Expansion in America
So you combine the increased demand for certain industrial products
with dramatically increased railroad activity, because at this
time the way you get raw materials from one place to another,
finished products from one place to another, it's all, it's almost
all railroads. And this kind of activity on railroads requires
a tremendous amount of labor. Track work has to be done in the
spring, in addition to maintenance you need people to run the
trains so it's a very, actually a much more labor intensive operation-railroads-than
you think about.
And unfortunately, at least from the perspective of the industrialists
and the railroad owners, who are looking at the possibility of
huge profits, and we later know, we know from later investigations
that World War I created massive profits for American industry.
At that time though, it wasn't clear who would do the repair work
on the railroad tracks, who would make the steel, who would slaughter
During the preceding periods of industrial expansion, industrialists
had turned mainly to European immigration; the people who wrote
the letters, the other set of letters that you saw, as well as
white migrants from the countryside. In fact, from a period
about late 1880s-early 1890s until 1914 is the period of greatest
immigration to the United States until the end of the 1990s.
is the period we think of as when certain immigrant groups
came to the United States, Eastern Europeans, Southern Europeans,
in massive numbers.