In Lithuania, he participated in his studies on the anti-tsarist activities and fled for fear of arrest in 1882 in the United States. There, he worked as a journalist and soon wrote articles for the Jewish " Arbeiter Zeitung ". In 1896 he was awarded the novel written in English, Yekl: famous A Tale of the New York Ghetto (1896 ) which addressed the situation of Jewish immigrants in the U.S. in documentary and naturalistic way. In 1917 he took up the theme again in The Rise of David Levinsky on, which today is considered one of the most important novels about the experience of immigrants in the United States.
On April 22, 1897, he founded the Yiddish newspaper Der Forverts ( engl. The Forward), which reached a circulation of a quarter of a million copies of his weddings, making it the largest non- English-language newspaper of the U.S.; the sheet is still used today in three languages ( Yiddish, English, Russian).
1926 to 1931 Cahan published a five-volume autobiography Bleter fun my life.