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Immigrant Types - Social and Cultural History

Immigrants Landing at Ellis Island., Public Hygiene, Vol. 2, 1911.

Immigrants Landing at Ellis Island., Public Hygiene, Vol. 2, 1911. GGA Image ID # 1548377dbd

Each immigrant brings to America an individual correlation of the wishes which rule human conduct. In one the desire for recognition predominates; in another the desire for security; and so on in many variations. This individual organization of wishes is what we all call character.

Likewise, each immigrant group as a whole brings a more or less marked character. And while we do not ignore the fact that character is partly due to temperamental qualities -- the characteristics of the Swedes, the Jews, the Italians, may be connected with their original, inborn, temperamental dispositions -- it is nevertheless certain that character in both individuals and groups is mainly built up by the process which we have referred to abobe as "the definition of the situation" -- by gossip, conversation, disputes, doctrines, by the whole of the experiences and social influences which modify, qualify, and oranize the wishes.

We are able, therefore, to distinguish roughly various immigrant types, representing different heritages. It is not true, however, that we can treat any given immigrant group strictly en bloc from the standpoint of heritages.

Explore Immigrant Types through period articles written from the viewpoint of when this great influx of immigration and immigrants was happening.

  • The Immigrant, Past and Present - Dr. Allan McLaughlin (1904)
    AFTER the Peace of Paris in 1783, and the birth of a new nation on the American continent, home-seekers arriving at ports of the United States were called immigrants. Previous to the revolutionary war they were known as colonists. The distinction is one of political allegiance.
  • Our Immigration During 1904
    NO one can read the report for 1904 of the Commissioner General of Immigration, Frank P. Sargent, without being seriously impressed with the laxity of our present immigration laws and the urgent need of more stringent regulation of our immigration.
  • The Character of Our Immigration, Past and Present (1904)
    We have no right to oppose needful measures of legislative relief out of sympathy for the sufferings of the people thus seeking ad mission to our shores, or out of respect to the traditions which up to now have caused this country to be regarded as an asylum.
  • Immigration - What It Means (1907)
    And I tell you, my friends, that it is humane to legislate and to enforce law so as to discourage, if not to forbid, the emigration of the unfit and undesirable. It is wise legislation which says to a man before he leaves home.
  • The Boon of Immigration to the United States (1907)
    But a million immigrants means 300.000 of these men. If each workman represents a loom, a small ship, an engine or a house, costing $10,000 and producing $500 a year.
  • The Economic and Social Value of Immigrant Woman (1907)
    Immigrant women, quite as much as immigrant men, belong to the exploited and disinherited group, and though we flatter ourselves that women are better protected than men, immigrant women upon their arrival.
  • A Million Immigrants A Year (1908)
    In hard times the tide sinks; in prosperous times it rises. Our present great prosperity has rolled it up to practically a million a year, this year probably considerably more than a million.
  • Immigration Notes From Commissioner Robert Watchorn (1908)
    The immigration problem is a problem only when the immigrants are dealt with in a mass. It resolves itself into a very simple situation when we meet them as individual men and individual women, splendidly equipped with the same natural endowments which we ourselves claim.
  • Our Foreigners - Immigration Trends and the Role of Christian Missions (1908)
    Not only are the newcomers different from their predecessors and more illiterate,—there are more of them. The year 1882 marked the high tide of the old immigration.
  • The Evangelization Of Foreign-Speaking Immigrants (1908)
    We must come to close quarters immediately with the theme assigned us, which is a discussion of the specific part to be borne by the individual church in the evangelization of foreign-speaking immigrants.
  • The Protection of Immigrant Women (1908)
    Considering the many disadvantages and dangers, it is remarkable how many come through safely and become honest hard-working women, and law-abiding citizens.
  • Our Immigrants And The Future (1912)
    T00 much emphasis has perhaps been laid in recent popular discussion upon the increase in the number of immigrants.
  • Our Foreign Born Citizens (1917)
    Not long ago America crossed the hundred-million line in the number of is citizens, When all of these have been deducted from the 100,000,000, only 54,000,000 remain of full white native ancestry.
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