Attention statement: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddles masses yearning to be free" these are the words that have greeted hundreds of thousands of immigrants coming to our country on the gates of Ellis Island. INTRO America is an idea, a set of beliefs about people and their relationships and the kind of society which holds the best hope of satisfying the needs each of us brings as an individual. For countless immigrants, the struggle to arrive in America was rivaled only by the struggle to gain acceptance among the population. Immigrants say they came to America seeking economic opportunity and freedom for themselves and their children, and at the same time they have all, at one time, experienced discrimination.
First, we will be looking at the general history of immigration to the United States from the 19 th century on into the 21 st. We will explain who came to the United States and why. We will focus on the treatment of the larger more prominent groups who emigrated. Finally, we will point out the views of today's immigrants and those who oppose their presence in America. BEGINNING OF BODY "America was built by immigrants." From Plymouth Rock in the 17 th century to Ellis Island in the 20 th century, people from every corner of the earth have come to America. Immigrants left their home countries for various reasons.
Some were fleeing religious persecution and political turmoil. Most, however, came for economic reasons and were part of extensive migratory systems that responded to changing demands in labor markets. The American economy needed both skilled and unskilled workers through much of the 19 th century. But after the 1880's the demand was almost exclusively for unskilled workers to fill the growing number of factories in the American Northeast. Southern and Eastern Europeans dislocated from their land and possessing few skills were attracted to the rapidly increasing industries in the United States.
Four major factors altered their society in Europe; extreme population growth, spreading commercial agriculture, the rise of the factory system, and the proliferation of inexpensive means of transportation. Many immigrants were somewhat coerced to leave their countries. Emigration companies placed advertisements in news papers across Europe, some promising great fortune, land, and prosperity in America, others just encouraged emigration to help the American economy grow. Many immigrants settled in rural America but a great majority of them settled in cities. Concentration of immigrant populations was highest in four of America's largest cities; New York, Boston, Pittsburgh, and Chicago.
Five out of every six Irish and Russian immigrants lived in a city. Three out of four Italian and Hungarian immigrants came to America with very little money to buy farms or farming equipment. Others settled in cities because farming in America was very different from that of Europe. Some immigrants, such as the Slavs, simply came to America too late to acquire land. Jewish and Irish preferred the city because it provided a chance to worship with other Jewish or Irish without persecution.
Germans America, and what they faced after they landed on our shores. We will begin with the German immigrants who arrived after 1800. After 1800, Germans still poured into the United States, but for different reasons than previous generations. Modernization and population growth forced many Germans from their respective family businesses.
In the United States, most Germans lived in the countryside. Large numbers could be found in the Midwest and Texas. Most of the West Coast farmers would sacrifice fertile land for a closer location to other Germans. They would cluster together to form communities not unlike the Chinatowns.
Strangely Germans are the only immigrant group that tended to against each other. These divisions were based on geography, ideology and religion. Religious differences were more enduring. German Lutherans who had immigrated to America had a problem with the Lutheran churches already established in the United States.
These German immigrants found that the existing Lutheran churches had been Americanized, using English as their language during services and doctrine had been liberalized. This lead to extreme hatred between different groups of Germans. German discrimination from other Americans did not come until the United States joined World War I. STILL HAVE TO FINISH THIS! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! Irish The Irish were divided within their country for much of the 19 th century. The Act of Union of 1803 incorporated the Island country into British Polity. With a rapidly increasing population as a result of the Napoleonic Wars, and with religious prejudice of their protestant masters the Catholic Irish soon became bitter and impoverished within their own country.
Many saw emigration as the only alternative to a better life. By 1840, the Irish constituted nearly half of all immigrants. In 1845, the great potato rot touched off a mass migration of Irish. Immigrating to the United States was not the magical solution for most of the Irish.
Peasants arrived without resources, or capital to start their new lives. Irish laborers were the mainstays of the construction gangs that built the great canals that linked rivers to form a national transportation system. Irish began forming small Irish communities along the canals they built. The Irish found themselves working in dangerous factories in the unsanitary cities of the United States. All major cities had their "Irish" town or "shantytowns" where they clung together. At many times throughout immigrant history Irish immigrants were not wanted in America.
Ads for employment often were followed by "NO IRISH NEED APPLY." They were forced to live in cellars and shanties, which are unsanitary, overcrowded, very small apartment housing, partly because of poverty but also because they were considered bad for developing neighborhoods. The conditions in the Irish shantytowns bred sickness and early death for many. Their brogue and dress provoked ridicule; their poverty and illiteracy provoked scorn. Irish immigrants began to be put under strict medical exams when they arrived into the United States and were sent back if hey were in poor health. The large population of Irish Catholic immigrants were feared and detested.
Americans thought that their culture, religious beliefs, and backgrounds could not be retained if thousands of Irish moved in. Chinese The Chinese were the first Asian immigrants to enter the United States. Large-scale immigration began in the 1880's due to the California Gold Rush and the construction of the transcontinental railroad. The Central Pacific railroad undertook part of the construction of the railroad and decided to employ Chinese immigrants because they felt that the people who built the Great Wall of China could certainly build a railroad. But the railroad was a curse as much as it was a good opportunity for the Chinese, accidents; avalanches and explosions were the cause of many Chinese deaths working on the railroad. The first Chinese immigrants were well and widely received by Americans.
It wasn't until a much larger group of Chinese coolies, or unskilled laborers, migrated to the United States that American attitudes became negative and hostile. These Chinese clustered into groups working hard and living very frugally. As their population in the United States grew they formed a large all Chinese cities called Chinatowns all over the country. These cities were often over crowded slum areas infested with crime. In the first decade after the discovery of gold many had taken jobs no one else wanted or that were considered too dirty to work. However, in 1870, hasty exploitation of gold mines and a lack of well paying jobs for non-Asians spurred sentiments that the "rice eaters" were to blame.
As time passed, the resentment against the Chinese increased from those who could not compete with them. Acts of violence against the Chinese continued for decades, mostly from white urban and agricultural workers. Mob violence began to increase against the Chinese until even employers were at risk. Eventually laws, such as the naturalization act of 1870 and the Chinese exclusion act of 1882 restricted immigration of Chinese immigrants into the U.
S. These acts did as much as to restrict immigration to only white persons and persons of African decent, placing Chinese as ineligible for United States citizenship. Italians Beginning in the 1870's, Italians began their migration to the United States. Poverty, overpopulation, and natural disasters all spurred their emigration. The earliest Italian immigrants to the United States were northern Italians. Most Italian immigrants never planned to stay in the u.
s. permanently. Italians headed for cities, where labor was needed and wages were relatively high. They lived as inexpensively as possible under conditions that native born families considered intolerable.
The Italians were manual laborers, particularly likely to take on heavy construction jobs. Most started at the very bottom of the occupational ladder, working any hard, dirty, dangerous jobs others did not want, even Italian children worked at an early age even at the expense of their education. Italians in America clustered into groups related to their place of origin. Meaning Tuscans did not live near Sicilians. Toward the 1920's Italian only neighborhoods were very common called little Italy's. Many Italian settled in the parts of the United States that was most like their own homes in Italy.
For example, Sicilians resided in New Orleans, northern Italians settled in California. The living conditions tended to be overcrowded and filthy all over the U. S. Italians of the early 20 th century became known for their extreme poverty and family crime gangs.
Japanese By the 1900's the majority of half of all Japanese immigrants in the world living in the U. S. , lived in Hawaii. Most were farmers and farm laborers immigrating like the Italians only for a temporary stay. The Japanese relations with the larger society were to some extent shaped by the fact that they followed in the wake of the Chinese. The Japanese began in the same fashion, and were initially welcomed as substitutes for the Chinese as coolie labor.
Their rising advancement and success, however, soon lumped them together with the Chinese as the "yellow peril" that threatened the living standard of American workers, businessmen, and American society in general. When they first arrived, the Japanese gained their initial foothold in agriculture by working as agriculture laborers for lower wages than whites, and then acquiring farms by paying more than whites for land. On December 7, 1941, Japan's attack on pearl harbor set the stage for a traumatic landmark in the history of Japanese Americans. Anti-Japanese feelings ran high, especially on America's mainland. The economic impact of this was devastating; businesses built up over many years had to be liquidated in a matter of week, with incriminating losses. In February 1942, Americans began to urge the evacuation of all Japanese American citizens.
They felt Japanese are the enemy and whether they have been Americanized or not their racial strains are undiluted. Faced with this was president Franklin d. Roosevelt, who signed executive order 9066 which empowered the military to exclude person from military exclusion areas. With this order more than 120, 000 people of Japanese ancestry were relocated and interned.
Executive order 9102 signed in march 1942 established a war relocation authority to formulate and put into effect a program for the removal, relocation maintenance and supervision of all persons excluded pursuant to executive order 9066. A series of civilian exclusion orders were put into play, which directed the exclusion of all people of Japanese ancestry. The justification for the relocation of Japanese Americans into internment camps was the fear of espionage or sabotage from enemy aliens. It was allegedly more difficult to distinguish loyal Japanese Americans from Japanese loyal to the emperor of Japan.
It took until 1988 for congress to formally apologize on behalf of the United States and authorized restitution for surviving internees. Discrimination The term "native" to us means Indian, but to Americans in the 1880's into the mid 1900's, although their ancestors had been immigrants just generations before consider themselves as true Americans. At first, many Americans leaders felt that immigration was highly beneficial to the u. s. economy, that it was essential to American prosperity. As the American industry grew so did the need for unskilled labor.
The work place of immigrants led to labor unrest and unions. Employers made wages for immigrants much lower than for other employees. The intention for this ill treatment was hope that the immigrant workers would warn their relatives of the bad conditions in the u. s. , discouraging them from immigrating as well.
This direct discrimination was hypocritical in the democratic liberal society of America. Other forms of discrimination came in the form of eugenics. The "science" eugenics claimed that cultural and social patterns were a result of heredity and therefore controllable though selective breeding. Immigration restriction was an example of eugenics.
Americans seized upon eugenics as a means of rationalizing their racism scientifically. They felt that some humans with inferior traits were causing Americas social problems. Since many Americans already assumed that southeastern Europeans, Africans, Jews, Asians, Mid westerners, and Indians were of inferior blood. Eugenics simply gave scientific proof. Some people even went as far as to say that the population of the u. s.
will, on account of the great influx of blood from southeastern Europe rapidly became darker in pigmentation, smaller in stature, and more given to crimes of larceny, kidnapping, assault, murder, and sexual immorality and that the ratio of insanity in the population would rapidly increase. Advocates of eugenics called for more than immigration restrictions, they called for measures such as sterilization, controlled breeding, institutionalization, and even the death penalty. The ideas of Charles Darwin sparked great controversy and many different interpretations of evolution found their way into the public discourse. The Anglo Saxon myth also contributed to the discrimination of the immigrant population. The myth is the idea that the process of evolution had culminated in the "Anglo Saxon race" which was far superior to any other race on the planet. Such believers claimed that more "primitive" races, meaning those not from northwest Europe, did not posses the mental, physical, or social capacities of Anglo Saxons.
The Anglo Saxons or Aryans were responsible for all finer points of civilization. Some went as far as to rely on the slope of ones forehead as a reliable indicator of human intelligence. The Anglo Saxon forehead slope allowed scientists to conjecture that they were necessarily more intelligent. CONCLUSION Today the immigrant population has mainly been that of Latino or Southeast Asian decent. The discrimination of today is not so different from that of the past. The low paid menial jobs still tend to be the job for the newcomers to the country.
But, many Americans today see immigration as a way to take away American jobs and that the student visa program of the immigration and naturalization service is giving free education to people who have no intention of using their American education to benefit our American workforce but to benefit their country. There seems to be a bit of a catch twenty-two. Some Americans do not want their jobs to be taken by immigrants but at the same time do not want immigrants to acquire an American education unless they plan on putting it to use in America. Today, in considering America's rich immigrant history and hundreds of nationalities, which have come to the u. s. to see a new home, we are keenly aware of the hardships and rejection faced by newcomers as they attempted to assimilate into American culture.
For countless immigrants, the struggle to arrive in America was rivaled only by the struggle to gain acceptance among the population. It is wrong to allow one group to infringe upon anthers rights only because o religious, or cultural differences. The prejudice demonstrated against immigrants is a violation of their constitutional rights. After all, because of the fact the first inhabitants of America were native Americans, everyone who lives in the United States can be considered of immigrant ancestry. Repeatedly, immigrants's take in American society and their right to be American citizens was denied. It was their right to become American citizens.
We wanted to bring this topic of immigrant discrimination to all of your attention because we must learn from past encroachments of rights to ensure that they do not occur in the future.