A desire to escape restrictions o their religious practices
The Puritans who immigrated to New England were part of what is known as the Great English Migration that numbered some 70,000 people. It is interesting to note that over twice as many Puritans immigrated to the West Indies as to New England.
The proclamation of 1763 set a boundary along the crest of the Appalachians beyond which the colonists could not cross. The ban was an ill-considered attempt to prevent costly conflicts with trans-Appalachian Indians.
As American Indians were defeated, Scotch-Irish, German, and English immigrants moved into Appalachia.
British colonists were principally motivated to settle west of the Appalachians by the low price and easy availability of land.
The Early Nineteenth Century: 1800-1850
Ireland supplied the largest number of immigrants to the United States during the first half of the nineteenth century.
The Irish fled the devastating effects off the potato famine.
Most Irish immigrants settled in urban cities along the Eastern Seaboard.
Many Irish immigrants worked on canal and railroad construction projects.
Germany supplied the second-largest number of immigrants to the United States during the first half of the nineteenth century.
Many Germans were fleeing political turmoil in their homeland.
Prior to 1880, most immigrants to the United States came from the British Isles and Western Europe.
Beginning in the 1880’s, a new wave of immigrants left Europe for America. The so-called New Immigrants came from small towns and villages in the Southern and Eastern Europe. The majority immigrated from Italy, Russia, Poland, and Austria-Hungary.
The New Immigrants primarily settled in large cities in the Northeast and Midwest.
Very few New Immigrants settled in the South.
The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882
This was the first law in America history to exclude a group because of ethnic background.
The act prohibited the immigration of Chinese to Americans.
It was strongly supported by working-class Americans.
It reflected anti-immigration sentiment in California.
Nativists opposed the New Immigrants of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries for the following reasons:
The New Immigrants practiced different religion.
The New Immigrants had different languages and cultures.
The New Immigrants were willing to work for lower wages than native-born workers.
The New Immigrants were not familiar with the American political system.
The National Origins Act
The primary purpose of the National Origins Act was to use quotas to restrict the flow of newcomers from Southern and Eastern Europe.
The quotas favored immigration from Northern and Western Europe.
The quotas established by the National Origins Act discriminated against immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe. These quotas were the primary reason for the decrease in the numbers of Europeans immigrating to the United States in the 1920s.
The number of Mexicans and Puerto Ricans immigrating to the United States increased because neither group was affected by the restrictive immigration acts of 1921 and 1924.
Most APUSH exams have very few questions on the period since 1980. When APUSH test writers do cover the last three decades, they often ask questions about the population shifts and demographic trends discussed in this section.