Americanization programs

Definition: Amorphous movements that emerged in the second half of the nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries in response to the influx of non-English-speaking immigrants

Significance: At the turn of the twentieth century, non-English-speaking immigrants flooded American shores, setting off a wave of nativistic fears. In order to combat rising nativism, reformers constructed a number of programs aimed at absorbing immigrants into American civic life.

Americanization programs

Patriotic poster issued during World War I to promote the idea of Americanization. (Library of Congress)

During the decades following the U.S. Civil War (1861-1865), demands for the creation of a national culture emerged in response to increasing concerns that new non-English-speaking immigrants, if left to their own devices, would erode the moral and economic fabric of the United States. The assassination of PresidentWilliam McKinley in 1901 by Leon Czolgosz, the anarchist son of a Polish immigrant, fueled fears of radicalism on the part of immigrants and galvanized the efforts of many Americans to assimilate immigrants in order to moderate their radicalism. Under the guise of combating neglect and exploitation, Progressives embraced the notion of Americanization and developed programs to promote immigrant acculturation.

Settlement House Movement

Emerging social science programs in universities during the early twentieth century played a key role in fostering immigrant integration into American society. Progressive reformers believed that immigrants could be converted into valued American citizens. Settlement house programs in large cities offered immigrants respites from the crowded, dirty tenements as well as places to learn. This and other initiatives, such as the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), provided health services, vocational training, and civics and English classes.

Other efforts focused on motherhood as a key to assimilation. The domestic science movement published information and research on diet, nutrition, health and cleanliness. Programs sought to limit the sizes of families on the premise that unrestricted population growth ought to be abandoned in modern industrial societies. Many of these programs aimed at giving immigrant women tools to work outside their homes as housemaids, seamstresses, and laundresses.

Employer Programs

Many industrialists designed worker education programs to influence the behavior of their immigrant workers and to reduce the growing problem of labor turnover. For example, in 1913, Ford Motor Company instituted what it called its "Five Dollar a Day” program. To receive that level of wages, workers had to be certified by Ford’s sociological department that they were thrifty, sober, and diligent. The emerging theories of scientific management assisted industries by creating a structure of strict organization of production combined with pay incentives. Other companies opened libraries and offered classes aimed at fostering acceptance of American ways, as defined by the employers. Management argued that speaking English was fundamental to unifying the workforce and creating industrial prosperity. 

Company medical staffs taught oral and physical hygiene in both the workplace and the home. They also offered married women instruction on household finances and child care. One railroad company used a boxcar converted to reflect its image of the model American home to transport Americanization instructors. The state of California created a Commission of Immigration and Housing to investigate work and living conditions and to teach English and good health practices to immigrants. The state commission recruited religious leaders, social workers, and government bureaucrats to design and implement Americanization programs.

Education Programs


During the late nineteenth century, many efforts to Americanize adult immigrants did not provide the desired results. Employers and reformers recognized that they might reach immigrant parents more effectively through their children, reasoning that children were potentially easier to shape into responsible citizens. Accordingly, companies established kindergarten programs for the children of its immigrant workers, while progressives shifted their focus to creating a system of compulsory public education. Schools in urban settings became vehicles for maintaining social order and inculcating American values. The schools afforded vocational training and English-language classes, taught the value of good citizenship and respect for authority, and provided programs in health and grooming. By the 1890’s, most states with increasing immigrant populations had passed laws mandating compulsory schooling from the ages of eight to fourteen. Historian Richard Hofstadter noted that the intent of public education was to forge a nation, make it literate, and foster civic competence.

Patriotic Education Programs

Progressives were convinced of the need to mold immigrants into "100 percent Americans” and to create a national culture to promote loyalty to American civic ideals. Many patriotic expressions that Americans would embrace during the twenty-first century were developed in response to fears that non-English-speaking immigrants would erode the national identity. For example, the schoolhouse flag movement required public schools to fly the American flag and conduct daily flag-salute ceremonies. In 1891, Francis Bellamy wrote the Pledge of Allegiance to promote national unity and civic patriotism by honoring the American flag.

Public education emphasized the importance of civic service and duty to country. Patriotic programs emphasized the sacrifices made by past citizens to preserve the union. Laws were passed requiring public schools to observe President Abraham Lincoln’s and President George Washington’s birthdays, and to participate in Memorial Day and Flag Day activities. The invention of the idea of Betsy Ross as maker of the first American flag, patriotic pageants, pictures of national heroes, and teaching of citizenship were all part of the public school Americanization programs.

Progressive teachers advanced ideas of civic patriotism, while Theodore Roosevelt and members of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) advanced programs of martial patriotism. Martial patriotism was infused with heroic images of soldiers, wars, and the honor of dying for one’s country. Stories of military adventures written for schoolchildren abounded. Symbols of soldiers and war cropped up in public parks, newspapers, and literature across the nation.

Linda Upham-Bornstein

Further Reading

Bodnar, John. The Transplanted. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1985. Major work on the experience of immigrants in transitioning to American capitalism.

Fitzpatrick, Ellen. Endless Crusade: Women Social Scientists and Progressive Reform. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990. Examination of the lives of four progressive women who played a crucial role in the establishment of settlement houses and social reform.

Higham, John. Strangers in the Land: Patterns of American Nativism, 1860-1925. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2002. Significant scholarly study of the history of nativism in America.

O’Leary, Cecilia Elizabeth. To Die For: The Paradox of American Patriotism. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1999. Important work on the construction of American patriotic culture and the struggle to solidify a distinctly American identity.

Sánchez, George J. Becoming Mexican American: Ethnicity, Culture and Identity in Chicano Los Angeles, 1900-1945. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993. Examination of programs in California designed to assimilate Mexican immigrants.

See also: Anglo-conformity; Assimilation theories; Citizenship; Education; English-only and official English movements; History of immigration after 1891; Hull-House; Nativism; Progressivism; Settlement houses.

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Anti-Chinese movement

The Event: Era that saw widespread opposition to Chinese immigration at the local, state, and federal levels

Date: 1850’s-1940’s

Location: West Coast of the United States, primarily California

Significance: The Anti-Chinese movement developed out of anti-Chinese attitudes in the mining fields of California during the 1850’s to become a more widespread movement during the 1870’s. The movement was successful in helping to get the federal government to pass legislation restricting Chinese immigration that was enforced from the 1880’s until the 1940’s.

Anti-Chinese movement

Contemporary newspaper illustration of the anti-Chinese rioting in Denver, Colorado, in 1880. (Library of Congress)

When Chinese immigrants first arrived in the United States, they were accepted because they performed work considered undesirable by European Americans. However, as their numbers increased, strong resentment developed on theWest Coast, particularly in California. Chinese immigrants encountered prejudice and discrimination that were sometimes manifested in violence. Ultimately, the anti-Chinese movement helped foster federal legislation that severely restricted Chinese immigration for several decades.

California and the Early Movement

The discovery of gold in California in 1848 initiated the first significant wave of Chinese immigration to the United States. The state of California attempted to limit the ability of Chinese immigrants to assimilate. Miners of European descent were angered that the Chinese were gaining mining permits and finding gold that, in their minds, was rightfully theirs. The state government of California passed Foreign Miners’ License Tax laws in 1850 and 1852 that required all miners who were not U.S. citizens to pay three dollars per month in taxes (later increased to six dollars, and finally lowered to four dollars). Because Chinese workers were ineligible for U.S. citizenship, more of them had to pay this tax than members of any other immigrant group.

In 1851, John Bigler was elected governor of California on an anti-Chinese platform. Four years later, the state’s supreme court ruled that Chinese had the same limited rights as African Americans and Native Americans, meaning that they could not testify against white citizens in court. There was such a strong anti-Chinese feeling nationally that when a bill was introduced in Congress that would give Chinese Americans the right to vote, it was rejected. Many Americans who supported the anti- Chinese movement in the West regarded the Chinese as morally and intellectually inferior to all other minority groups in the region. These people consistently blamed the Chinese for the ills of the community.

As time passed, anti-Chinese sentiment gained support among the wider population. As the national economy suffered during the 1870’s, labor union leaders led the outcry against the Chinese for keeping wages low and taking potential jobs from white Americans. Labor leaders, along with politicians, used the charge that Chinese would work for lower wages as a way to win votes. Along with the economic issues, the movement focused on the cultural differences and stereotypes of the Chinese immigrants. Those opposed to Chinese immigration pointed to opium smoking, gambling, and prostitution as examples of the negative influences that Chinese immigrants had on American society. Furthermore, they looked down on the Chinese reluctance to assimilate and adopt the mainstream American way of life.

Chinese Exclusion and Violence

The anti-Chinese movement continued to grow during the 1880’s. With pressure from California, the federal government became involved as the movement gained national support. The federal government moved to stop Chinese immigration altogether. In the 1868 Burlingame Treaty with China, the U.S. government had encouraged the immigration of Chinese nationals to the United States. Just over a decade later, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 suspended all immigration of Chinese to the United States. This act was amended in 1884 to make it more difficult for Chinese laborers working in the United States who left the country to return.

After new Chinese immigration was mostly eliminated, the anti-Chinese movement turned its attention against Chinese who were already residing in the United States. There had been scattered incidents of violence in California against Chinese during the 1870’s, but the movement became more violent throughout the West during the mid-1880’s. This tension had been growing in both the mining fields and along the railroads—two sectors of the economy that employed large numbers of Chinese workers. In 1885, large-scale violence erupted in Rock Springs, Wyoming, where white vigilantes stormed through the Chinese community, killing many people and driving away many of the rest. Additional incidents later occurred in other Chinatowns throughout the Far West.

Stricter Enforcement

After violence on the West Coast, the United States strengthened its anti-Chinese stance. First, the government approved the expulsion of Chinese laborers who owned property in the United States or had wives living in the country. In 1888, Congress passed the Scott Act, which banned both the immigration and the return of Chinese laborers to the United States. This law had the impact of refusing reentry to tens of thousands of Chinese who had temporarily left the United States. The anti-Chinese movement was successful in renewing the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1892 and establishing a permanent ban in 1902. Because of the anti-Chinese movement, Chinese immigration remained outlawed until 1943.

David R. Buck

Further Reading

Gyory, Andrew. Closing the Gate: Race, Politics, and the Chinese Exclusion Act. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998. Good analyis of why the federal government passed the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.

McClain, Charles J. In Search of Equality: The Chinese Struggle Against Discrimination in Nineteenth- Century America. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994. Focusing on the San Francisco Bay Area, McClain examines Chinese efforts to mobilize against discrimination in employment, housing, and education.

Miller, Stuart Creighton. The Unwelcome Immigrant: The American Image of the Chinese, 1785-1882. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1969. Documents American anti-Chinese feeling from the arrival of the first Chinese in the late eighteenth century to 1882, the year in which the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed. Bibliographical references and index.

Sandmeyer, Elmer Clarence. The Anti-Chinese Movement in California. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 1991. Considered by some historians to be the best work on the subject of anti- Chinese discrimination in California. Bibliographical references.

See also: Angell Treaty of 1880; Burlingame Treaty of 1868; California; Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882; Chinese Exclusion Cases; Chinese immigrants; "Mongrelization”; Nativism; San Francisco; Stereotyping.

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Definition: Dislike of Jews, based solely on their being Jewish, sometimes expressed in public pronouncements and hostile actions

Significance: Except for isolated instances, most notably the lynching of Leo Frank in Georgia in 1915, anti-Semitism in America never acquired the malevolent levels that it frequently reached in Europe. Discrimination had its greatest effects on U.S. immigration policies during the decades between the late nineteenth century and the era ofWorld War II. The refusal of the United States to admit European Jews trying to flee German Nazism during the 1930’s condemned most of these persons to murder at the hands of the Nazis.

Puck magazine cartoon lampooning Jewish immigrants from eastern Europe in 1881

Puck magazine cartoon lampooning Jewish immigrants from eastern Europe in 1881. (Library of Congress)

The lure of freedom for Jews can be found in the earliest decades following the founding of the first settlements in what became the United States. The first Jews arrived in New Amsterdam, which would later become New York City, in 1654, when twentythree Dutch colonists fled Recife off the coast of Brazil after the Portuguese occupied the island. Despite the reputation of Jews as productive citizens in Holland, even in the New World they continued to face discrimination, and at times even hatred. New Amsterdam governor Peter Stuyvesant considered them a "deceitful race,” "blasphemers of Christ.” Jews were permitted to worship only in their private homes—a situation that did not immediately change even after the British replaced the Dutch as rulers of New Amsterdam in 1664.

The period from the mid-seventeenth century to approximately 1830 represented the first, albeit limited, immigration of Jews from Europe to the United States. A second period, of greater immigration levels, occurred between 1830 and 1880. It saw the arrival of mostly of German and other western European Jews. The third and largest influx of Jews took place between 1880 and 1924, when most Jewish immigrants were from eastern Europe, particularly from Russia. The search for religious and political freedoms as well as economic opportunities was a primary driving factor during each of these periods. However, the relative importance displayed by each of these issues varied during the respective eras.

Colonial Era and Early Independence

Most American settlers during the colonial era of North America were British. What little anti- Semitism they displayed was reflected primarily in attitudes or verbal attacks rather than in statutory legal restrictions. At the time of the late eighteenth century American Revolution, approximately two thousand Jews lived in the North American colonies. New York City and Charleston, South Carolina had the largest concentrations. Many of these people had immigrated from Spain and Portugal or those countries’ colonies, not from England, which was itself home to only about eight thousand Jews at that time. In the British colonies, Jews had been granted full rights of citizenry by an act of Great Britain’s Parliament in 1740—a privilege not then available to Roman Catholics. Nevertheless, while interactions between individual Christians and Jews were generally amicable, British attitudes toward the Jewish "race” often reflected contemporary prejudices about allegedly unscrupulous Jewish business practices.

The United States gained its independence in 1783. The U.S. Constitution that was ratified in 1789 contained no clauses discriminating against Jews or members of any other religious group and specifically guaranteed that "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” The First Amendment of the Bill of Rights, which was ratified two years later, specifically guaranteed that the federal government would not interfere in the free exercise of religion. However, while federal laws did not discriminate against Jews, some state laws restricted Jewish officeholders into the nineteenth century. In 1780, as prominent a figure as John Quincy Adams, the son of one of the nation’s Founders and a future president himself, said that Jews were willing "to steal the eyes out of your head if they possibly could.”

Even during this period, Jews in the public eye could be subject to personal attacks. Benjamin Nones, a Revolutionary War hero from Philadelphia and a member of Thomas Jefferson’s Republican Party, was forced to defend himself against Federalist attacks denouncing him not only for being a Jew, but for being poor as well. New York politician Mordecai Noah, whose father and grandfather had fought in the American Revolution, was likewise denounced as an "enemy of Christ.” His position as a diplomat in Tunis was revoked because of his Judaism. Despite such obvious examples of antipathy toward Jews, Jew willing to convert to Christianity were generally accepted into what was considered polite society.

Nineteenth Century Immigrants

Between 1830 and the 1880’s, the number of Jews in the United States rose to approximately 200,000. Most of this increase was the result of immigration of Ashkenazi Jews from central and western Europe, in contrast to the Sephardic immigrants from Iberia of earlier years. Many of these transplanted Europeans settled in the cities along the East Coast, from which they gradually moved inland to the growing cities of Cincinnati, St. Louis, and New Orleans. In this they differed little from the millions of other European immigrants then entering America.

Complex reasons prompted the emigration of Jews from Europe through the mid-nineteenth century. Before the 1870’s, most of them left Europe for economic or political reasons, in contrast to later immigrants who fled from lethal pogroms. The decades of the 1830’s and 1840’s were a period of political turmoil that culminated in a series of mostly unsuccessful revolutions around the year 1848. After these revolutions failed, many young Europeans filled with revolutionary ideals looked elsewhere for their future. During this same period of political change, a population explosion was taking place in Europe while economic changes were limiting opportunities for young people. Jews were particularly affected, as merchant, trading, and skilled artisan occupations at which they had historically worked were disappearing.

Meanwhile, American attitudes toward Jews were undergoing changes as new German, Irish, and other immigrants brought their own prejudices against Jews to America. Attacks on Jews became increasingly common, and acts of discrimination against Jews increased. In Cincinnati, Ohio, for example, Roman Catholic priests told domestic workers not to work for Jewish employers. The speaker of California’s state assembly tried, unsuccessfully, to levy a special tax on Jews to induce them to leave the state.

Some eight thousand Jews fought in the U.S. Civil War. Most fought for the Union army, but the most prominent Jew during the war was arguably Judah Benjamin, a former U.S. senator who became secretary of state for the Confederacy. Early during the war, Union general Ulysses Grant issued what may have been the most blatantly anti-Semitic official statement in American history. In December, 1862, he issued an order in which he accused Jews "as a class” of war profiteering and ordered all Jews to leave certain parts of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi within twenty-four hours. However, after the order was brought to the attention of President Abraham Lincoln, it was revoked. During the decades following the CivilWar, Jews increasingly integrated into mainstream American society. Many became prominent merchants. Nevertheless, anti-Semitic discrimination persisted. For example, the prominent businessman Joseph Seligman was refused admittance to an upscale hotel in Saratoga Springs, New York, because he was Jewish. However, Jewish communities were becoming increasingly accepted as part of the American landscape.

Twentieth Century World Wars

Wholesale changes in the demographics of American Jews, and the response of the country at large, began with the mass influxes that began during the 1880’s and continued into the 1920’s. During those years, nearly 2.4 million Jews immigrated to the United States. Most came from eastern Europe, and most of them settled in the cities of New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago. Poverty was among the forces that drove Jews to emigrate from Europe, but increasingly virulent anti-Semitic nationalism in some eastern European countries was rising to the level of lethal pogroms against Jewish communities.

Educated Jewish immigrants from western Europe integrated into American society relatively easily, but more poorly educated immigrants from Russia were considered by many Americans as less intelligent and of poor genetic stock. As these immigrants’ names revealed their Slavic ancestry, many immigrants changed their names to appear more American. It was common for these persons to change their names to reflect their "Americanization.” For example, the name "Pakerevich” became "Baker,” and "Israel Baline” became "Irving Berlin.”

While overt hatred, particularly in the South, was generally directed against members of racial minorities, such feelings were also occasionally directed against Jews. The most blatant example was the 1915 lynching of the Jewish Atlanta businessman Leo Frank, who had been unjustly convicted of the rape and murder of an employee. Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motor Company and a major figure in business during the 1920’s, regularly published anti-Semitic editorials in his own newspaper, the Dearborn Independent. Father Charles Coughlin preached anti-Semitism to the nation from his pulpit in Royal Oak, Michigan.

The growing anti-Semitic attitude was reflected most clearly in changes in immigration laws that were directed against eastern and southern Europeans in general, but against Jews from those regions in particular. For example, the Immigration Act of 1924 established a quota system that severely restricted Jewish immigration from most of Europe. These new limits on immigration had an immediate impact on Jews attempting to flee Europe following the rise of fascism during the 1930’s. The appointment of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party to power in Germany in 1933 was rapidly followed by German legalization of discrimination against Jews. The anti-Jewish riots that began during November, 1938, were merely the prelude to the rounding up and eventual murder of Jews throughout Europe.

The resistance of the United States to Jewish immigration during the 1930’s was dramatized in the St. Louis affair in 1939. When the German ship St. Louis, carrying more than 900 Jews attempting to escape from Europe, arrived in Cuba, its passengers were not allowed to disembark, and they were ultimately refused permission to enter the United States. Most had to return to Europe, where they were eventually murdered. In 1939, the Wagner- Rogers Bill designed to admit 20,000 Jewish children from Europe was voted down in Congress. Despite the admittance of prominent individuals. such as Albert Einstein, few Jews were allowed to enter America during the 1930’s.

After World War II

Although there was strong evidence that Nazi Germany was trying to exterminate European and Russian Jews throughout the war, the full extent of German atrocities became widely known only after the surrender of Germany in May, 1945. Hundreds of thousands of European Jews who survived the Holocaust became stateless; even the idea that they might return to what was left of their prewar homes was unrealistic. Whether public awareness of the extent of the Holocaust changed American attitudes or merely rendered overt anti-Semitism no longer acceptable is unclear. Returning American soldiers regarded the elimination of racial and religious discrimination to be a major priority, and criticism of Jews as a people was significantly reduced. Although Jews within some individual professions continued to endure some discrimination, often in the form of hiring quotas, legal barriers against Jews were gradually eliminated. Even the Hollywood film industry addressed discrimination and hatred against Jews. In the film Gentleman’s Agreement (1947), for example, actor Gregory Peck played a reporter pretending to be Jewish in order to investigate discrimination, while the plot of Crossfire (1947) involved the murder by bigots of a Jewish war hero.

U.S. immigration policies that had historically discriminated against Jews began to change as well. A bill proposed by Congressman William Stratton of Illinois in 1947 to admit 400,000 displaced persons, including Jews, went nowhere. However, one year later Congress did pass a similar bill to admit more than 200,000 displaced persons, the Displaced Persons Act of 1948. Efforts by members of Congress to establish into law provisions of the 1948 act that continued to create barriers to immigration of displaced Jews were defeated, and by 1960 an estimated 250,000 survivors had arrived. The Civil Rights movement during the 1960’s, while primarily addressing discrimination against African Americans and members of other racial minorities, ended most remaining legal barriers directed against Jews as well.

The last major influx of Jewish immigrants to the United States began during the late 1970’s and continued through the presidency of Ronald Reagan, as emigration barriers in the Soviet Union slowly beginning to lift. Approximately two million Jews had remained in Russia following World War II. An increasing number of activists, largely but not solely Jewish, began a campaign directed at the Soviet government to allow these Jews to emigrate. Pressure from the United States as well as internal Russian refuseniks eventually proved successful. Ultimately, nearly 200,000 Russian Jews immigrated to America between 1979 and 1990.

Richard Adler

Further Reading

Diner, Hasia. The Jews of the United States, 1654-2000. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004. In addition to treating Jewish history from a religious viewpoint, Diner addresses economic and cultural changes within the community. A feminist perspective underlies much of the history.

Dinnerstein, Leonard. Antisemitism in America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994. Comprehensive history of anti-Semitism that addresses the earliest European Christian biases toward Jews and the influence of those beliefs during the earliest years of Jewish immigration. Chapters divide American history into specific periods, emphasizing the evolution of anti-Semitism and effects on immigration policy during each period.

Gerber, David, ed. Anti-Semitism in American History. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 1986. Collection of essays analyzing both the roots of anti-Semitism and resultant discrimination against Jews. Subjects such as mythological accusations against Jewish practices, and interactions among Jews and other minorities are covered.

Wenger, Beth. The Jewish Americans. New York: Doubleday, 2007. Comprehensive history of 350 years of Jewish history in America. The book contains extensive first-person accounts of the Jewish experience, accompanied by a large number of photographs.

See also: American Jewish Committee; Anti-Defamation League; Displaced Persons Act of 1948; History of immigration, 1783-1891; History of immigration after 1891; Holocaust; Israeli immigrants; Jewish immigrants; Nativism; Religion as a pushpull factor; Stereotyping.

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Chain migration

As a result of family members or neighbors contacting others from their home countries for purposes of inspiring them to become their new neighbors in America, chain migration has had a significant impact on the history and growth of immigration to the United States.

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Cultural pluralism

As a concept cultural pluralism is an alternative to the “melting pot” view that immigrants should assimilate to American culture by abandoning their own cultures, languages, and other traditions.

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English-only and official English movements

Although some Americans see these movements as patriotic or wellintended, other Americans perceive such efforts to be anti-immigrant or racist.

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Eugenics movement

The eugenics movement had a significant influence on U.S. immigration policy. Politicians, reformers, and civic leaders imbued with a sense of Americanism and scientific justification enacted laws to limit immigration to what they regarded as “desirable” types.

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Great Depression

Great DepressionImmigration was a thorny issue during the Depression. Legislation was already in place barring certain ethnic groups from entering the United States, and immigration remained restricted during the era owing to economic factors.

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Our Country: Its Possible Future and Its Present Crisis

Josiah Strong’s influential 1885 polemic, Our Country: Its Possible Future and Its Present Crisis, represented both America’s sense of manifest destiny and nativist fears as the new immigration began to bring hundreds of thousands of eastern and southern Europeans into the country.

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Samuel F. B. Morse (1791–1872) inventor, political activist

Best remembered for developing the Morse code and the first working telegraph, Morse was also one of the leading anti-Catholic activists of his day.

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Immigration Restriction League (IRL)

Founded by Charles Warren in Boston in 1894, the Immigration Restriction League (IRL) proposed a literacy test for the purpose of restricting immigration.

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Gentlemen’s Agreement

The Gentlemen’s Agreement was an informal set of executive arrangements between the United States and Japan in 1907–08 that defused a hostile standoff over the results of Japanese labor migration to California.

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American Protective Association

The American Protective Association (APA) was a secret, anti-Catholic organization founded by Henry F. Bowers in Clinton, Iowa, in 1887.

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