Seizing america’s promise: one man’s life in the early twentieth century

Cadogan, Heather
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University of Delaware
At the dawn of the twentieth century the United States of America was a symbol of opportunity and hope to many around the world. Hundreds of thousands of immigrants entered the U.S. seeking for themselves and their children a better life than what they had known. Great changes occurred in the country, in part caused and supported by the huge influx of immigrants. Urban populations swelled, the industrial revolution occurred, settlement of western states expanded, and the country entered World War I. In order to understand these historical events, it is necessary to understand the experiences, actions, and decisions of the people who lived through them. The stories are varied, but the details are sometimes lost as a single narrative of the country’s past unfolds. By examining individual stories, we can achieve a more complete understanding of the past, and that, in turn, can help us better interpret events of today. This is the story of Victor Francis Lotrich. He was one of the many who entered the U.S. as an Eastern European immigrant and struggled to find his place in the “land of opportunity.” He immigrated with his parents when he was just three years old, and though he grew up in America, finding his place in it was difficult. He participated in the events that helped shape the country, and his life was one of the countless that built the foundation for the present. This thesis contains his story, some of it in his own words. The story is told in the context of the external events that shaped his life, and it examines the choices he made based on his circumstances. His decisions, in turn, affected the lives of his descendents. His story is one piece in the larger story of our country’s past.