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A Century of TransnationalismImmigrants and Their Homeland Connections$
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Nancy L Green and Roger Waldinger

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780252040443

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252040443.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

Toward a History of American Jews and the Russian Revolutionary Movement

Toward a History of American Jews and the Russian Revolutionary Movement

(p.185) Chapter 7 Toward a History of American Jews and the Russian Revolutionary Movement
A Century of Transnationalism

Tony Michels

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines the transnational connections between socialists during the four-decade era of mass Jewish immigration from Russia to the United States. It focuses on New York City, where a unique confluence of social and demographic factors gave rise to the world's largest Jewish workers' movement before World War I. The city's extraordinarily large number of Jews (1.75 million by the 1920s), their dense geographic concentration (540,000 on the Lower East Side alone as of 1914), their rapid proletarianization in the garment industry, and, finally, the absence of traditional structures of communal authority enabled immigrants to build labor institutions, articulate ideologies, and invent forms of culture in the Yiddish language that, in many instances, had few antecedents in “the old country.” Consequently, a popular Jewish labor movement arose in the United States almost ten years before the birth of its counterpart in Russia and fifteen years before the Russian Jewish workers' movement grew into a significant force. New York stood as the capital of Jewish socialism from the 1880s to the 1920s.

Keywords:   New York, Russia, United States, Jewish immigrants, Jews, immigration, Jewish labor movement, socialism, socialists

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