Immigration and Urbanization Questions and Answers

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From 1880 to 1920, cities in the United States grew rapidly. What factors caused that growth, and in what ways did Americans respond to the challenges posed by urbanization?

The factors that caused the growth of cities in America were threefold. First, the Civil War had displaced thousands of soldiers and emancipated blacks, many of whom migrated to the cities in the North. Second, the concentration of industry and banking significantly increased the power of major metropoles. Finally, immigration from Europe inflated the number of urban inhabitants as well. Americans responded to the challenges by initiating the Progressive Movement and advocating for labor laws.

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1880–1920, what historians typically refer to as the American Gilded Age, was a period that saw massive movements of people across the country. The tremendous influx of people into the burgeoning cities of the North led in large part to their growth and the general urbanization of late-nineteenth century America. Many of the people who moved into Northern cities were recently emancipated slaves. The end of the Civil War caused a massive displacement of Southern black people, who (either because wartime service had moved them to different parts of the country or because they were no longer tied to their masters’ estates) migrated in enormous numbers to the North. This event is known as...

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