European emigration to the United States in the late 19th century

European emigration to the United States of America rose substantially between the mid-19th century and the First World War, impacted by a multitude of economic, societal, and political factors, both in Europe and in the United States.This source collection aims to contribute to enable students to develop a sense of understanding about the period of the late 19th century, by offering visual material on (some of the) aspects of European emigration(s) to the United States of America.Acknowledgements: Thumbnail image: Immigrants awaiting their medical examination on Ellis Island, New York, 1913. (Agence Rol, 1913, Gallica BnF via Europeana, Public Domain)

This source collection is made by Henrik Hartmann. The collection makes use of sources from the Europeana Collections and is developed as part of the Europeana DSI3 project, which is co-financed by the European Union Connecting Europe Facility.

A continent in political turmoil

“Britannia, isolated, full of Rage almost forgets Ireland. Spain. Smoking, leans on poor Portugal. France fighting the Invader, Prussia, which stretches one hand towards Holland the other towards Austria. Italy says to Bismarck, “Take off your foot.” Corsica and Sardinia, a little Joker, laughs over everything. Denmark lost his legs in Holstein, hoping to retake them again. European Turkey yawns and awakens. Asiatic Turkey sucks her Hookah. Sweden bounds à la Panther; and Russia resembles a rag-picker, waiting his chance to fill his basket.” (Paul Hadol, 1870, Library of Congress)

A continent in political turmoil

“Britannia, isolated, full of Rage almost forgets Ireland. Spain. Smoking, leans on poor Portugal. France fighting the Invader, Prussia, which stretches one hand towards Holland the other towards Austria. Italy says to Bismarck, “Take off your foot.” Corsica and Sardinia, a little Joker, laughs over everything. Denmark lost his legs in Holstein, hoping to retake them again. European Turkey yawns and awakens. Asiatic Turkey sucks her Hookah. Sweden bounds à la Panther; and Russia resembles a rag-picker, waiting his chance to fill his basket.” (Paul Hadol, 1870, Library of Congress)

A fragile balance of power

The Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871) was the final piece of the puzzle towards German unification, thereby considerably straining the fragile European balance of power which the continent attempted to maintain since the Congress of Vienna of 1815. (J. Winling, Universität Osnabrück via Europeana)

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A fragile balance of power

The Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871) was the final piece of the puzzle towards German unification, thereby considerably straining the fragile European balance of power which the continent attempted to maintain since the Congress of Vienna of 1815. (J. Winling, Universität Osnabrück via Europeana)

A continent in social turmoil

A barricaded street in Paris during the Paris Commune of 1871. (Edouard Manet, 1871, Statens Museum for Kunst via Europeana)

A continent in social turmoil

A barricaded street in Paris during the Paris Commune of 1871. (Edouard Manet, 1871, Statens Museum for Kunst via Europeana)

A continent with a regionally uneven pace of industrialisation

A large portion of European emigrants to the US migrated from the rural areas of (southern) Europe. (Taormina, Sicily, Bramine Hubrecht, 1865-1913, Rijksmuseum via Europeana)

A continent with a regionally uneven pace of industrialisation

A large portion of European emigrants to the US migrated from the rural areas of (southern) Europe. (Taormina, Sicily, Bramine Hubrecht, 1865-1913, Rijksmuseum via Europeana)

Emigration of Russian Jews

Russian Jews being examined by a doctor prior to their emigration from Liverpool (United Kingdom) in 1891. (1891, Wellcome Library via Europeana)

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Emigration of Russian Jews

Russian Jews being examined by a doctor prior to their emigration from Liverpool (United Kingdom) in 1891. (1891, Wellcome Library via Europeana)

Emigration of the Irish

“The Irish Remedy – Emigration to America.” (Charles J. Staniland, 1898, The New York Public Library via Europeana)

Emigration of the Irish

“The Irish Remedy – Emigration to America.” (Charles J. Staniland, 1898, The New York Public Library via Europeana)

The land of freedom and abundance?

The United States depicted as “the modern ark,” attracting peoples from across the world with “quality beans,” “freedom grain,” and “liberty corn.” (The modern ark, Ezra Bisbee and Solomon Eytinge, 1871, The New York Public Library via Europeana)

The land of freedom and abundance?

The United States depicted as “the modern ark,” attracting peoples from across the world with “quality beans,” “freedom grain,” and “liberty corn.” (The modern ark, Ezra Bisbee and Solomon Eytinge, 1871, The New York Public Library via Europeana)

The land of the free?

The Liberty Statue in New York Harbour as the “immigrants’ first view of America.” (Charles W. Jefferys, The New York Public Library via Europeana)

The land of the free?

The Liberty Statue in New York Harbour as the “immigrants’ first view of America.” (Charles W. Jefferys, The New York Public Library via Europeana)

The Promise of the American Dream

“The Old World and the New. Coming to America; Returning for a Visit.” (Richardson & Cox, 1854, The New York Public Library via Europeana)

The Promise of the American Dream

“The Old World and the New. Coming to America; Returning for a Visit.” (Richardson & Cox, 1854, The New York Public Library via Europeana)

Crossing the Atlantic

The White Star Line was one of the main shipping companies in the late 19th century, primarily due to its extensive transportation of migrants to North America. (1883, Wellcome Library via Europeana)

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Crossing the Atlantic

The White Star Line was one of the main shipping companies in the late 19th century, primarily due to its extensive transportation of migrants to North America. (1883, Wellcome Library via Europeana)

Arrival in the United States

German immigrants to Salt Lake City in the New York immigration station of Castle Garden in 1882. (America revisited, p. 753, George A. H. F. Sala, 1882, The British Library via Europeana)

Arrival in the United States

German immigrants to Salt Lake City in the New York immigration station of Castle Garden in 1882. (America revisited, p. 753, George A. H. F. Sala, 1882, The British Library via Europeana)

The American Dream

Andrew Carnegie was born in Scotland and emigrated to the United States in 1848. He became one of the richest individuals in America with his Carnegie Steel Company, which he sold in 1901 to John Pierpont Morgan for USD 480 million (some USD 14 billion in present-day value). (Agence Meurisse, 1913, Gallica BnF via Europeana)

The American Dream

Andrew Carnegie was born in Scotland and emigrated to the United States in 1848. He became one of the richest individuals in America with his Carnegie Steel Company, which he sold in 1901 to John Pierpont Morgan for USD 480 million (some USD 14 billion in present-day value). (Agence Meurisse, 1913, Gallica BnF via Europeana)

The Failed American Dream

“Italian Fugitives of the Military Service [Draft Evaders], sent back to Italy by the United States” in 1896. (1896, The New York Public Library via Europeana)

The Failed American Dream

“Italian Fugitives of the Military Service [Draft Evaders], sent back to Italy by the United States” in 1896. (1896, The New York Public Library via Europeana)

The Western Frontier

Emigration to the Western Country, 1875. (Our Country, p. 647, Felix O. C. Darley, 1875, The British Library via Europeana)

The Western Frontier

Emigration to the Western Country, 1875. (Our Country, p. 647, Felix O. C. Darley, 1875, The British Library via Europeana)

The conflict-ridden expansion westwards

Red Hawk, a warrior of the Oglala Sioux, in the Badlands of North Dakota, in 1905. (Edward S. Curtis, 1905, Etnografiska museet via Europeana)

The conflict-ridden expansion westwards

Red Hawk, a warrior of the Oglala Sioux, in the Badlands of North Dakota, in 1905. (Edward S. Curtis, 1905, Etnografiska museet via Europeana)

A land in political turmoil

US President, Abraham Lincoln (right), and US Vice-President, Andrew Johnson (left), trying to stitch back together the United States of America after the American Civil War (1861-1865). After Lincoln’s assassination in 1865, Johnson assumed the Presidency until 1869. (Joseph E. Baker, 1865, Library of Congress)

A land in political turmoil

US President, Abraham Lincoln (right), and US Vice-President, Andrew Johnson (left), trying to stitch back together the United States of America after the American Civil War (1861-1865). After Lincoln’s assassination in 1865, Johnson assumed the Presidency until 1869. (Joseph E. Baker, 1865, Library of Congress)

The United States of America?

“East and West shaking hands at the laying of the last rail.” In May 1869, the First Transcontinental Railroad is officially completed at Promontory Summit, Utah. (Andrew J. Russel, 1869, Yale University Libraries)

The United States of America?

“East and West shaking hands at the laying of the last rail.” In May 1869, the First Transcontinental Railroad is officially completed at Promontory Summit, Utah. (Andrew J. Russel, 1869, Yale University Libraries)

A land in social turmoil

Morrison Isaac Swift depicted while “haranguing the crowd” from a tree in the Boston Common (Park) during the anarchist’s riot of 1894. (George Varian, 1894, The New York Public Library via Europeana)

A land in social turmoil

Morrison Isaac Swift depicted while “haranguing the crowd” from a tree in the Boston Common (Park) during the anarchist’s riot of 1894. (George Varian, 1894, The New York Public Library via Europeana)

The land of the free?

“Cotton is King.” A cotton plantation in Georgia, USA, 1895. (Underwood & Underwood, 1895, Tekniska museet via Europeana)

The land of the free?

“Cotton is King.” A cotton plantation in Georgia, USA, 1895. (Underwood & Underwood, 1895, Tekniska museet via Europeana)