The Old "New Immigrants"

Thesis: From 1880 to 1924, the largest influx of immigrants entered the United States, during a period of rapid industrialization and urbanization. The vast majority of this group came from new countries of origin in Southern and Eastern Europe. While they most often came from small towns and villages in Europe, these immigrants found themselves in ethnic ghettos in cities in the Northeast and the Midwest.

  1. The "The New Immigrants"
    1. Groups from 1880s through the 1930s  (1820) (1880)
    2. Largest group of urban immigrants
    3. New Groups of Europeans from Eastern and Southern Europe: Russia, Poland and Italy
    4. Importance of Steam-Powered Passenger Ships
  2. Southern Europeans
    1. The Italians (regions)
      1. Before 1850, relatively small population, but widely disbursed
        • Largest concentration in New Orleans
        • By 1870- New York, San Francisco and New Orleans
        • Mostly from Central and Northern Italy
      2. Post 1880, Large Waves of Italians
        • Mostly from the Mezzogiorno and Sicily
        • Nearly all entered US through New York
        • Largely concentrated in Mid-Atlantic states, New England, and Chicago
    2. The Greeks (Europe)
      • Greek Americans generally strong ties with Greece
      • Brought their own Greek Orthodox Churches to America
      • Did not really begin until 1890s
      • More than half returned to Greece
      • Created ethnic niches in restaurant business
    3. Arabs and Armenians
      • During the period most Arab immigrants were Christian
      • Many Syrians and Lebanese
      • Initially men, serial immigration of families
      • 90% of Arabs before 1914 peddlers
      • New York early center of Arab immigration, later surpassed by Detroit
      • Small Muslim population, only two mosques known to have been built before 1930
      • Armenians largest numbers generally around the Turkish Genocide in 1915
  3. Immigrants from Eastern Europe
    1. The Poles
      • At least 26 ethnic groups from East Europe
      • Settled in cities of northeast and Great Lakes
      • But, where usually European peasants
      • Poles large group, but no Poland between 1795-1919
      • Ethnic Poles largely Roman Catholic
      • Large presence in Great Lake cities: Chicago, Buffalo, Detroit, Cleveland
      • Mostly Laborers
    2. Eastern European Jews
      • Before 1880, 250,000 Jews in the US, mostly of German descent, 50,000 from East Europe
      • By 1924, 4 million Jews in the US, 3 million of Eastern European descent (the Pale of Settlement)
      • Many fled because of religious persecution
      • Difficulties leaving and finding a port
      • Mostly young, between 14 -40, many skilled in the "needle trades"
      • Large percentage of women
      • Very low rate of return
      • Mostly settled in Eastern cities--about half in New York City
      • Many lived in ethnic enclaves like the Lower East Side
      • "Crossing Delancey"
        • Emphasis on school and learning
        • Many formed business and entered entertainment
    3. The Hungarians
      • High rates of return
      • Poor economy, looked for better paying jobs in US
      • Young, many without skill
      • Took many jobs in manual labor