Italian Immigration, Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

Introduction

The Italian community was one of the major communities to immigrate to the United State of America at the immigration period of 1892 to 1954. The immigration of the Italians was across the Atlantic Ocean facilitated by the transatlantic travel and its affordability (Higgs and Manning 234). At the immigration entry into the United States of America, the immigrants screened for diseases and frailty. At the Ellis Island, which was the entry point the Italians given more shorter American names, and New York was the main place they used as a bypass to other parts of the country like New Jersey, Brooklyn and Bronx (Cannistaro and Meyer 76).

Reasons for migration of Italians to America

The main reason for the immigration of the Italians to America was that their home country was that there were many problems in their country at the time. The problems faced by the immigrants in their home country included violence, diseases and poverty and there was limited comfort in the working class of the community (Todde 7). The other substantial reason for the immigration was the enactment of the constitution in 1861, which favored the North and somehow left the South behind. The residents of the southern part burdened with heavy taxes and other economic measures imposed on them (Higgs and Manning 187). These made them opt to immigrate rather than try to make out a living in these conditions.

The immigration also fueled by the 1800’s economic depression and the hard economic conditions associated with depression and the hard economic times across the world. The cause of the majority of the Italian immigrants to New Jersey was to avoid the harsh living conditions, starvation while others immigrated for adventure or to escape intolerable family standards. However, the primary reason for immigration was to harness the economic opportunities associated with better work in the state of New Jersey (Bencivenni 198).

Goals of new life by the immigrants to Newark New Jersey

The Italian immigrants to Newark and the United States of America expected to find better working conditions and better life in the new land. The situation was, however, not as they expected the realization of the failure to get their dreamed opportunities in the new land dawned on the immigrants due to failure to attain expected dreams (Cannistaro and Meyer 92). The living conditions of the Italian immigrants to New Jersey were poor. The housing facilities that Italian immigrants used were of extremely low standards. The immigrants could not afford proper housing facilities due to their low earnings. They had to live in tenements that were mostly overcrowded and lacked proper sanitation facilities. The miserable living standards and the lack of proper sanitation resulted in disease outbreak, in the immigrant community and health hazard. The immigrants experienced this life since most of them were unskilled.

Majority of the immigrants were farmers in their homes with little or no experience in any other field. The immigrants, therefore, forced to work on projects by the municipal, which included tasks like digging ditches and hard labor in order to make out a living. The immigrants had to work in the low labor division of the society, which paid remarkably less. Those better placed worked as bartenders, shoemakers, masons and fruit vendors. The harsh environment in the new land also affected the women immigrants who had hoped for a better environment. The women opted to stay out of the factory labor and worked as tailors or operated small businesses in their communities. The main employment of women from the Italian community in New Jersey was the fabric industry.

The Italian immigrants placed little emphasis on the importance of education and valued the assistance from the children more than education, and this was a substantial cause of lack of skill among the community. As much as their expected goals fell short, the Italian immigrant to New Jersey embraced the way of life as they found it and worked to achieve better living and working conditions. The better conditions achieved through hard work by the immigrants, which saw them elevate their living and working conditions. The betterment of life saw the Italian neighborhoods revolve around the family the church and small self-help groups, which operated as insurance to the community. There were also other facilities such as groceries, banks, saloons, and boardinghouses (Cannistaro and Meyer 213).

Culture brought and maintained by the Italian immigrants to America

According to Anne (p 12), most immigrants found difficulty in adjusting their way of live to the American way of life. Because of the difficulties associated, they had to change some ways of live to fit into the society (Bencivenni 145). However, some aspects of their Italian lifestyles and cultures remained strongly rooted among individuals and not altered. The society emphasized the conservation of their culture assisted trough intermarriages within the community. The Italians have a strong culture brought into Newark by the immigrants and they seem to maintain certain aspects of their culture. The Italian culture influenced a significant part of the community in Newark especially on the aspects of arts music and general culture of the Newark society. The main thing of their culture that the immigrants brought to Newark and maintained is their language. During this period, of immigration, the Italians who came to Newark maintained their local dialect, and it was their main form of communication. The immigrants were able to maintain their language mainly because when they immigrated they settled in a common area and formed an Italian neighborhood. The Italian immigrants went as far as Italianizing English words to aid them in the proper pronunciation of these words.

The immigrants always settled in one place and enabled them maintain their language as they conversed among themselves. The Italian neighborhood grew such that there were places called little Italy. The Italians also maintained their religion in the new land. The Italian immigrants kept on to their religions facilitated by the small Italy as they had the same religious beliefs and the sprouting of churches of their religion in the neighborhoods. The Italian immigrants also retained some of their folklore; across the little Italy, it is common to find feasts that have a link to traditional Italy. The feasts known as festa have a strong following by the Italian immigrants in Newark. The Italian immigrant to Newark also retained their Italian surnames (Higgs and Manning 432). The individuals in these communities Americanized their first names to fit the American society but maintained their surnames with Italian origins.

The major aspect of their culture that the Italian immigrants brought with them and successfully strived to maintain is their cuisine. Their sauces and other food recipes are present and common in most food preparations across Newark. The Italian immigrants converted their food into the main foodstuffs in the society. The main food associated with them is the broccoli pizza, spaghetti and the red wine. This is most notable by the presence of Italian dishes in restraints, in Newark. There are also Italian theme eating-places, which provide Italian cuisine.

Conclusion

The Italian immigrants in Newark are among other immigrants who came into the United States of America in pursuit of a better and improved life. Although the Italian immigrants in Newark faced challenges of isolation, discrimination, and poverty the community remained united against all these odds and endured the problems together as a community (Todde 23). The immigration in the period between 1900 and 1920 did not only provide the immigrants with a better standard of living but also affected the lives of the host community. The cohesion within the community assisted the immigrants to cope with the challenges experienced in the new land. The immigrating communities had to change most of their culture to fit into the new society. The communities, however, retain some of their cultures. The communities developed to what is today’s Italian, American communities. These communities still have some Italian cultures, which still held on to by the immigrant community. Italian Americans love to live their lives as lovers of live who treasure delicious food and respectable family ties and love living as a community (Bencivenni 56).

Works Cited

Todde, Anne. Italian Immigrants, 1880-1920. Capstone Press, 2001.

Bencivenni, Marcella. Italian Immigrant Radical Culture: The Idealism of the Sovversivi in the United States, 1890-1940. NYU Press, 2011.

Cannistaro, Philip and Meyer, Gerald. The Lost World of Italian, American Radicalism: Politics, Labor, and Culture. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2003.

Higgs, Robert and Manning, Ambrose. Appalachia Inside Out: Conflict and change. Univ. Of Tennessee Press, 1995.

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