Yankeys Now: Immigrants in the Antebellum United States, 1840-1860 / Edition 1

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The first great wave of European migration to the United States before the Civil War transformed both the migrants themselves and the country they entered. The extent of this transformation has been difficult to gauge without information on migrants before and after their departure from Europe. Yankeys Now: Immigrants in the Antebellum US 1840-1860 provides the first detailed look at how these immigrants were changed by their relocation and how the American economy responded to their arrival.

The book employs unique data on more than 2,400 British, Irish, and German migrants who appeared on both passenger ship rosters and US census records to document the geographic, occupational, and financial movements of Europeans who traveled to this nation in the 1840s. Contrary to other studies of antebellum immigrants, Joseph P. Ferrie's work finds substantial mobility in all three of these contexts. The ability to follow immigrants from their arrival through several censuses makes it possible to compare the experiences of immigrants who remained in one location to those of immigrants who sought opportunity in new places throughout the 1850s. The latter group's achievements, as carefully traced in this volume, account for most of the contrast with previously published work on this topic. Using information on more than 4,000 native-born Americans followed through the 1850 and 1860 US censuses, Ferrie finds little evidence that immigrants' arrival negatively affected this country's labor force, excluding craft workers in the urban northeast.

Taken as a whole, his findings demonstrate the American economy's ability to absorb additions to its workforce while also illustrating the range of opportunities available to nineteenth-century migrants drawn to the United States.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Joseph P. Ferrie's Yankeys Now may be the most important study ever done of mid-nineteenth-century immigrant adjustment in the United States. Ferrie created a unique linked-data file to analyze in a creative way longitudinal changes in residence, occupational status, and assets. This book is essential for understanding the economic transformation of the United States as brought about by mid-nineteenth-century immigration."—Barry R. Chiswick, Research Professor and Head, Department of Economics, University of Illinois at Chicago

"A revealing historical study examining timeless questions on the American experience. Was America a land of opportunity for immigrants? Did mass immigration help or harm US workers? Ferrie weaves quantitative sources with a compelling narrative that brings his readers in touch with those who arrived during the first great immigrant wave to America. This immensely clever statistical reconstruction is a must-read for labor economists, labor historians, economic historians, and anyone curious about the immigrant experience in the New World."—Claudia Goldin, Professor of Economics, Harvard University

"Yankeys Now is a truly outstanding work of scholarship. Based on data from passenger lists and the US Census manuscripts, Ferrie has traced the geographic movements of new immigrants within the US and described their changing economic fortunes. This is the most detailed historical analysis we now have dealing with effects of immigration on the immigrants and on those already in the US. Economically sophisticated in its analysis, it will have a major impact on the study of US antebellum history, and will also raise questions for our current debates on immigration policy."—Stanley L. Engerman, Professor of Economics and History, University of Rochester

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Product Details

Table of Contents

1. Immigrants in the Antebellum U.S., 1840-60
2. The Data: Two New Samples
3. The Context of Antebellum Immigration
4. The Geographical Mobility of Immigrants after Their Arrival at New York
5. Occupational Change at Arrival
6. Wealth Accumulation, 1840-60
7. Economic Mobility and Geographic Persistence, 1840-60
8. The Impact of Immigration on Natives, 1850-60

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