The usa 1918-1968 usa: Course Outline



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The USA 1918-1968

USA: Course Outline

  • This topic is a study of the growing tensions in American society from
  • 1918-1968.
  • It focuses on immigration, racial divisions, economic difficulties, the growth of federal powers and the struggle for civil rights.

USA: Course Outline

Learning Intentions

  • To understand the history of immigration into the USA since the American Revolutionary War
  • Push and Pull Factors of Immigration
  • Immigrants Before & After 1890
  • The idea of the Melting Pot
  • ‘Open Door’ Policy
  • In 1800 the population of America was only 2 million
  • BY 1920 the population of America was over 100 million!
  • This was caused by a massive flood of immigrants who were attracted by hopes for a better life
  • ‘Give me your tired, your poor,
  • Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
  • The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
  • Send these the homeless, tempest tossed to me
  • I life my lamp beside the golden door’
  • Emma Lazarus
  • Give me your tired and poor people,
  • The crowds of poor people who want a better life
  • The poor who live in your overcrowded cities
  • Send the homeless who have suffered from storms and war to me
  • I promise them a bright new future of freedom and wealth

In 1915 the President of the USA, Woodrow Wilson described America to be…

  • The motto of the USA is E PLURIBUS UNUM, which is the Latin for OUT OF MANY COMES ONE.
  • This expressed the hope that all the differences of nationality, culture and religion would eventually fade away and all immigrants would adopt the American way of life as loyal citizens of the United States.
  • “like a melting pot. It is here we will mix the races together to create a new person - an American
  • Before 1890 most immigrants came from Northern Europe, especially England, Ireland, Scotland, Germany and Scandinavia
  • Many were farmers, skilled workers or small businessmen
  • They usually arrived with a job already set up or with enough money to start a farm or small business

After 1890, most immigrants came from poorer areas of Europe such as Poland, Italy, Russia and the Ukraine

  • Often poor, uneducated peasants
  • They often arrived without any money
  • They were often unable to speak English
  • Many of them were Jews and Catholics

Old Vs New Immigrants

  • Old Immigrants- They were usually…
  • W.A.S.Ps
  • White
  • Anglo-Saxon
  • Protestant
  • They thought they were the most important people in America
  • They owned all of the big businesses in America and held many Government positions

New Immigrants

  • Could not speak English
  • They seldom mixed with other groups
  • To outsiders they looked strange and ‘not American’
  • They came mostly from Southern and Eastern Europe
  • They were often very poor and lived in the slums
  • They often practised a different religion
  • Famine
  • Low wages
  • Poverty
  • Religious persecution
  • Overpopulation and overcrowding in cities and on farm land
  • Political persecution
  • Terrible living and working conditions
  • PUSH
  • Why Did Immigrants Leave Their Homes?
  • Unemployment
  • The American Dream
  • After 1850 the USA has a great industrial revolution
  • Employment in industries seeking cheap labour e.g. expanding railroads, factories, mines and the trans-continental railroad
  • Better wages
  • Greater political and religious freedom
  • Improvements in steamship technology meant that journeys were faster and safer
  • Greater opportunities promised to them by relatives, friends and recruiting agents
  • PULL
  • What Attracted Them To The USA?

From 1892, Immigrants Were Taken To Ellis Island 1 Mile South Of New York Before They Were Allowed To Enter The USA

  • The Island of Hope Or Tears
  • 70% of all European immigrants arrived in America through Ellis Island
  • When they arrived, they were taken in groups of 30 to be ‘processed’
  • Around 5000 were tested each day to see if they were fit to live in America!
  • The First Test
  • x
  • Each immigrant had a medical exam be a doctor. He marked on a person’s back with chalk any defect or infectious diseases
  • C-Conjunctivitis
  • H-Heart disease
  • F-Rash
  • FT-Feet
  • Problems
  • -Feeble minded

The Second Test

  • Inspectors asked immigrants 29 questions:
  • Have you any money?
  • Have you any relatives in America?
  • Do you have a job waiting for you?
  • Are you an anarchist?
  • Only 2% of immigrants were denied entry for failing these tests
  • If the inspections were all passed, they were given a landing card. This made them an American and they would be transported by ferry to New York

When they arrived in America, the majority of immigrants settled in cities

  • By The Early 1900s, It Seemed Like American Cities Were Like Giant Jigsaws Of Different Nationalities Of People...
  • They tended to live with people from similar backgrounds, culture and language
  • These immigrants “enclaves” became identified by names such as Little Italy, Irishtown and Chinatown
  • WAS AMERICA REALLY A MELTING POT?
  • IRISH
  • POLISH
  • GERMAN
  • ITALIAN
  • They also tended to cluster in particular jobs
  • Hungarians and Italians flocked to the coal mines
  • Poles worked in steel mills
  • Greeks preferred the textile mills
  • Russian and Polish Jews clustered in the sewing trades

So When Did Attitudes Change Towards Immigration...

  • America was proud of it’s ‘open door policy’
  • The focus of your first essay to analyse WHY attitudes changed towards immigration
  • The Dillingham Commission, 1907
  • They discovered that since the 1880s, immigrants had mainly come from Southern and Eastern Europe
  • The Commission thought these immigrants were inferior compared to the WASP immigrants who arrived mainly before 1890
  • They recommend that a literacy test be used to make it harder for ‘inferior’ immigrants to get into the USA
  • They had to show they could write a short passage in English or another language
  • Many Americans feared Revolution
  • The Russian Revolution in 1917
  • The Red Scare in 1919
  • During WWI many German immigrants supported the German side and when the USA joined the war against Germany there was a danger American society would split.
  • After WWI there were few jobs
  • Immigrants put pressure on scarce housing in poorer areas of the cities
  • Racism
  • “America must be kept pure and not turned into a second rate power by a second rate people”
  • They were believed to be damaging American culture and bringing in dangerous new ideas like communism
  • They were blamed for disease and rising crime
  • Immigrant trade unions were growing too big and too powerful
  • Why Did Attitudes Towards Immigration Change So Much After 1918?

The ‘Open Door’ Policy Did Not Apply To Everyone...

  • Exclusion Act of 1882
  • Restricts Immigration
  • 1902
  • Chinese immigration made illegal
  • 1907
  • The Japanese Government promise to stop the emigration of its citizens to the USA
  • 1921
  • Congress encourages emigrants from Western Europe as they believe they are more likely to become ‘good’ Americans. The law discouraged immigration from Eastern and Southern Europe
  • 1917
  • Immigration Act of 1917 bans almost all Asians
  • Immigration Laws in the 1920s: The Open Door Closes!
  • By the 1920s, the flow of immigrants to the USA was restricted as a quota system was used.
  • This meant that only so many immigrants from each country were allowed into the USA
  • The 1921 Emergency Quota Act allowed only 3% of each nationality living in the USA in 1910 to enter the USA
  • The 1924 Immigration Act reduced this percentage to 2% enter each year.
  • The proportion from each country was decided on the size of each national group in the USA at the time of the 1890 census
  • Remember! Up to 1890 most immigrants had come from Northern and Western Europe

The effect of the 1921 and 1924 Immigration Acts was to discriminate against people from South Eastern Europe and allow more immigrants from Northern Europe to enter

  • The effect of the 1921 and 1924 Immigration Acts was to discriminate against people from South Eastern Europe and allow more immigrants from Northern Europe to enter
  • A better balance was created in 1928 when they used the 1910 census as the basis for the quotas. This included far more Southern and Eastern Europeans.
  • ONLY SEND ME WASPS!
  • Now time to start the first essay...



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