Immigration in the Mid-Nineteenth Century

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How did immigrants help shape American society between 1800-1850?

Immigrants directly affected American society by providing the labor needed to power the U.S.'s rapid industrialization during this era. Indirectly, immigrants affected society by powering the urbanization and machine politics of the latter portion of this era. Immigrants also fueled xenophobia in the U.S. which led to the rise of the Know-Nothing Party.

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Immigrants were vital to the growth of the US before the Civil War. New immigrants from Ireland and Germany made up the bulk of the labor pools that worked on creating railroads, canals, and factories. This nearly limitless supply of cheap labor allowed the US to build a strong industrial base prior to the Civil War. Many immigrants also went West in search of a better life.

Immigrants were drawn to the United States based on the promise of living a better life than they did in the Old World—when this life was unattainable in the cities, many immigrants went west in search of...

(The entire section contains 287 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on August 11, 2020