Immigrant Life in the Gilded Age
After the Civil War ended, the United States went through many changes. The country experienced growth in industry and cities were becoming larger. The United States had become one of the greatest industrial powers in the world. Newly invented machines were speeding up production and there was little need for skilled workers anymore. The growing need for unskilled labor brought immigrants to the country in hope for a better life. As urbanization was taking place, Europeans and other foreigners found it easy to find work in the United States. Poor immigrants rushed in to take the opportunity of pursuing the American Dream. They did not expect the disappointment that faced them when they arrived to the United States. Immigrant Americans came across more challenges than successes while living in the United States and among these challenges were poverty, discrimination, and unhealthy living and working conditions.
During the Gilded Age, the United States faced serious poverty and immigrants experienced the worst end of this poverty. Employers gave little pay and long hours to the immigrants and it was hard to help support a family with barely any money. Although the cities helped immigrants get jobs, the jobs they received were not worth the struggles that came along with them. Because wages were so low, more than often the entire family would have to work to make enough money to survive. Robert Divine explains in his book The American Story “There were so many children in the labor force that when people spoke of child labor, they often meant boys and girls under the age of fourteen” (Divine, 593). The man of the family was not the only one providing for everyone and it was challenging to continuously obtain the same job. Working immigrants were often fired due to corruption from employers.
Because the immigrants were so poor, they often had to seek for other sources of income rather than relying on working in the factories and...