Poem from Angel Island

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					   Was the United States a land of opportunity for immigrants from 1870-1917?
        YES: The United States was a land of opportunity for immigrants from 1870-1917.
        NO: The United States was not a land of opportunity for immigrants from 1870-1917.

Read the following documents using the primary source reading strategies we have discussed in class. Use
the documents to find evidence to support your assigned position.
Document 1

Unauthorized immigration lodgings in a Bayard St. N.Y.C. tenement (ca 1890)

Source: Riis, Jacob A. (1849-1914) photographer. Library of Congress collection

Document 2

February 13 [1905]

. . . . And now I inform you that I have very good work. I have been working for 3 months. I have very good
and easy work. I earn $8.00 a week. Brother has work also, And as to Brylska, I don’t know how she is
getting on, and I don’t think about her at all. Inform me what is going on in our country, who has come to
America, and who got married, and what is the talk in our country about revolution and war, because I have
paid for a newspaper for a whole year and the paper comes to me twice a week, so they write that in our
country there is misery. They say that in Warsaw and Petersburg there is a terrible revolution and many
people have perished already. As to the money, I cannot help you now, sister. You will excuse me yourself, I
did not work for five months . . .

Source: William I. Thomas and Florian Znaniecki, The Polish Peasant in Europe and America (1918–1920).
Document 3

The New Colossus.

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightening, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "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-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

Source: Poem by Emma Lazarus (1883). The poem appears on the base of the Statue of Liberty.

Document 4

Mrs. Guadina, living in a rear house at 231 Mulberry St. N.Y., a dirty poverty-stricken home, and making a
pittance by finishing pants. On the trunk is the work of four days. She was struggling along, (actually weak
for want of food) trying to finish this batch of work so she could get the pay. There seemed to be no food in
the house and she said the children had had no milk all day. The father is out of work (sells fish) on account
of rheumatism. Three small children and another expected soon. Location: New York City (1914)

Source: Hine, Lewis Wickes, 1874-1940, photographer. Library of Congress collection
Document 5

―Gentleman’s Agreement‖ (1907)

U.S.-Japanese understanding, in which Japan agreed not to issue passports to emigrants to the United States,
except to certain categories of business and professional men. In return, President Theodore Roosevelt
agreed to urge the city of San Francisco to rescind an order by which children of Japanese parents were
segregated from white students in the schools.

Source: The Americans Classroom Textbook

Document 6
―Chinese Exclusion Act‖
May 6, 1882

WHEREAS, in the opinion of the Government of the United States the coming of Chinese laborers to this
country endangers the good order of certain localities within the territory thereof: Therefore,

Be it enacted, That from and after the expiration of ninety days next after the passage of this act, and until the
expiration of ten years next after the passage of this act, the coming of Chinese laborers to the Untied States
be, . . . suspended; and during such suspension it shall not be lawful for any Chinese laborer to come, or,
having so come after the expiration of said ninety days, to remain within the United States.

SEC. 12. That no Chinese person shall be permitted to enter the United States by land without producing to
the proper office of customs the certificate in this act required of Chinese persons seeking to land from a
vessel. Any Chinese person found unlawfully within the United States shall be caused to be removed there
from to the country from whence he came, by direction of the President of the United States, and at the cost
of the United States, after being brought before some justice, judge, or commissioner of a court of the United
States and found to be one not lawfully entitled to be or remain in the United States.

SEC. 14. That hereafter no State court or court of the United States shall admit Chinese to citizenship; and all
laws in conflict with this act are hereby repealed.

SEC. 15. That the words "Chinese laborers," whenever used in this act, shall be construed to mean both
skilled and unskilled laborers and Chinese employed in mining.

Source: U.S. Statutes at Large, Vol. XXII, p. 58 ff.

Document 7
Question: The skilled laborers are paid less [in Europe]—how about the labor that is not so much skilled?

Steinway: Unskilled labor is also paid less. In other words, it is very rare to see a workingman in Europe
whose family can lay by anything, whereas here thrifty, skilled mechanics, blessed with health, and not
meeting with sickness or other misfortune, have a chance to save money and do save money.

Question: Then you say that in this country the labor is much better off in his social and pecuniary
conditions, and in the means of enjoying the comforts of life?

Steinway: Undoubtedly

Source: Testimony of Piano Manufacturer William Steinway before Senate Committee on the Relations between Labor and Capital
Document 8
Question: Let me see if I understand you fully. You get less wages than you did fifteen years ago [in

Answer: Yes

Question: Now do you mean to say that the wages which you receive at present will buy as much as the
comforts of life as the wages which you received then would?

Answer: By no means. I say that the rents are the same as they were fourteen years ago, but the man who had
the apartments of four or five rooms at that time is confining himself to perhaps three rooms now.

Source: Testimony by bronze worker Joseph Finnerty, Irish immigrant, before Senate Committee on the Relations between Labor
and Capital (1883).

Document 9

Teresa Prioriello Granieri and Salvatore Granieri standing in front of their successful produce store at 328
Penn Street, Reading, PA, c. 1920.
Photograph courtesy of Norma Battisti Staron, Joan Saverino’s personal collection
Document 10
                                                                 Do not forget the rules of a successful academic controversy!
―Hello America.
 This is Roseto.                                                     1.   Practice active listening
 I live in the splendor of your mountains,                           2.   Challenge ideas, not persons
 And lay my head on your green fields.                               3.   Try your best to understand the other position
 Your fresh springs quench my thirst,                                4.   Share the floor: each person in a pair MUST have
                                                                          an opportunity to speak
 And your fertile soil eases my hunger.                              5.   No disagreeing until consensus-building as a group
 I am grateful to be your child.‖                                         of four

From ―Letter to America‖ by Roseto resident Jennie Romano. (Italian-American Traditions: Family and Community, exhibition
catalog, Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies, October 11, 1985-January 4, 1986.)
Structured Academic Controversy
Capture Sheet

        Was the United States a land of opportunity for
        immigrants from 1870-1917?


        1. Highlight your assigned position.
              YES: The United States was a land of opportunity for immigrants from 1870-1917.
              NO: The United States was not a land of opportunity for immigrants from 1870-1917.

      2. Read through each document searching for support for your side’s argument.
             List your supporting documents here:
  Document #              Main Idea of Document                  How does this support your position?

        3. Summarize your arguments for your position using the supporting documents you found above.

Position Presentation:
       4. Present your pair’s position to your opposing group members. Record their position’s arguments

Consensus Building:
         5. Put your assigned role’s aside. Where does your group stand on the question? Where does your
              group agree? Where does your group disagree?
Central Question:
       Was the United States a land of opportunity for immigrants from 1870-1917?

                                                                         Intended Actions of Students
 Actions of Teacher
                                            Introducing the Lesson
 Warm up/Objective – Why would one                 (5 minutes)       Students will respond to the warm up
 immigrate to the United States?                                     and copy the objective for the day on
                                                                     their warm up sheet.

 Elicit responses to the warm up from              (5 minutes)       Students will raise their hands to list
 students and focus in on concept of                                 some reasons of why immigrate to the
 ―the American Dream‖                                                US. Students will brainstorm what
 Create a brainstorm web on the board.                               the American Dream entails.
                                                 Lesson Activities
 1. Introduce question for probing: Was                              1. ---
 the United States a land of opportunity
 for immigrants from 1870-1917?

 2. PowerPoint to introduce structured             (5 minutes)       2. Students will get into assigned
 academic controversy and organize                                   groups

 3. Circulate through room to view                 (15 minutes)      3. Students will analyze the
 capture sheet progress to check for                                 documents in pairs and find
 understanding of the documents.                                     documents to support their assigned
                                                                     point of view.

 4. Instruct students to present their             (14 minutes)      4. Students will present their positions
 position to their counterparts and vice                             to the other group citing evidence
 versa                                                               from the document packet. The pair
                                                                     not presenting will take notes on the
                                                                     other group’s arguments.

 5. Build consensus. As a group of                 (20 minutes)      5. Students should be debating with
 four, instruct students to discuss their                            one another and citing the documents
 findings and debate. (Check for                                     as support for their positions.
 understanding: are students debating                                Students are integrating multiple
 and citing documents?)                                              perspectives to deepen their
                                                                     understanding of the topic question.
                                         Concluding the Lesson
1. Class discussion: Sample the               (5 minutes)        1. Students will share their group’s
groups’ responses to the question.                               conclusions.
What conclusions did they arrive at?

2. Summarizer Exit Card – Does your           (5 minutes)        2. Students will relate what they have
answer to the controversy question                               discussed today to current day. Do
remain the same when talking about                               immigrants have opportunity today?
today? Why or why not? Compare                                   Students will draw comparisons to
today’s opportunities for immigrants                             history.
with those provided for immigrants
from 1870-1920.
1. Explain homework assignment: A      Assessment                Students will evaluate the
Letter Home. Review rubric.                   (5 minutes)        manifestations of hope and prejudice
                                                                 for immigrants arriving in America by
                                                                 citing examples in their letters and
                                                                 detailing how they might have felt
                                                                 ―making it‖ in America.

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