Nativists Calling for Restriction of Immigrants. Essay

Nativists Calling for Restriction of Immigrants. Essay

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Americans at the turn of the century were alarmed about what they perceived as a change in the type of immigrants entering the United States. Some of the traits they saw as distinguishing the new immigrants from the old immigrants were real; some were imagined; some were half-true. The old immigration peaked in the 1880s. The new immigration peaked in 1907. Most of the old immigrants had come over from northern or western European countries, and were protestant. They were literate and skilled, came over as families, and had some money with them. They were also quick to assimilate into society due to their fair and tall characteristics. The new immigrants usually came from southern or eastern European countries and were usually Catholic, Orthodox, or Jewish. They were also illiterate and unskilled, and came over as birds of passage. They were also poor and reluctant to assimilate into society due to their radical beliefs, and short and dark physical features.

The "old" immigrants, being Anglo-Saxon, felt that in order for newer immigrants to become Americanized, they must divest themselves of their old culture and conform themselves to Anglo-American ways, which has it's roots all the way back to the British colonies.

In the mid-19th century, numerous native groups sprang up. One of the most influential groups was the "Know-Nothing Party." It was called that because the members all answered, "I know nothing," when asked about the party's activities. What the party did was condemn the Irish and German immigrants for taking jobs away from the Native. And they also condemned them for being clannish and failing to assimilate into American society. But the biggest reason they condemned them was because they were Roman C...


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...sts tried to wipe every aspect of German culture from the United States. They stopped performing many German opera's, sauerkraut was renamed "liberty cabbage" and hamburgers became known as "Salisbury Steaks." In WW2, after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, pacific coast groups became paralyzed with fear of the Japanese and the rumored "fifth column" engaged in espionage on behalf of the Japanese emperor. This led to the government internment camps in which over 110,000 people, 70,000 who were American citizens, were placed.

The "melting pot" that was created in the United States did not grow and mold itself as smoothly as possible. It dealt with many hindrances from the "old" immigrants or nativists. Later on in the early 20th century, many other laws were passed such as the Immigration Acts of 1924, 1957, and 1965 which all helped restrict immigration.

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