2.2 – Factories, Cities, and Immigrants

Readings

Ryan Engelman, “The Second Industrial Revolution”

Library of Congress, “City Life in the Late 19th Century”

Ted Brackemyre, “Immigrants, Cities, and Disease”

PBS, “The First Measured Century”

rw-gilded-age

Newberry Library, Immigration and Citizenship

Use these sources to answer the discussion questions. You are also welcome to conduct additional research.

Discussion questions

Section I – Industrialization

Identify five major inventions or technological developments that reshaped the American economy during the 19th century.

Identify at least two major capitalists and the corporations they led. What strategies did they use to advance their business interests?

Section II – Urbanization

What were some of the major characteristics of city life in this era?

Section III – Immigration

What were some of the countries of origin of the ‘old’ immigrants and ‘new’ immigrants to the United States?

What were some of the “push” factors that led immigrants to leave their home countries and the “pull” factors that made the United States appealing to immigrants?

How did supposedly scientific ideas contribute to racism in the United States in this era?

What were some of the most significant contributions made by immigrant groups to American life in the late 19th and early 20th centuries?

What were some of the reasons that some Americans opposed immigration in the late 19th and early 20th century, and which groups did the ‘nativists’ believe should not be allowed to enter the United States?

Why did some Americans support immigration?

Optional extra credit essay question (see syllabus for details):

What similarities do you see between debates over immigration in the late 19th and early 20th century and debates over immigration today?

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