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Name: ________________________ Date: _________________

Late 19th century Immigration


Read through this packet and answer all questions on a separate piece of paper.
Why did Immigrants Come to the United States in the late 19th century?

Brainstorm and complete the chart on push and pull factors of immigration. Try to identify at least 3 reasons for each.

Push Factors

Negative conditions or circumstances that make people want to leave their country of origin. These factors make them feel as though they are being “pushed” out.

Pull Factors

Circumstances or conditions that entice a person to go to another country, as if they are being “pulled” there.

A Mix of Cultures

Cultural pluralism is a term used when smaller groups within a larger society maintain their unique cultural identities, and their values and practices are accepted by the wider culture provided they are consistent with the laws and values of the wider society.

The melting pot theory refers to when a country, locality, or situation in which cultural assimilation results in blending the heritage and traditions of previously distinct ethnic groups.

  1. Generally speaking, what is the difference between Cultural Pluralism and the Melting Pot Theory?

  1. Which do you think was true of the United States in the late 19th century? Which do you think is truer today? Explain.

The New Colossus

The New Colossus is a poem by Emma Lazarus that celebrates the Statue of Liberty, which was presented to the United States as a gift from France in 1886. This poem is engraved upon the pedestal on which the statue stands.

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she

With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

  1. Based on this poem, what was the attitude of Americans towards immigrants? (Cite specific examples from the poem)

  1. Do you think the poem presents an accurate description of current American attitudes towards immigrants? Why or why not?

Some 334,203 immigrants arrived in the United States in 1886, the year of the statue's dedication. A Cuban revolutionary, Jose Marti, wrote: "Irishmen, Poles, Italians, Czechs, Germans freed from tyranny or want--all hail the monument of Liberty because to them it seems to incarnate their own uplifting." The immigrants who would catch a glimpse of the statue would mainly come from eastern and southern Europe.

In 1900, 14 percent of the American population was foreign born, compared to 8 percent a century later. Passports were unnecessary and the cost of crossing the Atlantic was just $10 in steerage.
European immigration to the United States greatly increased after the Civil War, reaching 5.2 million in the 1880s then surging to 8.2 million in the first decade of the 20th century. Between 1882 and 1914, approximately 20 million immigrants came to the United States. In 1907 alone, 1.285 million arrived. By 1900, New York City had as many Irish residents as Dublin. It had more Italians than any city outside Rome and more Poles than any city except Warsaw. It had more Jews than any other city in the world, as well as sizeable numbers of Slavs, Lithuanians, Chinese, and Scandinavians.
Unlike earlier immigrants, who mainly came from northern and western Europe, the "new immigrants" came largely from southern and eastern Europe. Largely Catholic and Jewish in religion, the new immigrants came from the Balkans, Italy, Poland, and Russia.

  1. Approximately how many immigrants entered the United States from the end of the Civil War to the beginning of the 20th century?

  1. How were the “new immigrants” different from previous immigrants that came to the United States? (think location, religion, language)

Reactions to Early 19th Century Immigration
Timeline of Chinese Immigration and Exclusion

1848: Gold discovered at Sutter's Mill, California; many Chinese arrive to mine for gold.

1850: Foreign Miners’ tax mainly targets Chinese and Mexican miners.

1852: Approximately 25,000 Chinese in America.

1854: Court rules that Chinese cannot give testimony in court.

1865: Central Pacific Railroad recruits Chinese workers; ultimately employs about 15,000 Chinese workers.

1869: First transcontinental railroad completed.

1870: California passes a law against the importation of Chinese and Japanese women for prostitution.

1871: Los Angeles: anti-Chinese violence; 18 Chinese killed.

1878: Court rules Chinese ineligible for naturalized citizenship.

1880: Approximately 106,000 Chinese in America; California passes a law prohibiting interracial marriage

1882: Chinese Exclusion Act; Prohibits Chinese immigration (in one year Chinese immigration drops from 40,000 to 23)

  1. According to the timeline, what was United States policy towards Chinese immigrants in the 2nd half of the 19th century? Use specific details.

Autobiography of a Chinese Immigrant (Modified)

The treatment of the Chinese in this country is all wrong and mean. . . There is no reason for the prejudice against the Chinese. The cheap labor cry was always a falsehood. Their labor was never cheap, and is not cheap now. It has always commanded the highest market price. But the trouble is that the Chinese are such excellent and faithful workers that bosses will have no others when they can get them. If you look at men working on the street you will find a supervisor for every four or five of them. That watching is not necessary for Chinese. They work as well when left to themselves as they do when someone is looking at them. It was the jealousy of laboring men of other nationalities — especially the

Irish—that raised the outcry against the Chinese. No one would hire an Irishman, German, Englishman or Italian when he could get a Chinese, because our countrymen are so much more honest, industrious, steady, sober and painstaking. Chinese were persecuted, not for their vices [sins], but for their virtues [good qualities].

There are few Chinamen in jails and none in the poor houses. There are no Chinese tramps or drunkards. Many Chinese here have become sincere Christians, in spite of the persecution which they have to endure from their heathen countrymen. More than half the Chinese in this country would become citizens if allowed to do so, and would be patriotic Americans. But how can they make this country their home as matters now are! They are not allowed to bring wives here from China, and if they marry American women there is a great outcry. Under the circumstances, how can I call this my home, and how can anyone blame me if I take my money and go back to my village in China?
Source: The passage above is from Lee Chew, “The Biography of a Chinaman,” Independent, 15 (19 February 1903)

  1. According to the above document, how were Chinese immigrants treated?

  1. Why does the author feel that the treatment of the Chinese has been unfair?

Chinese Exclusion Act

From 1882 until 1943, most Chinese immigrants were barred from entering the United States. The Chinese Exclusion Act was the nation's first law to ban immigration by race or nationality. All Chinese people--except travelers, merchants, teachers, students, and those born in the United States--were barred from entering the country. Federal law prohibited Chinese residents, no matter how long they had legally worked in the United States, from becoming naturalized citizens.

From 1850 to 1865, political and religious rebellions within China left 30 million dead and the country's economy in a state of collapse. Meanwhile, the canning, timber, mining, and railroad industries on the United States's West Coast needed workers. Chinese business owners also wanted immigrants to staff their laundries, restaurants, and small factories.
Smugglers transported people from southern China to Hong Kong, where they were transferred onto passenger steamers bound for Victoria, British Columbia. From Victoria, many immigrants crossed into the United States in small boats at night. Others crossed by land.
The Geary Act, passed in 1892, required Chinese aliens to carry a residence certificate with them at all times upon penalty of deportation. Immigration officials and police officers conducted spot checks in canneries, mines, and lodging houses and demanded that every Chinese person show these residence certificates.
Due to intense anti-Chinese discrimination, many merchants' families remained in China while husbands and fathers worked in the United States. Since Federal law allowed merchants who returned to China to register two children to come to the United States, men who were legally in the United States might sell their testimony so that an unrelated child could be sponsored for entry. To pass official interrogations, immigrants were forced to memorize coaching books which contained very specific pieces of information, such as how many water buffalo there were in a particular village. So intense was the fear of being deported that many "paper sons" kept their false names all their lives. The U.S. government only gave amnesty to these "paper families" in the 1950s.
Angel Island

It was called the "Ellis Island of the West." Located in San Francisco Bay, Angel Island was also a check point for immigrants in the early years of the 20th century. But only a small proportion of the 175,000 people who arrived at Angel Island were allowed to remain in the United States. Angel Island was a detention center for Chinese immigrants. It was surrounded by barbed wire.

Thirteen-year-old Jack Moy and his mother sailed to the United States in 1927. The two spent a month in the detention center separated from one another. Immigration officials asked insulting personal questions, such as whether their mother had bound feet or how many water buffalo a village had or "who occupies the house on the fifth lot of your row in your native village." Discrepancies in an answer could mean deportation to China. Immigration officials marked down every identifying mark, including scars, boils, and moles.
To join her husband in the United States, Suey Ting Gee had to pretend that she was the wife of another man. Under a U.S. law in effect from 1882 to 1943, the Chinese wives of resident alien laborers could not join them in this country.

  1. What was the purpose of the Chinese Exclusion Act?

  1. How did the Chinese Exclusion Act impact Chinese families?

  1. What was the first experience like for many Chinese who entered through Angel Island? Why do you think that was the case?

Immigration Restriction

  • Americans did not like the idea of non-Anglo Saxon (White European) immigration.

  • Americans did not like the idea of Asians with a different religion, culture and race coming into the United States.

  • In 1882 congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act banning immigration by unskilled workers to the United States from China for 10 years. Kept getting extended. Not lifted until 1943

  • Overpopulation and rural poverty led many Japanese to immigrate to the United States, where they confronted intense racial prejudice.

  • Japanese students were forced into separate schools on the west coast (San Francisco) in1907. Japan was angry, and the US and Japan passed the Gentleman’s Agreement. (This was a policy between America and Japan saying the U.S. will stop segregating as long as Japan made sure that only skilled workers were the ones who emigrated from Japan.)

  • Americans started to embrace the concept of Nativism, or belief that native born people should be treated better than immigrants.

  1. Why did American’s go out of their way to keep Chinese out and not Europeans?

  1. Why did we continue to allow Japanese in? What was this agreement with Japan called?

Xenophobia: Hatred of foreigners and immigrants.

Nativism: The policy of keeping a society ethnically homogenous.

Nativism, in general, refers to a policy or belief that protects or favors the interest of the native population of a country over the interests of immigrants. In the United States, greatest nativist sentiment coincided with the great waves of 19th-century European immigration on the East Coast and, to a lesser extent, with the arrival of Chinese immigrants on the West Coast.

Nineteenth-century nativism in the United States contained a strong anti-Catholic strain, since many of the newly arrived immigrants hailed from predominantly Roman Catholic countries. Although both religion and ethnicity helped identify targets of nativist bias, its motivations were often economic. The large waves of immigrants, many of whom were skilled tradesman, provided a large pool of inexpensive labor that threatened the well-being of native artisans and other workers.
The most prominent American nativist organization of the 19th century was the Know-Nothing party, which flourished originally in the 1840s and experienced a revival in the 1880s. The Ku Klux Klan was also notable for its nativist sentiment.

  1. Define Nativism in your own words.

  2. Identify pro Nativists policies of the United States in the late 19th and early 20th century in the United States?

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