History 2112 Final Exam Essay

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America has often been portrayed as a land of opportunity, but not everyone has had equal access to opportunity. Choose three groups and trace their attempts to achieve the full benefits of citizenship and freedom since the 1930s. Who was the most/least successful in their efforts and why?

America was created as an escape for those who were troubled by the governments of tyrannical nations and was, from the beginning, declared as a land of opportunity and freedom. This holds true for the most part, but not everyone enjoyed freedom or equal opportunity right away. Different groups such as women, immigrants, and African Americans have all have their share of struggles to achieve full citizenship benefits and freedoms since the 1930s.

Immigrants have always had their share of struggle throughout American history. Before the 1930’s several ethnic groups were targeted such as Europeans and Chinese people. In the 1940s, as communist fear spread across the country, federal registration of all foreign nationals was required. During the second Red Scare, the Alien Registration Act made it a crime for anyone to advocate or encourage the overthrowing of the federal government. The act was used against members of the German-American Bund and also against Japanese Americans who were generally thought as disloyal to America. Mexicans were deported to Mexico during the Great Depression as labor demands fell tremendously. The Bracero Program, however, allowed Mexicans to re-enter the country during WWII as manual laborers who worked agricultural and railroad jobs. From the 1940’s till the end of the program in 1967, millions of Mexicans were allowed contracts to work. The Immigration Act of 1965 abandoned the national-origins system which excluded Asians and south/eastern Europeans. The new law was racially neutral in criteria and allowed 170,000 immigrants from the Eastern Hemisphere and 120,000 from the Western Hemisphere. It’s effects were profound as the ethnic make up...
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