Immigration and the Changing
THE THREESCORE AND TEN YEARS WHICH CULMINATED IN THE GREAT AMERican Civil War witnessed an eight-fold increase in the country's population. That it rose from nearly four million to more than thirty-one million in such a relatively short interval was due partially to a high rate of birth and a reduced death rate, but above all it could be attributed to a tidal wave of immigration which transformed the character of American society. The mass invasion was prompted by no official policy of the national government, though considerable encouragement was given by businessmen who sought laborers and by several Middle Western states which hoped to improve their general position by attracting settlers in increasing numbers. It was prompted by adverse economic conditions and unfavorable political and social developments in Europe and spurred on by a dream of life in a free nation where land was cheap, salaries relatively high, and opportunities unlimited.
From 1790 to 1815 only about 250,000 immigrants arrived in the United States: but after the Napoleonic Wars, immigration at once increased in