Hundreds of Poles took those jobs and the Polish population of Cleveland grew from 2, to 8, between and as a result of his recruiting. Day and night shifts rotated every two weeks, requiring men to perform or hour straight shifts. Movements to end the 7 day week were pushed by management, but many workers did not oppose the practice and saw it as a necessary evil.
Workers at the blast furnaces had little time for self-improvement, leisure, or many social activities. When the 7-day week was done away with, some workers saw it as a waste of time because their children were in school and their friends were at work, so they spent time at saloons and drank. Many plants found that a large number of workers quit their jobs when Sunday was taken off their schedules, citing the day off as a reason. West Virginia experienced an influx of immigrant coal miners during the early 20th century, increasing the number of Poles in West Virginia to almost 15, by Poles were the third-largest immigrant group in West Virginia, following the Italians and the Hungarians, who also joined the mining industry in large numbers.
Poles often worked alongside other Slavic immigrants, and recorded work safety signs from the mines in the s were commonly posted in Polish, Lithuanian, Czech, and Hungarian languages. Pennsylvania attracted the greatest number of Polish miners. Polish immigration to Luzerne County was popular from the end of the Civil War. Employment in the mining industry increased from 35, in to over , in Demand for the coal was seasonal and left many workers unemployed for 3 to 4 months each summer.
In a Polish-language newspaper, Gornik , later Gornik Pensylwanski Pennsylvanian Miner , was started in Wilkes-Barre to share local industry news. A Pennsylvania State Investigating Committee in found the workers' salaries to be severely low, stating it was "utterly impossible for any moderate sized family to more than exist, let alone enjoy the comforts which every American workingman desires and deserves.
Laws were pushed by the United Mine Workers to limit Polish competition; the Pennsylvania Legislature passed a law in mandating that a worker perform as a laborer for at least two years and pass an examination in English to receive a promotion. Descendants of the Polish miners still exist in the northern industrial areas of West Virginia, and many have dispersed across the U.
Polish immigrants were favored for mining, where hundreds died each year, [ citation needed ] because they "played their part with a devotion, amenability, and steadiness not excelled by men of the old immigration. Historian Karen Majewski identifies this novel as one which depicts an Americanized Pole, "seduced and demoralized by this country's materialism and lack of regulation. The meatpacking industry was a large industry in Chicago in the s. Although some had joined earlier, a large number of Poles joined Chicago's packing plants in , and through networking and successive generations, Poles predominated the profession.
Historian Dominic Pacyga identifies the Polish influx of workers in as a result of the failed strike by the mainly German and Irish workers that year.
The union was further weakened by yellow dog contracts forced on returning workers, and by the supply of cheap Polish labor. Job security in the Chicago plants was highly uncommon. Since the livestock supplies were seasonal, particularly cattle, management laid off its unskilled workers in the killing department each year. Workers, including Poles, sometimes paid management kickbacks to secure employment at the company. The meatpacking industry increased its production process tremendously in the late 19th century, but its wages fell.
By , four splitters were getting out 1, cattle in ten hours, or 30 cattle per man per hour. This was an increase of nearly percent in 10 years, yet the wage rate fell to 40 cents per hour. In government inspectors found a child working at a dangerous machine. The child told inspectors that his father was injured at the machine and would lose his job if his son did not work.
Illinois labor inspectors needed Polish translators to collect evidence because some child workers, in , were unable to answer questions, like "What is your name? Under investigations with the children themselves, it was found that work commonly started at age 10 or How different is the treatment of the same newcomer who wants to work on a farm. The native, indigenous person is more modest in his own life.
He desires and knows well from his personal experience that beginnings are difficult. When a newcomer lives at first in a quickly-built shack and sleeps on a few boards put together, it is taken as a natural stage, nothing by which to be disgusted. When the same American sees how our peasant takes a plow into his hands, how he gets horses to move, how row after row of soil is beautifully plowed, instead of contempt, he feels respect toward our men. Poles arriving in America frequently had years of experience working in agriculture and gained a reputation as skilled farmers in the United States.
Polish immigrants traveled to the Northern United States intentionally with hopes of working in industrial trades. Stereotypes casting them as "farm people" and economic necessities in many cases predetermined their careers, which continued them in agricultural roles. Polish immigrants to Massachusetts and Connecticut came seeking jobs in New England's mills, but the local American population in Connecticut River Valley was actively seeking those jobs and effectively opened agricultural opportunities for them. Poles had even higher crop yields than the local Americans because of their labor-intensive efforts and willingness to try lands previously disregarded as worthless.
Poles succeeded rapidly; in Northampton in , Poles were 4. By , they made up 7.
The Polish farmers' success is due to their large families, where children helped in agriculture, and their long hours of work, as many spent hours clearing abandoned land after a full day's work. Louis Adamic in A Nation of Nations wrote that Poles "restored hundreds of thousands of apparently hopeless acres to productivity". Lenders viewed Polish immigrants as low credit risks because of their thrift, work ethic, and honesty.
Polish immigrants were said to embody "immigrant Puritanism", demonstrating economic puritanism better than the original New Englanders. Author Elizabeth Stearns Tyler in found that Polish children attending American schools did on par or better than the American-born, yet most went back to farming after high school, continuing a self-fulfilling prophecy :. Poles were seen as industrious, hardworking, and productive, while paradoxically lacking in ambition.
They had created ethnic communities in farming that were stable and successful, and did not venture out into larger professions. Polish Americans eschewed intellectualism and pursued money through hard work and thrift. They gained a reputation for "chasing the dollar", but were honest and reliable in their pursuits. Several novels based on early 20th century New England contain an overplayed dynamic between the dying and shrinking Yankee population and the young Polish immigrants. Polish characters typically came from large families, embodied hard work, and commonly learned English and engaged in relationships with the women in the New England towns.
A novel, The Invaders , which referred to Poles as "beasts" and animal-like,  contains a love story between a native New Englander and a Polish immigrant man. The story of amalgamation between a first-generation Polish immigrant and a white native woman is seen as a form of limited acceptance. In the story, the younger generation changes their names and marries into a native Yankee family. In the story, Poles who are Americanized through learning English are given higher status jobs, but she and her husband occupy a space of importance in teaching them English, as she said in one scene, "You can't Americanize without Americans!
In one scene, Marilla sees two young Polish children cutting firewood and teaches them to appreciate the trees as naturalists , rather than for their purpose as fuel. The protagonist's view is somewhat condescending and elitist, although historian Stanislaus Blejwas found the tone of superiority is moderated in later novels written with Polish American characters. Very few Poles opened shops, restaurants, stores, or other entrepreneurial ventures.
The Galician and Russian Poles entered the United States with the least resources and least education and entered hard labor that they remained in their entire careers.
Historian Bukowczyk found that the German Poles, who entered with "significant resources and advantages" still were tepid in their entrepreneurial risk-taking. For first and second-generation Poles who entered business, supermarkets and saloon-owners were most popular. Bukowczyk pointed that the Poles' contentment with steady paychecks served as a detriment to their families and future generations. As other immigrant groups, including the Jews, Italians, Greeks, etc. The immigrants of the late 19th-early 20th century wave were very different from those who arrived in the United States earlier.
By and large, those who arrived in the early 19th century were nobility and political exiles; those in the wave of immigration were largely poor, uneducated, and willing to settle for manual labor positions. Pseudoscientific studies were conducted on Polish immigrants in the early 20th century, most notably by Carl Brigham.
His data was highly damning towards blacks, Italians, Jews, and other Slavs. President Woodrow Wilson called Poles, Hungarians, and Italians, in his History of the American People , "men of the meaner sort" who possessed "neither skill nor energy nor any initiative of quick intelligence. Polish and Italian immigrants demonstrated high fecundity in the United States, and in a U.
He knew of no general who would wish to command an army of Jews either on the Sabbath — a day on which they never gave battle — or indeed at any other time. Lopata, Helena Znaniecka Ethnic Chicago Rev. Zablocki of Milwaukee served —83, and became chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee from until his death in ; although liberal on domestic issues, he was a hawk regarding the Vietnam War. Either by signing into your account or linking your membership details before your order is placed. The strangeness of his new surroundings emphasizes his kinship with those he has lost.
Congress report in , Poles were noted as having the single highest birth rate. The Dillingham Commission had a section devoted to the Fecundity of Immigrant Women , using data from the Census.
As per Dillingham's findings, there were 40 births per 1, Polish people, whereas the non-Polish birth rate was closer to 14 per 1, Historians debate the accuracy and sample group of this data, as many Polish immigrants arrived young and of child-bearing age, whereas other ethnics had a lengthy and sustained immigration policy with the United States, meaning multiple generations existed.
In Polish communities such as rural Minnesota, nearly three-fourths of all Polish women had at least 5 children.
The Polish American baby boom lasted from to and then fell dramatically, as many of the immigrant mothers had passed out of their prime childbearing age. This was the highest birth rate for American Poles documented in the United States. During the s and s, Polish Americans were coming of age , developing ethnic fraternal organizations, baseball leagues, summer camps, scouting groups, and other youth activities.
In large parts of Minnesota and Michigan, over half the population was under sixteen years old. Polish youths created nearly street gangs in Chicago in the s, and in Detroit and Chicago, created the single largest group of inmates in juvenile prisons. Polish men in particular were romanticized as objects of raw sexual energy in the early 20th century. Many first wave Polish immigrants were single males or married men who left their wives to strike fortune in the United States.
Some were "birds of passage" who sought to return to Poland and their families with strong financial savings. They built a reputation in the United States for hard work, physical strength, and vigorous energy. In one instance, main character Temmie Oakes says, " You saw the sinews rippling beneath the cheap stuff of their sweaty shirts. Far, far too heady a draught for the indigestion of this timorous New England remnant of a dying people.