Essay Sampe “The First Steps of Italian Immigrants in the USA”
It’s hard to believe that more Italians have migrated to the USA than the representatives of any other European country. Overpopulation, poverty, as well as natural disasters, have become the main reasons of Italian emigration.
Beginning in the 1870s, the birthrates of the country rose, while the death rates went seriously down. The so-called population pressure became unbearable, especially in the poorest part of Italy called southern Mezzogiorno. Taking into account the fact that Italian government included mainly the representatives of the north, the southerners were severely hurt by sky-high taxes and tariffs on the goods manufactured in the north of Italy. What is more, southerners also had a lack of cultivatable land, as well as lack of iron ore and coal required by the industry.
Between 1900 and 1915, almost three million Italian citizens immigrated to the USA that was the biggest nationality of the new comers. These “new immigrants” were mostly peasants and artisans and came from all parts of the land, but mainly from Southern Italy – Mezzogiorno. The immigrants represented such regions as Abruzzi, Sicily, Calabria and Campania. The majority of them were contadini or farm laborers, mostly agricultural. They could not boast of having any experience in textile or mining industry. At the same time, a certain part of craftsmen had also moved to the States. They comprised somewhat less than twenty percent of all immigrants from Italy and were highly proud of their new status.
1913 was the year, when the majority of immigrants came to the USA from Northern Italy. Due to a great number of Italians coming to the United States, they became a highly crucial part of the labor supply of their new motherland. Together they formed a huge element of the following labor forces: textiles, mining and clothing manufacturing. To say more, Italian immigrants were the biggest immigration population that worked in the mines.
Besides, the earliest Italians in the USA became significant as mine growers in California and fruit merchants in New York. Together, they set hundreds of mutual aid organizations that were based on the birthplace and kinship.
An interesting fact about early Italian immigration is that there was a high percentage of individuals, who returned to their homeland between 1901 and 1920 once they earned enough money in the USA. More than 50% of Italian immigrants repatriated. In other words, they didn’t care about assimilating into new culture and learning English since they knew that they were not going to stay in the United States. The work system that Italian immigrants had to deal with demonstrates this fact. The newly arrived Italians successfully found a padrone or a middle person between the immigrants and the US employers. This middleman was also an immigrant from Italy and had been living in the USA for a long while. He provided his comrades with work, handled savings and also offered lodging. To cut the story, he helped the US employers by organizing and supplying labor.