How important was the impact of mass immigration into the US for the expansion of the American economy in the years 1890 to 1920? [24 marks]
Immigration means the action of coming to live permanently in a foreign country. There were 9 million foreign born Americans in 1890.
Mass immigration was quite important however other factors such as the development of big business also had a great effect on the American economy. Many of the immigrants were lured to America by the dream of improving their lives. The growing US economy could offer jobs to the immigrants; many had employment within hours of arriving on American soil. Many immigrants moved to the USA to escape discrimination at home. The Immigrants did cheap labour which meant that the businesses were paying out less money for ...view middle of the document...
They also brought with them ‘radical and dangerous’ political ideas such as communism. Many feared that the immigrants would take their jobs and would work for lower wages. Others argued that they would overwhelm local population.
The USA was already a booming industrial power by 1890. The expansion of the USA’s economy was came from this huge increase in workers and markets however the new technologies developed at this time, enabled the growth of steam ship companies and the mechanisation of industry. The invention of the steel plough, the refrigerated containers and the expansion of the railways led to massive expansion of meat production for both the economy in the US and abroad. Another example of development at this time was Henry Ford and the Ford motor company who came up with different methods of assembly line production which was more cost effective which led to growth in the company.
Expansion west resulted in the discovery of natural resources such as oil, iron ore, coal, wood etc. All of which helped the expanding industries because they had the source of resources for industrial production and the development of the railways. It could be argued that Americans exploitation of these resources led to economic prosperity.
Perhaps above all the expansion of the American economy was marked by the growth of big business and the emergence of large industrial companies such as the Bethlehem Steel Corporation, the Carnegie Steel Company and John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company. Many of these companies merged to make vast enterprises linking manufacturing and railroads and shipping. There was also rapid expansion of banking and finance, JP. Morgan was the most famous of big financers who provided the wealth for industrialization.
In conclusion the population of America grew massively with the help of immigration, in 1890 the total population sat at around 62,947,714.