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Atlanta, Georgia USA

Immigration Archives - Historial Immigration, Documents, Images, Articles and More!

Collage of Immigration Archives - Historical Immigration, Documents, Images, Articles and More!

The Gjenvick-Gjønvik Archives has considerable documents and information on the mass migration of immigrants from primarily European countries to North America. Note that Immigration and the social - economic and other factors may be covered under separate topics.

The immigrants gained access to the United States principally through the north Atlantic ports of entry of the steamship lines. These ports, in order of importance were New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. Through New York at Ellis Island came nearly three-fourths of all our immigrants.

Immigration Stations

Immigration Topics

The Immigration Period from 1870

Immigration Archives - We The People

Immigration entered a new phase in the years following the Civil War. Prior to this time, the immigrants had been of racial strains very closely related to the original settlers of the country. With the great industrial expansion in America after the war and the opening of many steamship lines between the Mediterranean ports and the United States, new streams of immigration began to set in from Southern and Eastern Europe.  

The change began to be apparent about 1885, but it was not until I896 that the three currents from Austria-Hungary, Italy, and Russia exceeded in volume the contributions of the United Kingdom, Germany, and Scandinavia.

Since 1870, twenty-five million Europeans have come to the United States as compared with possibly one-third of that number in the entire earlier period of independent national existence. These immigrants had contributed powerfully to the rapid exploitation of the country's natural resources and to the establishment of modern industrialism in America.

A characteristic of the latter-day immigration has been the fact that approximately one-third of the immigrants have returned to their places of origin. The swarming of foreigners into the great industries occurred at considerable cost to the native workingmen, for the latter struggled in vain for higher wages or better conditions as long as the employers could command the services of an inexhaustible supply of foreign laborers.

Thus, the new immigration has made it easier for the few to amass enormous fortunes at the expense of the many and has helped to create in this country for the first time yawning inequalities of wealth.

Excerpt from Arthur Meier Schlesinger, "The Significance of Immigration in American History," in American Journal of Sociology, Volume 27, Number 1 (July 1921) pp. 71-85.

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