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European Immigrants

  • Date Submitted: 04/14/2013 06:04 PM
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HIST 1312-011 History of the United States Since 1865
Dr. Kenyon Zimmer
February 26, 2013
The common folk of Europe in the 1900s suffered from many hardships in their home country. Some of these people, mainly the minority also known as European immigrants, typically left their home country to escape the endless poverty and oppression or to make money in America to send back to their families. However, they faced different hardships once they arrived in the New World. Typically, they faced many social, economic, and political hardships such as discrimination, poor working conditions, and laws preventing them to advance when they arrived in America. These European immigrants tried to improve their position through strikes and starting their own businesses, but they were unsuccessful in their attempts to better their lives.
In the novel Out of This Furnace by Thomas Bell, we witness George Kracha and many other immigrants facing many social hardships when they first come to America. Slavs, like George Kracha, were often called demeaning names such as greenhorns or hunkies at the workplaces. Opportunities for advancement were rare for foreigners as they were viewed as racial inferior.   This was seen when Andrej Sedlar put three dollars into the foreman’s pocket. It was only after he received the three dollars that the foreman told Andrej Sedlar to bring George Kracha to work that night and the foreman would see what he could do for George Kracha. Even within the immigrants, there is racial tension between the different ethnic groups.
In the work place, immigrants’ wages were cut based on their employers’ whims. As a reaction to these cuts, immigrants used organized strikes and pickets as ways of protesting their working conditions and combating the unfair wage cuts. When the immigrants opposed the cuts and went on strike, it created a chain reaction and men from the other departments were laid off as well. They would remain laid off unless the union agreed to...


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