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Word Count: 815
The industrial revolution in the late 19th century brought an overwhelming number of immigrants to live and work in the United States The boom in industry caused a demand for large supplies of workers to operate the many expanding businesses The most substantial wave of immigration to the United States occurred between 1880 and 1915 totaling about 52 million newcomers from many European and Asian countries Immigrants came to the US for a number of reasons but most came seeking political freedom and economic opportunity Most Americans looked down on unwanted immigrants and considered any hardships they suffered due to their own personal shortcomings However journalist Jacob A Riis showed the harsh working and living conditions of New York City slums through his powerful and thought-provoking photographs as the cause of Urban poverty When immigrants first began migrating to the United States Americans responded in a few ways One way was to try and stop such large numbers of people getting into the US with restrictions While many were not let in purely on racial terms others were told that they needed to have papers proving that they had family already living in the United States The second way Americans attempted to deal with the immigrants was through assimilation This idea formed around the thought that they seem a lot like us lets make them be us Americans did not Page 2 understand the strength of other cultures though and did not realize that cultures could all be different but still live together peacefully Therefore assimilation did not curb the Americans distaste for the seemingly lower immigrants Riis believed that rather than immigrants getting themselves into their horrid lives they had been engulfed in an environmental disaster that only public action could improve or eliminate Though not very promising many found work in factories sweatshops mills mines and plantations Others were able to begin businesses using their own craft as depicted in one photograph by
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