IMMIGRATION AND AMERICA
HIS 203 American History to 1865
Instructor Eric Fox
May 28 , 2012
This paper will examine how immigration has transformed America from her earliest days as a nation, how immigration policies, and views on immigration, have changed so drastically, and how immigration continues to affect and change our society today. Also explored will be the arrival of America’s earliest immigrants, how these immigrants were viewed and treated by Americans, and the immigration battle that continues today with the flood of illegal immigrants pouring into America every day seeking safe haven from drugs, tyranny, and poverty.
According to the federal government’s 2010 American Community Survey, “The United States remains a nation that people from around the globe hope to call home” (McClatchy-Tribune News, n.d.). Simply put, America has been a creation of a mixture of cultures, religions, and different ethnic groups, and the term melting pot still applies today. Immigration began years ago during America’s earliest days. People were traveling to America in the hope of a better life, free to live their lives without tyranny, violence, and poverty. Not all of those immigrants found what they had been promised to expect, and many returned to their home country if they could afford to. But a large majority stayed and fought to make a better life, if not for them, then for their children. These immigrants felt great fear that they had made a mistake. No one spoke their language; they were in a foreign land, so most of them lived in in their ethnic neighborhoods, further preventing them from being assimilated into American life. The United States still today remains a “beacon of hope and symbol of freedom the world over and becomes even more attractive as succeeding waves of immigrants and their cultures continue to be folded into the durable fabric of U.S. society”(McClatchy-Tribune News, n.d.).
The early colonists were not considered immigrants; they were considered settlers as they were sent from another thriving continent, even though Native Americans had occupied America long before they arrived. It was those who arrived when America had already been settled and occupied that were considered immigrants. Immigrant is defined by Dictionary.com as a “person who immigrates to another country, usually for permanent residence” (Dictionary.com, n.d.). In the early days of America, the United States welcomed immigrants who were looking for a better life from their home countries due to poverty, starvation, lack of work, or religious prosecution, although there were a great many immigrants escaping criminal prosecution as well.
But long before the immigrants began to come to America for freedom and a better life, America’s history, most often thought of when mentioning plantations in the south, slavery ran rampant. African’s were brought to America by ship, living in the most horrible conditions on the journey where many died. They were treated as animals, less than animals. Bought, sold, traded, beaten, raped and starved, among those running plantations in the south. For many years this was accepted as normal by southern society, and wealthy plantation owners thought nothing of separating families by selling the father or young sons who could produce the most work. But when most people think of slavery, they think of the south, and forget that for two hundred years there had been slaves in all the old colonies of early America. Oh yes, those northerner’s who so despised slavery, who fought a destructive and devastating Civil War with the south over slavery, those same people in the north did indeed own, sell, trade, and abuse slaves. Slaves in the north were auctioned on the town square of the Market House of Philadelphia, in front of the churches in Rhode Island, in taverns and warehouses in Boston, and often in the Merchant’s Coffee House in New York. “Such Northern...
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