American Studies Home Site Map Gallery of Prints Writing Across the Curriculum Currier & Ives Introduction Currier & Ives Opening

Immigrants
Immigrants in New York City, late 19th century.
Immigrants in New York City, late 1800s.

Between 1860-1900, one third of the population increase in America was due to new immigrants; correspondingly, by 1870 one third of industrial workers were immigrants. (20) In the larger cities the majority of the population consisted of immigrants and their children. Crowded into slums, working dirty, backbreaking jobs (when immigrants could find them), mocked by the press and brutalized by more settled, earlier immigrants, this group formed the new working class. (21)

One reaction against the "great unwashed masses" was to give rise to social distinctions that decried against the "vulgarity" of the lower class (lest the middle class be confused for them). (22) Tellingly, Currier and Ives only included immigrants in their political cartoons.

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American Studies Home Site Map Gallery of Prints Writing Across the Curriculum Currier & Ives Introduction Currier & Ives Opening

Site created by Marcy McDonald, American Studies, UVA. Last modified: July 30, 2005. E-mail: asgrp@virginia.edu

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