Since the beginning of time, groups of individuals have traveled to new areas where they established residence. This process involves a number of significant changes in the lives of these people. Obviously, their motivation for transferring their lives to another area that may be distant from their previous life is generally complicated and requires a great deal of planning. The United States has been an area that many immigrants have ventured to, beginning new lives. Immigration to America has been occurring since humans have existed through today. One group of individuals who have been immigrating to the United States for more than a century is the people of the country of Poland. In fact, there is evidence that there were five individuals from Poland who traveled to Jamestown in the 1608 . Almost two hundred years later there were approximately five hundred Polish people residing in America. The reasons for their transition to this country have been diverse as they continue to migrate to this area. During the last half of the twentieth century, most of the Polish people have migrated to the U.S. in order to escape the problems associated with living in communist Poland. Consequently, political oppression has been a primary reason for their transition. Many of the Polish immigrants have moved to the Chicago area. In analyzing this immigration process of these individuals, it is possible to examine their transition through the use of various geographical themes. The purpose of this paper is to examine the Polish immigration to the United States utilizing the geographical themes of the impact of the Polish people on their new environment as evidenced by their methods of assimilation, economic factors, geographical location, and the Americanization of the Polish immigrants.
The Polish people have influenced the United States in numerous ways as they established residence throughout this country, but especially Chicago. One of the ways that they have impacted the United States is by remaining faithful to their religion of Catholicism and desiring educational opportunities for their children.
Consequently, they established many parochial schools where large number of Polish people lived . There were multiple purposes in the establishment of these schools. The first and primary focus was the passing of religious concepts and values to their children. Thus, their quest for literacy for their children was intertwined with their desires for their children to remain in the religion of Poland.
Interestingly, these goals became such a dominant force that Polish educators who were nuns began writing textbooks . These texts were written in the Polish language but utilized American culture and experiences. This assisted the children of Polish immigrants in becoming assimilated into American life while continuing to practice their Polish language and culture. Even today, there is an organization that is referred to as the “Polish National Alliance.”