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Global Migration (1750-1900 CE)

Colonization of the Americas 1750
Colonization of the Americas 1750

I. Migration in many cases was influenced by changes in demography in both industrialized and unindustralized societies that presented challenges to existing patterns of living.

multicultural.pngSee **In Motion: The African American Migration Experience** from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
  • This site explore 13 migrations from the TransAtlantic Slave Trade to contemporary African migrations to the United States
  • trans-atlantic trade involved the colonization of the "New World", the export of raw materials from said world and the production of products made from the raw material essentailly making the "motherland" wealthier.

A. Changes in food production and improved medical conditions contributed to a significant global rise in population.

Foods from the new world allowed for food surpluses in Europe which consequently allowed for large standing armies, huge industrial work forces, and much larger cities. Medicine counteracted the rise of disease in the new metropolises.
  • tomatoes transformed Mediterranean food.
  • Potatoes and "new" grains acted as reserve food in China.
  • timber provided Europe with the ability to build large navies.
  • New herbs curred disease

B. Because of the nature of the new modes of transportation, both internal and external migrants increasingly relocated to cities. This pattern contributed to the significant global urbanization of the nineteenth century.

Union Depot & Ferry House, San Francisco, 1887.
Union Depot & Ferry House, San Francisco, 1887.

Industrialized Societies: They are able to support more people which led to the sharp increase in population as well as shift in migration to cities. By 1900, over 10% of the world's population lived in cities.

-living conditions in cities were poor (pollutants).
-often crowded, but garuanteed occupation and wage to make a living.
-Europe and America grew the fastest due to abundance of industrial resources.

II. Migrants relocated for a variety of reasons.

Link to page on Immigration Gateways and Ports of Entry in the United States

A. Many individuals chose freely to relocate, often in search of work.

Cities provided wages.

[Teach one illustrative example of such migrants, either from the list that follows or an example of your choice: Manual laborers, Specialized professionals]

B. The new global capitalist economy continued to rely on coerced and semicoerced labor migration.

Convict labor was especially popular in Australia where a penal colony had been established by Britain.
[Required examples of coerced and semicoerced labor migration: Slavery, Chinese and Indian indentured servitude, Convict labor]

C. While many migrants permanently relocated, a significant number of temporary and seasonal migrants returned to their home societies.

[Teach one illustrative example of such temporary and seasonal migrants, either from the list below or an example of your choice: Japanese agricultural workers in the Pacific, Lebanese merchants in the Americas, Italians in Argentina]

external image Red_apple.jpgThe following link will bring you to a lesson plan for teaching about global immigration into the United States at this time: Lesson Plan. By looking at the numbers of immigrants from different places at this time, students will be able to put together an image of who was moving and then look into why they moved.

Italian Immigration to America

While many people from different countries moved for lots of different reasons, the Italians can show us a lot of good reasons why people emigrated from their country of birth.
  • The Italians flocked to America in the largest numbers at this time largely to escape the conditions of poverty. Things were so bad in Italy that there was a staggering illiteracy rate of 70%. In order to support their families, Italians traveled on the premise of a temporary immigration to earn wages to send back to their families.
  • At this time, not many Italians expected to stay in America permanently, and at its lowest point only 11% of Italian immigrants stayed in the US. About 78% of Italian immigrants were men.
  • When they came to America, most of them took jobs in construction or the growing industrial economy of the United States, a change from agricultural Italy.
  • The biggest push factor was poverty, and America could pull them in with its growing industrialization and job prospects, even if the immigrants did not move there permanently (1).

III. The large scale nature of migration, especially in the 19th century, produced a variety of consequences and reactions to the increasingly diverse societies on the part of migrants and existing populations.

Immigration to the Americas
  • The oversea migration of many Europeans introduced machines that eventually led to the depletion of many natural resources much faster than Native Americans had before them.
  • This led to a decrease in native population across vast areas of land that were previously unexploited.

A. Due to the physical nature of the labor in demand, migrants tended to be male, leaving women to take on new roles in the home society that had been formerly occupied by men.

During a period of time women were used to work at factories due to the factory owners not having to pay them as much, this was also true with child labor. But as time progressed male immigrants assumed position because of the physical nature and demands of the work. Women were delegated to the roles of up keeping the home and caring for children.

B. Migrants often created ethnic enclaves in different parts of the world which helped transplant their culture into new environments and facilitated the development of migrant support networks.

When immigrants were slow to naturalize, movements sprung up in reaction, claiming that migrants were outsiders. (Ex. KKK)

In America, many developed stereotypes and prejudices about immigrants. Coupled with a need to find something familiar, Immigrants often felt like they needed to be with other immigrants from their country. Many cities developed sections where certain immigrants from one country or another lived.

[Teach one illustrative example of migrant ethnic enclaves in different parts of the world, either from the list that follows or an example of your choice: Chinese in Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, South America, and North America; Indians in East and southern Africa, the Caribbean, and Southeast Asia]

C. Receiving societies did not always embrace immigrants, as seen in the various degrees of ethnic and racial prejudice and the ways states attempted to regulate the increased flow of people across their borders.

Massachusetts_state_seal.pngFor more information on Asian immigration, see Massachusetts United States History II.3

Chinese Indentured Servants, the Pacific Passage and the Anti-Coolie Act of 1862

However, some people unknowingly signed themselves up for what would be called the "coolie trade". The "coolie trade" is the exchange of Chinese indentured servants across the globe.
  • These Chinese indentured servants, or "coolies", signed multi-year long contracts in exchange for the basic necessities of life. They were sent across the globe on ships with similar conditions seen as those transporting African slaves on the Atlantic slave trade routes. Hence another name for the "coolie trade" was the Pacific Passage, similar to the Atlantic passage.
  • Once a person signed this contract, they were forced to labor long hours, sometimes for no pay in addition to survival needs. This shows another side of the global migration at this time: coerced and semi-coerced labor (2).
  • Workers who stayed in America would often find wives by communicating with their families via letters. Then wives would be sent overseas to find their new husbands.
primary_sources.PNGEventually the coolie trade would result in the passage of the Anti-Coolie Act of 1862, which can be found here: Anti-Coolie Act

external image 200px-Hebrew_timeline.svg.pngHere is a timeline to go along with some of this information in more detail: Coolie Trade Timeline

Chinese Exclusion Act

external image The_only_one_barred_out_cph.3b48680.jpg
The Editorial cartoon to the right shows a Chinese man being excluded from entry to the "Golden Gate of Liberty" (1882).

Chinese Immigration and the Chinese Exclusion Acts

primary_sources.PNGChinese Exclusion Act, 1882.

Click here for background on Chinese Exclusion laws from 1882 to 1943 from the National Archives.

White Australia Policy

In 1901 Australia passed an act preventing the immigration of of Asians known as the White Australia Policy.
  • Initially directed at preventing Chinese immigration, however, in later years, especially following Japanese occupation of China in the late1800s, Australia's primary fear turned more towards the Japanese.
  • Fearing a military strike by Japan, they passed an anti immigration act which restricted immigration to almost exclusively white Europeans.
  • Click here for background on the White Australia Policy begun the 1850s in any effort to exclude non-Whites from the country.

  • Youtube Video on White Australia policy.

external image cover0902-chineseheadline.jpg


1) http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/historyonline/italian_immigration.cfm
2) http://facweb.northseattle.edu/cadler/Global_Dialogues/Readings/Monkey_Hunting_Readings/Slave%20Trade%20Coolie%20Trade.pdf