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Herb - social history for every classroom

menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

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This summary of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century immigration describes the "new immigration" that originated from Southern and Eastern Europe. The essay also outlines American responses to the new wave of immigration, including some of…

This excerpt from Elizabeth Ewen's Immigrant Women in the Land of Dollars describes the economic relationships of working-class immigrant families at the turn of the century. The female head of the family played an important economic role, often…

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After World War I a "Red Scare" broke out as anxieties about political extremists and radicals led to widespread demonization and political persecution of leftists and immigrants. A series of high-profile events from the late-nineteenth century on,…

The poetry of Carl Sandburg often documented the lives of ordinary working people in his adopted city of Chicago. Here he contrasts the backbreaking work and simple lunch of a railroad laborer with the comfortable lives and fine food enjoyed by the…

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These extracts from the report of the Commissioner-General of Immigration were reprinted and circulated by the Immigration Restriction League, a Boston-based organization that favored stronger restrictions on immigration at the turn of the twentieth…

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This is a map of Block 160 in New York City's Five Points neighborhood 1902. Public opinion of the Five Points neighborhood was highly negative and filled with bias. The population of New York had ballooned by the mid-nineteenth century causing a…

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Jacob Riis is best known for his 1890 work How the Other Half Lives, a journalistic account, replete with Riis's dramatic photographs, of the deplorable conditions of late-nineteenth century urban life. Although Riis, himself a Danish immigrant, was…

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This photograph by Lewis Hine was taken in a New York City tenement in 1910. Hine was a documentary photographer who frequently turned his lens to the plight of immigrants, workers, and the poor. This family group, perhaps among the approximately two…

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Concentrated in New York City, the garment industry developed side by side with the sweatshop system of labor. Sweatshops employed a handful of workers, almost all of whom were immigrant Jewish or Italian women. They were supervised by contractors of…

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In the years after World War I, American workers sought to consolidate and expand the gains they had achieved during the war years. In September 1919, some 350,000 steelworkers went on strike, seeking higher wages, shorter hours and better working…
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