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Immigrant Life in the 19th and 20th Centuries Essay

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American was a prosperous country with incredible economic growth between the end of Reconstruction and the Great Depression. It was during this time that "industrial expansion went into high gear because increasing manufacturing efficiencies enabled American firms to cut prices and yet earn profits for financing still better equipment (Henretta 488)." During this era, the manufacturing of steel, the construction of railroads, factories, and warehouses, and the growing demand for technological advancements, increased greatly. Philanthropists, such as Andrew Carnegie, Andrew Mellon, and John D. Rockefeller, took advantage of the situation they were in by investing large sums of capital into the growing economy. Carnegie constructed an enormous steel mill outside of Pittsburgh that became one of the worlds' largest. Mellon started the Union Trust Fund in Pittsburgh, which developed in its later years to one of the largest financial institutions in the country. Rockefeller, who was involved in the petroleum industry, built the Standard Oil Company. Philanthropists were not the only group of people funding the growth of Corporate America. "The federal government, mainly interested in encouraging interregional development, provided financial credit and land grants (Henretta 490)." As a whole, the American economy was growing at an incredible rate. It was due to this growth that countless immigrants from Europe made their way over the Atlantic, as well as African Americans migrating from the South, both with hopes of improving their own standards of life.

When Europe fell into its depression, many European peasants were struggling to live. It was not a struggle of providing good lives for their families, it was a strug...


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...s part of a generation that reaped the benefits of the struggles of their forefathers. Dobie was much more of an American that those of past generations. He lived a luxurious life by taking advantage of time saving appliances, such as a washing machine, attending plays, and spending money quickly. Finally, after three generations of hard work, the life of immigrants in America was taking shape of the original view. It was only after the economic boom in the 1920's and the following depression, which made millions of Americans and immigrants suffer, that the nation once again reunited and worked for a better America.

WORK CITED

Bell, Thomas. Out of This Furnace. Pittsburgh : University of Pittsburgh Press, 1976.

Henretta, James A., David Brody, and Lynn Dumenil. America - a Concise History Volume 2: Since 1865. Boston : Bedford/St. Martin, 2002.



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