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Immigration to the United States - Essay Example

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Immigration One of the key observations of the authors in these chapters is that immigration in America was a complex affair that is hard to define. Much scholarship on the experience of immigrants to the United States focuses on a number of key points: the problems adapting, social and demographic shifts, the contribution made by early immigrants…
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Immigration to the United States
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Immigration to the United States

Rather than live as de facto slaves on European estates they moved to America where they could be free. There were clear implications for America, but often obscured ones for Europe too. Another important point that Handlin makes in Chapter 1 involves the process of what can only be called natural selection. The passage from Europe to America was a harsh one. Only the stronger survived it. He writes that the features that allowed for success were more than physical; the ability to adapt mentally and socially were vital. Also in Chapter 1, Bodnar takes issue with the notion that immigrants had a monolithic approach to adapting to the new American life. Every individual and family found their own path. Some called themselves Americans right away and embraced the American capitalist ethic. Others spent generations finding their place. Similarly, as is explained dramatically in Chapter 2, Africa changed too because of “immigration” to America. Coastal Africans were abducted and sailed far across the sea to other lands. It is hard to know due to the dearth of information how this effected these African communities, but the consequences must surely have been devastating. ... Read More
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