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Why Did People Go To The Land Of Opportunity?

In the 1900s and onwards, people went to the USA; the ‘land of opportunity ‘, because they wanted to pursue their dreams. The USA was said to have been a free country in which people were allowed freedom of speech, press and religion, thus luring immigrants from all around the world to the USA and away from their home countries due to the fact that they may have faced persecution, there was lack of space, food or jobs and that there was inequality in lifestyles between the rich and poor. This attracted people, thus they immigrated. The main reason that many immigrants from around the world, mainly Europe, we’re migrating to the USA was that they faced persecution in their home country. People were discriminated against due to political or religious reasons thus meaning people did not want to stay in the country as this interfered with their life and caused problems for themselves and their families.

For example, many eastern European Jews were being discriminated against due to their religion in countries such as Russia. ‘Pogroms’ (attacks) in Russia and other countries were held on the Jews. This meant that many Jews went to the USA, as well as many Russians, who did not want to get involved with pogroms. Also, many Jews were immigrating to America because of the build-up of the Nazis in Germany. Furthermore, many Italians went to America due to persecution in Italy and to escape its fascist political views and government. The USA promised freedom in many ways, such as they were free to practise their religion and have freedom of speech and press, therefore this pulled mainly young hopeful people who wanted to live life freely, to the USA and as a result of persecution in many countries, a massive amount of immigrants came to the USA to start over in life and obtain a better job than the ones in their home countries at the time, which could be found in the USA.

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Another reason for the immigration to the USA was that there was a mass of young unemployed workers in Europe towards the end of the 1800s, who wanted a job. Some lost their jobs due to the introduction of new machinery in factories and farms which replaced their work. Also, due to economic depression, wages were low for people with jobs, which did not suffice in their need to feed themselves and their families. People heard that the ‘land of opportunity ‘ had well-paid jobs for people who were skilled and unskilled. People who sought a better life were lured in by this concept, however many people were made desperate as exaggeration was common; rumours flooded many parts of Europe. For example, some people were told that the streets, in the USA were ‘paved with gold ‘, however when many people arrived in America, they found that this was not the case, and in fact that many unskilled immigrants were made to do hard laboured work which was dangerous and hazardous in many cases.

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Although exaggeration was common, many immigrants did find a better life as they were free to practise their religion, which links back to the persecution in their own countries and they found good jobs, for example, farmers earned more in the USA than they would have in Europe, and many unskilled immigrants worked in the bigger cities, doing various jobs for a decent amount. This meant that people immigrated to the USA so that they too could earn more and escape the lack of opportunity from where they came from which leads us to the next reason that they immigrated to the USA. Furthermore, immigration was promoted in European countries by the idea of good economic opportunity that the USA had to offer. Many immigrants were notably a lower class, as Europe was still a ‘class-dominated society’.

This meant that the lower class immigrated to the USA because they believed their chances of becoming wealthier were very narrow because the upper-class owned the better land and houses and many lower-class people were uneducated thus meaning they would not be able to get a well-paid job. People wanted to escape this inequality and start afresh in America. They went to the USA because its industry and business were the best in the world due to the rapid industrialisation in the second half of the 1800s, moreover it had a huge success rate and supplied many jobs, which links to the fact that the immigrants wanted jobs, and so many people came to America. Adding to this, people were able to set up new businesses more easily than what they could have done in Europe as the economy there was poor and promised any small business failure. So, as more and more immigrants came to the US, the constant needs of labour from employers were filled and the economic industry thrived, promoting immigration even more.

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For example, many Germans went to America so that they could get a better life; many of these German immigrants were skilled beer brewers, they brewed beer for money in bars and so it became popular in the USA. This opportunity wouldn’t have been found in their home country and thus they moved to the US for this opportunity. As a result, many people came to the USA to improve their current situation and to escape other problems which now leads us to the last reason. The final reason that many immigrants went overseas to the USA was so that they could escape problems such as lack of space and increasing population in their home country. Many people lived in poverty due to huge amounts of people in small places. The land was expensive and rare, which only the rich could afford. The shortage of land meant that the children in large families were not expected to inherit much when their parents died, leaving them with barely anything to live off. Also, due to the poor economy in their home country, many people would find it hard to earn money as wages were low.

The USA, on the other hand, had vast amounts of cheap land and this ‘pulled’ people into the country. Farms had miles of lands and people had enough space to live. Many people moved into New York City as, at that time it was the largest city in the world and due to a large amount of space available, growing cities could expand. Furthermore, many natural resources could be found in America, including oil, timber and minerals, all at cheap prices. For example, Italy at that time had been a hugely overcrowded country in which poverty was common and a fascist government was in control. Many Italians sought freedom from the low wages and high taxes and immigrated to America, hence it gaining a huge Italian population. In the US, they were able to build a large Italian community, live with some freedom and were able to earn more.

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Consequently, The USA became a hugely diverse country as it ‘pulled’ in many immigrants from all over the world as it was known as the ‘Land of opportunity ‘. Overall immigration to the USA in the late 1800s and early 1900s was due to many reasons, such as persecution, bad economic opportunity, lack of space and food and inequality between classes for the people in their home countries. These ‘pushed’ people out, however, The USA ‘pulled’ them in as it offered freedom in religious and political views, more land and employment opportunity and overall a better lifestyle. Although some immigrants found life different than they expected as exaggeration was common only a few gave up and went back home. In conclusion, people immigrated to the USA because they wanted to pursue their dreams.

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Why Did People Go To The Land Of Opportunity?. (2021, Apr 14). Retrieved September 30, 2022, from