People in Motion: Immigration and Migration The Colonial Period



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People in Motion: Immigration and Migration

  1. The Colonial Period

  1. The Puritans

  1. The Puritans immigrated to New England in the 1630s for the following reasons:

  • A desire to escape political repression

  • A desire to find new economic opportunities and avoid an economic recession in England

  • A desire to escape restrictions o their religious practices

  1. 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.

  1. Migration To Appalachia

  1. 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.

  2. As American Indians were defeated, Scotch-Irish, German, and English immigrants moved into Appalachia.

  3. British colonists were principally motivated to settle west of the Appalachians by the low price and easy availability of land.

  1. The Early Nineteenth Century: 1800-1850

  1. The Irish

  1. Ireland supplied the largest number of immigrants to the United States during the first half of the nineteenth century.

  2. The Irish fled the devastating effects off the potato famine.

  3. Most Irish immigrants settled in urban cities along the Eastern Seaboard.

  4. Many Irish immigrants worked on canal and railroad construction projects.

  1. The Germans

  1. Germany supplied the second-largest number of immigrants to the United States during the first half of the nineteenth century.

  2. Many Germans were fleeing political turmoil in their homeland.

  1. The Know-Nothing Party

  1. The Know-Nothings were America’s first nativist political party.

  2. The Know-Nothings directed their hostility against Catholic immigrants from Ireland and Germany

  1. The Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century: 1880-1924

  1. Exodusters

  1. Exodusters were African Americans who fled the violence of the Reconstruction South in 1879 and 1880.

  2. Most Exodusters migrated to Kansas.

  1. The New Immigrants

  1. Prior to 1880, most immigrants to the United States came from the British Isles and Western Europe.

  2. 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.

  3. The New Immigrants primarily settled in large cities in the Northeast and Midwest.

  4. Very few New Immigrants settled in the South.

  1. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882

  1. This was the first law in America history to exclude a group because of ethnic background.

  2. The act prohibited the immigration of Chinese to Americans.

  3. It was strongly supported by working-class Americans.

  4. It reflected anti-immigration sentiment in California.

  1. Nativist Opposition to the New Immigrants

  1. 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.

  1. The National Origins Act

  1. The primary purpose of the National Origins Act was to use quotas to restrict the flow of newcomers from Southern and Eastern Europe.

  2. The quotas favored immigration from Northern and Western Europe.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  1. The Black Migration

  1. Causes

  1. Jim Crow laws denied African Americans their right as citizens and forced them to endure poverty and systematic discrimination.

  2. Beginning with World War I, the wartime demand for labor attracted African Americans to cities in the North and West.

  3. The Black migration to the cities of the North and West continued during World War II.

  1. Leaving the Rural South

  1. In 1915, the overwhelming majority of African Americans lived in the rural South.

  2. Attracted by the wartime demand for labor, African Americans migrated to urban centers in the North and West.

  1. Immigration from Mexico

  1. Causes.

  1. During the Great Depression, many Mexicans returned to their homeland.

  1. Surge in Mexican Immigration

  1. The following factors played an important role in Mexican immigration to the United States during the twentieth century:

  • The relaxation of immigration quotas during the 1960s

  • The desire to escape a crowded homeland with few economic opportunities.

  • The desire to take advantage of better job opportunities in the United States.

  • The desire to reunite with family members who had previously immigrated to the United States.

  1. Population Shifts After World War II

  1. From Cities to Suburbs

  1. The 1950s witnessed the beginning of a mass migration of middle-income Americans from cities to their surrounding suburbs.

  2. The movement to the suburbs was facilitated by the construction of the interstate highway system.

  1. From the Frostbelt to the Sunbelt

  1. Beginning in the 1970s, the largest growth in population occurred in the states below the 37th parallel, from Virginia to California.

  2. The 1970s witnessed a significant migration of Americans from the Frostbelt to the Sunbelt. This migration has continued to the present.

  3. The South and West have experienced the greatest population gains since 1970.

  1. From Latin America and Asia to America

  1. The last 25 years have witnessed a significant increase in immigration from Latin America and Asia.

  2. Latinos now make up nearly 33 percent of the population in Texas, Arizona, and California; they make up 40 percent in New Mexico

Test Tip

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.


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