Essay About Immigration In The Late 19th Century

485 Words 2 Pages
The United States has been built with the hands and backs of an immigrant population. Some may argue that the mass immigration witnessed in the late nineteenth century strengthened the American fabric, however, I feel it weakened the American fabric as these ‘new’ immigrants (adversely impacted and) changed the social, economic and political landscape. As noted by Davidson in Experience History: Interpreting America’s Past, “the modern city was the product of industrialization. Cities contained the great investment banks, the smoky mills and dingy sweatshops, the spreading railroad yards, the grimy tenements…the new department stores and skyscrapers. People came from places near as the countryside and as far as Russia, Armenia, China and Japan. …show more content…
In addition, the poor plumbing and inadequate heat and light in the tenemnents increased the spread of infectious diseases to epidemic levels. Contagious diseases, such as cholera, typhoid, yellow fever, and tuberculosis plagued these overcrowded city dwellings. Sadly, “almost a quarter of children born in American cities in 1890 never lived to see their first birthday.” iv. Americans – associated the spread of these diseases with the influx of new immigrants.

Futhermore, a wave of nativism occurred as a result of the influx of immigration, “Americans blamed their economic woes on foreigners…[they] attacked Catholics and foreign born for subverting democracy, taking jobs, and polarizing society.” (page 540)
New immigrants were seen as a threat to the wages and employment of American citizens, and as such, were deeply resented. Americans wanted to stop immigrants from entering the United States. The federal government decided it was time to take some action. In 1882, Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act, which “provided an absolute 10-year moratorium on Chinese labor immigration. For the first time, Federal law proscribed entry of an ethnic working group on the premise that it endangered the good order of certain

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