info

Orchard Street Scene

Life in America - Introduction

Life in America - Introduction

The life of immigrants in America varied greatly, depending on when they arrived, where they settled, and the individual immigrant’s ethnicity, skills, and wealth. Most immigrants were poor and held the lowest jobs in society. Because America, unlike Europe, was periodically short of labour, they provided much-needed workers in the expanding areas of agriculture, industry and transportation. After the introduction of steamships in the mid-1800s shortened travel time from America to Europe, some immigrants returned to their homelands when the season changed or the work dried up, notably those who worked outdoors in agriculture, construction, or mining.

The American government did not provide any assistance to newcomers, so immigrant communities formed mutual aid societies to help their compatriots in times of need and to bury the dead. Immigrants tended to band together around religious organisations - churches, synagogues, and parochial schools - and formed labour unions, and political and social organisations. Immigrants who lived in rural areas were more isolated and often formed separate communities which often meant they assimilated less rapidly than city dwellers, who had to adapt to the American language and customs in order to survive.

←
Introduction
 
On the Farm
 
In the City
 
Work
 
Communal Life
 
→

Comments

Allowed tags: <p>, <a>, <em>, <strong>, <ul>, <ol>, <li>

Comments

Allowed tags: <p>, <a>, <em>, <strong>, <ul>, <ol>, <li>