Immigration Policy In America In The Late 19th Century

Submitted By arsh9126
Words: 1128
Pages: 5

Describe immigration policy in America in the late 19th century. How were certain immigrant groups treated and why? What role did labor play? In this period, the U.S. received the Statue of Liberty as a gift celebrating the centennial of the American and French revolutions. Years after, the poem “A New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus was inscribed on the base of Lady Liberty in New York. How does the poem describe America and immigration and how does that contrast with the experiences of many groups?
We have all heard of dominant and recessive genes, but is there such thing as superior or inferior genes? If we look into the history, there is. United States from 1880 to the early 1900s and saw great urbanization and industrialization development. However, as the age was progressing, new problems were emerging. There were a lot of ethnical and racial issues that came forward in this time period. Many historians call this age the nadir of race relations, referring to it as the darkest period of racism in history. This was due to nativism and the eugenics movement. Nativism is preferring only the citizens of a country and marginalizing the immigrants. Eugenics is the study of selective breeding to try and eliminate certain undesirable traits from the gene pool. The eugenicists categorized people according to their family history. They considered personality traits to be purely genetic. The eugenicists were against miscegenation, which is mixing of two different races through marriage, cohabitation or sexual relations. The eugenicists’ studies also justified many racist beliefs “scientifically” therefore increasing discrimination. Eugenicists believed that intelligence, criminality, diseases and disability were all genetic and the people that possessed these genes were naturally inferior. This led to the belief that immigrants brought these inferior and unwanted traits genes to the United States. Consequently resulting in discrimination against immigrants and restriction on immigration itself. During this Age, there were a lot push and pull factors that encouraged immigration towards the United States. A lot of people were forced to leave their original countries because the environment was not safe for them or their families. In the 1980’s the United States attracted 3.5 million newcomers from various countries. 1 There was war in many European countries. There was hatred and discrimination against certain groups. There were also religious persecutions at the time. The United States offered freedom of religion, which those groups viewed as a golden escape from the persecution. There was also a lot of population growth in Europe and due to this, the poor were experiencing food shortages. Lack of land was also a great push factor to encourage people to move away. During this time of depression, the United States offered great job opportunities and promise of free land. These factors combined pulled a large number of people away from their homeland to the United States. The immigrants came to the America with high hopes of living a new life, free of discrimination and poverty. However, was the U.S. was not as welcoming as it seemed from the outside. There was a lot of discrimination on base of color, the immigrants that came from Western Europe tended to fit in easily since they were white. Upon arriving they also were immediately hired as factory workers often in overcrowded sewing plants, food processing facilities or manual labor in assembly plants. Although this was an advantage compared to the other immigrants, they still faced struggles in the workforce. Three fifth of the workforce was made up of immigrants and they faced really bad conditions. 2 Imigrants endured low wages, long hours, and dangerous working conditions. 3 In 1914, 35,000 workers were killed in industrial accidents and 700,000 injured. 4 The workers were dehumanized in the workplace. People were putting their lives on line everyday just to put food on the…