Teaching with Primary Sources
Rationale A historical
investigation question When creating this packet, I chose sources from the Library of Congress Teacher Set requires students to titled, “Immigration Challenges for New Americans.” I looked at the California History interpret a lesson’s Standards for Grades 8 and 11 and pared down 21 sources in the Teacher Set to 10 historical content in sources that would help students understand various aspects of the standards listed order to make their below. The Secondary Source below provides a frame of context for students and own claims. provides specific details to start answering the 3 Historical Investigation Questions.
Question 1 asks students to consider the treatment or challenges of new immigrants
in this country. It can be answered by looking at: the East Coast through examining
sources 1, 2, and 10; the West Coast in sources 4 and 5; and the country as a whole in sources 3, 8, and 9. Question 2 is a more focused, higher thinking and specific question. It forces students to examine the documents for evidence that would answer how: 1) nativists targeted specific immigrant groups (sources 4, 5, & 7 ), 2)how nativists influenced immigration legislation (sources 5 and 7) and 3)how nativists affected perceptions of new immigrant groups (sources 3, 7, 8, 9). Question 3 is a basic recall question that allows students to examine a Census (source 6) and a Leaflet (Source 7) to better understand Standards 8.6.3 and 11.2.
Historical Investigation Question
QUESTION ONE QUESTION THREE QUESTION TWO
In what ways did the Nativists target
specific immigrant groups, influence What challenges did new In the late 1800s and early 1900s,
immigration legislation, and affect immigrants face? how many immigrants arrived and
perceptions of new immigrant where did they settle?
groups who entered the United
History-Social Science Standards for CA Public Schools, K-12
8.6 Students analyze the divergent paths of the American people from 1800 to the mid-1800s and the
challenges they faced, with emphasis on the Northeast.
3. List the reasons for the wave of immigration from Northern Europe to the United States and describe the
growth in the number, size, and spatial arrangements of cities (e.g., Irish immigrants and the Great Irish
8.12 Students analyze the transformation of the American economy and the changing social and political conditions in the United States in response to the Industrial Revolution.
5. Examine the location and effects of urbanization, renewed immigration, and industrialization (e.g., the
effects on social fabric of cities, wealth and economic opportunity, the conservation movement).
7. Identify the new sources of large-scale immigration and the contributions of immigrants to the building
of cities and the economy; explain the ways in which new social and economic patterns encouraged
assimilation of newcomers into the mainstream amidst growing cultural diversity; and discuss the new
wave of nativism.
11.2 Students analyze the relationship among the rise of industrialization, large-scale rural-to-urban migration,
and massive immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe.
3. Trace the effect of the Americanization movement.
Here’s a link to the Standards: http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/st/ss/documents/histsocscistnd.pdf
The New Immigrants ththMillions of immigrants entered the United States in the late 19 and early 20 centuries, lured by the promise of
a better life. Some of the immigrants sought to escape difficult conditions- such as famine, land shortages, or
religious or political persecution. Others, known as “birds of passage,” intended to immigrate temporarily to
earn money, and then return to their homelands.
Between 1870 and 1920, approximately 20 million Europeans arrived in the United States. Before 1890, most immigrants came from countries in western and northern Europe. Beginning in the 1890s, however, increasing numbers came from southern and eastern Europe. In 1907 alone, about a million people arrived from Italy, Austria-Hungary, and Russia.
Why did so many leave their homelands? Many of these new immigrants left to escape religious
persecution…Between 1800 and 1900, the population in Europe doubled to nearly 400 million, resulting in a scarcity of land for farming. Farmers competed with laborers for too few industrial jobs. In the United States, thjobs were supposedly plentiful. In addition, a spirit of reform and revolt had spread across Europe in the 19
century. Influenced by political movements at home, many young European men and women sought independent lives in America.
Chinese and Japanese
While waves of Europeans arrived on the shores of the East Coast, Chinese immigrants came to the West Coast in smaller numbers. Between 1851 and 1883, about 300,000 Chinese arrived. Many came to seek their fortunes after the discovery of gold in 1848 sparked the California gold rush. Chinese immigrants helped build the nation’s railroads, including the first transcontinental line. When the railroads were completed, they turned to farming, mining, and domestic service… However, Chinese immigration was sharply limited by a congressional
act in 1882. [This act was later extended in 1892 and 1902.]
In 1884, the Japanese government allowed Hawaiian planters to recruit Japanese workers, and a Japanese emigration boom began. The United States’ annexation of Hawaii in 1898 resulted in increased Japanese immigration to the West Coast.
Life in the New Land & Ellis Island
After initial moments of excitement, the immigrants faced the anxiety of not knowing whether they would be admitted to the United States. They had to pass inspection at immigration stations, such as the one at Castle Garden in New York, which was later moved to Ellis Island in New York harbor. About 20 percent of the immigrants at Ellis Island were detained for a day or two more before being inspected. However, only about 2
percent of those were denied entry…The processing of immigrants on Ellis Island was an ordeal that might take five hours or more.
Immigration Restrictions & The Rise of Nativism
One response to the growth in immigration was nativism, or overt favoritism toward native-born Americans.
Nativism gave rise to anti-immigrant groups that led to a demand for immigrant restrictions.
Many nativists believed that Anglo-Saxons- the Germanic ancestors of the English- were superior to other ethnic
groups. These nativists did not object to immigrants from the “right” countries. Prescott F. Hall, a founder in 1894 of the Immigration Restriction League, identified desirable immigrants as “British, German, and Scandinavian
stock, historically free, energetic, progressive.” Nativists thought that problems were caused by immigrants from the “wrong” countries- “Slav, Latin, and Asiatic races, historically down-trodden…and stagnant.” Nativists
sometimes objected more to immigrant’s religious beliefs than to their ethnic backgrounds. Many native-born
Americans were Protestants and thought that Roman Catholic and Jewish immigrants would undermine the democratic institutions established by the country’s Protestant founders.
Nativism also found a foothold in the labor movement, particularly in the West, where native-born workers
feared that jobs would go to Chinese immigrants, who would accept lower wages. The depression of 1873 intensified anti-Chinese sentiment in California. Work was scarce, and labor groups exerted political pressure on the government to restrict Asian immigration…In 1882, Congress slammed the door on Chinese Immigration for
Secondary Source (cont.)
10 years by passing the Chinese Exclusion Act. This act banned entry to all Chinese except students, teachers, merchants, tourists, and government officials. In 1892, Congress extended the law for another 10 years. In 1902,
Chinese immigration was restricted indefinitely; the law was not repealed until 1943.
thstFrom the following 11 grade textbook: Danzer, Gerald et al. The Americans: Reconstruction to the 21 Century.
Evanston, Illinois: McDougal Littell Inc., 2006, Chapter 7, Section 1, The New Immigrants, pp254-259
Video: “Emigrants [i.e. immigrants] landing at Ellis Island” by Thomas A. Edison, Inc. 1 July 9, 1903. Duration: 2:20 minutes
The film opens with a view of the steam ferryboat "William Myers," laden with passengers, approaching a dock at the Ellis Island Immigration Station. The vessel is docked, the
gangway is placed, and the immigrant passengers are seen coming up the gangway and
onto the dock, where they cross in front of the camera.
Photograph: U.S. inspectors examining eyes of immigrants, Ellis Island, New York 2 Harbor, New York : Underwood & Underwood, c1913,
One photographic print on stereo card: stereograph that shows an inspector examining
the eyes of newly arrived immigrants at Ellis Island.
Political Cartoon: The Americanese wall - as Congressman [John Lawson] Burnett 3 would build it; Reproduction of cartoon drawing by Raymond O. Evans; illustrated in
Puck, v. 79, 1916 Mar. 25, p. 10. http://loc.gov/pictures/item/2006681433/
Shown is Uncle Sam, behind a high wall marked "Literacy Test," which is spiked with pen
points, who says to an immigrant family below: "You're welcome, if you can climb it.”
Letter: California vigilante committee correspondence to John Stephens, 5 4 September 1856. (Isaac D. Bluxome Collection) http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-
The letter informs John Stevens that he must leave California by ship that very day and never return, unless he wants to suffer the “penalty of death.” The letter was written by the "Committee of Vigilance," which originated in 1851 for a brief period and reemerged in 1856. This Committee was created by San Francisco merchants “to deal with urban disorder.” The Committee believed the elected San Francisco government incapable of “protecting the life and property of the city's citizens.” The Committee targeted undesirables, mainly Australians in 1851, and “deported more than two dozen other individuals for various crimes and hanged four men accused of murder.”
Shown here is an example of the kind of document employed by the vigilance committees in pursuing their goals. Both the 1851 and 1856 groups were highly organized and operated according to defined procedures, which included trials for those accused of crimes. Most
of the quasi-legal documents issued by the committee were drafted by Isaac Bluxome, Jr., secretary of the executive committees of both the 1851 and 1856 organizations. Rather than signing his name, Bluxome endorsed committee papers with "33 Secretary," indicating
his serial number and office.
**Information quoted above is provided in the lengthier additional background information provided. Legal Document: Wong Turn: Certificate of residence: 6 March 1894, 5 http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/cic:@field(DOCID+@lit(brk3880)) SUMMARY On May 5, 1892 Congress renewed the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act that barred Chinese laborers from entering the United States, restricted the number and type of immigrants who
entered and which barred Chinese residing in the United States from becoming naturalized citizens. Wong, who was Chinese born, had to file this Certificate of Residence to legally establish that he was “within the limits of the United States at the time of the passage of the said Act.”
Census Report Excerpt: Statistical atlas of the United States, based upon the 1890 5 6 thcensus by Henry Gannett. This was the 11 census; United States Census Office: Washington, Government print, 1898,
This multi–page excerpt features charts and graphs covering different groups of immigrants (broken out by ethnicity and nationality). The information reveals: 1) population numbers over time as reported in earlier censuses and within each state and territory, 2)nationalities
of the foreign-born from each census, as well as breakdowns of each state and territory, 3)growth of the population from 1790 10 1890, with different groups determined under the following categories-“colored,” “native stock,” “British,” “Irish,” “German,” “Scandinavian,”
“Canadian,” “Poles,” “Hungary,” “Italian,” and “Others.”
Leaflet or Broadside: ... Immigration figures for 1903. Compiled by the Immigration 7 Restriction League. No. 38 (From data furnished by the Commissioner-general of
immigration. Comparison of the fiscal years ending June 30, 1902 and 1903.)
Summary Created by the Immigration Restriction League, which states “it advocates a stricter regulation of immigration, but not the exclusion of any immigrants whose character and standards fit them to become citizens.” This 4-page document focuses on levels of literacy
of different immigrant groups (and supports an educational test for immigrants). Total immigration numbers are listed and commentary is given on “less desirable races.” Statistics including occupation and money amounts are also listed and immigrants deemed
improper are cited as becoming a “detriment, because their presence will tend to lower our standards.”
Sheet Music of Song: “Don't bite the hand that's feeding you,” written by Jimmie 8 Morgan http://lcweb2.loc.gov/diglib/ihas/loc.natlib.ihas.100007833/pageturner.html
Sheet Music with lyrics for the song “Don’t bite the hand that’s feeding you.” This song, popularized during WWI, admonishes immigrants for not supporting Uncle Sam after Uncle
Sam has so openly and willingly accepted and supported them.
Don’t bite the Audio of Song: “Don't bite the hand that's feeding you,” written by Jimmie Morgan ; 9 hand that’s [Audio: performed by] Walter Van Brunt ; [words by Thomas Hoier], Orange, N.J. :
feeding you, Edison, 1916.
written by Jimmie http://memory.loc.gov/cgibin/query/r?ammem/papr:@field(NUMBER+@band(edrs+50357r))
Morgan Audio Clip
Audio of the song “Don’t bite the hand that’s feeding you.” This song, popularized during WWI, admonishes immigrants for not supporting Uncle Sam after Uncle Sam has so openly and willingly accepted and supported them.
Book or pamphlet: Our immigrants at Ellis Island; by Mrs. Francis E. Clark, Boston, 10
Chicago, United Society of Christian Endeavor, c1912.
Page view: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.gdc/scd0001.20040315002ou.2 http://lccn.loc.gov/12013648
Summary Created by a Christian Missionary group, this book describes immigrants at Ellis Island from “reception, inspection, and experiences of our immigrants in the detention-room and
railway offices.” The 20-page piece provides detailed descriptions that follow specific
families and individuals through the entire process.
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