Motivations and Aspirations - Land of Hope and Dreams

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First sight of New York Bay--arrival of a European steamer.

First sight of New York Bay--arrival of a European steamer. Gruppe, Amerika 1920-1940 The green fields of America Power plant

Motivations and Aspirations - Land of Hope and Dreams

In 19th century Europe, hundreds of stories circulated about the possibilities offered by the young country that went by the name of the United States of America. Over there, so the stories went, even common people could become wealthy, own a piece of land or start their own companies in that ‘promised land’. And in a way it was, although for many of the emigrants, reality was less bright than the dreams they had in mind. However, large parts of Europe were still peasant societies in which climbing the social ladder was practically impossible.
When the construction of railway tracks grew at a fast rate, and highly competitive railway companies fought for a good market position, it became easier and cheaper for settlers to move inland and populate the newly opened territories. Moving the frontier westward opened new agricultural areas, which gave lots of people the opportunity to buy farmland at low prices. On the other hand, the new industrial sector grew rapidly, resulting in a great demand for labour. Not only could immigrants work in the country’s flourishing factories, but also in other booming industries, like mining, the timber trade or the railways.

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Introduction
 
Land of Hope and Dreams
 
Leaving Europe
 
From Repression to Freedom
 
A country open to immigrants
 
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