Aspects of Italian and American History
Post-1900 Italian Immigration
Early Italian immigration was selective and spotty. After 1900, however, Italians started coming to America in great numbers. Although most migrated to the United States, some went to Canada, Argentina, Australia, and South America. This exodus can be attributed to three things: a) America opening its borders, b) transoceanic ships becoming commercially available and, c) the large number of Italians living in dire poverty.
Millions of Italians arrived in America between 1900 and 1940. After World War II, America adopted a non-preferential quota system, thus slowing the number of those coming from Italy and other countries. Those initial Italian immigrants defined a new era in America. Knowing them helps us to better understand the modern day Italian-American.