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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

  • Historical Eras > Industrialization and Expansion (1877-1913) (x)

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"Russian Jews as Desirable Immigrants" (Excerpt)

Ida Van Etten was a writer and the first Secretary of the Working Women's Society of New York. In this excerpt from an article published in Forum, Van Etten defends the character of the Russian Jewish immigrants that were then arriving in New York [...]

Background Essay on Late 19th and Early 20th Century Immigration

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 [...]

"Our America" (Excerpt)

Nuestra America/Our America, one of Martí's most important writings, first appeared in La Revista Ilustrada de Nueva York on Janurary 1, 1891, and on January 30 of that same year in El Partido Liberal of Mexico. Written as the Cuban [...]

Background Essay on Jacob Riis and Lewis Hine

This short essay describes Jacob Riis and Lewis Hines, two important documentary photographers of the turn of the twentieth century.

Background Information on the Events at Wounded Knee

This essay outlines the events leading the massacre of Sioux Indians at Wounded Knee, including the role of Ghost Dancers, and the chaotic violence that ensued on December 29, 1890.

Background Essay on San Francisco's Chinatown

This short essay describes the origins of San Francisco's Chinatown, as well as some of its major economic, political, and social facets. The essay also describes the challenges San Francisco's Chinese community faced from the city's white [...]

A Reformer Deplores the Poverty Caused by Industrial Progress

Henry George was a reformer and utopian whose 1886 New York City mayoral campaign as the Workingman's Party candidate had the makings of a popular uprising. Although George finished second, behind Democrat Abram S. Hewitt and ahead of Republican [...]

Chinatown's Groceries Thrive in San Francisco

San Francisco's Chinatown was a thriving commercial center for Chinese immigrants in California. By 1856, there were already thirty-three Chinese-owned groceries and general stores that sold a wide variety of goods and foodstuffs, mostly imported [...]

"Sister Carrie" Enters a 19th Century Temple of Consumerism

The heroine of Theodore Dreiser's Sister Carrie is a small-town girl thrust into the big-city life of a bustling late-nineteenth-century Chicago. In this passage Carrie, on the verge of poverty after losing a job in a garment factory and desperately [...]

Diners Describe the First Chinese Restaurants in America

The first Chinese eateries in America sprang up in 1850s California and catered to Cantonese miners and railroad laborers. Known as "chow chows" (Chinese slang for anything edible), they were identified by yellow triangle signs. By the 1880s San [...]

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