Immigration and reform
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Immigration and Reform. Immigration. Immigration Waves First and Second Wave Naturalization Law and Race The Case of Puerto Rico Chinese Exclusion Acts Public opinion Labor leaders’ opinion Legislation Loopholes in Legislation Construction of Racial Difference Visually

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Immigration and Reform

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Immigration and Reform


  • Immigration Waves

    • First and Second Wave

    • Naturalization Law and Race

    • The Case of Puerto Rico

  • Chinese Exclusion Acts

    • Public opinion

    • Labor leaders’ opinion

    • Legislation

    • Loopholes in Legislation

  • Construction of Racial Difference

    • Visually

    • Legally

  • Immigration Restriction

    • Literacy tests and Quotas

    • Act of 1924

Immigration Waves in US History

  • antebellum, 1840-1860—largely northern European, especially England, Ireland and Germany—approx. 4.5 million

  • late 1890-1920—largely Southern and Eastern European, including Polish and Russian Jews, Italian, Greek—approx. 14.5 million

  • also Asian immigrants in the late 19th-early 20th century, in much fewer numbers (for example, Chinese immigrants built US railroads)

  • Immigration Act of 1924 establishes national quotas for immigration - immigration drops sharply

  • after 1965 immigration act reform - immigrants from Latin America, the Caribbean, and Asia outnumber those from Europe

Immigration Waves > Naturalization Law and Race in US History

  • 1790 - Congress limits naturalization to white persons

  • 1870 - Congress adds African Americans (naturalization limited to “free white persons” and “persons of African descent”)

  • 1952 - racial prerequisite for naturalization eliminated

Immigration Waves > The Case of Puerto Rico

  • 1898 - Puerto Rico acquired as a result of Spanish-American War

  • 1917 - US Citizenship extended to Puerto Ricans

  • 1950-1951 - Puerto Rico becomes a “Commonwealth,” has a right to establish a government with proper constitution, officially no longer a colony

  • 1953 - The largest Puerto Rican migration to the mainland US (69,124)

  • Plebiscites and referendums on the political status of Puerto Rico: 1967 (commonwealth 60%, state 39%, independence 1%) , 1993, 1998 - the commonwealth is reaffirmed each time with increasingly narrower margins

  • non-binding 1998 referendum:

    • remain a US commonwealth: 0.06%

    • “free association” between commonwealth and independence: 0.29%

    • become a state: 46.49%

    • declare independence: 2.54%

    • none of the above: 50.30%

Immigration Waves > The Godfather, Part II (1974)

Immigration Waves > Alfred Stieglitz, “The Steerage,” 1907

Chinese Exclusion > Cartoon on the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882

Chinese Exclusion > “The Chinese: Many Handed But Soulless,” The Wasp, 1885

Chinese Exclusion > “The Bradys and the Chinese Dwarf,” ca. 1907

Chinese Exclusion > Labor leaders’ opinion

  • Denis Kearney, California’s Workingmen’s Party (typical)

    • Chinese laborers are “cheap working slaves” who lower white workers’ standard of living and should be banished from the U.S.

  • Joseph McDonnell, an Irish-born socialist

    • Intolerance against the Chinese repeats earlier “intolerant, silly and shameful cry” against the Irish. Workers should learn from this history and unite

  • B.E.G. Jewett, a socialist

    • Corporate employers-“oppressors, money-mongers”-are to blame

    • “What we want to fight is not the Chinese nor any other imported stock, be they Durham bulls or Spanish mules—be they men, women or babies—but we want to fight the importers, persons, who, ministering to their own greed, to the lust of the flesh and the pride of life, sell (or contract) into bondage the labor of others, and drive still others into deeper degradation and poverty. Let our pacific coast friends fight the wealth mongers, and not their slaves, and they will have not only justice but right on their side. Not say ‘the Chinese must go,’ but that ‘the oppressors, money-mongers, Sharons, et al. must go.’”

Chinese Exclusion > Acts of 1882, 1884, and 1888 and related legislation

  • Only Chinese non-laborers and those who were born in the U.S. can enter

  • Those who resided in the U.S. prior to 1880 can remain if they don’t leave the country

  • If they leave they can come back if they have at least one thousand dollars worth of property or debts owned to them

  • The status of wife and child followed that of a husband

  • No Chinese could be naturalized as U.S. citizen

Chinese Exclusion > Loopholes in Legislation

  • Many Chinese were able to get into the U.S. by appealing to U.S. Courts even after the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882

  • The prohibition of judicial review of immigration decisions did not apply to the Chinese because unlike other immigrants until 1903 they did not come under purview of the Bureau of Immigration and immigration law

  • Judges often ruled in favor of Chinese plaintiffs because they adhered to Anglo-American common law traditions of habeas corpus and evidentiary rules of witness testimony (for example, did not require two white witnesses)

  • Newcomers relied on community groups and white lawyers to make their case for citizenship based on witness testimony

  • This continued until 1905 when the Bureau of Immigration took over Chinese immigration and was granted final jurisdiction in the question of citizenship

Construction of Racial Difference > Fragment

What is this man’s ethnic background?

Construction of Racial Difference > Entire Cartoon, ca. Civil War

Construction of Racial Difference > Arnold Genthe, “An Unsuspecting Victim,” 1908

Construction of Racial Difference > Using photography to emphasize difference

Construction of Racial Difference > Emphasizing difference

Construction of Racial Difference > Emphasizing difference

Construction of Racial Difference > Jacob Riis, “Bandit’s Roost, 59 1/2 Mulberry Street,” c. 1888

Construction of Racial Difference > Jacob Riis, “Bandit’s Roost,” How the Other Half Lives (1890)

Construction of Racial Difference > Jacob Riis, “Mullen’s Alley, Cherry Hill,” 1888

Construction of Racial Difference > “Home of an Italian Ragpicker,” 1888

Construction of Racial Difference > “One of Four Pedlars Who Slept in the Cellar of 11 Ludlow Street Rear,” c. 1892

Construction of Racial Difference > Supreme Court Decisions

In re Balsara, 1909Asian Indians are probably not WhiteCongressional intent

U.S. v. Dolla, 1910Asian Indians are WhiteOcular inspection of skin

U.S. v. Balsara 1910Asian Indians are WhiteScientific evidence 

In re Sadar Bhagwab Singh, 1917Asian Indians are not WhiteCommon knowledge 

Congressional intent

In re Mohan Singh, 1919Asian Indians are WhiteScientific evidence 

In re Thind, 1920Asian Indians are WhiteLegal precedent

U.S. v. Thind, 1923Asian Indians are not WhiteCommon knowledge 

Congressional intent

In re Najour, 1909Syrians are WhiteScientific evidence

In re Mudarri, 1910Syrians are WhiteScientific evidence 

Legal precedent

In re Ellis, 1910Syrians are WhiteCommon knowledge 

Congressional intent

Ex parte Shahid, 1913Syrians are not WhiteCommon knowledge

Ex parte Dow, 1914Syrians are not WhiteCommon knowledge

In re Dow, 1914Syrians are not WhiteCommon knowledge 

Congressional intent

Dow v. U.S., 1915Syrians are WhiteScientific evidence 

Congressional intent 

Legal precedent

Construction of Racial Difference > Supreme Court Decisions

In re Mallari, 1916Filipinos are not WhiteNo explanation

In re Rallos, 1917Filipinos are not WhiteLegal precedent

U.S. v. Javier, 1927Filipinos are not WhiteLegal precedent

De La Ysla v. U.S., 1935Filipinos are not WhiteLegal precedent

De Cano v. State, 1941Filipinos are not WhiteLegal precedent

In re Halladjian, 1909Armenians are WhtieScientific evidence 

Legal precedent

U.S. v. Cartozian, 1925Armenians are WhiteScientific evidence 

Common knowledge  

Legal precedent

In re Feroz Din, 1928Afghanis are not WhiteCommon knowledge

In re Ahmed Hassan, 1942Arabians are not WhiteCommon knowledge 

Ex parte Mohriez, 1944Arabians are not White Legal precedent

Construction of Racial Difference > U.S. v Bhagat Singh Thind, 1923

Immigration Restriction > Ku Klux Klan Marching in DC

Immigration Restriction > Cartoon on the Literacy Test

Immigration Restriction > Cartoon on the Quota Act of 1921

Immigration Restriction > Act of 1924 (The Johnson-Reed Act)

  • Based ceilings on the number of immigrants from any particular nation on 2 percent of each nationality recorded in the 1890 census

  • Was directed against immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe who arrived in large numbers after 1890

  • Barred all immigrants ineligible for citizenship on racial grounds, including all south and east Asians (including Indians, Japanese, and Chinese)

  • 1965 Hart-Celler Act abandones the national origins quota system

Immigration Restriction > Annual Immigration Quotas, 1924

  • Germany - 51,227

  • Great Britain - 34,007

  • Ireland - 28,567

  • Italy - 3,845

  • Hungary - 473

  • Greece - 100

  • Egypt - 100

Immigration Restriction > Map of Europe, Literary Digest, 1924

Progressive Reform

  • Politics

    • Teddy Roosevelt and the rule of socially-conscious experts

    • End of “liberty of contract” doctrine

  • Art and Culture

    • Realism in art (Ashcan School)

    • Muckraking journalism

    • Documentary photography

  • Immigration and Labor

    • Settlement House movement

    • Idea of the “melting pot”

    • Fordism and Taylorism

Progressive Politics > President Theodore Roosevelt, 1901-1909

Art and Culture > John Sloan, Parade, Washington Square, 1910

Art and Culture > George Bellows, Dempsey and Firpo, 1924

Art and Culture > Cartoon about Muckraking Journalism

Art and Culture > Jacob Riis, “Bandit’s Roost, 59 1/2 Mulberry Street,” c. 1888

Art and Culture > Child Labor Poster with Lewis Hine’s Photographs

Immigration and Labor > Jane Addams, founder of the Hull House

Immigration and Labor > Hull House Complex, 1902

Immigration and Labor > Hull House Kindergarten Class, 1902

Immigration and Labor > Hull House “Labor Museum,” 1902

Immigration and Labor > Cartoon about the Melting Pot, 1889

Immigration and Labor > Henry Ford’s Model T, 1915

Immigration and Labor > Henry Ford’s automobile assembly line

Immigration and Labor > Photographic Motion Study, 1894

Charlie Chaplin comments on the assembly line in Modern Times, 1936

World War I AbroadandCivil Liberties at Home

World War I

  • Prelude to War

    • Election of 1912

    • Woodrow Wilson

  • War in Europe

    • New type of warfare

    • U.S. reaction

  • U.S. in World War I

    • The sinking of Lusitania

    • Reasons for U.S. entry

    • U.S. soldiers in the war

  • End of War

    • The Bolshevik Revolution

    • The Versailles Treaty

    • The League of Nations

Pre-War > Election of 1912

  • Four candidates:

    • William Taft - incumbent, Republican

    • Woodrow Wilson - surprise candidate, Democrat

    • Teddy Roosevelt - progressive “Bull Moose” party, best showing ever by 3rd party

    • Eugene Debs - socialist, won 6% of the vote - the most votes won by a socialist candidate in US history

  • Stood for different approaches to US politics

    • Taft - laissez-faire Gilded Age politics

    • Wilson - progressivist, pro-small business and competition

    • Roosevelt - militant anti-trust politics

    • Debs - peaceful overthrow of capitalism

Pre-War > Cartoon on the election of 1912

Pre-War > Eugene Debs for Presidency, 1912

Pre-War > Taft at Wilson’s inauguration, 1913

Pre-War > Harper’s supporting Wilson in the election of 1912

Pre-War > Woodrow Wilson cited in a film lauding the KKK, Birth of a Nation, 1916

War in Europe > The Western Front

War in Europe > Gas masks used in World War I

War in Europe > Lyrics of World War I songs


A poor aviator lay dying.

At the end of a bright summer’s day.

His comrades had gathered about him.

To carry his fragments away.

The airplane was piled on his wishbone,

His Hotchkiss was wrapped round his head;

He wore a spark-plug on each elbow,

'Twas plain he would shortly be dead.

He spit out a valve and a gasket,

And stirred in the sump where he lay,

And then to his wondering comrades,

These brave parting words he did say:

And the butterfly valve off my neck,

Extract from my liver the crankshaft,

There are lots of good parts in this wreck.

And the cylinders out of my brain,

Take the piston rods out of my kidneys,

And assemble the engine again."


Oh God damnn the bombin' planes from Germany.

They’re over us, they’re over us,

One shell-hole for the four of us

Glory be to God there are no more of us

'Cause one of us could fill it all alone.

Gassed last night—gassed the night before,

Gonna get gassed again if we never git

gassed no more,

When we’re gassed, we’re as sick as we can be,

'Cause phosgene and mustard gas is too much

for me.

War in Europe > Deformed faces of soldiers

War in Europe > Cartoon on the war from nonwestern point of view, Chicago Daily News, 1914

War in Europe > Cartoon on the war from nonwestern point of view, Columbus, OH, Dispatch, 1915

War in Europe > Cartoon on German atrocities in Belgium, Life, 1915

U.S. in World War I > The Sinking of Lusitania, 1915

U.S. in World War I > Cartoon about the Zimmerman telegram, March 1917

U.S. in World War I > Reasons for US entry into World War I

  • War profits U.S. traded heavily with Britain and France but complied with a British embargo on trading with Germany

  • Anglophilia on the part of leaders like Woodrow Wilson and also among ordinary Americans (but not German or Irish immigrants)

  • Security of loans to Europe

  • The vision of a “liberal democratic world order”:

    • Wilson envisioned trade between equal national partners just as he envisioned a domestic economy made up of small businesses instead of huge trusts

U.S. in World War I > The Poster by the Committee on Public Information

U.S. in World War I > Black Troops in France, 1918

U.S. in World War I > US Government Film about American Soldiers in the War

U.S. in World War I > German leaflet addressed to black troops in France

U.S. in World War I > American ambulance similar to the one Ernest Hemingway drove in Milan in 1918

U.S. in World War I > Typical Questions on the IQ test

Garnets are usually

A. yellow

B. blue

C. green

D. red

Soap is made by

A. B. T. Babbitt

B. Smith & Wesson

C. W. L. Douglas

D. Swift & Co.

Laura Jean Libby is known as a

A. singer

B. suffragist

C. writer

D. army nurse

If you are lost in a forest in the daytime, what is the thing to do?

Hurry to the nearest house you know of

Look for something to eat

Use the sun or a compass for a guide

U.S. in World War I > US Army Intelligence Test Results

End of World War I > Cartoon on the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917

Caption: “Count Parasitsky will not occupy his palatial residence in the mountains this summer. He expects to remain in the city and do uplift work.”

End of World War I > Europe in 1914

End of World War I > Europe in 1919

End of World War I > Cartoon on the European view of the League of Nations

End of World War I > Cartoon on Woodrow Wilson and the League of Nations, 1919

End of World War I > Cartoon on the international entanglements of the League of Nations

World War I and Civil Liberties

  • Wartime Restriction of Civil Liberties

    • Espionage and Sedition Acts

    • The free speech cases

  • Cultural censorship

    • Anti-German sentiments

    • Jane Addams

  • 1919

    • Suffrage

    • Prohibition

    • Race riots

    • Strike wave

  • Red Scare

    • Fear of Bolshevism

    • The Palmer Raids

World War I > Wartime Restriction of Civil Liberties in US History

  • 1798: Alien and Sedition Acts

  • Civil War: Suspension of Habeas Corpus

  • 1917: The Espionage Act

  • 1919-1920: The Red Scare

World War I > Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman, anarchists censored to two years in penitentiary and fined $10,000 each for opposing the draft, July 9, 1917

World War I > Eugene Debs was jailed again under the Espionage Act in 1918

World War I > Cartoon against the Sedition Act, 1920

World War I > Supreme Court Free Speech Cases

  • Charles Schenk v. United States (1919)

    • convicted under the Espionage Act of 1917

    • distributed antiwar pamphlets

    • conviction upheld

    • Oliver Wendell Holmes: “man shouting in a crowded theater,” “clear and present danger”

  • Jacob Abrams v. United States (1919)

    • convicted under the Espionage Act

    • distributed pamphlets and agitated against the war

    • conviction upheld

    • Holmes dissented: “the defendants were deprived of their rights under the constitution of the United States”

  • Benjamin Gitlow v New York (1925)

    • convicted under the New York Criminal Anarchy Law of 1902

    • called for the overthrow of U.S. government

    • the Court upheld the state law but extended the reach of the First amendment

    • Holmes dissented: “government must show the clear and immediate danger.”

World War I > The Poster by the Committee on Public Information

World War I > Some names changed because of the war with Germany

  • Hamburger - “liberty stake”

  • Sauerkraut - “liberty cabbage”

  • German measles - “liberty measles”

  • dashchunds - “liberty pups”

  • Berlin, Iowa - Lincoln, Iowa

  • Kaiser Street - Maine Way

World War I > Cartoon making fun of Jane Addams, 1918

Suffrage > Men at the National Anti-Suffrage Association Headquaters

Suffrage > The National Women’s Party pickets the White House in January 1917

Suffrage > Radical Suffragist Alice Paul in Iron Jawed Angels (2004)

Suffrage > Women’s Suffrage Cartoon

Prohibition > Prohibition Cartoon, San Francisco Chronicle, May 1919

Prohibition > Cartoon Announcing the End of Crime Due to Prohibition, 1919

Race Riots > Police “Rescues” a Black Man During the Chicago Race Riot

Strike Wave > The Seattle General Strike

Strike Wave > Steel Workers Announce the Walk-Out, October 4, 1919

Strike Wave > US Steel Corporation Poster Proclaims Victory

Strike Wave > Strike Ballot in Several European Languages, 1919

Strike Wave > New York World Cartoon about the Railroad Strike, April 1919

Red Scare > Philadelphia Inquirer cartoon against Bolshevism, 1919

Red Scare > Literary Digest on the Bombing of Palmer’s Home, June 1919

Red Scare > Police searches suspects in Palmer raids

Red Scare > Chicago Tribune Cartoon on Foreign Radicals, June 1919

Red Scare > Spider-web chart linking women’s rights groups to radicalism, 1922

Red Scare > Debs and Palmer on Radicalism

Eugene Debs, 1918:

“I believe in the Constitution. Isn’t it strange that we Socialists stand almost alone today in upholding and defending the Constitution of the United States? The revolutionary fathers … understood that free speech, a free and the right of free assemblage by the people were fundamental principles in democratic government. … I believe in the right of free speech, in war as well as peace.”

Attorney General Mitchell Palmer, 1920:

“Like a prairie-fire, the blaze of revolution was sweeping over every American institution of law and order a year ago. It was eating its way into the homes of the American workmen, its sharp tongues of revolutionary heat were licking the altars of the churches, leaping into the belfry of the school bell, crawling into the sacred corners of American homes, seeking to replace marriage vows with libertine laws, burning up the foundations of society. …

My information showed that communism in this country was an organization of thousands of aliens who were direct allies of Trotzky. Aliens of the same misshapen caste of mind and indecencies of character, and it showed that they were making the same glittering promises of lawlessness, of criminal autocracy to Americans, that they had made to the Russian peasants.”

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