US History

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Fearof newly arriving immigrants has been a constant in American history.With respect to the New Immigrants of the late nineteenth century,describe what the native-born Americans were concerned about. Do youthink their fears were well founded? Why or why not?

Inthe late 19thcentury, immigration had for long been a contentious issue duringpresidential elections. Prior the Civil War, most native-bornAmericans felt that Irish Catholic immigrants would underminedemocracy as well as Protestantism. Such fears lay in wait forexample American Protective Association in the 1890s. New fears aroseabout immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe includingHungarians, Poles, Italians and Russian Jews (Hirschman n.p).Majority of native born Americans perceived Asian immigrants as evenmore inassimilable and even more racially different than theircounterparts Europeans. In the 1880s, Chinese immigration became ahot issue during presidential debates after passing of the ChineseExclusion Act in 1882 which was renewed every decade till 1902(Rumbaut and Alejandro 163).

Majorfears associated with immigration included crime, effect on language,family lives, and religion as well as voting. Just like today,Americans feared that immigrants could undermine wages. These fearsproved untrue throughout history. The souring population ofimmigrants in the country has brought much more positive change thanharm. America has become the world super power through the variouscontributions of the natives and the immigrants (Hareven and Maris78). During the time, immigrants offered cheap labor to agricultureand industrial sectors contributing to economic and socialdevelopment of the natives, even as they remained in poverty. Thefears that Americans had were not valid as proved by history. Socialinjustices in the American society were bridged thanks toimmigration. The African American immigrants who initially came asslaves, made the largest population of immigrants. They facedprejudice but with new immigrations, social justice and democracyhave been achieved.


Hareven,Tamara K., and Maris A. Vinovskis, eds. Familyand Population in 19th Century America.Princeton University Press, 2015.

HirschmanCharles. 28/7/2006. The Impact of Immigration on American Society:Looking Backward to the Future. Web. 11/10/2015.

Rumbaut,Rubén G., and Alejandro Portes. &quotImmigrant America: APortrait.&quot (2014).