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Why Did American Nativist Groups Oppose Free, Unrestricted Immigration in the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries

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Essay title: Why Did American Nativist Groups Oppose Free, Unrestricted Immigration in the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries

"Why did American nativist groups oppose free, unrestricted immigration in the

late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries"?

The Untied States of America is commonly labeled or thought of as the melting pot of the world where diverse groups of people flock to in order to better their current lives. In our countries history this has proven to primarily be our way of living and how the people as a nation view immigration. However, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries this open door mentality was quite the opposite to what the majority of people felt towards the idea of welcoming these huddled masses. Immigrants were not seen as equals or people willing to work hard for a better life but rather a diseased parasite that would suck the prosperous and prestigious life that the old immigrants had become accustomed to. American nativist groups during this time period acted in a hypercritical manner with the impression that open immigration would, in the end cause our country to be overtaken and overrun by a far less superior race.

One reason that the old immigrants had such negative feelings toward open immigration was the amount of jobs that would be taken from them due to the cheap labor these new immigrants provided. In a resolution letter to congress from the AFL the unstated motive to denying Chinese immigrants from entering our country was not that they would increase crime or corrupt the political system but rather that they would consume much desired jobs (Document 1). The paranoia in the country people was evident in actions that they took to ensure the halt of immigration so that security could return to their lives. The fact that these new immigrants posed a threat to the U.S. economy through the consumption of jobs was more then enough reason for some nativist groups to oppose open immigration.

Another more commonly shared reason for opposing open immigration was the question of morality. Document 6 states, "The qualities of the American people…are moral far more than intellectual" which in other words means that the concern regarding open immigration was based on morals for

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