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Immigrants and consumerism in the city

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  1. Introduction
  2. The decades leading up to the First World War
  3. The difference between newcomers and citizens
  4. The notion of abundance and consumerism in the United States
  5. The Jewish story of immigration
  6. The attitudes of immigrants
  7. The relationship between the immigrant and the city
  8. Conclusion
  9. Bibliography

An examination of North American history will reveal that a consumer revolution occurred during the middle of the eighteenth century, and it played a significant role in the growth of society, especially in the United States. This raises the question of how consumerism affected specific social groups. It might be assumed that the consumerism was something that was restricted to only the higher classes, but this is not true. This essay will examine how the rise of consumerism affected the immigrant, and the immigrant's relationship with the city. From this it will be clear that the rise of consumerism in the late nineteenth century provided an opportunity for the immigrant to go from scarcity to abundance, and it made the city more accessible for many immigrants as well.

In the decades leading up to the First World War, there was a mass migration of immigrants from all over the world, but specifically Europe, to North America, specifically the United States. These immigrants immediately noticed the difference in condition from where they came from to where they had landed. It was an exciting time in America, and one that was benefiting from the industrial revolution in a way that was creating unprecedented wealth all across the country.

[...] Ithaca: Cornell University Press Stearns, Peter N. Consumerism in world history: the global transformation of desire. New York: Routledge United States Immigration Commission, Reports. Washington, D.C vol E Emigration Conditions in Europe. Peter N. Stearns. Consumerism in world history: the global transformation of desire. (New York: Routledge, 2001) Leonard Dinnerstein and David M. Reimers. [...]


[...] Consumerism in the United States was making the cities accessible to all, including the many immigrants that were descending on the United States during the late nineteenth century.[4] The cities were accessible to immigrants because they were given opportunities to work and consume, unlike their homelands where they were often tied to land that they did not own. As well, they had been so conditioned to conditions of material scarcity that they easily overlooked what many citizens might have thought to be unacceptable conditions. [...]

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