USII.3b Study Guide
The Reasons for the Growth in Immigration, Cities, and New Challenges

WHITE PRINT - Content outline from the VDOE curriculum guide   BLACK  PRINT - Additional information
The student will demonstrate knowledge of how life changed after the Civil War by
b) explaining the reasons for the increase in immigration, growth of cities, new inventions, and challenges arising from this expansion.

Why did immigration increase?


ˇ     Hope for better opportunities

 In the 1840s,  the potato crop failed and Irish farmers had nothing to eat. By 1860 Irish immigrants had largely replaced the New England mill girls as textile workers.

From 1860 to 1910, the U.S. population tripled. After 1880, immigrants were often from southern and eastern Europe, where there was little industry and life was hard for poor peasants.

ˇ     Religious freedom Jews from Eastern Europe fled persecution
ˇ     Escape from oppressive governments Russians and Poles escape political oppression at home.
ˇ     Adventure  

Why did cities develop?

     Specialized industries including steel (Pittsburgh), meat packing (Chicago)

click to enlarge - Chicago meat packing - Pittsburgh steel mill
ˇ     Immigration from
other countries

Click picture to expand - Immigrants arrive at Ellis Island
Industrial expansion created jobs that attracted thousands of immigrants to America.  By 1860 Irish immigrants had largely replaced the New England mill girls as textile workers.
ˇ     Movement of Americans from rural to urban areas for job opportunities This was the beginning of a vast migration from the farms to the cities when agricultural machinery cut the need for farm laborers.

What inventions created great change and industrial growth in the United States?

Inventions that contributed to great change and industrial growth

ˇ     Lighting and mechanical uses of electricity (Thomas Edison)

Edison invented the electric light bulb in 1879. During the following decades, factories and transportation began to shift from steam to electric power. By 1925, over 60% of homes had electric power.
ˇ     Telephone service (Alexander Graham Bell) 1876 - Phone service spread rapidly and transformed communications. 

What challenges faced Americans as a result of those social and technological changes?

Population changes, growth of cities, and new inventions produced interaction and often conflict between different cultural groups, and thus produced problems in urban areas.   Inventions had both positive and negative effects on society.
ˇ     Rapid industrialization and urbanization led to overcrowded immigrant neighborhoods and tenements.

New York and other industrial cities became terribly overcrowded. Slums were created when landlords divided tenement buildings and packed in as many people as possible. People of the same ethnic background lived in same neighborhoods, creating ghettos. Overcrowding caused frequent epidemics of typhoid, smallpox, and tuberculosis. Bad water and garbage in the streets led to disease. The ghettos were filled with smoke and dust. The crime rate was high. Fires were frequent.

What were some efforts to solve immigration problems?

Although many immigrants did migrate to rural America, a majority settled in cities. Immigrant populations, in fact, were highest in four of the largest cities at the time (New York, Boston, Pittsburgh, and Chicago).

ˇ     Settlement Houses, such as  Hull House founded by Jane Addams

       Click to expand - Coffee Room at Hull House
Hull house in Chicago was established to help immigrants. It provided many services - from kindergartens to laundry rooms. Other settlement houses soon opened around the nation.

ˇ     Political machines that gained power by attending to the needs of new immigrants (e.g., jobs, housing)



Progressives fought the power of the bosses and the political machines that controlled the big cities.  By 1900 city life becoming better. Fresh water was piped  in, lighting was installed. Some city bosses tried to help new immigrants in order to get their votes.  Many attempts to reform the city machines.  Reformers created city-owned services like garbage collections and street cleaning, and also created private organizations to help the poor.

How did different cultural groups interact?

Indians - Interaction and conflict

Indians believed that land and its resources should be available to all, and not something that could be bought or sold.  Buffalo had provided the Indians of the Plains with most of their needs, but by 1883,  buffalo were nearly extinct. Whites killed buffalo for meat, hides, and increasingly  for sport. Buffalo,  which in the past had roamed and grazed on the plains at will,  were cut off from grazing land by barbed wire fences.
ˇ     Indian policies and wars


By 1865 skirmishes between Indians and whites were frequent on the Great Plains and throughout the Southwest. In 1867 a Peace Commission was established to convince the various tribes to give up their lands and to relocate onto "reservations" - tracts of land set aside for Indian communities. Some Indians moved voluntarily, while others continued to fight for their land and their way of life.
Battle of Little Bighorn
"Custer's Last Stand"
In 1876, the federal government decided to force the Sioux, led by Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull, back on to the reservation. General Custer led his troops against more than 2,000 Sioux Indians.

Custer and all of his men died in that attack, which came to be known as "Custer's Last Stand."  The Sioux were buoyed by their victory, but within a few months they were forced to surrender nonetheless.
ˇ     Chief Joseph In 1877, when the federal government sent troops in to force the Nez Percé off their lands in the Washington territory and into a reservation, Chief Joseph led 400, 000 of his people on a long trek toward the Canadian border to escape the troops. Finally in late 1877, just a few miles from the Canadian border, the troops captured Chief Joseph and his warriors, the old people, the women, the children, and sent them off to Indian territory.

ˇ     Discrimination against immigrants -


Settlers on the West Coast especially blamed declining wages and economic problems on the Chinese workers.   In 1882, Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act,  the first significant law restricting immigration into the United States.
Irish The Irish  began to arrive a large number by the 1840s after the potato crop failed. By 1860 Irish immigrants had largely replaced the New England mill girls as textile workers.  Americans tended to look down on each group of new immigrants. Immigrants in turn were unfriendly toward blacks.

ˇ     Challenges faced by cities

ˇ     Tenements and ghettos

            Click image to expand

                                                   1890 NYC Jewish ghetto

 Immigrants and factory workers often lived in crowded slums in industrial cities. Life there was squalid and dangerous. Low wages meant wives and children of most factory workers also had to work to help the family survive.
ˇ     Political corruption (political machines) City bosses tried to make money from running the cities. The bosses, who were often the local mayors, controlled the city "machine".. They promised jobs to those that voted for them . One of the most corrupt was New York City's boss Tweed.