Imagine yourself to be an immigrant from Eastern Europe who has come to to the United States for work. If you were to write a letter to relatives at home, would you tell them to join you? What would some of your comments be about housing, work, and opportunity?

In your letter, you should describe the housing as crowded and dirty, but the community as lively and full of people from the home country. Work would be hard and difficult but would provide the opportunity to give your children a better future.

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In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, it was very common for Eastern European immigrants to the United States to come over by themselves. Once they had found a home and work and saved up some money, they would send for the rest of their family. With that in...

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In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, it was very common for Eastern European immigrants to the United States to come over by themselves. Once they had found a home and work and saved up some money, they would send for the rest of their family. With that in mind, it would be quite plausible that you, in your role of immigrant, would write a letter telling your family to join you.

Let's assume that you live in one of the major cities of the northeast United States. That is where the majority of Eastern European immigrants found themselves at this time. There is a good chance that you would have lived in a tenement along with other immigrants. You could write to your family that although the housing is crowded and not the most sanitary, it is still nice to be surrounded by other people from your country of origin. Explain how there is a thriving immigrant community that speaks your native language and still practices familiar customs. You could mention that there are also nearby neighborhoods of immigrants from other places, giving the city a very cosmopolitan feel.

Many immigrants from Eastern Europe came to the United States in search of better economic opportunities. Explain the jobs that would be available to them and how they could earn more than they ever could have hoped for in their country of birth. However, the jobs will be hard and often unpleasant. They may have to work in a sweatshop for comparatively low wages. While the job opportunities for immigrants were usually less than ideal, you can say that it's better than experiencing the famines and instability that were common in Eastern Europe at the time. The hope of many immigrants would be that their hard work and sacrifices would mean a better life for their children's generation.

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