Report by Philip H. Gadsden on immigration, ("Immigration to the South"), 1907

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The early part of the twentieth century was a time of great hope and faith in a concept known as the “New South.”  This South sought to imitate its northern counterpart, and became committed to developing industry and embracing technological advancement. The New South became home to numerous factories, including the textile mills constructed throughout the Upcountry and Pee Dee regions of South Carolina.

In the scope of a generation, the number of mills in South Carolina tripled, from fourteen in 1880 to sixty-one in 1907.  The new ventures endeavored to stabilize the failing agricultural economy, industrialize a once completely rural state, increase jobs, and build communities. But while this booming new industry required a substantial labor force, mill owners remained unwilling to hire black workers in the Jim Crow South. Business and political leaders sought to attract European immigrants in an effort to relieve the labor shortages and supplant native African American labor. The low wages and tense social conditions exhibited in the region made the task of successfully attracting Europeans quite difficult.

In this document Gadsden investigates the reasoning behind the lack of white immigrants.  He concludes that immigrants favored the West and the North over the South because of higher wages, better social conditions, and greater familiarity with those regions.  In the excerpt provided here Gadsden recommended that the South find new ways to encourage immigration.  For instance, he states that the South should organize a Colonization Society to seek out settlers and their families, as opposed to laborers.  The Colonization Society would help immigrants purchase land at reasonable prices.  The prospect of land, according to Gadsden, was the South’s best selling point for an effective immigration policy.

Citation:

Gadsden, Philip H.  "Immigration to the South."  Yearbook of Charleston, 1907, Appendix, 3, 9-12.  Charleston, SC: Walker, Evans, and Cogswell, 1908.  Published Materials Division, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina.

Correlating SC Social Studies Academic Standards:

Standard 5-3: The student will demonstrate an understanding of major domestic and foreign developments that contributed to the United States’ becoming a world power.

Indicator 5-3.1 Explain how the Industrial Revolution was furthered by new inventions and technologies, including new methods of mass production and transportation and the invention of the light bulb, the telegraph, and the telephone.

Indicator 5-3.3 Explain the effects of immigration and urbanization on the American economy during the Industrial Revolution, including the role of immigrants in the work force and the growth of cities, the shift from an agrarian to an industrial economy, and the rise of big business.

Indicator 5-3.4 Summarize the significance of large-scale immigration and the contributions of immigrants to America in the early 1900s, including the countries from which they came, the opportunities and resistance they faced when they arrived, and the cultural and economic contributions they made to this nation.

Standard 8-5: The student will demonstrate an understanding of major social, political, and economic developments that took place in the United States during the second half of the nineteenth century.

Indicator 8-5.6 Explain the significance that the increased immigration into the United States in the late nineteenth century had for the state of South Carolina, including cultural and economic contributions of immigrants, opportunities and struggles experienced by immigrants, increased racial hostility, and the effect of racial and ethnic diversity on national identity.

 

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