Immigration in America
Immigration in America began in 16th century with Spanish settlers, later English and French settlers joined in the 17th century. However, despite continuous immigration in American history, 1880 to 1924 proved to be the epochal period. Between the year 1877 and 1900 immigration took a different perspective as the number increased, increasing concern within the native-born white Americans as compared to the Indian people or black people living in America. During that period, approximately 7,348,000 immigrants entered United States. This led to increase in population from 49 million within 1880’s to 76 Million in the year, 1900.
Before the year 1880, immigrants entered America largely from China and Western Europe. Taking the period between 1860 and 1900, Germans made a figure of about 28 percent of the total American immigrants; at the same time British made up a total of 18 percent, Irish 15 percent, as well as Scandinavians comprising of 11 percent. Grouped together, the total percentage became 72 which was really a major raise. By the end of that century, the “New Immigration” highlighted the increase of eastern and southern Europe as being the originality of majority immigrants coming to America. This influx of the immigrants worried native-born residents of Americas who knew United States as a country was owned by white Protestant republic. Due to that high influx, the immigrants did not, within the current racial classifications, count themselves as white. Again, the mix up led to increase of Catholics and Jewish in America. Therefore, the immigrants entered all sections in America, fast and in large numbers but they did not occupy the South. They later settled in Midwestern and northeastern cities as well as on western within the Midwestern farms. The highest percentage of the immigrant was contained in the Pacific as well as mountain west region from 1880 to 1890.
The new immigrants later forged some networks that signaled where and how they migrated as well as the types of communities established upon their settlement. The Chain of migrations process linked migrants to other prior migrants within the country. The population grew day by day as the early arrivals would write home calling family, neighbors, and friends to America. Swaths of Dakotas, the Minnesota, as well as elsewhere in German became the principle language of the immigrants. Tensions grew between the native born and the immigrants on the language to be used in churches, public schools, businesses, as well as temperance reform which put cultural issues as well as practices within the center of local as well as politics of the state.
Immigration together with the end of Reconstruction led to a movement that was against democracy, thus restricting free access to ballot box in States. At the beginning of 1870s, proponents restricting suffrage had already defeated or conquered an early women’s suffrage, as they were calling democracy a mistake and a fraud. Together, they advocated and supported restrictions while voting terming it as corrupt, way of increasing political culture, as well as a way of marginalizing immigrants as well as blacks, with whom they termed as unable to meet the reforms and obligations of republicans involved in politics. The Americans sought some political changes that could make it difficult for the immigrants and the poor vote. This would be evident since they would use poll taxes, literacy requirements and residence requirements. Therefore, the mass politics as well as high rates of voting factors of 19th century America could not outlive the period.
Those attempts targeting restriction of suffrage were part and parcel of a political as well as social negative attempt against those immigrants that had emerged over the century. The reason as to why United States allowed the immigrants would be to help growing economy, however the nativists immigrants as people who are antithetical to American society and culture. Again, they mistook immigrants as inassimilable and exotic. In some situations, nativists comprised of allies who would be immigrants or children of immigrants in the States. The workers, from both sides immigrant as well as native born Americans, feared that corporations would use contract labor—employees that were recruited in different countries at lower salaries than the normal wages paid by the American workers, aimed at undermining the working conditions of the Americans and their families. This made them to oppose some kinds of immigration in their land. For instance, one of the reforms within that period comprised of, the Foran Act amendment in 1885, it outlawed contract labor in America, although the law proved hard to be enforced.
Alliances of native-born Americans together with immigrants against others emerged as the most effective in some case of Chinese. For instance, like 180,000 Chinese entered United States from 1849 to 1882, therefore becoming the personification of inassimilable immigrant as well as contract workers. However, the Chinese entered as laborers who were free, they were later branded as being cool: semi-slaves, with low living standards that allowed them to work on salaries that would not sustain white families.
On the other hand, some racists previously claimed the superior Anglo-Saxons could inevitably take over from “inferior” races or immigrants. This would be from the West, as Sinophobe took the Chinese immigrants as exotic as well as inferior. Again, they thought the Chinese would dominate over the superior white people since they were reliable and efficient workers. Native born together with the immigrants mobilized mobs that assaulted the Chinese people at Rock Springs, in 1885, thus expelling them from Washington, Tacoma in 1885 as well as Seattle in 1886. This was followed by a congress passing restrictions amounting to ten years on Chinese immigration from 1882 to 1892 as well as permanent exclusion act form at 1902.
In conclusion, immigration in American started in 16th century but it intensified from 1877 to 1900. This period saw a high influx of European, Germanys and other people from different nationalities in United States. They occupied American land in a fast manner, thus raising the population from 49 million to 76 million between 1877 and 1900. These led to different cultures in America and conflicts arose between the native born Americans and the immigrants due to language, social and economic advantages. It later led to Chinese being chased due to such competitions.
Gerber, David A. American Immigration: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. Print.
Hoerder, Dirk. American Labor and Immigration History, 1877-1920s: Recent European Research. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 1993. Print.
Portes, Alejandro and Rubén G. Rumbaut. Immigrant America: A Portrait. Carlifornia: University of California Press, 2006. Print.
Rubin, Rachel and Jeffrey Paul Melnick. Immigration and American Popular Culture: An Introduction. New York: NYU Press, 2007. Print.