Beginning in 1860 American life began to change from an agricultural to an industrial economy. By 1890, eight million people were employed in factories, mines, building industries and transportation. Most of the new industrial workers came from American farms.
Immigrants came to the U.S looking for a better life in a new world. In the 1850s, the American Industrial Revolution was just beginning and the factories needed skilled labor. Skilled British factory laborers moved to the U.S for higher wages and a better life.
America was a last option for some Irish immigrants. In the 1840s Ireland suffered one crop failure after another. Hungry men had to leave. In 1850, more than 170,000 people came to the US from Ireland. They had no education and no money.
As years progressed, people from Europe moved to America not for a better life, but because work was very hard to find in Britain, Germany and Scandinavian countries; many were dying of hunger.
Anti-Jewish feeling swept Russia and Poland. Violence against Jews caused many to move to America.
The new people moving to the U.S had no skills and were illiterate. The higher paid American and British workers were replaced with the new immigrants.
Within a few years, foreign born workers held most of the unskilled jobs in many American industries. American workers began to protest. They demanded an end to the flood of immigration.
Source: Immigrants: America’s Industrial Growth Depended on Them
Copyright © 1997-2015 by Charles Kelly