Immigration Dbq Essay

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The United States’ government instilled a closed door policy with the creation of many immigration laws in an effort to make America a melting pot of similar ethnicities. However, the prejudice of American society that was enforced by immigration policy forced immigrants to form their own communities for the purpose of survival and protection, turning America into a mosaic of different cultures. The Burlingame Treaty of 1868 and Naturalization Act of 1870 both created a false image of acceptance for immigrants while simultaneously restricting immigration. The United States’ government only began clearly restricting immigration with the Page Act of 1875 and Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. The Burlingame Treaty of 1868 encouraged Chinese immigration for work on railroads and southern plantations while simultaneously withholding the privilege of naturalization. This encouraged the emergence of ‘coolie’ laborers, whose passage into the United States was paid for under the agreement that they would work as indentured servants for a pre-determined period of time. Although the Chinese helped build the transcontinental railroad, their unusual style of dress still created prejudice against their ethnicity. This lead to the creation of Chinatowns as a necessary cultural barrier used for protection against the rest of society. After encouraging Chinese immigration, the government realized that these immigrants would procreate and needed to decide what immigration status children born in America would hold. The Naturalization Act of 1870 was the solution to this question, declaring any child born in the United States a citizen of the country, regardless of the race of the child. This necessarily lead to more immigration restrictions since a... ... middle of paper ... ...d not assimilate to accepted American culture. However, by the time society learned which ethnicities were ‘unassimilable’, the cultures had already begun to take root in America. At first America had a knee-jerk reaction to this realization and began passing more resolutions preventing ‘non-whites’ from entering the United States. However, as America experienced the increase in cultural communities in reaction to prejudice formed by immigration laws, the government learned that only through a loosening of immigration law and lessening of prejudice would America become a true melting pot. The mid-1900s saw this manifestation in America, as immigration laws allowed more people from around the world to immigrate. As prejudice lessened, the cultural communities sprinkled throughout America that created a mosaic became less prevalent and have begun to form a melting pot.

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