*How was a city defined between 1870 and 1900?
--In terms of the late 19th century, a city was defined as having more than 25,000 residents; the importance of this distinction is the rapid growth of cities in the late 19th century.
*How did the newly form cities differ from rural America?
--The rural America that had defined the country from its inception until the Civil War was one of personal relations and commonalities between residents of an area that made generalizations actual characteristics (For example, one could define the city of Raleigh, North Carolina in a few words and place an accurate representation of the entire state). The urbanization, or growth of cities, did not produce the same sort of relations or characteristics. Whereas rural America depended on cooperation from white citizens (and in some cases the subjugation of other races), the cities were filled with immigrant groups competing with one another for employment, housing, and importance. Rural America offered space and some since of independence; the cities were cramped, often displaying the economic differences between the poor and the poorer. Simply put, the cities led to the “melting pot” that has come to define the United States in the 20th and 21st centuries.
*Describe the pull factors that drew many to the cities.
--Pull factors are those described by historians that lead people to leave from one place to another. The pull factors were so strong near the end of the 19th century that some small towns in New England disappeared, as people rushed to the cities. Generally speaking, the major pull factors that led people to the cities were good wages and the availability of different and numerous jobs.
*Describe the characteristics of the “new” immigrants that came to the United States in the late 19th century.
--Although women and men made up a significant portion of those that came to the cities, immigrants coming to the country dominated the cities. Many of these immigrants came from traditional European countries (that is those that had commonly immigrated to the United States before the end of the century), but a unique feature of this pattern of immigration was that many came from countries that had not regularly entered the United States. This included Italians, Slavs, Greeks, Jews, Armenians, and the Japanese. The migration was so massive that often there were more citizens from these countries in the United States than major cities in their birthplace. Whereas earlier immigrants had settled and populated the rural part of America (specifically the Midwest), the new immigrants flocked to the cities. Generally, speaking the majority of these new immigrants were single men. Some men came to the United States permanently, although it was common for men to work for a period of time and then return back to their home country.
*Describe the push factors that led many immigrants to the cities.
--Push factors are defined by historians as those that force massive immigration from one place to another (think religious persecution of Puritans coming to Massachusetts Bay). The number of push factors for immigrants are much more varied than pull factors, thus the following is given for organizational purposes:
2. Crop failure
4. Religious persecution
6. Industrial depression
*What difficulties did the new immigrants face in coming to the United States?
--The journey for many to the United States was one filled with disappointment, fraud, and extreme difficulty. The starting point included an overcrowded vessel, with poor food and sanitation practices (leading to unfortunate sickness). Next, immigrants in the major cities were inspected for physical problems and/or contagious diseases. Those with any sort of disease were not allowed in and deported back to their home country. If an individual passed the test, they…