Immigration Act Of 1917 Dbq Essay

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During the time between 1890 and 1914 immigration to the United States rose sharply, especially from southern and eastern Europe. These new immigrants typically spoke little English and were already lower class citizens in their original home countries, making it very difficult for them to thrive as they set up new roots in America. This caused many Americans to place the blame on them when troubles arose regarding the quality of their current life styles. Eventually in 1917, in response to these feelings of resentment towards foreigners, the United States passed the new Immigration Act, a stricter set of laws and restrictions dictating who would be allowed passage into the country. The Immigration Act was met with plenty of outrage, especially …show more content…

citizens for generations grew hostile towards the new arrivals. They viewed them as threats to their jobs and wages, and found the Jewish and Catholic immigrants impure when compared to the dominant Protestant religion. Overall the southern and eastern Europeans were viewed as racially inferior. The Immigration Act of 1917 laid out the lines for who would be welcomed into the country and who would be turned away, devoting an exhausting two pages-worth to describe the new criteria. Anyone suffering from mental or physical disability or illness was to be barred, including those simply deemed to be of lower intelligence. Anarchists and those who challenged the government were also to be denied entry, as were criminals and anyone known to practice “immoral” acts such as polygamy and prostitution. Further still, the law prohibited those who had already been promised work in America, or who had their ticket paid for by someone else, and all children under the age of 16. The Immigration Act contradicted the core American belief that everyone was created …show more content…

Despite the fact that the majority of the United States was already made up of immigrants from Europe and many other countries, Americans still viewed these new immigrants from southern and eastern Europe as “other.” These new Europeans were “foreign devils” who were unworthy of even being given the opportunity to assimilate and develop a life in America, so legislature like that of the Immigration Acts of 1918 and 1924 were put in place in attempt to gate-keep. Clancy opened his speech by saying, “Since the foundations of the American commonwealth were laid in colonial times over 300 years ago, vigorous complaint and more or less bitter persecution have been aimed at newcomers to our shores.” The statement still carries truth nearly a hundred years later and many Americans still wish to keep our gates closed and prevent other foreigners from seeking equal

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