Professor Derek Oden, Ph.D
History 1302-United States History II
February 24, 2019
Immigration and Nativism in the United States
A country known to many foreigners as the “Promised Land” became the attraction of many immigrants who were searching for job opportunites, economic advancement and freedom from religious persecution. Many such as the white, western European settlers, Asian, Japanese and Italians all left their homelands in search of better lives for themselves and their families. A country rumored to be the ideal place to start a new life, soon morphed into a multicultural nation as many immigrants from countries across the globe poured in. However, many Americans were not fond of the newcomers, fearing they would be a burden on taxpayers as well as become competition for jobs and much more. Although the United States was known as the Land of the Free and the Statue of Liberty stood as a tall welcoming symbol, many Americans throughout the country did not welcome the newcomers with open arms. In the video lecture, “Early 20th Century Nativism and Immigration,” Professor David Courtwright speaks about several major themes in history that changed the look on immigration from the late 19th and early 20th century as well as the nativism reaction to the mass migration of immigrants from countries around the world.
The homeland of many immigrants that travelled to the United States did not seem to be set in stone and changed many times in American history. Therefore, not many Americans today can trace their ancestry back to the settlers of the United States. Although the U.S quickly grew in it’s identity of what many called an immigrant nation, changes in the origins of immigrants had often been met with resistance. Like their ancestors before them, the new immigrants migrated in masses to the U.S in search of freedom, better jobs, to flee population pressures, religious persecution and make a better life for themselves and their families. Although it may have sounded easy to just pack up and leave their country, the immigrants still needed to provide documentation that consisted of basic information such as their name, age, occupation, race, destination and much more before arriving to the U.S. Once in the U.S territory, immigrants were sent to Ellis Island in New York City to be examined for illness or diseases. If an illness was discovered they were detained for further inspection or deportation. In fact, a portion of the immigrants after only choosing to be in the U.S for sometime, would return to their native land taking the nickname, “birds of passage” for their short time in the country. The vast majority of the new comers came as unskilled workers but because the U.S was an such an industrialized country, there were job opportunities in places like building or working in factories, digging ditches or building subways. The immigrants brought along with them their culture, traditions, and of cou...