Short History of New Jersey
Immigrants, and Innovation
the Civil War, the industrial revolution was under way,
and New Jersey continued to grow. More factories opened,
and cities like Trenton, Newark, Paterson, and Camden got
bigger as immigrants from Europe came to work in them.
Railroads were laid to connect the cities and to transport
first, most immigrants came from Ireland and Germany. Later,
people came from Italy and from countries throughout Eastern
Europe. In 1910 half the state's population was born or
had parents who were born outside the United States. As
city populations grew, farm populations shrank.
so many people working in factories, issues like child
labor and protection for workers became important. The
popularity of these reforms brought Woodrow Wilson to power
as governor in 1910. He left office in 1913 to become President
of the United States and is the only New Jersey governor
to become president. As both governor and president Wilson
supported welfare reforms to protect workers and to keep
companies from becoming too big. You can learn more about Woodrow
Wilson on the White House Web site.
state's economic expansion had a lot to do with the genius
of its inventors. Thomas Edison is probably most famous.
Among his thousands of inventions, including the light
bulb, Edison helped develop the motion picture while working
in New Jersey. Fort Lee became the motion picture capital
of the world in the early 1900s. There, Fatty Arbuckle,
Mary Pickford, Pearl White, and other stars revolutionized
entertainment with their movies.
Next: The 1900s