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Describe the causes of the immigration of Southern and Eastern Europeans, Chinese, Koreans and Japanese to America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and describe the major roles of these immigrants in the industrialization of America.
Key Topics on the Page
German emigrants going to New York board a steamer in Hamburg, Germany
Focus questions: What were the causes of immigration for Southern and Eastern Europeans, Chinese and Japanese as well as Koreans?
How did these new immigrants impact industrialization in America?
For more information on immigration history, see
U.S. History II.30
Immigration and U. S. History
provides a brief overview of immigration history by New York University historian Hasia Diner.
Asian Immigration to the United States: The Political and Economic Reasons
from Mt. Holyoke College offers an interactive map of countries and peoples.
Angel Island Immigration Station, San Francisco
Interactive maps detailing the settlement of immigrant groups
throughout the United States from the Library of Congress.
Interactive map of Asian Immigration
to the United States today.
Timeline on the history of legal and illegal immigration
in the United States.
The Making of Ethnic America: Interactive Maps
from the University of Houston.
Angel Island: Immigrant Journeys of Chinese Americans
Angel Island: Li Keng Wong's Story
resents a history of a young girl whose family moved from China to the Chinatown in Oakland, California in 1933.
Discovering Angel Island
Immigrants arriving at Ellis Island, 1902
From Ellis Island to Orchard Street with Victoria Confino
from the Tenement Museum in New York City.
Interactive Tour of Ellis Island
Ellis Island in New York City Harbor was a primary gateway for immigrations arriving from Europe. The busiest day was April 17, 1907 when 11,747 immigrants were admitted to the United States.
Ellis Island Documentary
Click here for a
summary of what immigrants experienced at Ellis Island
prepared by teachers and students at Mt. Carmel High School in San Diego, California.
See how New York resident and Russian-American,
, transformed the broadcast communication industry in the early 1900's.
NYPL Digital Gallery: Ellis Island Photographs
by William Williams when he was Commissioner of Immigration for the Port of New York.
Visit the website of the
International Coalition of Sites of Conscience
, a collection of museums around the world who are exploring issues of immigration, poverty, social justice and human rights. An interactive map directs students to places such as the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, the National Civil Rights Museum, and the District Six Museum in South Africa.
One of the first successful Jewish American authors,
was part of the late nineteenth century New York literary elite, and was celebrated in her day as an important American poet.
When anti-Jewish violence broke out in Europe in the 188os, she advocated for Jewish immigration and supported in new Jewish homeland in Palestine.
She wrote "
The New Colossus
," a poem that is engraved on the Statute of Liberty.
Click here to
hear the New Colossus poem read aloud
From Haven to Home: 350 Years of Jewish Life in America
from Library of Congress
Key Legislation and Immigration Restriction
Immigration Restriction League,
founded in 1894, was a leading anti-immigration organization. For more on the League, see
Aspiration, Acculturation, and Impact: Immigration to the United States, 1789-1930
from Harvard University Open Collections Program
Immigration Restriction and the Ku Klux Klan
In the political cartoon on the page to the right, Uncle Sam is holding paper "Protest against Russian exclusion of Jewish Americans" and looking in shock at Chinese skeleton labeled "American exclusion of Chinese" in closet (January 3, 1912)
A timeline of
Immigration to the United States, 1789-1930
, from the Harvard University Library features links to key primary sources. Included in the links are the following key laws regulating immigration to America:
Editorial cartoon "A Skeleton in His Closet" (January 3, 1912)
Naturalization Act of 1790
Provided the first rules for granting national citizenship in the United States
Limited naturalization to aliens who were 'free white persons', leaving out indentured servants, slaves, Asians, free blacks, and women
Alien and Sedition Acts, 1798
Supposedly to protect the United States from aliens of enemy countries who might commit seditious acts
Many said they were unconstitutional and they were major issues in the elections of 1798 and 1800
Chinese Exclusion Act, 1882
Excluded skilled and unskilled Chinese miners from entering the country for 10 years
Punishment would be imprisonment and/or deportation
Contract Labor Law of 1885
Meant to prohibit the importation and migration of foreigners under contract or agreement from working in the United States
Naturalization Act of 1906
Required immigrants to learn to speak English to become naturalized
Immigration Act of 1917
Added to the undesirables barred from entering the United States including 'idiots', 'epileptics' and others
Also barred people over 16 who were illiterate from entering
Included an Asiatic Barred Zone, including much of eastern Asia and many Pacific Islands from which people could not immigrate
Emergency Quota Act of 1921
Limited the number of immigrants from any given country to 3% of the number of people from that country already living in the United States
Immigration Act, 1924
Lowered the quota to 2% of immigrants from any given country
Immigration Reform Act of 1965
Abolished the national origins quota for immigrants
to examine immigration policy from 1790-1996
will have students examine the accuracy of common statements made about immigration in the past and present such as
"Illegal immigrants take away jobs from U.S. citizens"
Reasons for Immigration
: Eastern and Southern European Americans
Followed the depression of the 1890s
Escape religious, racial or political persecution
Lack of jobs at home
Many were pulled to the United States, by contract laborers who offered recruiting by agents
Reasons for Immigration
: Chinese Americans
Chinese Railway Workers in the Snow
See Dramatic Event Page:
Chinese Immigration to the United States
Reasons for Immigration
: Japanese Americans
The sugar boom in Hawaii in 1870s and 1880s attracted many, since Japan was having a difficult transition to a new economy
Most immigrants were single, male farm laborers looking for work, and ended up living in Hawaii, in the early stages of the sugar boom industry in Hawaii.
19th century, Japanese ancestry in main land, U.S., virtually nonexistent, small group of Japanese ancestry had begun to establish itself in Hawaii.
Because they worked hard for lower pay than white workers, they were hired more often
Followed in the wake of Chinese immigration
Reasons for Immigration
: Korean Americans
Escape economic and political issues in Korea
Like the Japanese, became laborers on farms in Hawaii for little pay
Immigrants and Industrialization
Click here for
questions from the Naturalization and Citizenship Test
that immigrants must pass to earn their United States citizenship. The questions are new, effective with the October 2009 test.
Click here to read the
a Lithuanian man who emigrated to the US in 1904
For more information check out the following websites
Danzer, Klor de Alva, et al., G, J.J (2007).
The Americans: Reconstruction to the 21 st Century Oklahoma Teacher's Edition
. Evanston, IL: McDougal Littell.
Patterson, W (1988).
The Korean Frontier in Amer
ca. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press.
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