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Immigration History

               Immigration History Film Clips

Anticipating Multiculturalism (The Nation, 1915)

Horace M. Kallen (1888 - 1974) was a deep thinker who questioned the practice of "Americanization" (ie. assimilation). In this 1915 article, Kallen contended that although immigrants to American shores are required to develop allegiances to certain self-evident beliefs that are embraced throughout our republic - but outside of that, there is no reason that immigrants should not be able to maintain their own ethnic and cultural identities. In the Eighties, those who embraced this line of thinking preferred to call America a "salad bowl" as opposed to a "melting pot".


America's First Brush With Multiculturalism
(American Legion Weekly, 1922)

Like many Americans in the Twenties, the journalist who penned the attached article was totally irked by the concept of an American territory - bound for statehood - having a majority Asian population. He wrote at a time when the nation was deeply concerned about assimilating America's immigrants and his indignation can clearly be sensed.


A Grateful Immigrant Speaks ('47 Magazine, 1947)

An article by Atomic Age immigrant Juanita Wegner testifying as to her undying gratitude that she should be permitted to live in a nation with so many freedoms. Having spent much of her life on the run from the Fascists of Austria, Italy and Argentina, Wegner stated:

"For all my life I've wanted to be an American. I've dreamed about it, studied, worked for it...I've been an American for only a few days. But if I could have one wish it would be to go up to everybody I meet and say: 'Aren't we lucky to have this chance! Let's never forget it.'"


A Call to Repeal the Japanese Exclusion Act (Literary Digest, 1935)

The anonymous journalist opened this 1935 magazine article explaining how the Indian caste system took root and reasoned as to why he believed such a system was an inevitability in the United States as well.

"With the California Council on Oriental Relations waging an eloquent campaign for repeal of the Japanese Exclusion Act, a quota-basis solution is suggested."

Read another article about Asian immigration to California

Click here to read about the 1921 [anti-]Alien Land Bill in California.

You might also be interested in reading about the Yellow Peril in Canada.


Closing The Golden Door (American Legion Weekly, 1922)

If you've been in search of an historical article that clearly indicated that Americans were irked by white immigrants just as much as they've been bugged by non-white immigrants - then search no more. The journalist who penned this 1922 column chides the U.S. Government, and the people who granted them authority, for the difficulties that were placed in the path of all the various poor European migrants "yearning to breathe free":

"Whilst it does seem most expedient to curtail immigration, it ought to be done in a way which would impose least hardship on those who after all have had a supreme belief in America. One of America's weaknesses lies in red tape, did it need to be said; another lies in a sort of contempt for the poor whites of Europe - the 'Wops' and the 'K*k*s' and the 'Dagoes' and 'Hunkies' and the rest. They are unfortunate - after all, that is the chief thing against them."


The Anti-Asian Immigration Laws of 1924 (The Nation, 1927)

"The Immigration Act of 1924 denied admission to the United States to wives of American citizens if these wives are of a race ineligible for citizenship. Hindus, Chinese and Japanese are ineligible. Hence the curious and cruel fact that while an Oriental merchant with his wife may enter America, the wedded wife of an American-born citizen is held at the coast for deportation."


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