots in a salad. New York City can be considered as being a “salad bowl”

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.

Present situation

Immigrants comprise about 14 per cent of the U.S. population: more than forty-three million out of a total of about 323 million people. Together, immigrants and their U.S.-born children make up about 27 per cent of U.S. inhabitants. Illegal immigration. The undocumented population is about eleven million and has levelled off since the 2008 economic crisis, which led some to return to their home countries and discouraged others from coming to the United States. A 2017 Gallup poll found that 71 per cent of Americans considered immigration a “good thing” for the United States.

Forty-six per cent of immigrants in 2017 reported their race as single-race White, 27 per cent as Asian, 9 per cent as Black, and 16 per cent as some other race. About 2 per cent reported having two or more races. In 2017, approximately 78 per cent (239.3 million) of the 306 million people ages 5 and older in the United States reported speaking only English at home.

The US at the beginning of the 20th century

(image source)

Urbanisation (living conditions, labour unions)

The main reason why the US started to urbanise was due to the worldwide technological advancements of the Industrial Revolution. The rich lived within the centre of the city, the middle class was a bit further away and the poor residing in the suburban areas. Life within cities was becoming much better than somewhere on a farm. Water pumps gave people more access to drinkable water, railroads enabled faster transportation and town watches to keep the peace. However, cities were densely populated, so moving around proved quite difficult. New factories gave the locals more jobs, therefore increasing the workforce amount within the vicinity. Labour workers, as they became known to be, did jobs that almost anyone could have dealt with, meaning that skilled craftsmen had fewer customers or just moved on into factories themselves. But they could have been easily exploited, with the working conditions being dreadful and wages unbelievably low. To combat this, they formed labour unions, in hopes to protect their rights and demand higher wages.

Progressive Movement: Theodore Roosevelt

Also known as the Progressive Era, it was a time of social activism and reformation of politics that went from the 1890s to 1920s. The main goal was to deal with problems caused by immigration, corruption and industrialisation. The movement was severely against monopolies, demanding that they “even out the playing field” for other up-and-coming businessmen. Its most well known political leader was President Theodore Roosevelt Jr. With his earlier experiences as New York City’s police commissioner and governor of the state, he had a solid grasp of the urban problems present within the society. He dealt with the trust issues head-on, enforcing the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, which earlier presidents ignored. He was called the “trust-buster”, but in fact, he was actually supporting trusts, just not the bad ones. He created the Bureau of Corporations, which dealt with shady corporate practises.

An American Empire (the Philippines, Cuba)

Between both the Philippines and Cuba, America had a war with Spain on both of the islands during the late 19th to the early 20th century, known as the Spanish-American War. The first big battle took place in the Philippines, known as the Philippine American War. Before the purchase of the Philippines, the Filipinos lived on the islands as Spanish colonies for hundreds of years. They created a revolution, where the United States was reluctant to help. After winning the war, the Americans decided to buy the Philippines for 20 million dollars from Spain and denied their citizenship as Filipinos. Tensions immediately rose and started another conflict in 1899. The US fought with overwhelmingly more strength and after pushing the Filipinos back into the main island, they moved to guerrilla tactics. This made the battle much bloodier, causing additional casualties on the soldiers as well as civilians. In 1902, they captured the Filipino leader Emilio Aguinaldo and his followers dissipated, putting the fight to a close.

The second battle in Cuba had a similar outcome. The US was seen as the only solution to their bad conditions with the Spanish. So, with the American aid they wanted, the Cubans pushed the enemy back, but only staying at a stalemate on Fort Canosa. Spain, realising they had lost the war, withdrew all of the islands, including Puerto Rico and Guam.

Dollar Diplomacy

The Dollar Diplomacy was a political policy created by both President William Howard Taft and his Secretary of State Philander C. Knox. Knox ensured that this policy would create stability and order abroad, which would be beneficial for American commercial interests. It improved financial opportunities and helped the US use its private capital for foreign dealings. However, it failed to counteract foreign instability in places like Mexico, Nicaragua and China.

A cartoon made to show how the Monroe Doctrine is being used against the European powers setting claims on the Republic of Santo Domingo. (image source)

Monroe Doctrine

It was a foreign policy created by President James Monroe on December 2, 1823. He made four points in his doctrine:

  1. The US would not interfere with the internal affairs of the European powers, including wars.
  2. The US would not interfere with existing colonies and countries within the Western Hemisphere.
  3. No further colonisation was allowed in the Western Hemisphere
  4. Any attempts made by European political powers against the countries and colonies within the Western Hemisphere will be seen as an act of war.

The US in WWI

The United States declared neutrality after the war had broken out. More specifically, Woodrow Wilson proclaimed this. But after the sinking of the British ocean liner Lusitania by a German U-boat in 1915, public opinion changed on the war. 2000 including 128 Americans died on that ship. News also spread about Zimmerman’s telegram which threatened an alliance between Mexico and Germany. The US, after having a vote for war within the Congress, declared war on Germany in April 6, 1917. The US Army consisted of just 133,000 soldiers, but after passing the Selective Service Act, the draftees numbers exploded to 2.8 million men. The first of the army arrived in June 1917. The war ended with 2 million Americans serving in the war and more than 50,000 casualties.

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 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. 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, later declaring war on Finland severely lowered their reputation.

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

Critical Response

(image source)

The movie I will be reviewing is called “The Immigrant”, made in 2013, directed by James Gray and set in 1921. Its main character, Ewa Cybulska, is a Polish immigrant who escaped the Great War with her sister Magda. Their arrive in New York City but were quickly separated. The movie revolves around Ewa trying to earn enough money to rescue her sister, by any means possible.

I liked the movie’s scenery. It captured the lifestyle of an immigrant who went into America unprepared quite well. Doing illegal acts just to stay alive might have been the only to even survive in New York City, especially as a woman who does not own a home. Reviewer Peter Debruge said: “Though the film ultimately concerns the heartbreaking compromises Ewa makes to adapt to this better life, Gray depicts these transgressions as magnanimously as possible.” (review link) I thought all of the clothing, props and portrayal of the city were very close to the real thing. It helped immerse me into thinking all of the events which occurred actually could have happened. The way people spoke was much different from what we see today and was a nice touch to cement the fact that it took place in early 20th century America. The story was well-handled, featuring a love triangle which actually did not become your average soap-opera scene. I thought that Ewa and Emil would get out of the city, with Bruno dying or something happening to him but I was honestly shocked that Emil would be killed by Bruno.

Moving on to the things I didn’t like. A lot of events that led up to how the movie ended would have been completely avoided if certain people did things differently. One such action was Emil’s 2nd confrontation with Bruno, after learning about the existence of a gun. Had Emil not pulled the trigger, or even opened the door, he would have lived. This frustrated me, as such a simple action cost his life. A reviewer named Howard Schumann had this to say: “Though we listen to Ewa’s self-deprecation in the oppressive darkness of a confessional, little is shown of her actual “work” and, as a result, it is not easy to relate to her feelings of degradation.” (review link) I felt the same way. Little to no scenes about her “sinful work” make it seem like the job of a prostitute isn’t even so bad. Of course, this is not the case, but even having one scene of her with a “bad customer” would help the viewers sympathise with her self-grudge towards her work.

I think this movie does well at portraying Ewa’s journey throughout the 2-hour runtime. However, I don’t think it isn’t that good for giving an overview of the immigrant situation in the United States. The movie has a well-written story which has quite a few flaws. If someone is looking for a good movie based in the 1920s, then this movie would be one of my suggestions.

Review sources

The Immigrant

Visual:

Immigrants protesting
Source:
https://www.nyclu.org/en/news/westchester-county-wont-aid-trumps-war-immigrants

Rationale:

I chose a photo of different colored people at a demonstration fighting for their rights. Even though this photo has been taken later than the era we are talking about, it is still perfect for depicting the situation. First of all, travelling to America to find a better life was a decision that many made during the 4 waves of immigration. Many who arrived, however, were not welcomed and were even sent back. The relevance of the picture is associated to these immigrants that were not welcomed. When paying attention to the sign the demonstrator is holding, we see her argument being that we are all essentially immigrants in America. The land was colonized by people who moved away from their homes with the hope of also finding a better future in somewhere else. Similarly to the immigrants during 19th-20th century. This means that actually it is not ethical for USA to say who is welcomed on the land and who is not. The photo is good representation of the era because it points out how the officials were hypocrite not letting certain immigrants in, forgetting they used to be ones themselves. It also raises the important topic of immigration overall that concerned the 19th and 20th century’s U.S.

Movie review for “The Immigrant”

(For covering the historical accuracy point, I chose to do a research of my own and include the link where I got the information, instead of a review)

This is a melodramatic film which tries to show the life many immigrants had when moving to America. In addition to leading audience’s attention to the rough times of 1920s, the film also digs into human’s emotions, boundaries and norms. In my opinion the movie succeeds in the aforementioned psychological part, however, fails in others.

Firstly, the movie does not feel engaging enough. It’s argued that it lacks excitement. “But The Immigrant is missing his usual urgency, that doomy, thrilling undertow that sucks people to their fate. The whole thing feels underpowered.” (1). I think it’s true because despite being a melodrama, it still needs some kind of excitement to keep the viewers interested. I know that we did carefully learn the nuances of Bruno’s and Ewa’s past and character. We got to know the relationship between Bruno and his cousin, as well as horrible events in Ewa’s life. Thanks to that we were able to feel more sympathy towards them. Nevertheless, I feel like this just wasn’t enough. For the first half of the movie, events took place slowly and I started to feel rather bored. I feel like this was largely due to the small amount of characters involved. I understand that in a melodrama, the audience dives into getting a meticulous understanding of the main characters’ mindsets but in this case, it should have expanded the amount of characters analysed. It devoted too much time into Ewa’s and Bruno’s characters, while disregarding others. I believe the problem might have been avoided by introducing the character of Orlando earlier or by giving a bigger part to Bruno’s employee at the theater. We saw her as a woman with attitude and temper. Because of that, I think more screen-time for her would’ve helped to make the story more compelling.

Secondly, we don’t get great information about the biggest struggles for immigrants during the 1920s. Something that should be the main aim of the movie. The film takes place in 1921 which means it disregards the more important events of the 1920s. The National Origins Act is something which best describes that time period for immigrants arriving in America. “An anti-Communist “Red Scare” in 1919 and 1920 encouraged a widespread nativist, or anti-immigrant, hysteria. This led to the passage of an extremely restrictive immigration law, the National Origins Act of 1924, which set immigration quotas that excluded some people (Eastern Europeans and Asians) in favor of others.” (2). When one of the purposes for the director was to show how hard it was for immigrants to move to USA then I think he should have covered the act which made it 10 times more difficult. This would have made the story overall more interesting because apart from her sister, Ewa herself would have also faced the constant fear of being sent back. It would’ve also educated the audience about the era better. At the time, an Eastern European who came from a place so close to Russia, would have caused many ideological and ethical conflicts between herself and locals in the USA. Problems with Americans who were sharing capitalistic views and probably fear of communists. In this case, for example Bruno and Orlando. Adding this political nuance to the movie would have made the film more intriguing and historically correct giving a finer understanding of the era.

To conclude, “The Immigrant” is a movie that does not suit for everyone. If one is looking for a movie that would keep him on his toes throughout the session, and give a comprehensive view on the respective era, then he would have to look elsewhere. If a person is looking for a slow-paced dramatic film, then “The Immigrant” is the right movie for that individual.

The Sources: 1)https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2014/may/16/the-immigrant-review-marion-cotillard-james-gray

2) https://www.history.com/topics/roaring-twenties/roaring-twenties-history

Notions: Group 1:

Discovery of gold and gold mining

3 GOLD 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.

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

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

The Statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World; French: La Liberté éclairant le monde) is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor in New York, in the United States. The copper statue standing at 93 meters, a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States, was designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and its metal framework was built by Gustave Eiffel. The statue was dedicated on October 28, 1886. The Statue of Liberty is a figure of Libertas, a robed Roman liberty goddess. She holds a torch above her head with her right hand, and in her left hand carries a tabula ansata inscribed in Roman numerals with “JULY IV MDCCLXXVI” (July 4, 1776), the date of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. A broken chain lies at her feet as she walks forward. The statue became an icon of freedom and of the United States, and a national park tourism destination. It is a welcoming sight to immigrants arriving from abroad. Fundraising for the statue proved difficult, especially for the Americans, and by 1885 work on the pedestal was threatened by lack of funds. Publisher Joseph Pulitzer, of the New York World, started a drive for donations to finish the project and attracted more than 120,000 contributors, most of whom gave less than a dollar. Between 1886 and 1924, almost 14 million immigrants entered the United States through New York. 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.

“The New Colossus” – Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

MOTHER OF EXILES. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Causes of immigration from Europe in the 19th century

Fleeing crop failure, land and job shortages, rising taxes, and famine, many came to the U. S. because it was perceived as the land of economic opportunity. Others came seeking personal freedom or relief from political and religious persecution. More than 70 percent of all immigrants, however, entered through New York City, which came to be known as the “Golden Door.” Throughout the late 1800s, most immigrants arriving in New York entered at the Castle Garden depot near the tip of Manhattan.

A major wave of immigration occurred from around 1815 to 1865. Majority of the immigrants came from Northern and Western Europe.

  • Approximately one-third came from IRELAND, which experienced a massive famine in the mid-19th century. In the 1840s, almost half of America’s immigrants were from Ireland alone. Typically impoverished, these Irish immigrants settled near their point of arrival in cities along the East Coast. Between 1820 and 1930, some 4.5 million Irish migrated to the United States.
  • Also in the 19th century, the United States received some 5 million GERMAN immigrants. Many of them journeyed to the present-day Midwest to buy farms or congregated in such cities as Milwaukee, St. Louis and Cincinnati. In the national census of 2000, more Americans claimed German ancestry than any other group.
  • During the mid-1800s, a significant number of ASIAN immigrants settled in the United States. Lured by news of the California gold rush, some 25,000 Chinese had migrated there by the early 1850s.

Between 1880 and 1920, a time of rapid industrialization and urbanization, America received more than 20 million immigrants. Beginning in the 1890s, the majority of arrivals were from Central, Eastern and Southern Europe.

  • In that decade alone, some 600,000 ITALIANS migrated to America, and by 1920 more than 4 million had entered the United States.
  • JEWS from Eastern Europe fleeing religious persecution also arrived in large numbers; over 2 million entered the United States between 1880 and 1920.

Different waves of immigration

Colonial era lolz

First Wave 1790 – 1820

Groups of immigrants came for a variety of religious, political, and economic reasons. Northern and Western Europeans (English, Irish, Germans, Dutch, French, Spanish etc). Starvation, disease, and shipwreck killed 1 in 10 of those immigrants who set sail for America before they even set foot on land.  (relatively little immigration, significant emigration to Canada)

Second Wave 1820 – 1860  

Immigrants came for new opportunities because in Europe, peasants displaced from agriculture and artisans were made jobless from the industrial revolution. Some immigrants received “American Letters” which were encouraging friends and relatives to join them in America. German (escaping economic problems and seeking political freedom), British, Irish 40% (poverty and famine encouraged emigration). The Roman Catholic church was the single largest religious body in the United States by 1850.

Third Wave 1880 – 1914  

Immigrants came over to America for more job opportunities and freedom of religion. Chinese, Japanese, and other Asian countries (migrated to the western states). In the 1910 census, foreign-born residents made up 15 percent of the U.S. population and 24 percent of the U.S. labor force.

Fourth Wave 1965 – Present  

A new law that altered the selection of immigrants from the country they were from, to giving priority to people who already had family in the United States or had skills that were needed in the labor market. Europeans, Asians, Hispanics (Mexico). In the 1980s and early 1990s, Asians made up about one-third of the immigrants entering America. Hispanics made up about one-half of the number of immigrants in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Jewish immigration

Sephardic wave

The first group of Sephardic settlers arrived in New Amsterdam in 1654 from Brazil. For several decades afterward, adventurous Sephardic and Ashkenazic merchants established homes in American colonial ports, including Newport, R.I., New Amsterdam (later New York), Philadelphia, Charleston, S.C., and Savannah, Ga. This was a departure from the Old World, where synagogues in places like Amsterdam, London, and Recife, taxed commercial transactions, regulated Jewish publications, and punished members for lapses in individual or commercial morality.

German wave

German Jews began to come to America in significant numbers in the 1840s. Jews left Germany because of persecution, restrictive laws, economic hardship, and the failure of movements — widely supported by German Jews — advocating revolution and reform there. Some 250,000 German-speaking Jews came to America by the outbreak of World War I. This sizable immigrant community expanded American Jewish geography by establishing themselves in smaller cities and towns in the Midwest, West, and the South. If German Jews had one city of their own invention, it was Cincinnati.

Eastern European wave

Eastern European Jews began to immigrate to the United States in large numbers after 1880. Pushed out of Europe by overpopulation, oppressive legislation and poverty, they were pulled toward America by the prospect of financial and social advancement. Between 1880 and the onset of restrictive immigration quotas in 1924, over 2 million Jews from Russia, Austria-Hungary, and Romania came to America. The immigrants found work in factories, especially in the garment industry, but also in cigar manufacturing, food production, and construction. Large-scale Jewish immigration to the United States ended in 1924.

Ellis Island

On January 1, 1892 – her 15th birthday – Annie Moore from County Cork, Ireland, became the first person admitted to the new immigration station on Ellis Island. On that opening day, she received a greeting from officials and a $10.00 gold piece. Annie traveled to New York with her two younger brothers on steerage aboard the S.S. Nevada, which left Queenstown (now Cobh), Ireland, on December 20, 1891 and arrived in New York on the evening of December 31. After being processed, the children were reunited with their parents, who were already living in New York.

Ellis Island is a former immigration inspection station in New York Harbor, within the states of New York and New Jersey. It was the gateway for over 12 million immigrants to the United States as the nation’s busiest immigrant inspection station from 1892 until 1954. After an arduous sea voyage, 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. From 1900 to 1914 – the peak years of Ellis Island’s operation – some 5,000 to 10,000 people passed through the immigration station every day.

Reed-Johnson Immigration Act of 1924

The Immigration Act of 1924 limited the number of immigrants allowed entry into the United States through a national origins quota. The quota provided immigration visas to two percent of the total number of people of each nationality in the United States as of the 1890 national census. It completely excluded immigrants from Asia. Signed into law by President Calvin Coolidge.

The 1924 Immigration Act also included a provision excluding from entry any alien who by virtue of race or nationality was ineligible for citizenship. Existing nationality laws dating from 1790 and 1870 excluded people of Asian lineage from naturalizing. As a result, the 1924 Act meant that even Asians not previously prevented from immigrating – the Japanese in particular – would no longer be admitted to the United States. 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. Despite the increased tensions, it appeared that the U.S. Congress had decided that preserving the racial composition of the country was more important than promoting good ties with Japan.

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

The USA is traditionally called a melting pot because with time, generations of immigrants have melted together: they have abandoned their cultures to become totally assimilated into American society. Historically, it is often used to describe the assimilation of immigrants to the United States.

But in the UK, where cultural diversity is considered a positive thing, immigrants have always been encouraged to maintain their traditions and their native language. This model of racial integration can be described as a salad bowl, with people of different cultures living in harmony, like the lettuce, tomatoes and carrots in a salad. New York City can be considered as being a “salad bowl”

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.

“Yes, there are many different types of people living here, but we are not all mixed together as one big happy community. Our country is so incredibly divided. Even in towns where there are many different groups of people, they are still split apart. You always see that the run down inner city part of the community is where they put all of the minority groups like blacks and Hispanics, while the clean, rich communities are where the white people reside. This is not us “living together” this is us still separate, and not equal.”

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. Together, immigrants and their U.S.-born children make up about 27 percent of U.S. inhabitants. Illegal immigration. The undocumented population is about eleven million and has leveled off since the 2008 economic crisis, which led some to return to their home countries and discouraged others from coming to the United States. A 2017 Gallup poll found that 71 percent of Americans considered immigration a “good thing” for the United States.

Forty-six percent of immigrants in 2017 reported their race as single-race White, 27 percent as Asian, 9 percent as Black, and 16 percent as some other race. About 2 percent reported having two or more races. In 2017, approximately 78 percent (239.3 million) of the 306 million people ages 5 and older in the United States reported speaking only English at home.

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. 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 neutral, but France and Germany did not agree to this. That shows how low the organization had 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.

Film “The Immigrant” by Katarina

“The Immigrant”

Rationale

The fourth movie we watched in our English class was “The Immigrant” and this photo is taken about 10 years before the characters Ewa and Magda arrived to the Ellis Island. On this photo you can see people waiting in the Great Hall aka the Registry Room. Apparently they had just passed the first medical inspection and were waiting for another one. The immigrants, who were mostly men, were put inside the gates like kilud karbis and around them you can see guards having a close look at them. The American flag has been hung on the balcony. In the middle of the hall is a staircase. The immigrants walked up the stairs to the Registry Room, whilst doctors were watching them and looking for people who have problems with breathing, walking or just health.

Notions

Discovery of gold and gold mining

3 GOLD 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.

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.

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. 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. The Union Pacific railroad company managed to cover 4 times as much distance as the Central Pacific one.

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. New products such as photograph, telephone, typewriter. Many jobs in the manufactures to maximize efficiency in productivity.

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. 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.

The role of Andrew Carnegie

American industrialist and philanthropist. Worked in a Pittsburgh cotton factory (earning 1.20/week). 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). Established the Carnegie-Mellon University in 1904.

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. In 1911, US Supreme Court ordered SOC to be dissolved, in violation of antitrust laws. During his life, he donated more than 500 million to philanthropy.

The role of Henry Ford

At the age of 16, left home for Detroit to work as a machinist. Returned home to work on the family farm. 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).

Statue of Liberty

It’s located on Libery Island in the New York harbor, USA. It commemorates the American Declaration of Independence and was a gift from the people of French. Sent to US in crates. October 28, 1886. Designed by Frederic Bartholdi. Its metal framework was built by Gustave Eiffel. igure of Libertas, a robed Roman liberty goddess.

Causes of immigration from Europe in the 19th century

Approx. 30 million immigrants traveled to US (also the first quartier of the 20th century). Three main causes were a rapid increase in population, class rule and economic modernization. Also, personal reasons- discriminations against religious and ethnic minority groups. 1820-1875- two groups- repelled from mother country and those attracted to US.

Different waves of immigration

First Wave 1790 – 1820. Groups of immigrants came for a variety of religious, political, and economic reasons. Northern and Western Europeans (English, Irish, Germans, Dutch, French, Spanish etc). Starvation, disease, and shipwreck killed 1 in 10 of those immigrants who set sail for America before they even set foot on land.

Second Wave 1820 – 1860. Immigrants came for new opportunities because in Europe, peasants displaced from agriculture and artisans were made jobless from the industrial revolution. German (escaping economic problems and seeking political freedom), British, Irish 40% (poverty and famine encouraged emigration).

Third Wave 1880 – 1914. Immigrants came over to America for more job opportunities and freedom of religion. Chinese, Japanese, and other Asian countries (migrated to the western states). In the 1910 census, foreign-born residents made up 15 percent of the U.S. population and 24 percent of the U.S. labor force.

Fourth Wave 1965 – Present. A new law that altered the selection of immigrants from the country they were from, to giving priority to people who already had family in the United States or had skills that were needed in the labor market. Europeans, Asians, Hispanics (Mexico). In the 1980s and early 1990s, Asians made up about one-third of the immigrants entering America. Hispanics made up about one-half of the number of immigrants in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Jewish immigration

Sephardic wave. The first group of Sephardic settlers arrived in New Amsterdam in 1654 from Brazil. For several decades afterward, adventurous Sephardic and Ashkenazic merchants established homes in American colonial ports. This was a departure from the Old World. London, and Recife, taxed commercial transactions, regulated Jewish publications, and punished members for lapses in individual or commercial morality.

German wave. German Jews began to come to America in significant numbers in the 1840s. Jews left Germany because of persecution, restrictive laws, economic hardship, and the failure of movements — widely supported by German Jews — advocating revolution and reform there. Some 250,000 German-speaking Jews came to America by the outbreak of World War I. If German Jews had one city of their own invention, it was Cincinnati.

Eastern European wave. Eastern European Jews began to immigrate to the United States in large numbers after 1880. Pushed out of Europe by overpopulation, oppressive legislation and poverty, they were pulled toward America by the prospect of financial and social advancement. Between 1880 – 1924, over 2 million Jews from Russia, Austria-Hungary, and Romania came to America. The immigrants found work in factories, especially in the garment industry, but also in cigar manufacturing, food production, and construction. Large-scale Jewish immigration to the United States ended in 1924.

Ellis Island

Worked from 1892 – 1954. Largest immigration station in US. Over 12 million people went through there. It was nicknamed “Island of Hope”. To get to America, immigrants went through medical and legal inspections. The requirements were: no diseases, ability to support themselves. A 15-year girl Annie Moore from Ireland was the first person there. Right now in front of the building, there is a statue of Annie.

Reed-Johnson Immigration Act of 1924

The Immigration Act of 1924 limited the number of immigrants allowed entry into the United States through a national origins quota. The quota provided immigration visas to two percent of the total number of people of each nationality in the United States as of the 1890 national census. It completely excluded immigrants from Asia. Signed into law by President Calvin Coolidge. The 1924 Immigration Act also included a provision excluding from entry any alien who by virtue of race or nationality was ineligible for citizenship.

The notion of Melting Pot vs Salad Bowl

The USA is traditionally called a melting pot because with time, generations of immigrants have melted together: they have abandoned their cultures to become totally assimilated into American society. Historically, it is often used to describe the assimilation of immigrants to the United States. But in the UK, where cultural diversity is considered a positive thing, immigrants have always been encouraged to maintain their traditions and their native language. This model of racial integration can be described as a salad bowl, with people of different cultures living in harmony, like the lettuce, tomatoes and carrots in a salad. New York City can be considered as being a “salad bowl”.

Present situation

The overall immigrant population continues to grow but at a slower rate than before. Recent immigrants are more likely to be from Asia than from Mexico, and are also more likely to have a college degree. Deportations are rising. In 2017 more than 44,5 million people in US are immigrants. 13,7 % of the whole population are immigrants.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

WWI began 1914, but US joined in 1917. Significant impact in the war because of joining. The additional firepower, resources and soldiers of US helped to tip the balance of the war in favor of the allies. Firstly US had a policy of neutrality, because they saw the war as a dispute between “old world powers”. Many immigrants had ties to both ends, so US didn’t really have an opinion. Germans sank the Lusitania with 159 Americans on board in 1915. Therefore the public opinion started changing. In January of 1917, the British decoded a secret telegram from German secretary Zimmerman. He wanted Mexico to ally with Germany against US.

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).

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. 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.

Historical accuracy and opinion

“The Immigrant” was a story of a Polish woman named Ewa, who immigrated to America with her sister Magda in 1921. In Ellis Island, doctors discover that Magda has a lunge disease and she is quarantined. Bruno, an American procurer, bribes Ewa free. Ewa becomes prostitute in order to earn money to pay for Magda’s treatment and release. Comparing to the other movies this one has confused me the most whether I can call this movie historically accurate or not.

Firstly, comparing to the other movies this one has confused me the most whether I can call this movie historically accurate or not. The movie’s characters were fictional.

Neither Ewa nor Bruno has much depth and often come off as stock characters in a movie with little new to offer about the immigrant experience.

The actors try to make the story convincing but they are adrift with one clichéd scene after another.

I think that the filmmakers should have picked real people’s characters who went through Ellis Island. I mean, it was the gateway to US to about 12 million immigrants. At least one of them probably must have had an interesting story to tell. This would have made the movie much more believable and also more historically accurate.

Secondly, the main genre for the movie was drama and I have never been fond of drama movies. In addition to my disappointment I adore romantic movies but this was not a pleasing love story.

She just stood there, pure, tossed about, as two rival men watch her and scheme for her.

The only relationship that was likable was the relationship between Ewa and her sister Magda. The characters were also made rather boring.

Her character could have been 10 million times more interesting.

Ewa was shy but turned into a women who could stand up for herself. This is a very basic character development and for me it was not an interesting growth of character.

To sum up “The Immigrant, it was a rather boring movie with a historical background.

This film is not recommended.

I would not recommend watching it because I think there are better films to watch, for example “The Patriot” which I have recommended to three of my friends. However I think “The Immigrant” did not really serve its purpose, that it would show us the history.

The Immigrant (Kask)

Visual depiction

The Transcontinental Railroad

A picture taken on May 10th, 1869, showing the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. (1)

The visual depicts the gathering of trains in Promontory Summit, Utah. This picture was taken on May 20, 1869 and it commemorates the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. Before the railway, the average time it took from the East to the West coast was around 6 months. Two railroads began building tracks in order to claim the government subsidy. Eventually, the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific’s trains met in Utah. This visual shows the importance of the railroad, which shortened the coast-to-coast travel time to only 2 weeks. It also united the coasts, forming a joint nation. The railroad was vital to immigrants, who travelled west to find a suitable place for living and during the gold rush, many diggers headed west on the trains. However, this marked the final ending of the Native Americans’ lifestyle, as more Europeans flocked westward.


Notions

The 19th century

Discovery of gold and gold mining

There were three major gold rushes. The 1st rush took place in 1799, where gold discovered in North-Carolina. The first finder didn’t know its value and used it as a doorstop. In 1802, it was recognized and word spread. The first miners were farmers and they improved mines into mine-shafts. By 1835, there was a manifold of it, so president Jackson created the US Mint to process it. The second rush happened in Georgia in 1835, which created tensions with aboriginals and resulted in the removal of Cherokee tribes from the area. Another mint was founded to organize the findings. The third and the most famous rush was in 1848, which began in a gold mine in Coloma, California. J.W.Marshall at first tried to keep it a secret, but to no avail. Immigrants started flowing into California and so-called ‘forty-niners’ rushed to the state. Due to its high population and wealthy gold extraction, it became a state of the US. With private gold miners, both amateur and professional, came private companies in order to process the gold. This meant that entrepreneurship soared in the region.

A ‘forty-niner’ searching for gold in California. (2)

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 and engineer Theodor Judah made it happen after 20 years gaining the approval from Lincoln. The terms included that each company got 32.000 dollars for each mile which forced a competition early on. The construction companies included many megalomaniac 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’. Railroad constructors were different immigrants. The Union Pacific railroad company managed to cover 4 times as much distance as the Central Pacific one. The 2 sides met in Promontory Summit in Utah.

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, which helped to keep the machines working. Timber, iron and coal were some of the more rampant resources. Communication was also improved and made quicker to transmit messages with the invention of the telephone, telegraph and the building of railroads, which helped businesses to succeed. New products were also produced, such as the photograph, and the typewriter. Many jobs were created in manufactures to maximize efficiency in productivity.

Alexander Graham Bell testing his invention, the telephone. (3)

Formation of trusts

Trusts are formed when several businesses come together to standardize their rules and prices in order to increase profit. These are 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. For example, some of the most famous trusts were Rockefeller’s Oil Trust and the Sugar Trust. Because of the negative effect on consumer, as prices were not lowered, acts were made by congress that would prohibit trusts. Stockholders are in a company who’d give their respective trustees the power to vote for decisions within the company.

The role of Andrew Carnegie

Andrew Carnegie was an American industrialist and philanthropist. Firstly, he worked in a Pittsburgh cotton factory. He switched professions and began to work in Pennsylvania Railroad as the assistant to Thomas Scott, one of the railroad’s top officials, leading up to be the superintendent of the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1859. Carnegie invested in iron and oil companies while working for the railroad. By 1889, he owned Carnegie Steel Corporation, the largest steel company in the world. In 1901, he sold his business and dedicated his time to philanthropy. He established the Carnegie-Mellon University in 1904 as well.

A portrait of Andrew Carnegie. (4)

The role of John D. Rockefeller

John Rockefeller was the founder of The Standard Oil Company (SOC) in 1870. He became one of the world’s wealthiest man, also taking interest in philanthropy. Born in New York, he entered the oil business by investing in a Cleveland refinery. At its peak, SOC controlled 90% of US refineries. During his life, he donated more than 500 million to philanthropy. However, Rockefeller 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.

John D. Rockefeller. (14)

The role of Henry Ford

Henry Ford grew up in Michigan and he was born in 1863. At the age of 16, left home for Detroit to work as a machinist. He returned home to work on the family farm after three years. In 1891, he went with his wife to Detroit. There, Ford was hired an engineer for the Edison Illuminating Company, later promoted chief engineer 2 years later. He had 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, the Model T. Assembly process was slow and cars were built by hand. To avoid it, Ford introduced new mass-production methods, including large production plants, use of interchangeable parts and the world’s first moving assembly line for cars.

Ford’s first automobile, the Model T. (5)

Immigration to the US

Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World; French: La Liberté éclairant le monde) is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor in New York, in the United States. The copper statue standing at 93 meters, a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States, was designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and its metal framework was built by Gustave Eiffel. The statue was dedicated on October 28, 1886. The Statue of Liberty is a figure of Libertas, a robed Roman liberty goddess. She holds a torch above her head with her right hand, and in her left hand carries a tablet inscribed in Roman numerals with July 4, 1776, the date of the Declaration of Independence. A broken chain lies at her feet as she walks forward. The statue became an icon of freedom and of the United States, and a national park tourism destination. It is a welcoming sight to immigrants arriving from abroad. Fundraising for the statue proved difficult, especially for the Americans, and by 1885 work on the pedestal was threatened by lack of funds. Publisher Joseph Pulitzer, of the New York World, started a drive for donations to finish the project and attracted more than 120,000 contributors, most of whom gave less than a dollar. Between 1886 and 1924, almost 14 million immigrants entered the United States through New York. 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.

The Statue of Liberty being built in Paris, 1884. (6)

Causes of immigration from Europe in the 19th century

Main reasons for migrating to the US were fleeing crop failure, land and job shortages, rising taxes, and famine. It was perceived as the land of economic opportunity. Others came seeking personal freedom or relief from political and religious persecution. More than 70 percent of all immigrants, however, entered through New York City, which came to be known as the “Golden Door.” Throughout the late 1800s, most immigrants arriving in New York entered at the Castle Garden depot near the tip of Manhattan. A major wave of immigration occurred from around 1815 to 1865. Majority of the immigrants came from Northern and Western Europe. Approximately one-third came from Ireland, which experienced a massive famine in the mid-19th century. In the 1840s, almost half of America’s immigrants were from Ireland alone. Typically impoverished, these Irish immigrants settled near their point of arrival in cities along the East Coast. Between 1820 and 1930, some 4.5 million Irish migrated to the United States. Also in the 19th century, the United States received some 5 million German immigrants. Many of them journeyed to the present-day Midwest to buy farms or congregated in such cities as Milwaukee, St. Louis and Cincinnati. In the national census of 2000, more Americans claimed German ancestry than any other group. During the mid-1800s, a significant number of Asian immigrants settled in the United States. Lured by news of the California gold rush, some 25,000 Chinese had migrated there by the early 1850s. Between 1880 and 1920, a time of rapid industrialization and urbanization, America received more than 20 million immigrants. Beginning in the 1890s, the majority of arrivals were from Central, Eastern and Southern Europe. In that decade alone, some 600,000 Italians migrated to America, and by 1920 more than 4 million had entered the United States. Jews from Eastern Europe fleeing religious persecution also arrived in large numbers; over 2 million entered the United States between 1880 and 1920.

Different waves of immigration

First Wave 1790 – 1820

Groups of immigrants came for a variety of religious, political, and economic reasons. Northern and Western Europeans (English, Irish, Germans, Dutch, French, Spanish etc). Starvation, disease, and shipwreck killed 1 in 10 of those immigrants who set sail for America before they even set foot on land. There was little immigration to the US, while it was widespread to immigrate to Canada.

Second Wave 1820 – 1860  

Immigrants came for new opportunities because in Europe, peasants displaced from agriculture and artisans were made jobless from the industrial revolution. Some immigrants received “American Letters” which were encouraging friends and relatives to join20 them in America. German (escaping economic problems and seeking political freedom), British, Irish 40% (poverty and famine encouraged emigration). The Roman Catholic church was the single largest religious body in the United States by 1850.

Third Wave 1880 – 1914  

Immigrants came over to America for more job opportunities and freedom of religion. Chinese, Japanese, and other Asian countries (migrated to the western states). In the 1910 census, foreign-born residents made up 15 percent of the U.S. population and 24 percent of the U.S. labor force.

Fourth Wave 1965 – Present  

A new law that altered the selection of immigrants from the country they were from, to giving priority to people who already had family in the United States or had skills that were needed in the labor market. Europeans, Asians, Hispanics (Mexico). In the 1980s and early 1990s, Asians made up about one-third of the immigrants entering America. Hispanics made up about one-half of the number of immigrants in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Third wave Europeans waiting in line to access the US, 1892. (7)

Jewish immigration

Sephardic wave

The first group of Sephardic settlers arrived in New Amsterdam in 1654 from Brazil. For several decades afterward, adventurous Sephardic and Ashkenazic merchants established homes in American colonial ports, including Newport, R.I., New Amsterdam (later New York), Philadelphia, Charleston, S.C., and Savannah, Ga. This was a departure from the Old World, where synagogues in places like Amsterdam, London, and Recife, taxed commercial transactions, regulated Jewish publications, and punished members for lapses in individual or commercial morality.

German wave

German Jews began to come to America in significant numbers in the 1840s. Jews left Germany because of persecution, restrictive laws, economic hardship, and the failure of movements — widely supported by German Jews — advocating revolution and reform there. Some 250,000 German-speaking Jews came to America by the outbreak of World War I. This sizable immigrant community expanded American Jewish geography by establishing themselves in smaller cities and towns in the Midwest, West, and the South. If German Jews had one city of their own invention, it was Cincinnati.

Eastern European wave

Eastern European Jews began to immigrate to the United States in large numbers after 1880. Pushed out of Europe by overpopulation, oppressive legislation and poverty, they were pulled toward America by the prospect of financial and social advancement. Between 1880 and the onset of restrictive immigration quotas in 1924, over 2 million Jews from Russia, Austria-Hungary, and Romania came to America. The immigrants found work in factories, especially in the garment industry, but also in cigar manufacturing, food production, and construction. Large-scale Jewish immigration to the United States ended in 1924.

Ellis Island

Ellis Island is a former immigration inspection station in New York Harbor, within the states of New York and New Jersey. It was the gateway for over 12 million immigrants to the United States as the nation’s busiest immigrant inspection station from 1892 until 1954. After an arduous sea voyage, 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. From 1900 to 1914 – the peak years of Ellis Island’s operation – some 5,000 to 10,000 people passed through the immigration station every day.

The exterior of the immigration station on Ellis Island in 1907. (8)

Reed-Johnson Immigration Act of 1924

The Immigration Act of 1924 limited the number of immigrants allowed entry into the United States through a national origins quota. The quota provided immigration visas to two percent of the total number of people of each nationality in the United States as of the 1890 national census. It completely excluded immigrants from Asia. It was signed into law by President Calvin Coolidge. The 1924 Immigration Act also included a provision excluding from entry any alien who by virtue of race or nationality was ineligible for citizenship. Existing nationality laws dating from 1790 and 1870 excluded people of Asian lineage from naturalizing. As a result, the 1924 Act meant that even Asians not previously prevented from immigrating – the Japanese in particular – would no longer be admitted to the United States. 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. Despite the increased tensions, it appeared that the U.S. Congress had decided that preserving the racial composition of the country was more important than promoting good ties with Japan. In 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

The USA is traditionally called a melting pot because with time, generations of immigrants have melted together: they have abandoned their cultures to become totally assimilated into American society. Historically, it is often used to describe the assimilation of immigrants to the United States. But in the UK, where cultural diversity is considered a positive thing, immigrants have always been encouraged to maintain their traditions and their native language. This model of racial integration can be described as a salad bowl, with people of different cultures living in harmony, like the lettuce, tomatoes and carrots in a salad. New York City can be considered as being a “salad bowl”. Both models of multicultural societies have contradictory aspects: in a melting pot there is no cultural diversity and sometimes differences are not respected, but in a salad bowl cultures do not mix at all.

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. Together, immigrants and their U.S.-born children make up about 27 percent of U.S. inhabitants. Illegal immigration. The undocumented population is about eleven million and has leveled off since the 2008 economic crisis, which led some to return to their home countries and discouraged others from coming to the United States. A 2017 Gallup poll found that 71 percent of Americans considered immigration a “good thing” for the United States. Forty-six percent of immigrants in 2017 reported their race as single-race White, 27 percent as Asian, 9 percent as Black, and 16 percent as some other race. About 2 percent reported having two or more races. In 2017, approximately 78 percent (239.3 million) of the 306 million people ages 5 and older in the United States reported speaking only English at home.


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.

A grid-pattern city plan of Baltimore in the 19th century. (9)

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.

A portrait of Theodore Roosevelt. (10)

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. When peace was signed with the US, 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.

A portrait of William Howard Taft. (11)

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. Eventually, all attacks of Europeans to the Western hemisphere was considered a threat to the United States.

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. A premise to join the war was the sinking of the passenger ship Lusitania by German U-Boats, where over 1160 civilians died. 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 (30,000 before they even reached France). 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. To simplify 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.

Sinking of the Lusitania in 1915. (12)

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 (Alsace-Lorraine back to France) 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 it’s disbandment in 1946.

A League of Nations conference in Geneva, 1923. (13)

Historical accuracy

The film “The Immigrant”, firstly premiered in 2013, depicts a Polish immigrant named Ewa coming to America in 1921, but with her sister taken away because of an illness and she was declared someone with low morals, she had to be deported. Bruno Weiss offered help to her and he helped her escape, but she began working as a prostitute. Afterwards, Ewa worked very hard to help her sister on Ellis Island. The movie itself is a rather true illustration of the scenery and conditions at that time, but the actual plot is only vaguely based on real-life stories. Overall,

The décor and scenery around the movie is as realistic as it can be. It shows truly the life of immigrants on Ellis Island and the bustling nightlife of downtown New York. Different issues were very well bought out in the program, such as poor sanitation and personal hygiene and also corruption of the authorities, which was rampant with police officers and immigration workers on Ellis Island. A reviewer of the film mentions: “Every space—public or private, interior or exterior—feels authentic, historically and emotionally.” (1) For example, different scenes at the bathhouse or the café gave off an authentic vibe of the 1920s.

The characters are fabulously portraying the era of the 1920s, but in history they are not based on a sole person. However, the absence of solid historical evidence does not take away anything from the film. A critic, while interviewing the producer of the movie James Grey, mentions: “It isn’t necessary to know that Gray based the movie loosely on family stories…” (2) The producer of “The Immigrant” said that the center point of the actions, the bar, has a family symbol. His great-grandfather used to run a bar in New York and he talked a lot about a local exploiter of prostitutes, named Max Hochsten. This could mean that character Bruno Weiss is vaguely based on this real-life pimp.

To sum up, the program, which has a running time shy of two hours, is a historical movie depicting the challenges and obstacles of immigrants, who had went to the US. The background of the film was chosen very meticulously, as this was the first show, which was actually filmed on Ellis Island. The main characters of the movie are not portraying a certain person of that time period, but it is a broad generalization of what happened to immigrants in the early 20th century in New York.

References

Visual sources

(1) A picture taken on May 10th, 1869, showing the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. Source: railroad.lindahall.org/siteart/home-map/6_PromontorySummit.jpg

(2) A ‘forty-niner’ searching for gold in California. Source: bp3.blogger.com/_We60Eu3Y-9c/SD3wOZpfiaI/AAAAAAAAAz8/4JefWP0g-5g/s1600/Forty+Niners.jpg

(3) Alexander Graham Bell testing his invention, the telephone. Source: www.wired.com/images_blogs/thisdayintech/2010/08/bell_f.jpg

(4) A portrait of Andrew Carnegie. Source: scihi.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/479px-Andrew_Carnegie-_three-quarter_length_portrait-_seated-_facing_slightly_left-_1913-crop3.jpg

(5) Ford’s first automobile, the Model T. Source: silodrome.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/A-Brief-History-of-the-Model-T-Ford-20a-1600×1024.jpg

(6) The Statue of Liberty being built in Paris, 1884. Source: cdn.theculturetrip.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/rexfeatures_8751798a.jpg

(7) Third wave Europeans waiting in line to access the US, 1892. Source: teacher.scholastic.com/activities/immigration/timeline_photos/1892_small_fullsize.jpg

(8) The exterior of the immigration station on Ellis Island in 1907. Source: timedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/ellisisland.jpg

(9) A grid-pattern city plan of Baltimore in the 19th century. Source: upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/12/Situationsplan_von_Baltimore.jpg/250px-Situationsplan_von_Baltimore.jpg

(10) A portrait of Theodore Roosevelt. Source: www.biography.com/.image/ar_1:1%2Cc_fill%2Ccs_srgb%2Cg_face%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_300/MTE1ODA0OTcxNzcxOTg3NDY5/theodore-roosevelt-9463424-1-402.jpg

(11) A portrait of William Howard Taft. Source: cdn.britannica.com/s:300×300/96/126396-004-0B18C26A.jpg

(12) Sinking of the Lusitania in 1915. Source: www.historic-uk.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/rms-lusitania.jpg

(13) A League of Nations conference in Geneva, 1923. Source: www.thoughtco.com/thmb/wi8fX6CjNie1j5QpSknYteSk9Ag=/768×0/filters:no_upscale():max_bytes(150000):strip_icc()/LeagueofNationsConference-59dc029dd088c00010323c8b.jpg

(14) John D. Rockefeller. Source: mirfaces.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/John-D.-Rockefeller-American-industrialist.jpg

Used reviews

(1) Vishnevetsky, I. (2014) James Gray’s The Immigrant is an American masterpiece, AV Club. Available at: film.avclub.com/james-gray-s-the-immigrant-is-an-american-masterpiece-1798180525 [Accessed 22.05.2019]

(2) Brody, R. (2014) ‘James Gray’s Overwhelming New Movie’, The New Yorker, May 16. Available at: www.newyorker.com/culture/richard-brody/james-grays-overwhelming-new-movie [Accessed 22.05.2019]

“The Immigrant” – Krister Põder

Notions

Group 1

  • Discovery of gold and gold mining – Gold mining in the United States has taken place continually since the discovery of gold at the Reed farm in North Carolina in 1799. The first documented occurrence of gold was in Virginia in 1782. Some minor gold production took place in North Carolina as early as 1793, but created no excitement. The discovery on the Reed farm in 1799 which was identified as gold in 1802 and subsequently mined marked the first commercial production. The large scale production of gold started with the California Gold Rush (1848–1855) in 1848. The news of gold brought approximately 300,000 people to California from the rest of the United States and abroad. The Gold Rush had severe effects on Native Californians and resulted in a precipitous population decline from disease, genocide and starvation.
  • The construction of railroads – The original company, the Union Pacific Railroad was incorporated on July 1, 1862, under an act of Congress entitled Pacific Railroad Act of 1862 (series of acts of Congress promoting the construction of a transcontinental railroad). The act was approved by President Abraham Lincoln, and it provided for the construction of railroads from the Missouri River to the Pacific as a war measure for the preservation of the Union. The combined Union Pacific-Central Pacific line became known as the First Transcontinental Railroad. It was operated by Union Pacific Railroad Co. and Central Pacific Railroad Co. The CPRR was a railroad company (1861-1885) chartered by the U.S. Congress to build the western part of the Transcontinental Railroad.
  • Industrialisation – By the end of the Civil War, hand labour was still more widespread, limiting the production capacity of industry. After the war, the U.S. started to use machines as main means of producing, increasing the production capacity of industry. The industrial growth centered mostly in the North, while the South lagged behind the rest of the country economically. Thanks to the new railroads, the goods could be transported far away, much faster. With industrialisation, came urbanisation as more and more people started moving to the cities due to the availability of jobs in the cities.
  • Formation of trusts – In the late 19th century, American corporations formed combinations known as trusts in order to reduce competition and regulate production and prices. Trusts became very unpopular during the Gilded Age (an era of major economical growth, industrialisation and inequality) because they were not seen as being helpful to the consumer or to the market. In 1890, Congress passed the Sherman Antitrust Act, a weak piece of legislation (The Sherman Act was designed to restore competition but was loosely worded and failed to define such critical terms as “trust,” “combination,” “conspiracy,” and “monopoly.”) that was strengthened by the Clayton Antitrust Act in 1914. The Clayton Antitrust Act also gave unions the right to exist and affirmed the right of workers to go on strike.
  • The role of Andrew Carnegie – American industrialist and philanthropist; 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 philanthropy; established the Carnegie-Mellon University in 1904
  • 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 antitrust laws; during his life, he donated more than 500 million to philanthropy
  • 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 to Detroit with his wife; was hired as an engineer for the Edison Illuminating Company(EIC); promoted to chief engineer 2 years later; spent many hours building 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 the 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

  • Statue of Liberty – The Statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World; French: La Liberté éclairant le monde) is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor in New York, in the United States. The copper statue standing at 93 meters, a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States, was designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and its metal framework was built by Gustave Eiffel. The statue was dedicated on October 28, 1886. The Statue of Liberty is a figure of Libertas, a robed Roman liberty goddess. She holds a torch above her head with her right hand, and in her left hand carries a tabula ansata inscribed in Roman numerals with “JULY IV MDCCLXXVI” (July 4, 1776), the date of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. A broken chain lies at her feet as she walks forward. The statue became an icon of freedom and of the United States, and a national park tourism destination. It is a welcoming sight to immigrants arriving from abroad. Fundraising for the statue proved difficult, especially for the Americans, and by 1885 work on the pedestal was threatened by lack of funds. Publisher Joseph Pulitzer, of the New York World, started a drive for donations to finish the project and attracted more than 120,000 contributors, most of whom gave less than a dollar. Between 1886 and 1924, almost 14 million immigrants entered the United States through New York. 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 – Fleeing crop failure, land and job shortages, rising taxes, and famine, many came to the U. S. because it was perceived as the land of economic opportunity. Others came seeking personal freedom or relief from political and religious persecution. More than 70 percent of all immigrants, however, entered through New York City, which came to be known as the “Golden Door.” Throughout the late 1800s, most immigrants arriving in New York entered at the Castle Garden depot near the tip of Manhattan. A major wave of immigration occurred from around 1815 to 1865. Majority of the immigrants came from Northern and Western Europe. Approximately one-third came from IRELAND, which experienced a massive famine in the mid-19th century. In the 1840s, almost half of America’s immigrants were from Ireland alone. Typically impoverished, these Irish immigrants settled near their point of arrival in cities along the East Coast. Between 1820 and 1930, some 4.5 million Irish migrated to the United States. Also in the 19th century, the United States received some 5 million GERMAN immigrants. Many of them journeyed to the present-day Midwest to buy farms or congregated in such cities as Milwaukee, St. Louis and Cincinnati. In the national census of 2000, more Americans claimed German ancestry than any other group. During the mid-1800s, a significant number of ASIAN immigrants settled in the United States. Lured by news of the California gold rush, some 25,000 Chinese had migrated there by the early 1850s. Between 1880 and 1920, a time of rapid industrialization and urbanization, America received more than 20 million immigrants. Beginning in the 1890s, the majority of arrivals were from Central, Eastern and Southern Europe. In that decade alone, some 600,000 ITALIANS migrated to America, and by 1920 more than 4 million had entered the United States. JEWS from Eastern Europe fleeing religious persecution also arrived in large numbers; over 2 million entered the United States between 1880 and 1920.
  • Different waves of immigration:
  • First Wave 1790 – 1820 – Groups of immigrants came for a variety of religious, political, and economic reasons. Northern and Western Europeans (English, Irish, Germans, Dutch, French, Spanish etc). Starvation, disease, and shipwreck killed 1 in 10 of those immigrants who set sail for America before they even set foot on land. (relatively little immigration, significant emigration to Canada)
  • Second Wave 1820 – 1860 – Immigrants came for new opportunities because in Europe, peasants displaced from agriculture and artisans were made jobless from the industrial revolution. Some immigrants received “American Letters” which were encouraging friends and relatives to join them in America. German (escaping economic problems and seeking political freedom), British, Irish 40% (poverty and famine encouraged emigration). The Roman Catholic church was the single largest religious body in the United States by 1850.
  • Third Wave 1880 – 1914 – Immigrants came over to America for more job opportunities and freedom of religion. Chinese, Japanese, and other Asian countries (migrated to the western states). In the 1910 census, foreign-born residents made up 15 percent of the U.S. population and 24 percent of the U.S. labor force.
  • Fourth Wave 1965 – Present – A new law that altered the selection of immigrants from the country they were from, to giving priority to people who already had family in the United States or had skills that were needed in the labor market. Europeans, Asians, Hispanics (Mexico). In the 1980s and early 1990s, Asians made up about one-third of the immigrants entering America. Hispanics made up about one-half of the number of immigrants in the 1980s and early 1990s.
  • Jewish immigration:
  • Sephardic wave – The first group of Sephardic settlers arrived in New Amsterdam in 1654 from Brazil. For several decades afterward, adventurous Sephardic and Ashkenazic merchants established homes in American colonial ports, including Newport, R.I., New Amsterdam (later New York), Philadelphia, Charleston, S.C., and Savannah, Ga. This was a departure from the Old World, where synagogues in places like Amsterdam, London, and Recife, taxed commercial transactions, regulated Jewish publications, and punished members for lapses in individual or commercial morality.
  • German wave – German Jews began to come to America in significant numbers in the 1840s. Jews left Germany because of persecution, restrictive laws, economic hardship, and the failure of movements — widely supported by German Jews — advocating revolution and reform there. Some 250,000 German-speaking Jews came to America by the outbreak of World War I. This sizable immigrant community expanded American Jewish geography by establishing themselves in smaller cities and towns in the Midwest, West, and the South. If German Jews had one city of their own invention, it was Cincinnati.
  • Eastern European wave – Eastern European Jews began to immigrate to the United States in large numbers after 1880. Pushed out of Europe by overpopulation, oppressive legislation and poverty, they were pulled toward America by the prospect of financial and social advancement. Between 1880 and the onset of restrictive immigration quotas in 1924, over 2 million Jews from Russia, Austria-Hungary, and Romania came to America. The immigrants found work in factories, especially in the garment industry, but also in cigar manufacturing, food production, and construction. Large-scale Jewish immigration to the United States ended in 1924.
  • Ellis Island – Ellis Island is a former immigration inspection station in New York Harbor, within the states of New York and New Jersey. It was the gateway for over 12 million immigrants to the United States as the nation’s busiest immigrant inspection station from 1892 until 1954. After an arduous sea voyage, 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. From 1900 to 1914 – the peak years of Ellis Island’s operation – some 5,000 to 10,000 people passed through the immigration station every day.
  • Reed-Johnson Immigration Act of 1924 – The Immigration Act of 1924 limited the number of immigrants allowed entry into the United States through a national origins quota. The quota provided immigration visas to two percent of the total number of people of each nationality in the United States as of the 1890 national census. It completely excluded immigrants from Asia. Signed into law by President Calvin Coolidge. The 1924 Immigration Act also included a provision excluding from entry any alien who by virtue of race or nationality was ineligible for citizenship. Existing nationality laws dating from 1790 and 1870 excluded people of Asian lineage from naturalizing. As a result, the 1924 Act meant that even Asians not previously prevented from immigrating – the Japanese in particular – would no longer be admitted to the United States. 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. Despite the increased tensions, it appeared that the U.S. Congress had decided that preserving the racial composition of the country was more important than promoting good ties with Japan. 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 – The USA is traditionally called a melting pot because with time, generations of immigrants have melted together: they have abandoned their cultures to become totally assimilated into American society. Historically, it is often used to describe the assimilation of immigrants to the United States. But in the UK, where cultural diversity is considered a positive thing, immigrants have always been encouraged to maintain their traditions and their native language. This model of racial integration can be described as a salad bowl, with people of different cultures living in harmony, like the lettuce, tomatoes and carrots in a salad. New York City can be considered as being a “salad bowl”. 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.
  • 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. Together, immigrants and their U.S.-born children make up about 27 percent of U.S. inhabitants. Illegal immigration. The undocumented population is about eleven million and has leveled off since the 2008 economic crisis, which led some to return to their home countries and discouraged others from coming to the United States. A 2017 Gallup poll found that 71 percent of Americans considered immigration a “good thing” for the United States. Forty-six percent of immigrants in 2017 reported their race as single-race White, 27 percent as Asian, 9 percent as Black, and 16 percent as some other race. About 2 percent reported having two or more races. In 2017, approximately 78 percent (239.3 million) of the 306 million people ages 5 and older in the United States reported speaking only English at home.

Group 3

  • 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. 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 neutral, but France and Germany did not agree to this. That shows how low the organization had 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.

Visual

This picture depicts the Ellis Island which was by far the busiest immigration centre at the time. Nearly 14 million immigrants passed through during its 62 years of service. Today, almost 40 million people can trace back their origins to that very place. The island also played a crucial role in the movie “The Immigrant” for it showed the process immigrants had to go through to get into the country. Some of the most important scenes occurred on the island. The island is important today because it displays the multicultural city that is New York and one can imagine all the emotions that have been felt within those walls.

Critical response

“The Immigrant”, directed by James Gray, is widely considered as a beautiful, detailed and accurate movie about the difficulties the immigrants had to go through to even get into the country and to get their ‘American Dream’ started.
Although the movie talks about regular immigrants, Ewa and Magda, one could not say the same difficulties faced many immigrants. In my opinion, the movie is not sufficient to get a good glimpse of immigration in America. But as Ignatiy Vishnevetsky said for AVFilm: “It’s not An Immigrant, but The Immigrant.” And I couldn’t agree more. The film did a brilliant job portraying the environment and the surroundings of New York to make the viewer feel like they’re in 1921 themselves. Dan Callahan for Roger Ebert and Vishnevetsky both share the same opinion about the details of the different environments in the movie. Callahan said, about the recreation of New York in 1921: “The film’s period recreation of New York in 1921 is meticulously drawn in rich, dark colors and chiaroscuro displays of light and shadow.” Vishnevetsky commented on the different sets in the film: “because Gray never foregrounds their authenticity, composing every frame around the characters rather than the decor, they feel even more real. They have smells and temperatures.”
When Bruno visited the ‘undesirables’ on Ellis Island, he introduced himself as working for the Travelers Aid Society. In reality, he was there looking for girls to bring him in money by selling themselves and dancing. Ironically, from 1907-1979, there was a real organization called Travelers Aid Society of New York (TAS-NY) that focused on ‘providing social work to women travelling alone to protect them from moral danger’. TAS-NY believed that one of the greatest threats to female travelers was white slave trafficking which is defined as the “coercion” of white women to prostitution and their subsequent sale to male clients. To my mind, that is astoundingly ironic but a brilliant lie for a character like Bruno Weiss to tell women considering his character and intentions.
To sum up, the film is an incredibly beautiful and detailed movie about immigration but not enough to get a good idea of immigration in America in the 20th century. The details of the film go further than just visuals as very small features like the lies of Weiss expose new depths to the movie and provide discussion material for hours.

Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, AVFilm – https://film.avclub.com/james-gray-s-the-immigrant-is-an-american-masterpiece-1798180525
Dan Callahan, Roger Ebert – https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/the-immigrant-2014
Travelers Aid Society of New York – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Travelers_Aid_Society_of_New_York

The Immigrant (Erik)

Notions

The 19th century

Discovery of gold and gold mining-There were 3 first major 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’.

A picture of a gold miner in America, by Albert Bolles, 1879
Image link:
https://www.legendsofamerica.com/we-mininggold/

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 another 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 megalomaniac 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’. Railroad 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.

Industrialisation (raw materials, effect on development of economy, main industries)-Process where an agricultural economy transforms into a manufacturing one. In the USA it began in the early 1800s. After the Civil War, machines replaced much of the manual work. Industrialization grew the 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 photographs, telephone, typewriter. Many jobs in the manufactures to maximize efficiency in productivity. ‘Gilded era’-Mark Twain in 1920s-30; the culture of the newly 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 the consumer (prices not lowering), acts were made by a 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
A picture of Andrew Carneige and his wife Louise Whitfield Carnegie
Image link:
https://www.peacepalacelibrary.nl/library-special/andrew-carnegie-1835-1919/

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

Immigration to the US

Statue of Liberty-The Statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World; French: La Liberté éclairant le monde) is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor in New York, in the United States. The copper statue standing at 93 meters, a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States, was designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and its metal framework was built by Gustave Eiffel. The statue was dedicated on October 28, 1886. The Statue of Liberty is a figure of Libertas, a robed Roman liberty goddess. She holds a torch above her head with her right hand, and in her left-hand carries, a tabula ansata inscribed in Roman numerals with “JULY IV MDCCLXXVI” (July 4, 1776), the date of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. A broken chain lies at her feet as she walks forward. The statue became an icon of freedom and of the United States and a national park tourism destination. It is a welcoming sight to immigrants arriving from abroad. Fundraising for the statue proved difficult, especially for the Americans, and by 1885 work on the pedestal was threatened by lack of funds. Publisher Joseph Pulitzer, of the New York World, started a drive for donations to finish the project and attracted more than 120,000 contributors, most of whom gave less than a dollar. Between 1886 and 1924, almost 14 million immigrants entered the United States through New York. 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-Fleeing crop failure, land and job shortages, rising taxes, and famine, many came to the U. S. because it was perceived as the land of economic opportunity. Others came seeking personal freedom or relief from political and religious persecution. More than 70 percent of all immigrants, however, entered through New York City, which came to be known as the “Golden Door.” Throughout the late 1800s, most immigrants arriving in New York entered at the Castle Garden depot near the tip of Manhattan. A major wave of immigration occurred from around 1815 to 1865. Majority of the immigrants came from Northern and Western Europe.

  • Approximately one-third came from IRELAND, which experienced a massive famine in the mid-19th century. In the 1840s, almost half of America’s immigrants were from Ireland alone. Typically impoverished, these Irish immigrants settled near their point of arrival in cities along the East Coast. Between 1820 and 1930, some 4.5 million Irish migrated to the United States.
  • Also in the 19th century, the United States received some 5 million GERMAN immigrants. Many of them journeyed to the present-day Midwest to buy farms or congregated in such cities as Milwaukee, St. Louis and Cincinnati. In the national census of 2000, more Americans claimed German ancestry than any other group.
  • During the mid-1800s, a significant number of ASIAN immigrants settled in the United States. Lured by news of the California gold rush, some 25,000 Chinese had migrated there by the early 1850s.

Between 1880 and 1920, a time of rapid industrialization and urbanization, America received more than 20 million immigrants. Beginning in the 1890s, the majority of arrivals were from Central, Eastern and Southern Europe.

  • In that decade alone, some 600,000 ITALIANS migrated to America, and by 1920 more than 4 million had entered the United States.
  • JEWS from Eastern Europe fleeing religious persecution also arrived in large numbers; over 2 million entered the United States between 1880 and 1920.

Different waves of immigration
Colonial era lolz

First Wave 1790 – 1820-Groups of immigrants came for a variety of religious, political, and economic reasons. Northern and Western Europeans (English, Irish, Germans, Dutch, French, Spanish, etc). Starvation, disease, and shipwreck killed 1 in 10 of those immigrants who set sail for America before they even set foot on land.  (relatively little immigration, significant emigration to Canada)

Second Wave 1820 – 1860-Immigrants came for new opportunities because, in Europe, peasants displaced from agriculture and artisans were made jobless from the industrial revolution. Some immigrants received “American Letters” which were encouraging friends and relatives to join them in America. German (escaping economic problems and seeking political freedom), British, Irish 40% (poverty and famine encouraged emigration). The Roman Catholic church was the single largest religious body in the United States by 1850.

Third Wave 1880 – 1914-Immigrants came over to America for more job opportunities and freedom of religion. Chinese, Japanese, and other Asian countries (migrated to the western states). In the 1910 census, foreign-born residents made up 15 percent of the U.S. population and 24 percent of the U.S. labor force.

Fourth Wave 1965 – Present-A new law that altered the selection of immigrants from the country they were from, to giving priority to people who already had family in the United States or had skills that were needed in the labor market. Europeans, Asians, Hispanics (Mexico). In the 1980s and early 1990s, Asians made up about one-third of the immigrants entering America. Hispanics made up about one-half of the number of immigrants in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Jewish immigration

Sephardic wave-The first group of Sephardic settlers arrived in New Amsterdam in 1654 from Brazil. For several decades afterward, adventurous Sephardic and Ashkenazic merchants established homes in American colonial ports, including Newport, R.I., New Amsterdam (later New York), Philadelphia, Charleston, S.C., and Savannah, Ga. This was a departure from the Old World, where synagogues in places like Amsterdam, London, and Recife, taxed commercial transactions, regulated Jewish publications, and punished members for lapses in individual or commercial morality.

German wave-German Jews began to come to America in significant numbers in the 1840s. Jews left Germany because of persecution, restrictive laws, economic hardship, and the failure of movements — widely supported by German Jews — advocating revolution and reform there. Some 250,000 German-speaking Jews came to America by the outbreak of World War I. This sizable immigrant community expanded American Jewish geography by establishing themselves in smaller cities and towns in the Midwest, West, and the South. If German Jews had one city of their own invention, it was Cincinnati.

Eastern European wave-Eastern European Jews began to immigrate to the United States in large numbers after 1880. Pushed out of Europe by overpopulation, oppressive legislation and poverty, they were pulled toward America by the prospect of financial and social advancement. Between 1880 and the onset of restrictive immigration quotas in 1924, over 2 million Jews from Russia, Austria-Hungary, and Romania came to America. The immigrants found work in factories, especially in the garment industry, but also in cigar manufacturing, food production, and construction. Large-scale Jewish immigration to the United States ended in 1924.

Ellis Island-On January 1, 1892 – her 15th birthday – Annie Moore from County Cork, Ireland, became the first person admitted to the new immigration station on Ellis Island. On that opening day, she received a greeting from officials and a $10.00 gold piece. Annie traveled to New York with her two younger brothers on steerage aboard the S.S. Nevada, which left Queenstown (now Cobh), Ireland, on December 20, 1891, and arrived in New York on the evening of December 31. After being processed, the children were reunited with their parents, who were already living in New York. Ellis Island is a former immigration inspection station in New York Harbor, within the states of New York and New Jersey. It was the gateway for over 12 million immigrants to the United States as the nation’s busiest immigrant inspection station from 1892 until 1954. After an arduous sea voyage, 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. From 1900 to 1914 – the peak years of Ellis Island’s operation – some 5,000 to 10,000 people passed through the immigration station every day.

Reed-Johnson Immigration Act of 1924-The Immigration Act of 1924 limited the number of immigrants allowed entry into the United States through a national origins quota. The quota provided immigration visas to two percent of the total number of people of each nationality in the United States as of the 1890 national census. It completely excluded immigrants from Asia. Signed into law by President Calvin Coolidge. The 1924 Immigration Act also included a provision excluding from entry any alien who by virtue of race or nationality was ineligible for citizenship. Existing nationality laws dating from 1790 and 1870 excluded people of Asian lineage from naturalizing. As a result, the 1924 Act meant that even Asians not previously prevented from immigrating – the Japanese in particular – would no longer be admitted to the United States. 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. Despite the increased tensions, it appeared that the U.S. Congress had decided that preserving the racial composition of the country was more important than promoting good ties with Japan. In 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-The USA is traditionally called a melting pot because with time, generations of immigrants have melted together: they have abandoned their cultures to become totally assimilated into American society. Historically, it is often used to describe the assimilation of immigrants to the United States. But in the UK, where cultural diversity is considered a positive thing, immigrants have always been encouraged to maintain their traditions and their native language. This model of racial integration can be described as a salad bowl, with people of different cultures living in harmony, like the lettuce, tomatoes, and carrots in a salad. New York City can be considered as being a “salad bowl”. 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.

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. Together, immigrants and their U.S.-born children make up about 27 percent of U.S. inhabitants. Illegal immigration. The undocumented population is about eleven million and has leveled off since the 2008 economic crisis, which led some to return to their home countries and discouraged others from coming to the United States. A 2017 Gallup poll found that 71 percent of Americans considered immigration a “good thing” for the United States. Forty-six percent of immigrants in 2017 reported their race as single-race White, 27 percent as Asian, 9 percent as Black, and 16 percent as some other race. About 2 percent reported having two or more races. In 2017, approximately 78 percent (239.3 million) of the 306 million people ages 5 and older in the United States reported speaking only English at home.

The US at the beginning of the 20th century

Urbanisation (living conditions, labour unions)-The US was 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 the USA.

Progressive Movement: Theodore Roosevelt-The Progressive Movement, also known as the Progressive Era, was a period from the 1830s to 1920s. The later political movement supported equal conditions for everybody and it developed because of the socio-economic problems as a consequence of 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 monopolies, 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 has soon declared an independent country. Nevertheless, the US used Cuba as a military base.

Dollar Diplomacy-Dollar Diplomacy, the 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 been 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 the 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 an entirely new land for neighboring 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. 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 was supposed to stay neutral, but France and Germany did not agree to this. That shows how low the organization had fallen, and in the early to mid-’40s, it basically ceased to exist. Only 26 of them remained as part of the League until its disbandment in 1946.

Historical accuracy of the movie

“The Immigrant” is a drama film, packed with confusing romance and mystery. The movie is of an immigrant woman who is lured to a life of adultery in order to reunite with her sister who is confined in Ellis Island. It has received mostly positive feedback from film critics and won many rewards. Although it isn’t uncommon that the viewer is left to wonder over the true purpose of the movie or even understanding the plot.

To start of the analysis we have to bring out the astonishing visuals and details within the movie. All the actors, clothes and props gave an amazing and realistic overview of those times and not to forget the iconic zoom in to Lady Liberty at the beginning of the movie. It is quite hard to criticize a movie like this as it all depends on what the viewer is looking for but then again we have chosen to concentrate on the historical accuracies. First I’d like to state that the movie only shows about half an hour worth of content depicting the lifelike arrival, living conditions, and options of the immigrants. The rest just seems to be a chaos of love, uncertainty, and desperateness. Which are related to the immigrants as there were instances of them becoming sex workers but this just isn’t enough.

I believe that if we want to give an overview of something like immigration than we have to show it in a sort of a stereotypical way. Clearly, the majority did not turn to prostitution or had a sister stuck on Ellis Island due to them having tuberculosis. Yes, the movie does show the tough times they were having, the struggles but doing so only through a single pair of eyes. This also being the reason why I have a problem with the title of the movie. If it is titled “The Immigrant” than I think the movie should be about immigration, not of a baffling love triangle. As one can imagine none of the main characters existed nor did their happenings take place as far as it comes to the plot.

As already mentioned the movie has gotten mainly positive feedback, but there are some that bring out the points discussed beforehand. “Technically there is nothing wrong with The Immigrant, but it never engages or even really touches the audience.” (1) This review is exactly what I’m trying to express as a viewer. The movie is good, really good even but it never makes a connection with me as I’m watching it, leaving me with a pile of unanswered questions. “The Immigrant functions quite impressively as a character piece (or pieces, as the film is as much about Bruno as Ewa).” (2) Again a comment about the way this movie was created. It concentrates on relationships between different characters that develop and change over time.

References

(1) ‘CIFF Review: The Immigrant’, 2013. Cinesnark, Available at:
https://cinesnark.com/2013/10/15/ciff-review-the-immigrant/

(2) ‘The Immigrant’, 2014. Tiny Mix Tapes, Available at:
https://www.tinymixtapes.com/film/the-immigrant

A visual depiction and its relevance to the topic

A 1921 political cartoon portrays America’s new immigration quotas, influenced by popular anti-immigrant and nativist sentiment stemming from World War I conflict. Library of Congress
Image link:
https://www.nps.gov/articles/closing-the-door-on-immigration.htm

The image I have chosen is of a political caricature from the year 1921, that illustrates the new immigration allocations in America. The act was named The Emergency Quota Act and it was the first to establish Americas first numerical limits on the number of immigrants who could enter. The drawing depicts Uncle Sam as The US government, filtering the number of European immigrants allowed in the country. The filter is also shown to be a gateway overseas from Europe to the US and the demand for it is extremely high. Due to the newly announced act, the number of settlers let into the country dropped down to 3% compared to the number allowed before it.

“The Immigrant”

Notions

Discovery of gold and gold mining

In 1847 in Coloma, California, James Marshall found a site for a sawmill. On January 24, 1848, Marshall went down to the river to inspect progress, and, as he later told the story: “My eye was caught by something shining in the bottom of the ditch. . . . I reached my hand down and picked it up; it made my heart thump, for I was certain it was gold. . . Then I saw another.” In May, word of the strike–and a sample of gold dust–were shown in San Francisco. Almost overnight, the port turned into a near ghost town as merchants, sailors, soldiers, and laborers rushed inland to the gold fields. It was not long before gold-seekers from all over the state, Hispanic Californians, Native Americans, Europeans and U.S. citizens joined them. As word spread outside California in the following months, new national and ethnic groups contributed their share to the fascinating mix of the gold fields: Mormons from Utah, farmers and trappers from nearby Oregon, experienced miners from Mexico and Chile, white sailors and merchants and native workers from Hawaii, and Chinese from the province of Kwangtung near Canton. (California gold rush).

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

Beginning in the early 1870s, railroad construction in the United States increased dramatically. Prior to 1871, approximately 45,000 miles of track had been laid. Between 1871 and 1900, another 170,000 miles were added to the nation’s growing railroad system. Much of the growth can be attributed to the building of the transcontinental railroads. Union Pacific Railroad co was incorporated on July 1, 1862, under an act of Congress entitled Pacific Railroad Act of 1862. The act was approved by President Abraham Lincoln, and it provided for the construction of railroads from the Missouri River to the Pacific as a war measure for the preservation of the Union. It was constructed westwardly from Council Bluffs, Iowa to meet the Central Pacific line, which was constructed eastwardly from San Francisco Bay. The line was constructed primarily by Irish labor who had learned their craft during the recent Civil War. The two lines were joined together at Promontory Summit, Utah, 53 miles (85 km) west of Ogden on May 10, 1869, hence creating the first transcontinental railroad in North America. The Central Pacific Railroad is the former name of the railroad network built between California and Utah, USA that built eastwards from the West Coast in the 1860s, to complete the western part of the “First Transcontinental Railroad” in North America. It is now part of the Union Pacific Railroad.

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

By 1850 the U.S. was firmly established in a strong process of industrialisation and by 1900 it was not only a fully industrialised economy but also one of the world’s top three economic powers. Industrialisation in the US had the highest growth in the world. For most of the first half of the period this growth was based on the exploitation of natural resources, agricultural and mineral, but from the early nineteenth century, industrialisation also became increasingly important. After the Civil War in the 1860s steam-powered manufacturing overtook water-powered manufacturing, allowing the industry to fully spread across the nation. Main industries: cotton (textile), iron, flour, sawmills.

Formation of trusts

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, there was a massive wave of industrialization across the United States. One product of this era was the rise of “big business.” Within certain industries, large corporations emerged. Some of these corporations were able to decrease or even eliminate competition by organizing themselves into monopolies. A trust was a way of organizing a business by merging together rival companies.

The role of Andrew Carnegie

Andrew Carnegie was a poor Scottish immigrant turned millionaire who came to symbolize the opportunity for social mobility that some call the American Dream. He formed the Carnegie Steel Corporation and his profits from the steel industry made him one of the wealthiest men in the United States. Also a noted philanthropist, Carnegie gave away some $350 million mostly to build public libraries and endow universities.

The role of John D. Rockefeller

He was an American business magnate and philanthropist. He was a co-founder of the Standard Oil Company, which dominated the oil industry and was the first great U.S. business trust. Rockefeller revolutionized the petroleum industry, and along with other key contemporary industrialists such as Andrew Carnegie, defined the structure of modern philanthropy. In 1870, he founded Standard Oil Company and actively ran it until he officially retired in 1897.

The role of Henry Ford

He was an American industrialist, the founder of the Ford Motor Company, and sponsor of the development of the assembly line technique of mass production. Henry Ford was definitely a great inventor and made a huge effect on our world. Just imagine what our world would be like without cars that everyone could drive! Henry Ford also made an effect on our lives by creating the assembly line. His assembly line helped bring down prices which helped people because cars were cheaper. His idea was also used latter in other factories and helped the prices of other items come down too.

Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty was a joint effort between France and the United States, intended to commemorate the lasting friendship between the peoples of the two nations. The French sculptor Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi created the statue. The Statue of Liberty was given to the United States and erected atop an American-designed pedestal on a small island in Upper New York Bay, now known as Liberty Island, and dedicated by President Grover Cleveland in 1886. Over the years, the statue stood tall as millions of immigrants arrived in America via nearby Ellis Island.

Causes of immigration from Europe in the 19th century

A combination of unemployment, famine and religious persecution drove more than 30 million European immigrants to the United States in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The first major wave of immigration to the U.S. occurred between 1820 and 1870, when a famine in Ireland and North Europe and economic troubles in Germany brought more than 7 million immigrants to America. But the height of immigration was between 1880 and 1920, when more than 20 million immigrants from Central, Eastern and Southern Europe, including millions of Russian Jews fleeing religious persecution, came to the U.S..

First Wave 1790 – 1820

Groups of immigrants came for a variety of religious, political, and economic reasons. Northern and Western Europeans (English, Irish, Germans, Dutch, French, Spanish etc). Starvation, disease, and shipwreck killed 1 in 10 of those immigrants who set sail for America before they even set foot on land.  (relatively little immigration, significant emigration to Canada)

Second Wave 1820 – 1860  

Immigrants came for new opportunities because in Europe, peasants displaced from agriculture and artisans were made jobless from the industrial revolution. Some immigrants received “American Letters” which were encouraging friends and relatives to join them in America. German (escaping economic problems and seeking political freedom), British, Irish 40% (poverty and famine encouraged emigration). The Roman Catholic church was the single largest religious body in the United States by 1850.

Third Wave 1880 – 1914  

Immigrants came over to America for more job opportunities and freedom of religion. Chinese, Japanese, and other Asian countries (migrated to the western states). In the 1910 census, foreign-born residents made up 15 percent of the U.S. population and 24 percent of the U.S. labor force.

Fourth Wave 1965 – Present  

A new law that altered the selection of immigrants from the country they were from, to giving priority to people who already had family in the United States or had skills that were needed in the labor market. Europeans, Asians, Hispanics (Mexico). In the 1980s and early 1990s, Asians made up about one-third of the immigrants entering America. Hispanics made up about one-half of the number of immigrants in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Jewish immigration

Sephardic wave

The first group of Sephardic settlers arrived in New Amsterdam in 1654 from Brazil. For several decades afterward, adventurous Sephardic and Ashkenazic merchants established homes in American colonial ports, including Newport, R.I., New Amsterdam (later New York), Philadelphia, Charleston, S.C., and Savannah, Ga. This was a departure from the Old World, where synagogues in places like Amsterdam, London, and Recife, taxed commercial transactions, regulated Jewish publications, and punished members for lapses in individual or commercial morality.

German wave

German Jews began to come to America in significant numbers in the 1840s. Jews left Germany because of persecution, restrictive laws, economic hardship, and the failure of movements — widely supported by German Jews — advocating revolution and reform there. Some 250,000 German-speaking Jews came to America by the outbreak of World War I. This sizable immigrant community expanded American Jewish geography by establishing themselves in smaller cities and towns in the Midwest, West, and the South. If German Jews had one city of their own invention, it was Cincinnati.

Eastern European wave

Eastern European Jews began to immigrate to the United States in large numbers after 1880. Pushed out of Europe by overpopulation, oppressive legislation and poverty, they were pulled toward America by the prospect of financial and social advancement. Between 1880 and the onset of restrictive immigration quotas in 1924, over 2 million Jews from Russia, Austria-Hungary, and Romania came to America. The immigrants found work in factories, especially in the garment industry, but also in cigar manufacturing, food production, and construction. Large-scale Jewish immigration to the United States ended in 1924.

Ellis Island

An island that is located in Upper New York Bay in the Port of New York and New Jersey, United States. It was the gateway for millions of immigrants to the United States as the nation’s busiest immigrant inspection station from 1892 until 1954. In the 35 years before Ellis Island opened, over eight million immigrants arriving in New York City had been processed by New York State officials at Castle Garden Immigration Depot in Lower Manhattan, just across the bay. The federal government assumed control of immigration on April 18, 1890, and Congress appropriated $75,000 to construct America’s first Federal immigration station on Ellis Island. Artesian wells were dug, and landfill was hauled in from incoming ships’ ballast and from construction of New York City’s subway tunnels, which doubled the size of Ellis Island to over six acres. It has been estimated that close to 40 percent of all current U.S. citizens can trace at least one of their ancestors to Ellis Island.

Reed-Johnson Immigration Act of 1924

United States federal law that limited the annual number of immigrants who could be admitted from any country to 2% of the number of people from that country who were already living in the United States in 1890. It completely excluded immigrants from Asia.

The notion of Melting Pot vs Salad Bowl

The USA is traditionally called a melting pot because with time, generations of immigrants have melted together: they have abandoned their cultures to become totally assimilated into American society. Historically, it is often used to describe the assimilation of immigrants to the United States.

But in the UK, where cultural diversity is considered a positive thing, immigrants have always been encouraged to maintain their traditions and their native language. This model of racial integration can be described as a salad bowl, with people of different cultures living in harmony, like the lettuce, tomatoes and carrots in a salad. New York City can be considered as being a “salad bowl”

Present situation

The civil rights movement of the 1960s led to the replacement of the ethnic quotas with per-country limits. Since then, the number of first-generation immigrants living in the United States has quadrupled from 9.6 million in 1970 to about 38 million in 2007. Nearly 14 million immigrants entered the United States from 2000 to 201o, and over one million persons were naturalized as U.S. citizens in 2008. there are more than 50 million immigrants living in the United States. Once immigrants begin to enter the United States, they have to learn many new things in order to navigate and adjust to their new homeland. Historically and currently, immigrants experience exploitation in the workforce and different forms of discriminations and challenges in their lives.

Urbanisation (living conditions, labour unions)

The urbanisation of the United States was a very long and gradual process, with the United States only becoming an urban-majority nation between 1910 and 1920. As the 19th century drew to a close, the rapid development of cities served as both a uniting and driving factor in American social, economic, and political life. Cities attracted a rich cross-section of the world’s population, creating a diverse, metropolitan atmosphere. At the same time, cities forced people from entirely different backgrounds to live and work together in close proximity for the first time, which served as a uniting factor. The never- ending influx of immigrants from Germany, Ireland, Britain, and Scandinavia created an ethnically diverse population united by their common financial plight, social oppression, and shared American Dream. Many minority groups tended to congregate in certain area of the city giving rise to nicknames like “Chinatown” in San Francisco and “Little Italy” in New York City. As room became more and more scare for New Immigrants, increasingly smaller tenement buildings were constructed in an attempt to save room. Not only were the apartments extremely small, but at times 3 or 4 families were forced to fit into one apartment. Along with small size, the plumbing, ventilation, and lighting was often very poor. As the industrial work force grew, tensions increased between labor and management. They disagreed over issues such as wages, length of the working day, and working conditions. Labor unions emerged to protect the rights of workers and to represent them in negotiations with management. Most employers vigorously opposed trade union activity, and struggles between workers and employers often became violent.

Progressive Movement: Theodore Roosevelt

Progressivism is the term applied to a variety of responses to the economic and social problems rapid industrialization introduced to America. Progressivism began as a social movement and grew into a political movement. they were people who believed that the problems society faced (poverty, violence, greed, racism, class warfare) could best be addressed by providing good education, a safe environment, and an efficient workplace. Progressives lived mainly in the cities, were college educated, and believed that government could be a tool for change. On a national level, progressivism gained a strong voice in the White House when Theodore Roosevelt became president in 1901. TR believed that strong corporations were good for America, but he also believed that corporate behavior must be watched to ensure that corporate greed did not get out of hand.

An American Empire (the Philippines, Cuba)

In the late nineteenth century, foreign territories such as Hawaii and Latin America were sought after by the United States. Amendments were used in unison to grant the United States the right to intervene in those territories if that particular government was deemed unfit to rule itself. The American government now held the power to both criticize and occupy these nations if they were deemed to be unstable. The Spanish– American War was a conflict in 1898 between Spain and the United States, the result of US intervention in the Cuban War of Independence. US attacks on Spain’s Pacific possessions led to involvement in the Philippine Revolution and ultimately to the Philippine–American War. Revolts against Spanish rule had occurred for some years in Cuba. In the late 1890s, US public opinion was agitated by anti-Spanish propaganda which used yellow journalism to criticize Spanish administration of Cuba. After the mysterious sinking of the US Navy battleship Maine in Havana harbor, political pressures from the Democratic Party and certain industrialists pushed the administration of Republican President William McKinley into a war he had wished to avoid. Compromise was sought by Spain, but rejected by the United States which sent an ultimatum to Spain demanding it surrender control of Cuba. First Madrid, then Washington, formally declared war. After its defeat in the Spanish-American War of 1898, Spain ceded its longstanding colony of the Philippines to the United States in the Treaty of Paris.

Dollar Diplomacy

Effort of the United States between 1909-1913 to further its aims in Latin America and East Asia through use of its economic power by guaranteeing loans made to foreign countries.

Monroe Doctrine

A U.S. foreign policy regarding European countries in 1823. It stated that further efforts by European nations to colonize land or interfere with states in North or South America would be viewed as acts of aggression, requiring U.S. intervention. At the same time, the doctrine noted that the United States would neither interfere with existing European colonies nor meddle in the internal concerns of European countries.

The US in WWI

United States declared war on the German Empire on April 6, 1917. The U.S. was an independent power and did not officially join the Allies. It closely cooperated with them militarily but acted alone in diplomacy. The U.S. made its major contributions in terms of supplies, raw material and money starting in 1917. During the war, the US mobilized over 4,000,000 military personnel and suffered 110,000 deaths.

Versailles Treaty of 1919

The Treaty of Versailles, which ended World War I, was drafted at the Paris Peace Conference in the spring of 1919 and shaped by the Big Four powers—Great Britain, France, Italy, and the United States. After Germany was defeated, President Wilson pushed for his Fourteen Points to be followed by the rest of Europe and the Allies. Wilson wanted all of Europe to be able to recover quickly from the war, including Germany. France and Britain disagreed and placed harsh reparations on Germany in the Treaty of Versailles. The United States did not sign the Treaty of Versailles, but established their own peace treaty with Germany.

League of Nations

The League of Nations was an international organization, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, created after the First World War to provide a forum for resolving international disputes. Though first proposed by President Woodrow Wilson as part of his Fourteen Points plan for an equitable peace in Europe, the United States never became a member. The congress didn’t want to be in the League of Nations. The country, whose president, Woodrow Wilson, had dreamed up the idea of the League – America – refused to join it. As America was the world’s most powerful nation, this was a serious blow to the prestige of the League. However, America’s refusal to join the League, fitted in with her desire to have an isolationist policy throughout the world.

https://www.google.com/search?q=ellis+island&client=firefox-b-d&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiWl76ks7LiAhVIw4sKHZKUCbIQ_AUIDigB&biw=1920&bih=966#imgrc=UjppUvTruyZ1pM:

I chose a picture of Ellis Island for the visual representation of this film, as it was, at the time, the central hub of the US immigration wave – the main topic of the movie The Immigrant. Ellis Island itself was a building complex comprised of customs offices, medical facilities, canteens and other facilities. At its peak, Ellis Island processed 11 747 immigrants in a single day.