Migration (emigration, immigration) as a key theme in history.

Why do people migrate? Push/Pull

Stages of migration

Push factors:

Food shortages
Anti–Semitism (Poland and Russia).
German Jews versus Polish/Russian Jews

Pull factors:

America as a land of opportunity
Patterns of settlement and adaptation.
Role of chain migration.
Role of return migration.

The "new" immigration.

Change in origin:
Scotch-Irish and German earlier
Irish during famine time (1848)

Irish and German Immigration [from our online textbook]
This connects to the Nativism articles we read for today

The new immigrants (1880-1920)
Catholic and Jewish

U.S. has always had immigration: Asylum of liberty.

Source of immigration changed.
Prior immigrants: northern and western Europe and the British Isles.
New immigrants: eastern and southern Europe.

Characteristics of newer immigrants (1890-1900)

Generally poor
Often illiterate
Jewish or Catholic
Catholicism became largest American religion
Had very different customs.
Most settled in eastern cities
Few settled in South.

Immigrant cultures

Role of ethnic enclaves: preserve culture

Ethnic associations
Schools (tied to religion: parochial and rabbinical)

How to strike a balance between assimilation and ethnic identity
Melting pot or salad bowl as appropriate metaphor?

Generational divide

First generation: not speak English
Second generation: not speak native tongue
Third generation: aware of heritage


[Key article] Roman Catholics and Immigration in Nineteenth-Century America (National Humanities Center)

Donald Trump Isn’t The First Know Nothing to Capture American Hearts | The New Republic

Nativism and the Politics of Immigration | the Stanford Political Journal

1896: McKinley and the American Protective Association


Chinese Exclusion Act

A Chinese Immigrant Makes his Home in Turn-of-the-Century America

Angel Island: Chinese immigration

Angel Island: Japanese immigration


U.S. had extensive natural resources

  • Coal, iron, timber, petroleum, and waterpower.

U.S. had abundant labor

  • Ex–farm families
  • Immigrants.

U.S. became the largest free trade market in the world.

  • Role of the railroad in knitting the country together.
  • A nationwide transportation network.

Investors liked the profit outlook.

Government at all levels helped business:

  • Money
  • Land
  • Stability
  • Upheld private property
  • Laissez–faire approach.

Accelerated technological innovation: new inventions

U.S. had capable business leadership

  • Called captains of industry by their admirers
  • Called robber barons by their critic


Andrew Carnegie

Andrew Carnegie, The Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie

Frederick Winslow Taylor

Viewpoint: Are Amazon's feedback tactics unusual?

Standard Oil Company and John Rockefeller

New attitudes toward wealth/Social Darwinism/Horatio Alger

Horatio Alger

Apple’s iPad and the Human Costs for Workers in China (New York Times)


Changing status of labor
  • Industrialization changed the nature of work
  • Power of employers increased
  • Worker independence and self-respect declined
  • Industrial workers were employees rather than crafts persons
  • Robot-like tasks made them feel like machines.
  • Emphasis on quantity over quality dehumanized the workplace
  • Workers resisted these trends
  • Worker resistance only led employers to tighten restrictions

Iron law of wages
  • Employees paid according to conditions of supply and demand.
  • Employers would set wages as low as possible

At a level where some persons would accept the work

Companies hired women and children to further cut costs
  • Prevailing free–market views stifled protective legislation for workers
  • Employers denied responsibility for employees' well–being.
  • Repetitive work decreased concentration and caused industrial accidents

No workers' comp at the time.
If you got hurt, tough luck.
  • Is beating down the worker a prerequisite for industrialization? Should we care how Thailand runs its factories today?
  • Courts reinforced iron law of wages

Supreme Court denied workers the right to bargain collectively
Wages a private negotiation b/n employee & employer.
All of this sets the foundation for the rise of labor unions.


Panic of 1873

Great Upheaval (Railroad Strike of 1877)

Haymarket Affair (1886)

Homestead Strike (1892)

Panic of 1893

Pullman Strike (1894)

  • Politics was the most popular form of local recreation,

More popular than baseball, vaudeville, or circuses.
  • Political torchlight parades, picnics, and speeches were exciting.
  • Close political party balance.
  • [Commentators compared the 2000 election results to that during the Gilded Age.
  • Neither political party gained clear control for any sizable time.
  • Presidential elections were close
  • Swing states (New York, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois) made the difference.
  • Political party choice dependent on religion and ethnicity.

Republican party

  • Party of evangelical Protestants.
  • Believed government could be an agent of moral reform
  • World must be purged of evil
  • Legislation necessary to protect people from sin.
  • Opposed parochial schools.
  • Supported prohibition of liquor.

Republicans and the Bible

Democratic party

Party of immigrant Catholics and Jews.
Opposed interference by government in

Matters of personal liberty
Use of leisure time
Celebration of Sunday.
  • Supported parochial schools
  • Opposed prohibition of liquor

Election of 1896

Major realigning election in U.S. history
Winner: William McKinley—a Republican

Election of 1896

No primaries back then. Candidate picked by party elders.

McKinley conducted a traditional "front porch" campaign
McKinley supported the gold standard.

Bryan broke with tradition; traveled across the country
Bryan supported free silver
Bryan argued for an older America
Farms as important as factories,
Rural and religious life outweighed sinfulness of the city
Common people, not corporations, still ruled.

Election of 1896 realigned national politics:

Old split: North versus South
The "Bloody Shirt"
Vote as you shot

New split:
East versus West
City versus farm


William McKinley (Miller Center) [Read both of these links]

William Jennings Bryan

William Jennings Bryan

Republican Party

Democratic Party

Trusts and monopolies

US Foreign Relations
Spain and Cuba; Turkey and Armenia

Racial Prejudice
[Plessy versus Ferguson]


Women suffrage


Civil War and Slavery

Sectional Interests



Currency Question