Immigration in American history – a new perspective
Opening
Centrality of immigration in American history
Changing paradigms
Changing immigration patterns
America as a nation defines its membership:
The anti-Chinese movement
citizenship
Immigration and citizenship policies
sources
Immigration and citizenship policies
and other events 1
• 1607 -- Founding of Jamestown, Virginia
by English colonists.
• 1620 -- Voyage of the Mayflower, carrying
Pilgrims to the New World.
• 1790 – First naturalization act: only free
white men could be naturalized.
Immigration and citizenship policies and other events 2
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1846-47 -- Irish potato famine, causing large-scale Irish emigration.
1848 -- Gold discovery in California, starting the Gold Rush. Chinese
immigrants (first Asians) were also about to arrive.
Revolution in Germany, sending many immigrants to the United
States.
1854 – People vs Hall (text), a California Supreme Court case, which rules that no Chinese could
give testimony against white people in the court of law.
1868 – The 14th Amendment
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1868 – The Burlingame Treaty between the United State and China
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Impact (section 1);
Limitations: Chinese
Citizenship issue was murky;
Both Chinese and U.S. governments recognized the right of the Chinese to emigrate;
The treaty acknowledged the right of the Chinese to emigrate;
1875 -- The Page Act, restricting the entry of Chinese women.
1880 – Anti-miscegenation laws in California:
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prohibiting marriage between a white person and "a Negro, mulatto, or Mongolian.“
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(Colonial origin: Maryland in 1661); in many states, the law stayed in the books until recently; racism – nazism.
1882 -- The first Chinese exclusion act (discussion)
1886 -- Statue of Liberty dedicated, and at the same time the efforts to
restrict immigration increased.
1892 -- Replacing Castle Garden, Ellis Island (photographs) opened and remained as immigration
reception center until 1954. During those years, it received about 12 million immigration from
Europe.
1898 -- Wong Kim Ark v. United States. The U.S. Supreme Court declared
that anyone born in the United States was an American citizen, and
should not be denied the rights thereof. The case extended (and
confirmed) the right established in the 14th amendment (1868) to
the Chinese.
Immigration and citizenship policies and other events 3
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1907 -- Immigration Commission created
1907-08 -- The Gentlemen’s Agreement between the United States and
Japan, ending Japanese labor immigration. But certain people, such
as wives and children of those already in America could continue to
arrive.
1910 -- January 21, The detention center on Angel Island (Timeline) (video) was put in use--until November 4,
1940.
1913 -- Alien land act passed in California.
1917 -- Literacy test established as a way to restrict general
immigration, especially immigration from southern and eastern
Europe. Creation of a “Barred Zone” in order to exclude Asian
immigrants.
1922 -- The Cable Act, making it difficult for female U.S. citizens to
marry non-citizen Asian immigrant men. Those who did would lose
their citizenship.
1922 – The “good character” case: Takao Ozawa v. United States. The Supreme Court turned down
the Japanese-born immigrant’s application for naturalization.
1923 – The “I am Caucasian” case: Redefining the meaning of whiteness -- United States v. Bhagat Singh
Thind. The Supreme Court decided that although Thind was an Aryan (white), he could not be naturalized.
1923 -- Numerous U.S. Supreme Court cases upholding the Alien Land Acts
in California and elsewhere.
1924 -- The Johnson-Reed Act (known also as the National Origins Act /the Japanese Exclusion Act).
A racist quota system established: favoring western and northern European countries (immigration numbers
1920s); exclusion of all those who were ineligible for citizenship.
1934 -- The Tydings-McDuffie Act, ending Filipino immigration.
1942 -- Incarceration of Japanese Americans.
1943 -- Repeal of the Chinese exclusion acts. Chinese gained the right to naturalization and an annual quota
of 105.
Immigration and citizenship policies and other
events 4
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1946 -- The War Bride Act, admitting foreign-born wives of U.S.
service
men.
1948 -- The Displaced Persons Act (modified two years later), intended to
allow 400,000 Europeans to enter the U.S as refugees in four years.
1952 -- McCarran-Walter Act, preserving the quota system by creating
the Asia-Pacific Triangle; allowing Asian immigrants to be
naturalized.
1960 -- Cuban refugees were paroled into the United States after the
revolution led by Castro in 1959.
1965 -- The Immigration Reform Act, abolishing the quota system, setting
a ceiling for both the Western and Eastern Hemispheres.
1975 -- The fall of Saigon and the beginning of Vietnamese and other
southeastern
1790 naturalization act
• Act of March 26, 1790 (1 Stat 103-104) (Excerpts) That any alien,
being a free white person, who shall have resided within the limits
and under the jurisdiction of the United States for the term of two
years, may be admitted to become a citizen thereof, on application
to any common law court of record, in any one of the States wherein
he shall have resided for the term of one year at least, and making
proof to the satisfaction of such court, that he is a person of good
character, and taking the oath or affirmation prescribed by law, to
support the Constitution of the United States, which oath or
affirmation such court shall administer; and the clerk of such court
shall record such application, and the proceedings thereon; and
thereupon such person shall be considered as a citizen of the United
States. And the children of such persons so naturalized, dwelling
within the United States, being under the age of twenty-one years at
the time of such naturalization, shall also be considered as citizens
of the United States. And the children of citizens of the United
States, that may be born beyond sea, or out of the limits of the
United States, shall be considered as natural born citizens:
Provided, that the right of citizenship shall not descend to persons
whose fathers have never been resident in the United States: . . .
Foreign languages in the US 1990
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Population 5 years and older
Only English
non-English
Total percent of non-English
French (and Creoles)
Spanish (and Creole)
German
Chinese
Italian
Tagalog
Polish
Korean
Indo European
Indic
Vietnamese
Portuguese (and Creole)
Japanese
Greek
Arabic
Native American
Other Slavic
Russian
Germanic
Yididish
Scandinavian
South Slavic
Hungarian
Unspecified
230,445,777
198,600,798
31,844,979
13.8
1,930,404
17,345,064
1,547,987
1,319,462
1,308,648
843,251
723,483
626,478
578,076
555,126
507,069
430,610
427,657
388,260
355,150
331,758
270,863
241,798
232,461
213,064
198,904
170,449
147,902
1,023,614
Language 2005
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Total population 5 years old and over
268,110,961
Speak only English 216,176,111
Spanish or Spanish Creole
32,184,293
Chinese
2,300,467
French (including Patois, Cajun)
1,383,432
French Creole
548,986
Tagalog
1,376,632
Vietnamese
1,142,328
German
1,120,256
Korean
983,954
Russian
812,404
Italian
802,436
Arabic
686,986
Portuguese or Portuguese Creole
661,990
Polish
607,585
African languages
581,947
Hindi
462,371
Japanese
457,836
Persian
325,892
Greek
323,770
Urdu
303,423
Serbo-Croatian
270,800
Other Native North American languages
207,430
Armenian
202,550
Mon-Khmer, Cambodian
189,053
Hmong
173,696
Navajo
173,100
Laotian
152,304
Thai
129,943
Hebrew 189,798
Yiddish 137,147
Hungarian
99,201
Sources
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North American Immigrant Letters, Diaries and Oral Histories :
http://solomon.imld.alexanderstreet.com/
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Center for immigration studies:
http://www.cis.org/
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Search Immigration & Emigration Records:
http://www.ancestry.com/search/rectype/default.aspx?rt=40
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Ellis Island: http://www.nps.gov/elis/index.htm; http://www.ellisisland.org/genealogy/ellis_island.asp
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1790 Naturalization Act:
http://www.indiana.edu/~kdhist/H105-documents-web/week08/naturalization1790.html
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Chinese exclusion act:
http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/chinex.htm
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We the people: Asians in the United States:
http://www.census.gov/prod/2004pubs/censr-17.pdf
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Angel Island:
http://www.angelisland.org/; http://www.aiisf.org/;
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Angel Island Poetry:
http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/a_f/angel/angel.htm
Video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cW6f96SgknY
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Burlingame Treaty:
http://content.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/hb4m3nb03h/?order=2&brand=calisphere
Opening
• the future of the historical profession is in
the hands of middle/high school history
teachers.
Centrality of immigration in US history
• "Once I thought to write a history of the
immigrants in America. Then I discovered
that the immigrants were American
history“ --Oscar Handlin, The Uprooted:
The Epic Story of Great Migrations that
Made the American People (1951.)
• A Nation of Immigrants by JFK (1964)
Centrality of immigration in American history
• Two quotes
• Studying immigration helps us better understand topics specified in
California Content Standards, such as industrialization, urbanization,
food, ethnicity, food, etc.
• It also helps us comprehend fundamental changes in American
society.
• It helps us better understand political, socioeconomic and cultural
changes in America:
– The immigrants are changed by the New World; and they
have also changed America.
• It reveals the global connections in American life: immigration
and trade.
• We are at a historic moment
Fundamental changes in society
• Of particular importance is the change in the
character and nature of American society.
• Who are included and excluded? Who
should have the essential rights as an
American? -- essentially, these are
questions about citizenship.
• Citizenship is not just a legal concept but is
also defined in terms of class, gender, and
race.
• For a long time, Asians were regarded as
non-American. The meaning of Americanness has changed profoundly over time.
Changing paradigms in the study of immigration history
• Every generation writes its own history.
• Assimilation theory – for a long time the most
powerful and most influential model for
understanding immigrant life.
• Third-generation theory
• From The Uprooted to The Transplanted (By John
Bodnar, 1985).
• Another important for the revision of history: the demand
by the descendants of newer immigrants.
Assimilation theory
• Robert Park (1864-1944);
• Chicago School of Sociology
• assimilation is inevitable and it has four
progressive and irreversible stages: contact,
competition, accommodation, and assimilation.
• Influenced Chinese American scholars: Paul Siu;
Rose Hum Lee
misassumptions of the assimilation theory
• There is a fixed, never-changing norm of being American.
• It is based on European immigrant experiences in the early 20
century.
• It focuses on the American setting.
• It believed that assimilation brings upward social mobility, assuming
that everyone starts from the bottom.
• A tool used to judged the immigrants: the good one assimilated and
the bad ones do not.
• It is the ultimate goal of the immigrants, and it is inevitable.
• The immigrants were seen as a problem – socioeconomically and
culturally.
Third generation theory
• Marcus L. Hansen (1892-1938):
• The first generation: the society regards them as
a problem; looked down upon them; survival.
• The second generation: pressure to assimilate
at school: constantly criticized and mocked;
• tension in the family;
• Eager to forget: 100% Americanized.
• ( “Nothing is more Yankee that a Yankeeized
person of foreign descent.”)
• The third generation: more confident and eager
to re-remember. “that which the son wishes to
forget the grandson wishes to remember.”
comparison
• The Uprooted:
• The Transplanted:
• Discontinuity from
homeland and traditions
• Continued connections with the Old
World – family ties and cultural
traditions, etc.
• Forced escape from
hardships at home.
• Exclusively focused on
European immigrants
• Part of capitalism development
locally and globally. As a
calculated response by families and
individuals in response to such
developments.
• Broader coverage of different
immigrant groups, especially the
new immigrants. Some coverage
of Asian immigrants.
Changing immigration patterns
• Shifting waves of immigration
• The saga continues
• The number of Asian Americans
• The Asian American experience
challenges old assumptions
Shifting waves of immigration
• During the 17th and 18th centuries, most
immigrants came from Western and Northern
Europe.
• In the mid-19th century, large numbers of Irish
immigrants arrived. So did Chinese immigrants
– the first large wave of immigrants from Asia.
But it was soon banned.
• Beginning from the late 19th century, Southern
and Eastern Europe became the primary source
of immigrants.
Earlier Immigration Waves
• During “The century of immigration” (1820 to
1924), nearly 36,000,000 immigrants came to
the U.S.
• Peak decade: 1900-1910, 8,800,000 arrived
• 1910 one of every seven was born outside the
United States
• During the 18th & 19th centuries,
20% of the businessmen, 20% of the
scholars/scientists & 46% of the
musicians were first generation
immigrants.
New immigration patterns
• The post-1965 period belongs to the third
world:
• 1981 - 1990, over 7,338,000 immigrated to
U.S., only 9.6% of them were European.
38% of them are Asians.
Changing immigration patterns (post-1965)
Europe/Asia Comparison
immigration
10,000,000
8,000,000
All countries
6,000,000
Europe
4,000,000
Asia
2,000,000
0
1961-1970
1971-1980
1981-1990
decades
1991-2000
Immigration numbers 1831-2005
10,000
9,000
8,000
7,000
6,000
5,000
4,000
3,000
2,000
1,000
0
d e ca d e s
00
to
20
80
19
91
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60
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71
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40
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51
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20
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31
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00
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11
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80
91
18
71
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60
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18
18
51
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40
S eries 1
to
31
18
i m m i g ra n ts
Im m ig ra tio n d a ta to 2 0 0 5
1 of every 8 people is an immigrant
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one in eight U.S. residents is an immigrants today.
In 1970 it was one in 21;
in 1980 it was one in 16;
in 1990 it was one in 13.
 Since 2000, 10.3 million immigrants have arrived — the
highest seven-year period of immigration in U.S. history.
More than half of post-2000 arrivals (5.6 million) are
estimated to be illegal aliens.
• The largest increases in immigrants were in California, Florida,
Texas, New Jersey, Illinois, Arizona, Virginia, Maryland,
Washington, Georgia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.
Chinese and other Asians
The Asian American experience challenges old assumptions
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“The immigrant children will assimilate and be accepted automatically into American
society.” For a long time, Asian Americans were viewed outsiders. Unlike other groups,
who became “white” over time, American-born Asians continued to face discrimination.
[Here, I should discuss the notion of whiteness.]
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“Everyone starts at the bottom.” A significant number of Asian immigrants came
with middle class resources – money or education. In terms of their income and material
wealth, they can join the middle class in a short period of time.
Many Asians came to America by way of higher education – they came as students, mostly
graduate students. An overwhelming majority of them study in the technical fields –
mathematics, engineering, sciences, and business.
The hi-tech revolution that started to transform the American economy in the late 1990s,
provided additional opportunities for such Asian Americans.
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3.
“Race relations in the U.S. are simply between blacks and whites.” The growing
presence of Asians and Latinos helps us understand the complex nature of the issue of race in
America. There have been Chinese in the south since the late 19th century. Back in the early
20th century, they were sometime classified as white and sometimes as black.
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“The immigrant experience is to be understood only in the context of American
society.” The Asian American experience has been characterized by transnationalism. Like
many other before them, they continue to maintain strong ties to their ancestral lands,
facilitating socioeconomic and cultural interactions between the United States and these lands.
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“Immigrants are passive recipients of American influence.” They are also changing
American culture : food language, etc.
Citizenship
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membership in a national community
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How to acquire citizenship:
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jus sanguinis (by blood);
jus solis (by birth place)
Naturalization;
marriage
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Variations: dual citizenship
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Citizenship is also defined by other factors in different periods:
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Informally:
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Race;
Gender;
Language;
Class: social status;
Ramifications:
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Political;
Social;
Economic.
The anti-Chinese movement
• It was one of the most powerful political
movements in American history.
• The prominent role of the working class,
especially the Irish (called an “inferior race” on
the East Coast”).
• Anti-Chinese movement = “Whiteness”
• Anti-Chinese sentiments were universally
shared by all social classes.
• The fundamental question: Who deserves to be
a member of this fast-growing and expanding
nation?
Immigration Statistics, 1920-1926
Year Total
Entering U.S. Country of Origin
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1920
1921
1922
1923
1924
1925
1926
430,001
805,228
309,556
522,919
706,896
294,314
304,488
GB
Eastern Europe
Italy
38,471
51,142
25,153
45,759
59,490
27,172
25,528
3,913
32,793
12,244
16,082
13,173
1,566
1,596
95,145
222,260
40,319
46,674
56,246
6,203
8,253
Burlingame Treaty
The “Caucasian” case (text)
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“In the endeavor to ascertain the meaning of the statute we must not fail to
keep in mind that it does not employ the word 'Caucasian,' but the
words 'white persons,' and these are words of common speech and
not of scientific origin. The word 'Caucasian' . . . the use of it in its
scientific probably wholly unfamiliar to the original framers of the statute in
1790. When we employ it, we do so as an aid to the ascertainment of the
legislative intent and not as an invariable substitute for the statutory words.
Indeed, as used in the science of ethnology, the connotation of the word is
by no means clear, and the use of it in its scientific sense as an equivalent
[261 U.S. 204, 209] for the words of the statute, other considerations aside,
would simply mean the substitution of one perplexity for another. But in this
country, during the last half century especially, the word by common
usage has acquired a popular meaning, not clearly defined to be sure,
but sufficiently so to enable us to say that its popular as distinguished from
its scientific application is of appreciably narrower scope. It is in the
popular sense of the word, therefore, that we employ is as an aid to the
construction of the statute, for it would be obviously illogical to convert
words of common speech used in a statute into words of scientific
terminology when neither the latter nor the science for whose purposes they
were coined was within the contemplation of the framers of the statute or of
the people for whom it was framed. The words of the statute are to be
interpreted in accordance with the understanding of the common man from
whose vocabulary they were taken. “
Development of the Immigration control machine
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Racial ideology and justification of racist immigration policies: Dictionary of
races (1911);
Under 1882 law, The secretary of the treasury was given general
supervisory authority over enforcement of immigration laws and regulations;
From 1891 to 1903, the Bureau of Immigration’s duties were expanded;
In 1903, the Department of Commerce and Labor was set up and the
bureau was transferred to its supervision;
In 1906, the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN) was created
In 1914, the BIN was transferred to U.S. Department of Labor as two
divisions;
In 1924, the visa system created;
In 1924 the U.S. Border Patrol was also established with 450 people (initial
target: Chinese).
In 1933, the Bureau of Naturalization and the Bureau of Immigration
were consolidated to form the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
In 1940, the agency was transferred to the Department of Justice;
In 2003, it went to Department of Homeland Security – now called U.S.
Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
14th Amendment
• Section. 1. All persons born or naturalized in the
United States and subject to the jurisdiction
thereof, are citizens of the United States and of
the State wherein they reside. No State shall
make or enforce any law which shall abridge the
privileges or immunities of citizens of the United
States; nor shall any State deprive any person of
life, liberty, or property, without due process of
law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction
the equal protection of the laws.
Anti-Miscegenation laws in CA
Federal and State jurisdiction
1850 – extending an East Coast tradition.
Colonial origin: Maryland in 1661; in
many states, the law stayed in the books
until recently; racism – Nazism.
1880: the Chinese became the primary target:
No marriage license to be issued to any
white person who wanted to marry a
"Mongolian“ or "a Negro, or mulatto.”
The Asians became a target in 1905.
1882 Chinese Exclusion Act
• Immigration restriction: First
comprehensive law to restrict immigration;
first law to do so on the basis of race.
• Race: terminating Chinese immigration for
ten years (extended afterwards), and
declaring Chinese immigrants ineligible for
citizenship.
• Class: ban on labor immigration
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