Crossings: The Great Transatlantic Migrations, 1870-1914

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Indiana University Press, 1995 - History - 234 pages
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During the period 1870-1914, the Atlantic was a broad highway for migration. Unchecked by government restrictions, wars, or economic depressions, and aided by the new technologies of steamships and railroads, millions of people uprooted their lives and set off for new lands. Americans understand this story as a great saga of immigrants and assimilation of people drawn to the United States as to the promised land of opportunity. But what lay behind this great migration? And how unique was the American experience? To answer these questions, Walter Nugent looks at this massive movement of people from both sides of the Atlantic. Tracing the migrations of more than a dozen national groups from Europe to the four major New World receiving countries - Argentina, Brazil, Canada, and the United States - Nugent discovers a complex story of crossings and recrossings, of tens of millions of human experiences and decisions. Nugent follows the migrants who left rural Europe for American mines and factories, but he also compares the experiences of Europeans on the very different frontiers of settlement at the far reaches of the four receiving countries. And he discusses the migration of women, not only wives and mothers within migrating families but also individuals seeking a new life on their own. Nugent asks important questions about American uniqueness in the context of transatlantic migration history and about the validity of widely held theories of development. He finds that the history of the great migrations is more complex and subtle than these theories. His superb synthesis broadens the scope and clarifies the details of a fascinating story of enormous social and demographic change.
 

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Contents

The Atlantic Region in the Late Nineteenth Century
11
Transatlantic Migration from Chief European Donors 18711915
12
Kilometers of Railroad Track in Service Selected Years
13
Transatlantic Migration to Chief American Receivers 18711914
14
Populations of Donor and Receiver Countries
16
Percentage Increase in National Population by Country 1870
17
Crude Birth Rates by Country 18701914
20
Crude Death Rates by Country 18701914
22
Ethnic Distribution of East European Migrants
88
Italy
95
Introduction
111
Brazil
122
Canada
136
Sources of Canadian Immigration 18711915
139
Nativity of Canadians 18811911
140
CanadianBorn in U S U S Born in Canada 18711901
141

General Patterns and Motives
27
Major Receivers and Donors of Migrants
30
The European Donors
41
Intercontinental Emigration in Proportion to National Populations
43
Gross Migration from EnglandWales Scotland and Ireland to the United States British North America and Australasia
46
Destinations of Irish Emigrants 18761920
51
Gross Migration from the Scandinavian Countries
55
Overseas Destinations of Scandinavian Emigrants 18691914
57
Discrepancies between Emigrant and Immigrant Statistics
65
German Provinces with Highest and Lowest Rates per 100000
67
United States of America
149
Net Migration to the United States by Decade
150
ForeignBorn Population in U S by Country of Birth 18701920
151
ForeignBorn and ForeignStock in U S by Census Region
154
Return Migrants of 1908 as Percentage of Incoming Migrants of 1907
160
Modernization Transition and Exceptionalism
163
LIST OF WORKS CITED AND CONSULTED
198
INDEX
225
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About the author (1995)

WALTER NUGENT is Andrew V. Tackes Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame.

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