America and I Historical Context

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Immigrants in the 1900s

Between 1891 and 1910, around twelve million immigrants arrived in the United States. Unlike the wave of immigrants the United States had seen in the mid-1800s, the majority of these so-called new immigrants came from countries in southern or eastern Europe. Most of the Jewish families fled their homelands to escape religious or political persecution, whereas other immigrants sought improved economic opportunities.

Millions of immigrants first set foot on American soil on Ellis Island in New York Harbor. Hundreds of thousands then settled in New York City, where they often lived in slums and crowded, unhealthy apartments. Slum streets were often piled high with garbage and raw sewage, and the slums usually were located right next to polluted industrial areas.

The life of immigrants in the United States was filled with other hardships. They often were only able to obtain low-paying, unskilled jobs. Some worked...

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This section contains 567 words
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Buy the America and I Study Guide
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America and I from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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