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Delaware Indians

Colonial Times

Revolution

Battle of Trenton

Early Statehood

Industry, Immigrants and Innovation

The 1900s

 

 


A Short History of New Jersey

Industry, Immigrants, and Innovation

After 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 materials.

At 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.

With 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.

The 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


 
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