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  The History of Immigration
  In the United States                                     Remember, remember always, that all
                                                            us…are descended from immigrants
                                                           and revolutionists.
                                                                         Franklin D. Roosevelt

  One thing that most of us have in common is that our ancestors immigrated to the United
  States from a distant country. Since the successful establishment of the Jamestown
  Colony in the early 1600’s, men, women, and children have traveled to the U.S. to
  establish new lives in a country far from their native lands. They came to America for
  many different reasons. Some came to escape persecution, to find religious freedom, to
  seek their fortune, or to obtain new lands. Many immigrants saw the United States as the
  land of opportunity. Other immigrants soon found their dreams shattered in America by
  the challenges that they faced in the U.S. Most new immigrants did not understand our
  language or culture, yet they still had to find jobs to support their families and find places
  to live. Unskilled immigrants soon found themselves working long hours for little wages
  and were forced to live in crowed tenements in large cities. Gradually, the United States
  became a “melting pot”, a mixture of people from different cultures who have blended
  their customs and traditions. A large number of immigrants still immigrate to the United
  States every year. Currently the nation is involved in an intense debate over what should
  be done, if anything about the large number of illegal immigrants from Mexico that
  reside in the United States.

  This pathfinder was created to help high school students explore the history of
  immigration in the United States. To help students research the history of immigration,
  electronic resources have been selected on different components of the topic. Websites
  that provide an overview of immigration has been included in the pathfinder. Information
  is included on specific groups of immigrants who came to America. Find out why they
  immigrated to the United States, where they settled, and their experiences in their new
  homeland. Students will also find links to resources relevant to immigration including
primary and secondary resources, statistical data, and, digital images. Furthermore, links
to current statistical data and information on current immigration issues have been
included in the pathfinder.

Explore the following sites to find background information on the history of
immigration in the United States. You will find information that covers U.S. history
from the colonial period to the present. Notice that the U.S. experienced a large
wave of immigration in the late 19th century and early 20th century.

Digital History - Online Textbook (Last update 6-1-06, Supported by the University of
Learn about the diverse culture of colonial America due to immigration. Also explore
information on groups that immigrated to the U.S. later in history and the impact they had
on our country. Digital History explores many themes in immigration. Look for familiar
themes, such as “why people migrate” and other themes often forgotten such as “music
and migration”.

The American Immigration Home Page
Tenth Graders at Bergen County Academy have created this project to explore the history
of immigration in the United States. Information on many aspects of immigration has
been included in the project including who the immigrants were, why they came to the
U.S., and what was their reception when they arrived. Information is broken up into time
periods for easy access.

Regents Prep: The Transformation of the United States (1999-2003 Oswego City
School Districts Regents Exam Prep Center)
Investigate how new immigration in the early 1900’s helped to transform the United
States into an industrial nation. Learn why immigrant labor helped to drive down wages,
causes labor disputes in the factories.

PBS – American Experience: Chicago: City of the Century (1999-2003 PBS online)
Explore Chicago’s immigration history decade by decade and their impact on the
city. As the immigrant population grew in Chicago so did the political differences
between social classes as well as the labor disputes. Labor protests climaxed in 1886 with
the Haymarket incidence. Watch a well-made online video of the recreation of the
Haymarket incident.
PBS -Zoot Suit Riots of 1943 (1999-2001 PBS online)
Tensions often arose between groups of ethnic immigrant populations and Americans.
Learn about the Zoot Suit Riots; the tension that lead up to the attacks and the violence
against Mexican Americans in Los Angeles in 1943. View a video on the Zoot Suit
Culture to get a better understanding of the issue.

 Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
 the wretched refuge of your teeming shores, send these, the homeless, the
 tempest- tossed to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
                                         Emma Larzarus

People immigrated to the United States from all over the world. They came to this
new country for many different reasons. Many came to avoid persecutions, some
were forced to come, and other immigrants came seeking a better life. American
did not treat all immigrants the same. Explore the following sites and learn about
the history of different groups of immigrants.

Mayflower History (1994-2006
This site provides information on one of the most famous groups of immigrants to
America: the Pilgr)ims. View primary sources, passenger lists, and information of their
new lives in America.

Thinkquest: Immigration: the Living Mosaic of People, Culture, and Hope
Explore the different groups of people that immigrated to the U.S. The Living Mosaic
highlights English, German, Italian, Irish, African, Jewish, Japanese, and Chinese
immigrants in their quest to tell the immigrants’ stories. Also read about Ellis Island and
the Statue of Liberty and the symbolism associated with each of them.

Thinkquest: From One Life to Another (1999 Thinkquest Team)
The site examines the history of Swedish, Italian, Irish, and Jewish immigrants to the
United States. Explore why each group came to America, the hardships they faced on
their journey to their new world, and their lives changed dramatically once they arrived.
The site has an excellent slide show.

Thinkquest: Filipino Immigration to Hawaii (Thinkquest Jr. Project)
Between 1906 and 1931 over 120,000 Filipinos immigrated to Hawaii to work in the
sugarcane fields. Read about their new lives in Hawaii.

Thinkquest: Sugar Plantation Days (Thinkquest Jr. Project)
Discover the different groups of people who immigrated to Hawaii to work in the
sugarcane and find out when they arrived in the islands. Learn how the cultures blended
together and what the immigrants experienced in Hawaii.

Library of Congress – American Memory: Immigration
This site examines different groups of immigrants, who migrated to America,
where the majority settled, and how well they adapted to their new country.
        African Immigrants (5-9-05)
        German Immigrants (10-6-03)
        Irish Immigrants (4-6-02)
        Scandinavian Immigrants (4-5-04)
        Italian Immigrants (6-2-04)
        Japanese Immigrants (2-2-04)
        Mexican Immigrants (4-20-05)
        Chinese Immigrants (9-1-03)
        Puerto Rican/Cuban Immigrants (4-22-04)
        Polish/Russian Immigrants (8-9-04)

Library of Congress - European Reading Room: Chronology of European’s
Immigration to American
Find information on Europeans who immigrated to the U.S. Learn when the immigrants
came to America, as well as activities that they were involved in once they arrived in
America. Timelines cover the time period between the 17th century and the 20th century.
Provides specific information other sites do not include.
       The Germans in America (8-9-2004)
       Czechs in America (1-12-2006)
       The Finns in America (1-12-2006)
       The Luxembourgers in America (1-12-2006)
       Portuguese in America
       The Slovaks in America (1-26-2006)

Digital History: Ethnic America (Last update 6-1-06, Supported by the University of
Explore ethnic history in American. Digital History highlights, Asians, African-
Americans, Native Americans, and Mexican Americans. An interesting website.

Hmong, FAQ: Immigration (Created by the Hmong Studies Research Group)
Immigration to America continues even today. Read about the Hmong and why they
came to the U.S. and where they primarily settled in the U.S.

            What was it like to pass through one of the U.S. immigration stations?
            Explore the following web resources to learn a vital part of U.S.
            immigration history.

             Angel Island Immigration Station History (2006 Angel Island
             Station Foundation)
             Visit the site created by The Angel Island Immigration Station
             Foundation to learn about the history of Angel Island Immigration
             Station. Learn about the people who passed through the station
             and how U.S. officials treated them

             National Park Service: Statue of Liberty National Monument and
             Ellis Island (Last revised 6-1-2006)
            What is 151’1” tall and has an index finger 8’ long? The Statue of
            Liberty of course. The National Park Service provides historical
            information on both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. They also
            have included a statistics on the Statue of Liberty that is fun to look at.

National Park Service: Castle Clinton
Before Ellis Island was opened as an immigration center, Castle Clinton or Castle Garden
as it was called in the mid 1800’s acted as an immigration center for the east coast.
Explore the site to learn about the often forgotten immigration station.

History Channel: Ellis Island (1996-2006 A & E Television Network)
A multimedia exhibit by the History Channel allows you to experience what it was like to
pass through Ellis Island. The site also explores immigrants’ first reactions to New York

PBS - Emma Goldman: Immigration and Deportation at Ellis Island (3-11-2004)
Not everyone that arrived at Ellis Island was allowed to enter the United States.
Read about the immigrants who were deported back to the country of their origins
because of health reasons or political beliefs.

Explore websites that provide statistical data or provide primary or secondary
resource relevant to immigration. Information found on the websites can be used
for research or to form a better understanding of the topic of immigration.

U.S. Census Bureau: Historical Census Statistics on the Foreign Born Population of
the United States: 1850-1990 (Last revised 1-18-2001)
Find historical statistical information on foreign-born people in the U.S. Explanations of
the statistics are included with the data. The U.S. Census Bureau provides the

Letters from a German Immigrant (1997-2003 Created by David Kuhns)
Read a collection of letters written by German immigrant Bertha Starke to family
members in Germany and their replies back to her. The letters can be read in German or
in English translation. Provides a glimpse into an immigrant’s life.

Internet Modern History Sourcebook: U.S. Immigration (Last updated 1-30-1999,
Created by Paul Halsall, with contributions from Fordham University)
The Internet Modern History Sourcebook provides links to primary sources, secondary
sources, and other relevant resources related to U.S. immigration. Information covers
different groups of immigrants, as well as opposition to immigration. Sources are varied.
You may view a British Custom Report or relevant articles written in the past.
American Memory: The Chinese in California 1850 –1925 (3-28-03)
Understand the Chinese experience in California by examining primary sources from the
time period of 1850 –1925. Explore photographs, letters, diary entries, speeches and other

Indiana Historical Society: Who do you think you are? (2000, Indiana Historical
Examines the history of immigration in Indiana. Resources included digital archives,
maps and charts, and community perspectives on immigration. Although the site
highlights Indiana, it does contain resources that would apply to the entire country.

Urban Experience in Chicago: Hull House and its Neighborhood 1899-1963
(Created by the University of Illinois, last updated 1-14-2005)
Search through the website to discover how the impact that Jane Addams and the Hull
House had on the poor immigrant neighborhoods in Chicago at the turn of the century.
You will find the visual timeline of Jane Addams life both interesting and informative.
The site contains over 900 documents, both text and images, the narrate Jane Addams life
and work.

How the Other Half Lives: Studies Among the Tenements of New York
Written in 1890, by Jacob A. Riis, How the other Half Lives details the lives of
immigrants living in tenements in New York City at the turn of the century. Be sure to
examine the illustrations, as well as the appendix that provide statistical information on
tenement life in New York.

The Jungle: by Upton Sinclair – Project Gutenberg
Upton Sinclair’s book, The Jungle, reveals the hardships many immigrants endured when
they came to the U.S. in the early 1900’s. Read about a fictional young Lithuanian
immigrant whose dreams are shattered when he winds up working in the Chicago
meatpacking industry. The book can be read online or downloaded for free through the
Project Gutenberg website.

Explore the following websites to view visual resources on immigration. The digital
images and the early films will help give you a broader understanding of
Library of Congress - American Memory: The Life of a City: Early Films of New
York 1897- 1906
Search through bibliographic records to find films on immigrants in New York City that
were made at the turn of the century. When searching, use the term “immigrant” as a
keyword to find four different movies on the topic. The site provides different options
for viewing the films.

Library of Congress: Prints and Photographs Reading Room (1-6-2005)
Photographic images of immigrants in the early 1900’s can be found at the following
       Immigration (1-6-2005)
       Selected Images of Ellis Island and Immigration (6-24-2005)

                                         Italian Immigrant Family at
                                         Ellis Island

Digital History: Photo Album of Immigrants (Last update 6-1-06,
Supported by the University of Houston)
A photo album of images that detail the history of immigration.

An Overview of American History (Last update 6-1-06, supported
by the University of Houston)
View a flash digital movie that recognizes key events in American History including
immigration movement in the early 1900’s.

Activities on immigration are provided to give you a richer understanding of
immigration. The following web sites are interactive and fun to explore. The other
activities can be completed with information from the electronic resources listed in the
Ellis Island Passenger Arrivals (2006 The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation,
This site allows you to explore the immigration records of immigrants who entered the
U.S. through Ellis Island between 1898 and 1924. The searchable database contains
records of over 22 million immigrants. The site’s timeline lets you explore when
different groups of immigrants migrated to America.

Library of Congress - American Memory: Port of Entry Activities (Last updated
Assume the role of historical detective and discover what it means to be an immigrant in
the Port of Entry activity developed by the Library of Congress for its American Memory
Project. Investigate primary resources such as photographs, interviews, and eyewitness
accounts of immigration.

Scholastic – Immigration (2006-1996 Scholastic Inc.)
Scholastic provides online activities on immigration. Students can read immigrants’
Interviews, take an interactive tour of Ellis Island, or even explore immigration through
charts and maps.

PBS Kids: Big Apple History (2005 Educational Broadcasting Corporation)
Big Apple History is an interactive site that explores the history of New York City and
the immigrants who added to its growth. Investigate how immigrants lived in the city and
how their presence affected the city. Though intended for a younger audience, it is
informative and fun to explore.

Write a Letter Home – Pretend that you are a recent immigrant to the U.S. in the early
1900’s and are writing a letter to a relative in your native country. Describe your
experience at Ellis Island. Write about your new life in America. Where do you live, are
you learning the new language and customs, are you working? Also describe your
feelings about the U.S. and if you are happy you immigrated.

Create an e-scrapbook about an immigration experience – Create a scrapbook using
electronic resources about the life of an immigrant. (The person does not have to be a real
person) Include a page on his/her native country, Ellis Island, and different aspects of
his/her new life in the U.S. Add enough details to each page so that others understand the
immigrant’s experiences.

Journal Writing – Discuss with your classmates current immigration new stories. Create
journal entries after each discussion to help you clarify your thoughts and opinions on the
Use the following software after you have explored some of the electronic resources
listed in the pathfinder. The following software will help you to understand the
difficulty our government leaders are having concerning making decisions about

Decisions, Decisions: Immigration (Grades 5-12)
Published by: Tom Snyder
Format: CD Rom for Windows or Mac
Description: A boatload of people from a war torn, oppressed country is approaching the
U.S. shores. You are the President. What do you do? Let them seek asylum or send them
back to their country.
Use the software to help you understand that immigration issues are not easily resolved in
today’s society. After playing the game, look at current news articles and see if you can
apply what you learned from the simulation to real life events.

 What, then, is this new man, the American? They are a mixture of
 English, Scotch, Irish, French, Dutch, German and Swedes. From this
 promiscuous breed, that race, now called Americans, has risen.
                   J. Hector St. Josh de Crevecouer

Immigration continues in the U.S. today. Every year a very large number of
immigrants come to America from all over the world. Take the time to review the
resources and look at the statistical data. Some thoughts to think about when you
are exploring the resources: are any the issues the same as they were in the past?
Have we learned anything from immigration history?

Homeland Security: Office of Immigration Statistics (Last Modified 5/1/2006)
The Office of Immigration Statistics offers a variety of statistics on immigrants who are
considered legal residents and currently living in the U.S. The 2004 Yearbook of
Immigrant Statistics can also be view from this site. Statistics are a good resource for

Homeland Security: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (Last Modified
This government bureau provides information on citizenship, immigration resources, and
obligations. Find out how an immigrant becomes a citizen, why they need a green card,
and how an immigrant would seek asylum in the U.S.

U.S. Census Bureau: Foreign Born Population (Last revised 6/1/2006)
This site provides statistics on foreign-born people who were included in the U.S.
Census. Statistics are available by year as far back as 1970.

World Almanac for Kids (2001-2003 World Almanac Education Group Inc.)
World Almanac provides statistics on immigration. In 2002, over 1, 063,732 legal
immigrants resided in the United States. Discover the number of immigrants that came
from selected countries.

Close Up Foundation: U.S. Immigration Policy (2005 Close Up Foundation)
The Close Up Foundation presents a good overview of immigration. Information can be
found on the history of immigration, as well as the controversial immigration issues that
the country faces today. Both sides of many issues are included in the overview. Many
will find the timeline of immigration policy and the charts of statistical data on
immigration in the U.S. to helpful.

Center for Immigration Studies (nonprofit, nonpartisan research center established in
Read recent news reports on immigration or browse through topics that are relevant to
immigration today at the Center for Immigration Studies. Topics include the cost of
immigration, assimilation and citizenship, and guest workers.

Public Agenda Online: Immigration (2006 Public Agenda)
Looking for data or information on immigration issues? You will find an overview of the
issues, as well as news, facts, and data on immigration today.

Yahoo! News: Full Coverage: US Immigration (2006 Yahoo! Inc.) Find the latest news on immigration at Yahoo! News.
Searching for news on immigration is easy, just click on “immigration” to find links to
news stories and audio/video news reports.

Another good source for information is databases. Databases of provide full text
articles from academic journals or other publications. Database is also a good
source for finding information to support both sides of an issue. Below you will find
a list of four different databases that will be helpful for research. Each is easy to use.

Opposing Viewpoints – Thomas Gale Databases (Middle and High School)
Opposing Viewpoints is a great tool to use when you are researching controversial issues.
The database provides different viewpoints on popular issues such as immigration. To
read about the controversy that surrounds immigration today, just select “illegal
immigrants” from the list of popular topics to find articles that support and oppose illegal
immigration. Resources come from academic journals, magazines, newspapers, primary
sources, and reference materials. The database can also be searched using keywords,
subject or document titles.

Sirs Researcher – Sirs Knowledge Source (Middle and High School)
Like Opposing Viewpoints, Sirs Researcher allows you to view the pros and cons of
leading issues like immigration by offering resources that support both sides of an issue.
Examine the issues that are relevant to immigration, select “immigration” from the list of
leading issues. Sirs Researcher provides over 400 resources on immigration that include
journal articles, graphics, primary sources, and web sites. Sirs can also be searched by
keyword and allows you to browse through a subject list.

Academic Search Elite – Ebsco Host (High School, College Researcher, General
Looking for more articles on Immigration. Academic Search Elite provides information
on just about every area of academic study. The database provides full text to over 2000
publications. Searching Academic Search Elite is easy. It allows you to search by
keyword and subject. Academic Search Elite also lets you search using multiple fields
such as author, document title, or publication title. Searching, using the keyword
“immigration” brought up many articles including “Costs of Immigration” and “Nation
Split 4 Ways on Immigration”

Middle School Search Plus – Ebsco Host (Middle and High School )
Need articles on immigration that are a bit easier to read? Try searching Middle School
Search Plus. The database provides information from over 140 magazines intended for
middle and high school students. The majority of the articles are offered in full text.
Middle School Search Plus is easy to search using keyword or subject. The database also
has an advanced search that allows you to search using multiple fields such as author and
title. A search with the keyword “Ellis Island” found 148 results, including the article
“Flocking to Ellis Island the Early Years”

Search by Keywords:

immigrant         migrants           citizen            alien              Ellis Island
Industrial        population         Immigration        Gentlemen’s        illegal
Revolution        trends             Act of 1986        Agreement          immigrant
deportation       refugees           asylum             citizenship        Angel Island
detainee          Port of Entry      assimilation       border crossing    naturalization
nativism         melting pot      tenements         emigrant          foreigner

Search by Subject:

Emigrant and Immigration                   Refugees
Naturalization                             Jewish Refugees
Visa                                       Alien
Chinese Americans                          Japanese Americans
Immigration Quota System (United States)   Immigration Law
Immigrants                                 Immigration Patterns
Immigration Policy                         Illegal Immigrants

Picture Credits:
Page 1
Uncle Sam and Restrictive policy for Immigrants
Puck Cartoon by Joseph Keppler
Page 4
Puck Cartoon Lady Liberty
Original Printing: Oct.27, 1886
Page 6
Italian Family at Ellis Island
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington D.C.
Digital ID 3PH3b5378
Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-67910

Quotes were found at the following website:
The American Immigration Home Page

Created by:
 Theresa Derickson
 Library Assistant Summit Middle School
 SLIS Student: IUPUI
 June 2, 2006

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