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Immigration Descrimination

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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.


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 19th century on into the 21st. 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.


"America was built by immigrants." From Plymouth Rock in the 17th century to Ellis Island in the 20th 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 19th 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.


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!!!!!!!!


The Irish were divided within their country for much of the 19th century. The Act of Union of 1803 incorporated the Island country into British Polity. With a rapidly increasing population as a result of the Nepoleonic 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.





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