HIST 144 Grand Canyon University Russian Immigrant to The United States Journal Entry

HIST 144

Grand Canyon University


Question Description

I need an explanation for this History question to help me study.

Create a journal entry of 500-750 words reflecting on what your life would have been like as an immigrant to the United States from 1870 to 1920.

Be sure to include the physical, mental, and social issues you may have encountered.

Use a minimum of three of the sources provided to support your journal entry and be sure to cite the sources.

Prepare this assignment according to the guidelines found in the GCU Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center.

This assignment uses a rubric. Please review the rubric prior to beginning the assignment to become familiar with the expectations for successful completion.

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WebViewer Page 1 of 1 3/26/2020 WebViewer Page 1 of 2 3/27/2020 WebViewer Page 2 of 2 3/27/2020 EBSCOhost Page 1 of 14 Record: 1 Title: The significance of immigration in the formation of an American identity. Authors: Vecoli, Rudolph J. Source: History Teacher; November 1996, Vol. 30, p9-27, 19p Document Type: Article Subjects: American national characteristics; United States -- Emigration & immigration Abstract: National identity has been a contentious issue in the U.S. for over 200 years and remains so today. Immigration has repeatedly disturbed the American ethnic mix and contested the revolutionary heritage of human equality. American attitudes and policies have fluctuated between inclusive and exclusive responses, between generosity and greed, and between nativism and cosmopolitanism. However, from an historical perspective, it is apparent that the definition of an American identity has been expanded again and again to accommodate new peoples. From a white, Protestant AngloAmerican ethnonationalism, the picture has been enlarged to accommodate Irish and German Catholics, Italians, Jews, and Slavs, and more recently Asians and Latin Americans. This ethnic mix was not achieved without tension and conflict, and the U.S. has not attained an ideal society in which race, ethnicity, and religion are unimportant, but the historical record indicates grounds for optimism. ISSN: 00182745 DOI: 10.2307/494217 Accession Number: 507532155 Database: OmniFile Full Text Select (H.W. Wilson) The Significance of Immigration in the Formation of an American Identity AUTHOR:Rudolph J. Vecoli TITLE:The Significance of Immigration in the Formation of an American Identity SOURCE:The History Teacher (Long Beach, Calif.) v30 p9-27 N '96 The magazine publisher is the copyright holder of this article and it is reproduced with permission. Further reproduction of this article in violation of the copyright is prohibited. THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA was a state, before it became a nation. The American Revolution was not an uprising of a subject people, but a throwing off of oppressive British rule on the part of a congery of interest groups and political factions. The motto "E Pluribus Unum" (From Many, One) has come to be 3/27/2020 EBSCOhost Page 2 of 14 interpreted as the forging of one people from the diversity of many ethnic, racial, and religious elements, but at the time of its adoption in 1776, it expressed the aspiration that the thirteen former colonies would merge into a unitary state.(FN1) Still the American population in 1790 was hardly homogeneous. To begin with, almost nineteen percent was of African ancestry, another twelve percent Scot and Scots-Irish and ten percent German, with smaller numbers of French, Irish, and Welsh; the English stock comprised only forty-eight percent. This enumeration, of course, does not include the Indians. Although the British made up a clear majority, given the marked differences among English, Scots, Scots-Irish, and Welsh, it is a fiction to attribute a common nationality to such a motley crew. In short, America was already a "complex ethnic mosaic," divided into segregated, quarrelsome groups by culture, language, religion, and race.(FN2) Having achieved independence the task of nation-building was still ahead for the leaders of the new republic. As former colonials, they nourished an Anglophobia against their recent imperial masters and aspired to creating a distinct American nationality. Lacking deep roots in the soil, ancient ties of blood, and recourse to "mystic chords of memory," such a national identity could be fashioned only from the Enlightenment ideals which had inspired the Declaration of Independence and informed the Constitution. Given these assumptions regarding the universal nature of mankind and the doctrine of natural rights, one became an American by choice, not by descent. What was asked of the aspirant was not an oath of fealty to a sovereign but a commitment to the principles of American government. Thus American identity was defined from the beginnings of the country as ideological in nature.(FN3) When drafted in 1787 the Constitution of the United States did not define citizenship. The only distinction it made between natural born and naturalized citizens is that the latter were to be ineligible for the presidency. It authorized the Congress to establish "an uniform rule of naturalization," and by an act of 1790, the criteria for naturalization were established: a residence of two years (subsequently changed to five years); good character; and the taking of an oath to support the Constitution--and in the language of the naturalization certificate--to "absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to every foreign Prince, Potentate, State or Sovereignty." Over the course of two centuries, these liberal requirements have enabled millions of immigrants to become American citizens.(FN4) The 1790 law, however, also specified that naturalization was to be available to "any alien, being a free white person [italics mine]." By this provision not only were blacks ineligible for citizenship, but also immigrants of other races when they began to arrive later in the nineteenth century. During Reconstruction, an Act of 1870 extended the privilege of naturalization to "aliens of African nativity and to persons of African descent," but shortly thereafter the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 explicitly excluded Chinese immigrants from acquiring citizenship. The United States, however, has followed the principle of jus soli rather than jus sanguinis, i.e., the citizenship of a child is determined by its country of birth not by that of the parents. Thus even American-born children of immigrant parents who were denied citizenship--or illegally entered the country--were citizens by birthright. Yet by a curious anomaly, until 1924 native-born Indians who maintained tribal ties were denied citizenship on the fiction that they were members of "alien nations."(FN5) Even prior to the mass immigrations of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Anglo Americans (i.e., descendants of the original British colonists) had reified race into categories of human beings who were to be admitted or excluded from the citizenry of the republic on the basis of skin color. From its origins, the inclusive ideological definition of American identity had begun to be trimmed and carved to fit the exclusive racial and ethnic features of the dominant group. Since 1820, recurring waves of immigration totaling over fifty-five million persons have inundated the country. Coming from all corners of the globe, these newcomers have included representatives of practically all cultures, races, and religions on earth. Such an iridescent procession of humanity was again and again to test and strain the absorptive capacity of the republic and of 3/27/2020 EBSCOhost Page 3 of 14 its founding principle that "all men are created equal."(FN6) A brief characterization of the main contours of the three major waves of immigration will suggest the complexity of this challenge. During the first wave (1841-1890), a total of almost fifteen million arrivals were recorded. Of these, over four million were Germans, three millions Irish, another three millions British, and a million Scandinavians. A second wave (1891-1920) brought an additional eighteen plus million immigrants of which almost four million were from Italy, three and six tenths million from Austria-Hungary, and three million from Russia (those from Austria-Hungary and Russia were almost entirely Slavs and Jews). The intervening decades from 1920 to 1960 were marked by a hiatus in immigration due to U.S. restrictive policies, economic depression, and war. The third wave, which began in 1965 and is still in progress has totaled approximately sixteen millions; of whom, some twenty-four percent came from Mexico, another twenty-four percent from Central and South American and the Caribbean, and thirty-five percent from Asia. While almost ninety percent of the first two waves originated in Europe, only twelve percent of the third did.(FN7) Such gross figures do not begin to hint at the wide spectrum of races, cultures, and religions which have been introduced into American society through these periodic infusions of new blood. The 1990 United States Census provides a glimpse of the complexity of the ethnic makeup of the American people today. In response to the question "What is your ancestry or ethnic origin?," over ninety percent answered with at least one specific ancestry. The responses were tabulated for 215 ancestry groups. Not surprisingly, the largest ancestry groups by far were the German, Irish, English, and Afro-American, all of which reported over twenty millions. Other groups reporting over six million were the Italian, Mexican, French, Polish, American Indian, Dutch, and Scotch-Irish, while another twenty-one groups reported over a million each. Scanning the roster of ancestries gives one a sense of the plethora of smaller groups represented in the American population: Maltese, Basque, Rom, Windish, Paraguayan, Belzian, Guyanese, Yemeni, Khmer, Micronesian, and so on. For what is it worth, only five percent gave the response "American."(FN8) Another indication of increased diversity is the fact that there are now some three million Muslims in the United States. What began as a strictly Protestant country, and gradually made room for Catholics and Jews, now must accommodate Muslims, Bhuddists, and Hindus as well. The mosque and temple have joined the church and synagogue as houses of worship in many American cities.(FN9) What is the meaning of all this for an American identity? The immigration and naturalization policies pursued by a country are a key to understanding its self-conception as a nation. By determining whom to admit to residence and citizenship, the ruling element defines the future ethnic and racial composition of the population and body politic. Each of the three great waves of immigration has inspired much soul-searching and intense debate over the consequences for the republic. Americans have been of at least two minds regarding the inpouring of millions of immigrants. The notion of America as an asylum for the oppressed of the world has exerted a powerful influence on their minds and hearts. In 1776, in his tract, Common Sense, the pamphleteer Thomas Paine first defined America's special mission: "Every spot of the Old World is overrun with oppression. Freedom has been hunted round the globe.... O! receive the fugitive and prepare in time an asylum for mankind."(FN10) And let it be said that it was flattering to the national ego that the United States was the Promised Land to the poor and persecuted of the Old World. Emma Lazarus expressed this sentiment in her sonnet, "The New Colossus" (1883) which was written to help raise funds for the base of the Statue of Liberty: "Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp," proclaims the Mother of Exiles, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, the tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the Golden Door."(FN11) Of course, more practical reasons for a free and unlimited immigration were cited by its proponents. For much of American history, immigrants have constituted an essential source of labor and initiative as workers, 3/27/2020 EBSCOhost Page 4 of 14 farmers, and merchants for an expanding economy. For many Americans, however, unrestricted immigration has posed a manifold threat to the stability of the social order, the standard of living of native workers, the health of the body politic, and the national identity. Thomas Jefferson, for example, objected to the encouragement of immigration on the grounds that coming from absolute monarchies, the emigrants would infuse their spirit into American public life and render it "a heterogeneous, incoherent, distracted mass."(FN12) Those moved by such fears and anxieties have intermittently mounted anti-immigrant, nativist movements which at certain moments in American history have gained significant political power. As one might expect the strength of such xenophobic campaigns has waxed and waned in rhythm with the volume of immigration, but even more with the general state of the economy and society. Although the targets of nativist attacks changed over time, a constant theme has been the danger posed by foreigners to American values and institutions.(FN13) During the first wave, Irish Catholics in particular were accused of constituting such a peril. Not only did their brawling and drinking offend Yankee sensibilities, as Catholics they were viewed as minions of the Pope and enemies of the Protestant character of the country. Samuel F.B. Morse, artist, inventor, and writer, passionately articulated this sentiment in his tract, Immiment Dangers to the Free Institutions of the United States Through Foreign Immigration....(1835). Perceiving in the arrival of great numbers of Roman Catholics ("human priest-controlled machines") a Jesuit conspiracy to destroy American democracy, Morse advocated that foreigners henceforth be denied the right of suffrage.(FN14) The Protestant Crusade against Catholic immigration culminated with the formation of the American (or Know-Nothing) Party in 1854 whose battle cry was "America for the Americans!" In this slogan was embodied an exclusive definition of the national identity, one which sought to preserve its Protestant character. Abraham Lincoln commented upon this departure from the country's founding charter: "As a nation, we began by declaring that 'all men are created equal.' We now practically read it all men are created equal, 'except negroes.' When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read 'all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners and catholics.'"(FN15) The Know-Nothing movement was swallowed up by the sectional strife which resulted in the Civil War. However, anti-Catholicism continued to be powerful strain of nativism until well into the 20th century. In fact, one can say that only with the election of John F. Kennedy as president in 1960 was the redefinition of the American identity to include Roman Catholics fully realized. Despite episodes of xenophobia, during the first century of its existence the United States welcomed with minimal regulation all comers. In 1882, however, two statutes were enacted which initiated a process of gradual tightening of restrictions upon entry into the country. The first established qualitative health and moral standards by excluding criminals, prostitutes, lunatics, idiots, and paupers. The second, the Chinese Exclusion Act, which was the result of a virulently racist movement centered on the West Coast, denied admission to Chinese laborers and barred Chinese immigrants from acquiring citizenship. Following the enactment of this law, agitation for exclusion of Asians continued as Japanese and others arrived, culminating in the provision of the Immigration Law of 1924 which denied entry to aliens ineligible for citizenship, in effect all Asians.(FN16) If Lincoln had still been alive, he could have amended his critique of nativism to include Asians among those excluded from the proposition that "all men are created equal." During and after World War II, a combination of international politics and democratic idealism finally secured the elimination of all racial restrictions from immigration and naturalization policies. In the late nineteenth century, "scientific" racialism, rooted in Social Darwinism, became a major tenet of Anglo American ethnonationalism. Yankee ideologues, such as Henry Cabot Lodge, justified imperialism abroad and immigration restriction at home in terms of Anglo-Saxon superiority. By then the second immigrant wave was beginning to wash over the country, bringing with it new and strange peoples from eastern Europe, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. The increasing presence of Italians, Jews, Poles, Slovaks, Croatians, 3/27/2020 EBSCOhost Page 5 of 14 Greeks, Syrians, and other nationalities aroused alarm on the part of Anglo Americans. The Boston Brahmin author, Henry James, having returned to the United States in 1904 after an absence of twenty years was shocked by the overwhelming "alienism" of New York City. "What meaning," he asked, "can continue to attach to such a term as the "American' character"?--what type, as a result of such a prodigious amalgam, such a hodge-podge of racial ingredients, is to be conceived as shaping the cauldron of the "American' character"?(FN17) Many thought the outcome should be predetermined by a selective screening of the ingredients. In advocating a literacy test for immigrants, Senator Lodge placed his argument squarely on racial grounds: "The races most affected by the...test are those whose emigration to this country has begun within the last twenty years and swelled rapidly to enormous proportions, races with which the English-speaking people have never hitherto assimilated, and who are most alien to the great body of the people of the United States."(FN18) This campaign against "undesirable and dangerous immigrants," i.e., southern and eastern Europeans, succeeded in securing Congressional enactment of the literacy test requirement on three occasions only to have it encounter a presidential veto each time. President Woodrow Wilson invoked older ideals in his veto message; the literary test, he asserted, would close the "gates of aylum" and "impose tests [not] of quality or of character or personal fitness, but tests of opportunity."(FN19) World War I, however, aroused an intense patriotism which expressed itself in demands for "One Hundred Percent Americanism" and attacks upon "hyphenated Americans," German- Americans in particular. Former President Theodore Roosevelt expressed this uncompromising standard of conformity: "We of America form a new nationality!.... Either a man is an American and nothing else," he declared, "or he is not an American at all."(FN20) This anti-immigrant climate not only insured the passage of the literacy test over a presidential veto, but prepared the way for the Immigration Acts of 1921 and 1924 which established quota systems designed to drastically reduce the number of southern and eastern Europeans and to bar all Asians. The eugenic argument that these inferior breeds were polluting the American germ plasm carried great weight in the Congressional debates as did the contention that foreigners were the bearers of radical ideologies. These statutes sought to freeze the biological and ideological identity of the American people by protecting them from contamination from abroad.(FN21) For forty years, the United States, with minor modifications, pursued this restrictive immigration policy. However, the Immigration Act of 1965 put the country on a radically new course, with results which at the time were not foreseen. Under this law, the National Origins Quota system was done away with; instead totals of 170,000 and 120,000 immigrants per year were allocated respectively to the Eastern and Western hemispheres with a maximum of 20,000 visas to any one country (initially applied to the Eastern Hemisphere, but extended to the Western Hemisphere in 1978). Signing the bill at the Statue of Liberty, President Lyndon B. Johnson hailed it as a return to ...
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Final Answer

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Running head: HIST 144 JOURNAL ENTRY

HIST 144 Journal Entry
Course Code:



The thought of leaving Russia has always felt like a dream. Now that the day has
finally come, I know I have the chance to start over because I am headed to the land that fulfills
dreams, the American Dream. Right now, as I try to fight my seasickness at the bottom deck of
the boat, I am confronted with a feeling of nostalgia. Part of it is because I would not have to
endure the stench of dead people who have succumbed to sickness and every other thing that
comes with being in c...

DrHill (7508)
Rice University

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