*** United States immigtations: chronology -- 1910s

United States Immigration: Chronolgical Trends--The 1910s

American emigratiin 1910s
Figure 1.--Here wev see new immigrants just off the boat at Ellis Island. We think te phtograpg was taken about 1910. We are not sure where this family was from, perhaps Britain. The massive immigrantb flowsv of the 1900s continued into the 1910s--until the outbreak of World Warv (August 1914). Then immigration fell off precipitously. They would not recover because the United States began to restrict imigration, eventually severely cutting the level and establisinhg national quotas (1924).

At first substantial European emigration flows continued to America in the 1910s. The peak year was 1907, but levels continued at very high levels into 1914. And the shift of immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe continued. Eastern and Southern Europeans made up 70 percent of the immigrants entering the country (1910). This all changed dramatically with the outbreak of World War I (August 1914). Emigration dropped precipitously by 1915. 【U.S. Department of Homeland Security】 A range of factors was involved, primarily because of the situation in Europe. Countries at war did not want men of military age emigrating. Sea transport was disrupted by the War. German U-boats discouraged trans-Atlantic voyages. Liners were seized by governments to serve as troop transports. Russian ports were largely closed off by the Germans, both the German Baltic Fleet and military advances in to Poland and the Baltics. The Royal Navy blockaded the ports of the Central Powers. These were ports where large numbers of emigrants had embarked. America civilians and the Government made various efforts to achieve a negotiated peace. They all failed. Both the Allies and Central Powers were intention a military solution. President Wilson began pressuring the Allies who were dependent of American financing to end the War. The Germans were,however, remained intent on a military solution (1917). And as a result, America entered the War (1917). One impact of the War was a natavist outburst and concern with immigrant groups--especially the Germans. And after the War the Russians. The Immigration Act of 1917 was the first major American step to restrict immigration. This included a literacy requirement. This ended immigration from most Asian countries and affected European immigration to an extent. After the War, immigration began to rise, but never regained pre-War levels. The literacy requirement was a major factor. Emigration from Russia dropped precipitously. The Civil War there was raging. And the Bolsheviks did not approve of emigration--it showcased the reality that the wonderful worker's paradise they claimed was a propaganda fiction. Poland, the Baltics, and Finland were no longer part of the new Russian/Soviet state. New countries were created out of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The creation of these new independent states reduced the one of the impetuses for emigration.


Handlin, Oscar. The Uprooted (1951).

Kraut, Alan. The Huddled Masses: The Immigrant in American Society, 1880-1921 (1982).

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Immigration Statistics, Yearbook of Immigration Statistics (various years). The precise numbers are somewhat confused by the tenency of the U.S. Goverment to use Fiscal Year data.)


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Created: 6:40 PM 4/10/2024
Last updated: 6:40 PM 4/10/2024