Immigration and Discrimination in the 1920s

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Beginning in the early nineteenth century there were massive waves of immigration. These "new" immigants were largely from Italy, Russia, and Ireland. There was a mixed reaction to these incomming foreigners. While they provided industries with a cheap source of labor, Americans were both afraid of, and hostile towards these new groups. They differed from the "typical American" in language, customs, and religion. Many individuals and industries alike played upon America's fears of immigration to further their own goals. Leuchtenburg follows this common theme from the beginning of World War I up until the election of 1928. If there was one man who singlely used America's fear of immigrants to advance his own political goals it was Attorney General Palmer. The rise of Communism in Russia created a fear of its spread across Europe, and to America. Palmer tied this fear to that of immigration. He denounced labor unions, the Socialist party, and the Communist party in America, as being infultrated with radicals who sought to overturn America's political, economic, and social institutions. Palmer exasperated this fear in Americans and then presented himself as the country's savior, combatting the evils of Communism. He mainly centered his attack on Russian immigrants. During the infamous Palmer raids thousands of aliens were deported and even more were arrested on little or no evidence. Their civil liberties were violated, they were not told the reasons for their arrests, denied counsel, and not given fair trials. What followed was an investigation of Palmer led by Louis Post which overturned many of Palmer's actions. Palmer's cretability was shattered after in a last minute attempt to gain the 1920 presidencial nomination, he made predictions about a May Day radical uprising, the nation perpared itself, but on May 1st 1920 all was peaceful. While the raids had stopped, the hostilities towards immagrants still remained prevelent.Immigrants were used by...
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