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The United States of America hosts various immigrants from many countries. Large populations have migrated to the United States in search of better living standards. One the major groups of immigrants in the U.S. are the Italians. Between 1880 and 1920, millions of Italians migrated to United States of America. According to Scarpaci (2010),  four million Italians migrated to U.S.A between 1880 and 1920. Scarpaci further asserts that most of the Italian immigrants were driven by the assumption that America is a land of opportunities where one could easily prosper (2010).

The Peak Period of Migrations from Italy to America

The peak period of migrations from Italy to America was between 1880 and 1920. John Wong approximates that four million, one hundred and fifteen thousand six hundred Italians migrated to America during this period (2008). Moreover, it is approximately twenty percent of the total Italians who immigrated to the U.S since 1800. Between 1901 and 1905, more than two million Italians migrated to the United States. Today, Italian Americans constitute approximately fifteen percent of the total American population.

Most of the Italians migrated to America through sea and marine transport. The Italian immigrants entered the U.S. through the Ellis Island. They also used road and rail transport (Gaetano, 2009). The Italian immigrants moved to America to work as social workers or laborers in construction firms, fruit vendors, shoemakers as well as tailors. Additionally, some of the immigrants were tradesmen who imported Italian foods and fruits from Italy to America.

Most of the Italians migrated from Mezzogiorno, Southern Italy. The Italian immigrants mainly occupied major commercial and towns of America.The first immigrants from Italy to the U.S. stopped in Boston where they settled as fishermen.A second group of immigrants entered into New York City through Baltimore between 1900 and 1903. These immigrants moved from Manhattan to Bronx where they opened shops for general merchandise.Another group of immigrants entered America through Chicago. Between 1905 and 1910, large immigrations were experienced in Cleveland. Danieks suggests that most of the Italian immigrants settled in the cities of New York, California, New Jersey and Florida (2011).

Most of the Italians who migrated to the U.S. preserved their traditional and cultural practices, which was achieved through maintenance of strong links with their homeland. The major traditions brought by the immigrants to America concern foodstuffs, music, traditional rituals and feasts; for example, the Enrico Fermi Cultural Center hosts numerous cultural events for Italians. According to Burgan and Asher, the Italian immigrants formed community groups in the cities of America to have a support in coping with the hardships that they encountered in the U.S. (2011). Nowadays, most American restaurants still offer traditional Italian foods.

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The Italian's Contribution to the American Culture

According to Roediger, most of the Italian immigrants made significant contributions to the American culture. Roediger postulates that most Italian immigrants just like other large populations from other communities who previously migrated to America, experienced harsh reception from Native Americans (2011). Furthermore, most ancient immigrants could not speak English, which led to cultural isolations between Americans and Italians. Despite these challenges, Italian immigrants were able to retain their cultures. The immigrants thus formed associations such as the Order of the Sons of Italy to take into account cultural and social needs. Such associations enable the Italian immigrants to maintain their cultural practices, traditional rituals, foodstuffs and dressing codes. Todd argues that the immigrants from Italy were even able to create miniature villages in the U.S. (2007).

According to Todd, the Italian communities are still vibrant in America, for example, every year, in August and June, they usually celebrate the Feast of St. Gabriel and the Feast of St. Antony to mark their traditional foods (2007). Additionally, the Italians have maintained their languages, for example, they often publish newspapers in their traditional languages. Such actions helped in maintaining the Italian culture as well as informing new immigrants from Italy who could not understand English. Most of the immigrants were Catholics and were able to retain their religious practices. The immigrants also achieved significant success in traditional Italian music.

Some of the most significant immigrants from Italy to America include Arthuro Giovannitti, Carlo Tresca and Enrico Fermi (Rolle, 2009). Arthuro and Carlo entered the U.S. as professional workers in the healthcare industry. They later joined politics and became prominent leaders and wealthy businessmen in the American politics. Enrico Fermi also migrated to the U.S. as a businessman but later joined politics. He was one the prominent leaders from Italy who opposed fascism. It is claimed that Enrico Fermi was involved in the development of the atomic bomb which was used in the attack on Pearl Harbor. He further played an important role in the development of modern science in America. Additionally, Gaspare Moretto migrated to the U.S. for missionary purposes as a catholic priest.

In conclusion, in the recent past, the number of the immigrants from Italy has been declining. Italians who migrate to America today are more educated and have well established careers on contrary to the immigrants of the colonial period, most of which were unskilled and illiterate. Today, most of the Italian immigrants are more focused on preserving of their traditions and culture. The contemporary immigrants from Italy are proud of their national heritage and try to preserve it.


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