America is thought of as an enourmous pot where many races and nationalities were blended into one new nationality. This concept is known as the "melting pot." During Industrialization many "new" immigrants were on their way out of Southern and Eastern Europe due to over population and religous persecution. Factors that made immigrants leave their home countries were known as push factors. Pull factors, or factors that lure immigrants into a new country, were also at work. The prospect of political adn religious loberty, as well as opportunities for economic advancement brought millions of immigrants to America. Even though immigrants helped to make the Industrial
Revolution possible they faced opposition in economics and politics.
In the early nineteenth century, cheap land drew many immigrants to America and many of them went into farming. But the constuction of canals and railroads required an enormous force of unskilled laborers. First the Irish and then the Chinese supplied this labor. The tremendous industrial growth of the late nineteenth century created an unprecedented demand for workers. Hence practically all the "new" immigrants found jobs in transportation, mining, and manufacturing. Without this supply of labor, America's industrial expanison could not have taken place. A few exceptional immigranst rose to positions of wealth and power. But for the great mass of immigrants, success meant something much more limited. It meant better wages, money in the bank, ownership of a home, and a brighter future for their children. This social advancement made way for further gains.
Although Amercian worksers inderectly benefited from immigration they tended to regard the newcomers as competitors for their jobs. This is understandable not only because of flucations of the economy which caused unemployment, but because immigrants were often used as strike . It was also believed, although incorrectly, that immigration drove down the wages of American workers. Unions also found it hard to unite immigrants who seemed so foreign in their speech and customs. For these reasons, the American Federation of Labor (A F of L) advocated a literacy test for immigrants and supported the movement to restrict entry of immigrants. Reformers also believed that with immigratin came political corruption.
The "new" immigrants that came to America that could read, write, speak, and understand English were lated bny many political supporters. Those people feared that if an immigrant were to gain power in politics that they might try to incorporate their old customs and traditions in poliitcs. Many Americans even opposed the idea of allowing immigrants the right to vote. Even after immigrants were to become Americanized, political supporters fought to keep immigrants from participating in politics.
"Opposition to the immigrant was primarily rooted in economics and politics." With the growth of industry in the late nineteenth century came a demand for workers. Thus practically all of the "new" immigrants from Europe found jobs in different industries. Although American workers indirectly benefited from immigration they tended to regard the new comers as competitors for their jobs. Immigrants also suffered oppotion in politics. The immigr5ants that could use and understand English were hated by political supporters because they feared that they would try to incoporate their beliefs into politics. Even after they became Americanized, immigrants still faced opposition in politics. With out the large supply of immigrants America's industrial expansion would not have taken place.