Jewish Immigrants and American Capitalism, 1880-1920: From Caste to Class
Eli Lederhendler's Jewish Immigrants and American Capitalism, 1880-1920: From Caste to Class reexamines the immigration of Russian Jews to the United States around the turn of the 20th century - a group that accounted for 10 to 15 percent of immigrants to the United States between 1899 and 1920 - challenging and revising common assumptions concerning the ease of their initial adaptation and image as a "model" immigrant minority. Lederhendler demonstrates that the characteristics for which Jewish immigrants are commonly known - their industriousness, "middle-class" domestic habits, and political sympathy for the working class - were, in fact, developed in response to their new situation in the United States. This experience realigned Jewish social values and restored to these immigrants a sense of status, honor, and a novel kind of social belonging, and with it the "social capital" needed to establish a community quite different from the ones they came from.
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