Essay on Discrimination of Italian Immigrants in American History

Essay on Discrimination of Italian Immigrants in American History

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Discrimination of Italian Immigrants in American History

Fear is a great motivator in man.  In the 1920s, immigrants were coming over to the United States in mass quantities.  Most of these immigrants were from Southern or Eastern Europe, parts of Asia and Mexico.  Because these groups differed in culture, race, and religion from the majority of White Americans, as the immigrant population increased, so did hostility and displeasure towards them.  Italians made up 11.8%, or 550,460 immigrants between the years of 1920 and 1930 (Historical Statistics, 456).  These people received an extraordinary amount of dislike as they differed from white America in so many ways. When people began immigrating to America at the rate of five thousand people a day after World War I, people started taking their opinions into the political arena as well as the social one. 1921 saw the first legislation passed in Congress that enacted immigration quotas. The first quota reduced the number of immigrants to 3% of their total population in the country based in the 1910 census. Xenophobia and hatred towards immigrants continued to increase in the following years, cumulating in the National Origins Act of 1924, or as it is commonly know, the Johnson Act.  This act further restricted immigration to 2% of their United States population bases on the census of 1890. These acts both passed with an overwhelming majority voting for them.  During this time, many social movements were taking place in America, such as the labor movement, the temperance movement, and the reactionary movements of many white protestant groups, and all were looking for public support.  Often, these groups would try to unify people around a central idea in order to gain this backing...

... middle of paper ...

...a, and we can start to break the cycle of hate from continuing further into the future.

Work Cited:

1. “Immigration.”  Collier Encyclopedia.  1997 ed.
2. United States Department of Commerce.  Bureau of the Census.  Historical Statistics of the United States..  pt. 1.  Washington:  1975.
3. “Italians.”  American Immigrant Cultures.  1997
4. Caporole, Rocco.  The Italian Americans Through the Generations.  New York:  The American Italian Historical Association,  1986
5. The Urban Experience of Italian-Americans  Ed.  Pat Gallo.  New York:  The American Italian Historical Association,  1975
6. “Our Immigration Dilemma.”  New York Times  2 May  1920.
7. Vecoli, Rudolph J.,  Italian Immigrants in Rural and Small Town America.  New York:  The American Italian Historical Association,  1987
8. “Want Immigrants on Farms.”  New York Times  6 June  1920.

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