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Americas History of Immigration - Essay Example

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The American immigration terrain has been marked by several trends as well as turning points. These points have been essential in the development of the country as the melting pot of the world. If one were to look at the primary documents in the Gjerde, one will find a clear cut definition of ethnicities in its chapters by Hanley - Lopez…
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Americas History of Immigration
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Americas History of Immigration

To begin with, the most notable point in the American Immigration history lies in the creation of its colonial era. The American experience was perceived as a colony where there would be freedom as well as a feeling of mutual bonding. (Parrillo, 2002) This was first demonstrated by the Puritans who built the first English colony at Jamestown, Virginia, in the year 1607. These efforts were replicated by various communities throughout the two century old immigration experience of the United States. Therefore, the turning point was the creation of a model which was to be followed by the variety of people arriving at the American shores, so as create an essentially American way of life. (Gjerde, 1998. Pp 288 to 290 )
Another turning point came in the form of the framing of the US Constitution in the nineteenth century. This helped the diverse American population gain an insight into what was typically American. The Constitution laid special emphasis on freedom, which led to the definition of various unique groups and their ways of living. The Constitution provided the necessary impetus that forced the people to unite on the common grounds of secularism and freedom. Also, with a new focus on new age terms like welfare state and public policy, there was a mass paradigm shift towards understanding the plight of the various communities and creating a platform upon which they may voice their issues and thus gain new insights into public life. (Parrillo, 2002)

The election of Andrew Jackson in 1828, as the first "outsider" to be elected as the President, paved the way for the creation of an America that could expand its frontiers through the sheer power of diversity presented by the people thronging it. (Palmer, 2005) This trend was further fuelled through the modifications rendered to public policy to cater to the needs of minorities who were fast taking to America as their homeland. There was a new brand of administrative policy activism during this period, which triggered federal immigration policies to be restructured along dynamic innovative lines. Further, nationhood and social order were described during this period in terms of the ethnicities and their diverse needs.

The coming of the Irish to the American shores during the 1800s ushered an age of renewed political agenda aimed at the so called "outsiders". The Irish settled around New England, poised for a greater role in the political affairs of the nation. This brought about a new breed of causal politicians who showed America what culture and refinement feel like. Having followed directly after the abolishment of slavery and the migration of the Southern Blacks towards the Northern industrial states, the migration of the Irish served to better understand and define freedom in terms of the ethnic diversity thronging the American shores. (Parrillo, 2002)

Further, the progressive movement was closely followed by the First World War, where the traveling American was brought face to face with social issues on the home front. There was an acknowledgement of the fact that the social dictates of the land had grown to disproportionate dimensions in the face of multi cultural interactions. This led to the need for government action during the 1900s in a bid to demonstrate the ideal American family. While many Asian communities were averse to these trends, the second generation immigrants were more forgiving. ... Read More
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