Distant Magnets: Expectations and Realities in the Immigrant Experience, 1840-1930

By Dirk Hoerder; Horst Rössler | Go to book overview

social and economic motivation as the background for the desire to emigrate. Scholars in the United States have a concept of acculturation that differs from that of their French colleagues. This pluralism of methods and approaches was, to some degree, grafted upon the overarching theme. Careful editing and exchange of opinions among authors was necessary to shape essays that complement each other. No uniformity, no common structures were imposed by the editors; no single national discourse was considered to be superior to the others. The essays thus also reflect the diverse historical and cultural perspectives of the authors.

The chronological scope of the studies included in the volume extends to the late 1920s. The worldwide depression almost brought to a stop the customary migrations. New U.S. immigration laws restricted admission. The migrants' image of destinations both in Europe and in North America was transformed. While the prospects seemed bleak for workers, and would become even bleaker under fascism in Europe, the labor movement in the United States, particularly with the rise of the Congress for Industrial Organizations (CIO), provided hope to some immigrant workers at least.


Notes
1.
The research outline on which this book is based was developed by Dirk Hoerder and Horst Rössler at the University of Bremen, "Ausgangslage und Erwartungshaltung (Amerikabild') von Arbeitsmigranten, 1815-1914", April 1986. Detailed research on labor migration from Britain and Germany to the United States in the nineteenth century is in progress ( Rössler). The project has been supported by a grant from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. We are grateful to Michael Meadows, Sean Mullan, and Tim Spence for their translations and stylistic corrections, and to Helga Schrö, Dorothea Heinrichs, and Karin Schindler for typing much of the manuscript.
2.
See Philip A. M. Taylor, The Distant Magnet: European Migration to the U.S.A. ( New York, 1971).
3.
See Dirk Hoerder, ed., Labor Migration in the Atlantic Economies: The European and North American Working Class during the Period of Industrialization ( London and Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1985); Walter E Willcox and Imre Ferenczi, eds., International Migrations, 2 vols. ( New York: 1931).
4.
See the essay by Nancy Green, Laura Levine Frader, and Pierre Milza in this volume; Abel Chatelain, Les migrants temporaires en France de 1800 á 1914, 2 vols. ( Lille, 1976); Isabelle Bertaux-Wiame, "The Life History Approach to the Study of Internal Migration: How Women and Men Came to Paris between the Wars"

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