Immigration and Nativism in the United States

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Immigration and Nativism in the United States In the United States, the cliché of a nation of immigrants is often invoked. Indeed, very few Americans can trace their ancestry to what is now the United States, and the origins of its immigrants have changed many times in American history. Despite the identity of an immigrant nation, changes in the origins of immigrants have often been met with resistance. What began with white, western European settlers fleeing religious persecution morphed into a multicultural nation as immigrants from countries across the globe came to the U.S. in increasing numbers. Like the colonial immigrants before them, these new immigrants sailed to the Americas to gain freedom, flee poverty and famine, and make a better life for themselves. Forgetting their origins as persecuted and excluded people, the older and more established immigrants became possessive about their country and tried to exclude and persecute the immigrant groups from non-western European backgrounds arriving in the U.S. This hostile, defensive, and xenophobic reaction to influxes of “new” immigrants known as Nativism was not far out of the mainstream. Nativism became a part of the American cultural and political landscape and helped to shape, through exclusion, the face of the United States for years to come. Colonial era immigration into North America began with Western Europeans searching for religious freedom across the Atlantic. Between the mid 1500s and 1790, the population of the colonies grew from zero to over 3 million people.[1] Nearly all of these immigrants were from western and northern Europe. In 1790, seventy-five percent of the population were of British decent while the second largest ethnic group, th... ... middle of paper ... ... [2] Ibid. [3] Ibid [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] Ibid [14] Ibid [15] [16] Background information obtained from [17] Perea, 23 [18] [19] Perea 23

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