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Immigrants in the United States. Dr. Marni Davis Assistant Professor of History Georgia State University. “Once I thought to write a history of the immigrants in America. Then I discovered that the immigrants were American history.” - Oscar Handlin, The Uprooted (1951). 1870s – 1920s:

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Immigrants in the united states

Immigrants in the United States

Dr. Marni Davis

Assistant Professor of History

Georgia State University


“Once I thought to write a history of the immigrants in America. Then I discovered that the immigrants were American history.”

- Oscar Handlin,

The Uprooted (1951)


  • 1870s – 1920s: America. Then I discovered that the immigrants

  • Approximately 23.5 million immigrants arrived in the United States

  • Primarily from Southern Europe (Italian Catholics) and Eastern Europe (Russian and Polish Jews)

    • And: Germans, Austro-Hungarians, British, Irish, Scandinavians, Mexicans, Chinese, Japanese

  • The Making of Modern America:

    • industrialization

    • urbanization

    • consumer capitalism


Framing the issue
Framing the issue… America. Then I discovered that the immigrants

  • Why did immigrants come to the United States?

  • What was their arrival like?

  • Once they got here, what did they do?

  • What did other Americans think of immigrants?

  • How did they become “American”?


1 why did immigrants come to the united states
1. Why did immigrants come to the United States? America. Then I discovered that the immigrants

  • An era of worldwide population movement

  • The PUSH and the PULL

    • PUSH: cataclysm in home country

    • PULL: attraction of destination country

  • Economic Opportunity


2 what was their arrival like
2. What was their arrival like? America. Then I discovered that the immigrants

Castle Garden Immigrant Landing and Processing Depot, NYC (1866)


Ship manifest of immigrant passengers available at www ellisisland org
Ship Manifest of Immigrant Passengers America. Then I discovered that the immigrants (available at www.ellisisland.org)


Inspecting and testing immigrants
Inspecting and Testing Immigrants America. Then I discovered that the immigrants

Angel Island, CA

Ellis Island, NY


3 once they got here what did they do
3. Once they got here, what did they do? America. Then I discovered that the immigrants

A) They went where the jobs were …

  • Agriculture (both permanent and seasonal)

    • Central Europeans and Scandinavians in Midwest

    • Asians and Mexicans on West Coast

    • Chinese and Italians in South

  • Railroad

    • Chinese immigrants in the West

    • Irish immigrants in the East

  • Industrial labor

    • Slavic immigrants and Northern Europeans in heavy industry (coal, steel)

    • Eastern European Jews in garment industry

    • Chinese and Japanese in western fish industry


3 once they got here what did they do1
3. Once they got here, what did they do? America. Then I discovered that the immigrants

B) They went where their people were …

  • ETHNIC ENCLAVES

A great teaching tool: The New York Times INTERACTIVE IMMIGRATION MAP:

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/03/10/us/20090310-immigration-explorer.html


4 what did other americans think of immigrants
4 America. Then I discovered that the immigrants . What did other Americans think of immigrants?

November 22, 1869


Naturalization act of 1790
Naturalization Act of 1790 America. Then I discovered that the immigrants

“… Any Alien being a free white person, who shall have resided within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States for the term of two years, may be admitted to become a citizen thereof ...”

BUT: Who is “White?”

“the Number of purely white People in the World is proportionably very small ... in Europe, the Spaniards, Italians, French, Russians and Swedes, are generally of what we call a swarthy Complexion; as are the Germans also, the Saxons only excepted, who with the English, make the principal Body of White People on the Face of the Earth.”

-- Benjamin Franklin, 1751


Chinese immigrants in 19 th century america
Chinese Immigrants in America. Then I discovered that the immigrants 19th Century America


On the chinese question
On the “Chinese Question” America. Then I discovered that the immigrants

Harper’s Weekly, July 16, 1870

Lithograph, San Francisco, late 1860s


On the chinese question1
On the “Chinese Question” America. Then I discovered that the immigrants

Harper’s Weekly, June 12. 1869


European America. Then I discovered that the immigrants

Immigration

as a Threat

“The Stranger at Our Gate,”

Our Day (1896)

Puck Magazine, June 7, 1882


Urbanization and reform
Urbanization and Reform America. Then I discovered that the immigrants

Settlement House in Chicago, early twentieth century

Garment workers’ strike, NYC, 1909


The closing of the gates
The closing of the gates … America. Then I discovered that the immigrants

  • 1924: Johnson-Reed Act: Permanent immigration quota law established a preference quota system by national origin.

    • Border Patrol also established.

  • 1929: Annual quotas of the 1924 Act were made permanent.

    • Quota law remains in place until 1965


5 becoming american
5 America. Then I discovered that the immigrants . “Becoming” “American”

  • Assimilation:

    • The conversion of nutriments into living tissue.

    • The process whereby a minority group adopts the customs and attitudes of the prevailing culture.

  • Acculturation:

    • the adoption of the behavior patterns of the surrounding culture; socialization.

  • Adaptation:

    • Change in behavior of a person or group in response to new or modified surroundings.


The melting pot and other metaphors
The “Melting Pot” America. Then I discovered that the immigrants (and other metaphors)


How did these immigrants become american
How did these immigrants become “American?” America. Then I discovered that the immigrants

Factors that affected “Americanization”:

  • Continued pull of transnational networks

  • Ethnic community as circumscribing force

  • Gender / Generation

  • Economic status

  • Popular culture / Sports

  • Passage of time / Changing attitudes toward particular immigrant groups


http:// America. Then I discovered that the immigrants www.leftycartoons.com/history-marches-on-nativism-marches-in-place/


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