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Immigration and Discrimination in the 1920's

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Essay title: Immigration and Discrimination in the 1920's

Beginning in the early nineteenth century there were massive waves of

immigration. These "new" immigants were largely from Italy, Russia, and

Ireland. There was a mixed reaction to these incomming foreigners. While

they provided industries with a cheap source of labor, Americans were both

afraid of, and hostile towards these new groups. They differed from the

"typical American" in language, customs, and religion. Many individuals and

industries alike played upon America's fears of immigration to further their

own goals. Leuchtenburg follows this common theme from the beginning of

World War I up until

the election of 1928.

If there was one man who singlely used America's fear of immigrants to

advance his own political goals it was Attorney General Palmer. The rise of

Communism in Russia created a fear of its spread across Europe, and to

America. Palmer tied this fear to that of immigration. He denounced labor

unions, the Socialist party, and the Communist party in America, as being

infultrated with radicals who sought to overturn America's political,

economic, and social institutions. Palmer exasperated this fear in Americans

and then presented himself as the country's savior, combatting the evils of

Communism. He mainly centered his attack on Russian immigrants. During the

infamous Palmer raids thousands of aliens were deported and even more were

arrested on little or no evidence. Their civil liberties were violated,

they were not told the reasons for their arrests, denied counsel, and not

given fair trials. What followed was an investigation of Palmer led by Louis

Post which overturned many of Palmer's actions. Palmer's cretability was

shattered after in a last minute attempt to gain the 1920 presidencial

nomination, he made predictions about a May Day radical uprising, the nation

perpared itself, but on May 1st 1920 all was peaceful. While the raids had

stopped, the hostilities towards immagrants still remained prevelent.

Immigrants were used by organized industries as a source of cheap labor.

But as labor

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