Early-nineteenth-century America experienced the first "wave" of immigration after Independence, when Germans, Irish, English, Scandinavians, and, on the West Coast, even Chinese began to arrive in significant numbers. These new settlers had a profound impact on such national developments as westward expansion, urban growth, industrialization, city and national politics, and the Civil War.
James M. Bergquist's chronicle of the early immigrants' experiences describes where they came from, what their journey to America was like, and where they entered the new nation, and where they eventually settled. He highlights immigrant contributions to American life as well as their struggles to gain wider acceptance by the mainstream culture. The approach, similar to David Kyvig's highly successful Daily Life in the United States, 1920–1940 (published by Ivan R. Dee in 2004), presents history with an appealing immediacy, on a level that everyone can understand.
James M. Bergquist is professor emeritus of history at Villanova University and has written widely on American immigration. He is also editor of the Immigration and Ethnic Society newsletter. He lives in Philadelphia.