United states has been shaped by immigration since the first immigrants arrived there 400 years ago. throughout the American history immigration has been happening although a great number of immigrants came to united states during the peak period which are four. The first peak period is during the peopling of the original united states. The second one occurred in the middle of 19th century during the westward expansion which was followed by the 20th century rise of cities. In 1970s is when the fourth peak period began and it runs up to today. These immigration peak periods have led to major economical transformations in America. The first period allowed European immigrants to settle in America while the second phase saw the young colonial united states transform its economy to an agricultural one. America rose to a manufacturing economy in the third peak period through industrial revolution. it is in the final phase when transformation to a knowledge and technology based economy from manufacturing economy took place. This has been aided by the coinciding of large-scale immigration with globalization. Immigration is a strong demographic power that is responsible for the way a country and its population live. It has contributed intensely in many economic, social, ethical, political and civil changes such as immigration laws that are the backbone of America today.
Economic growth in united states was a major factor that drove people from their countries to America. Most of the immigrants came to America seeking for job. Earlier before 1880, Europeans were the major immigrants to America. Industrial development in western Europe and Irish potato shortage were some of the forces that drove them to America. In 1850s, after gold was discovered in California in 1848, Chinese immigrants arrived in large numbers for the first time. The sole factor that facilitated immigration to America was industrial capitalism between 1880 and 1920.production of goods such as textiles, steel, food products and works such as demolition of smaller and local workshops to be replaced by large industries were some of the places where immigrants worked. More Americans were pulled to the cities by industrial growth. More than twenty- five million immigrants came to America between 1870and 1920.
Due to high number of immigrants, there was the problem of social class, discrimination along ethnic lines, gender, religion and culture. Traditional gender values and norms were challenged by social and economic changes which happened in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Advancement in science, new awareness of economic, emergence, availability and consumption of new goods together with gender inequalities were some of the factors that proved threat to gender norms. social and changing cultural values threatened the already existing gender norms. Women started campaigning for equal rights pushing for municipal reforms. Immigration led to urbanizations which rose anxieties over female sexuality which led to tension and differences among generations, races and different classes. the youths started adopting new fashions and enjoying city lives as they challenged the values of their parent’s generations. Religious women especially protestants started activating against alcohol as they tried to liberate the youths from rotten morals. Men also worried about social class discrimination. industrial capitalism was wearing away the masculinity of the American people. Due to superiority and sense of ownership, American men worked behind desks and wore white collars. The American society became weak. Their traditional norms were wiped out and they blended with the new wave of culture, values and norms.
A country receiving influx of immigrants from all parts of world needed laws that would govern these people without oppressing them and also without giving them too much freedom. Formulation of new immigration laws and adjustment of existing ones is inevitable. These policies and laws are rarely changed since they can be very divisive. In 1882, federal oversight of immigration was formulated. Congress passed the immigration act and each migrant was expected to pay a fee to be used by the united states treasury department to help regulate and manage immigration. Screening of immigrants started after this act and anyone who could not conduct himself or herself in the right manner while in U.S was not allowed to enter the borders of America. Mining subsided in the west and bad blood grew between Chinese and other foreigners. In response to this, a Chinese exclusion act was enacted in 1882 which prohibited immigration of Chinese for ten years, Chinese who were in the country illegally were to be deported and also Chinese naturalization was stopped. In 1888 Scott act banned any Chinese either with lawful or unlawful status from coming back to the country anytime they leave. To prevent any more immigration, an Asian barred zone was created which included British India, southeast Asia and middle east and congress passed an immigration act in 1917 to support and govern this. Due to these discriminative and nativist sentiments, America witnessed a backlash of immigrants. America started witnessing large scale immigration in 1970s after these restrictions laws were lifted.
Finally, after America going all these economical, sociological and civil changes, it has left itself to knowledge, technological and industrial development. Immigrants have crowded in the cities both illegal and legal immigrants who have helped these cities grow. Businesses have grown both in space and measure. Labor has shifted from human to machines and wealth has concentrated. Industries are producing new goods by use of new and advanced technologies. America has continued to grow inward and outward amid important complaints and open-minded developments.
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