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Migrations: 1700-1900 Essay

Many things changed and also remained constant during the time period between 1700-1900. These changes were the long-distance migration patterns, diversity of the new immigrants, and indentured servitude becoming the main way work was conducted. Although there was a lot of change, there were however things that stayed consistent such as who migrated and their motivation for migrating. Such migrations occurred from eastern regions like Europe, Asia, and Africa, and they would migrate to western regions such as the Americas. The Slave Trade Act of 1807, and the Slave Abolition Act of 1833 put forth by the British outlawed slavery in British territory, and both heavily encouraged other European countries to stop using slavery as their main work force.

Due to this indentured servitude increased in popularity. Since the colonies no longer needed African slaves to conduct their work, African populations began to decline. This helped shift towards the use of indentured servants. This new opportunity attracted a large diversity of immigrants. Many new people came to the Americas looking for a new opportunity especially from Asia. So many Asian laborers came to the US that the US had to put forth acts to keep them out.

The Chinese Exclusion Act is an example, and it prohibited the immigration of Chinese laborers into the US. Many other things also attracted immigrants to the Americas. Some would migrate to the United States due to the “American Dream” and the ability to start a new life in which anything would be possible. Some would be forced to migrate due to factors in their homeland. One such example would be the Irish potato famine which started in 1845. Many Irish emigrated to places like North America after this occurred. Also in 1848 the California Gold Rush began. This would spark a migration within the United States to expand outward from the east coast across the nation. Since essentially people from everywhere in the world at this was migrating, it put forth new long-distance migration patterns.

With all of the changes in migration at the time, many things did stay the same. The majority of people migrating still came from Europe. During the Potato Famine, approximately 1,000,000 Irish emigrated to the Americas alone; many others emigrated to places like England and Australia. Also people still migrated for the same basic reasons; they either were attracted to something in a foreign land, or were detracted from something in their native land. Indentured servitude was also used before this time. This form of work just had a meteoric rise in popularity and usage during this time period which makes it so significant. There was also still the migration of Africans during this time period; however, it was not nearly as large of a migration as the previous migrations that were for slaves. Due to the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, slavery was abolished in ten states that were still in rebellion during the American Civil War.

This  attracted many new Africans to the United States because of the new freedoms and the new opportunities that were now also available to Africans of the time. This also increased foreign opinion on the United States which increased migrations to North American countries such as the United States. Not all immigration occurred in the US though. Brazil continued to receive a large amount of emigrants as well. Europe, and especially Portugal underwent a demographic crisis due to the increased emigration to places like the U.S. and Brazil. People went to Brazil for the same reasons they immigrated to anywhere else too. The main reason was that Brazil still had a lot of new land to offer. The result of all of the migration was that 1850 was the start of what is known as the “Age of Mass Migration.”

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