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19th Century Immigration - Causes & Effects

Activity Description


Students will examine and interpret a population chart published in 1898 — depicting changes in the makeup of the United States across time in three categories, “foreign stock,” “native stock,” and “colored” — as well as an 1893 political cartoon about immigration. Students will also explain the causes and effects of population change in the late 19th century.

Suggested Grade Level


Approximate Time Required

45 minutes

Learning Objectives

  • Students will be able to interpret a historical chart depicting changes in the makeup of the U.S. population from 1790 through 1890.
  • Students will be able to use the chart data and information in a political cartoon to explain changes that resulted from immigration to the United States in the late 19th century.

Materials Required

The student version of this activity, 4 pages; it contains images that should be printed in color.

Activity Items

The following items are part of this activity. Items, their sources, and any relevant instructions for viewing them
online appear at the end of this teacher version.

  • Growth of the Elements of the Population, 1790–1890
  • “Looking Backward” Political Cartoon, Published 1893

Teacher Notes

Blooms Taxonomy

Blooms Taxonomy

Students will analyze primary sources in the forms of a historical chart and a political cartoon.


High School History


  • Immigration in the late 19th century
  • Industrialization
  • Population change

Skills Taught

  • Analyzing change over time
  • Analyzing a political cartoon
  • Examining primary sources
  • Identifying cause and effect


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