Approaches to Immigration

In Oscar Handlins, Immigration Portrayed as an experience of Uprootedness, peasants were the start to the modern movement of immigration. People were looking for more opportunities. The old structure of society was ruined after innovations in social governance. Peasants were the backbone of Europe, Ireland, and Russia. They didn’t change even with radical changes in society and government. The peasants were agriculturists. Family was important, there was value to it in the community. The village was a knotted firm relationship. Relationships within the village were those of a clan. Intermarriage and relationships rely on a functional society. The family, being functional, varied somewhat to suit the order of local conditions. Emigration began the modern era of the peasant life in Europe. The men who did emigrate had a culture shock, if he survived. For many people it was their first time away from home. Peasants were not accustomed to meeting different races, speaking new languages, and living in a new environment. Hope was what drove these people. Hope for a better government, more equal and fair. Peasants were tired of living under the rule of kings. But, with this people used tradition as a guide. Peasants rely on tested knowledge of the past. To use the experiences that were learned in a village were hard to apply to life in America. The American view led immigrants to the acceptance of tradition and authority. Social order was encouraged in every society


In John Bodnars, Immigration Portrayed as an Experience and Transplantation, states that the search for capitalism and its use of social order is often misunderstood with immigration. The working class and middle class were the two types of American immigrants. The middle class composed of people who pursued personal gain and leadership. These people supported the ideas of capitalism. Loyalty in politics and public life including government officials, educators and even reformers and placed a high value on individual freedom, personal gain, political power, and an improved future. Below the middle class stood the working class. These people were looking for the American dream. All of these people as a collective though created a relationship on a system where ideas, values, and behavior give meaning to their society and provides a balanced, understood culture in which people can act and live in. There was a lack of understand though with this new capitalistic government between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. To grasp these new traditions and understandings a new culture was formed. People of all different cultures and backgrounds are what formed this new culture. But with this culture came limitations, the past and the present were taken into consideration and this was a new culture that people had to take into consideration about things. Immigrants of America used there old traditions and new experiences to embrace something new.


In Rudolph J. Vecoli, From the Uprooted to the Transplanted, he talks about the influence of immigration on the American lifestyle. What comes from these people with all different backgrounds also comes new ways of thinking and going through life. There have even been negative influences on the American culture, including communism, enslavement, racism, ect. From all of this grew a historical consciousness throughout the entire country. From this certain groups understood that in the American culture there is no one way. Groups were formed, people had new and more opportunities because there was no rooted past to go off of. There was a new understanding of individualism. The study of immigration became widespread throughout the world. Ellis Island, a national image, representing all of the people that came to America for a new start symbolized the value of immigration in America. With this new found significance and understanding of immigration, there were more studies on how immigration impacted not only American, but the world, the economy, politics, culture, ect. The study of migration and its impact on society, and economics became of value to historians with the creation of a capitalistic government. Chain-migration increased based on economic rationality in which migrants responded mechanically to labor markets. Studies were also done on the effects of ethnic concentrations in particular industries on differential rates of return. New social histories became apparent, including, family history, social history, religious history, labor history, women’s history, ect. Community studies also became more apparent in historical studies. The understanding of the urban background and what societies were in those areas, what were their main forms of income, what cities were different races centralized in? With these studies there is a clearer understanding of the American identity, what has affected and changed the course of our future with our past? With the values and customs that immigrants had and carried over from other countries to America is what shaped the culture.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *