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US at the Turn of the Century
From Rural Mexico US Census figures indicate a surge in the total Mexican American population from approximately 75,000 in 1890 to an estimated 562,000 in 1900. Between 1900 and 1910, almost one million immigrants entered the US annually. Between 1900 and 1920, about 1 million Mexicans migrated to the US.
Mexican Migration The largest barrio was in Los Angeles. It had a population of 30,000 Mexican born Americans in 1920, almost three times more than had been there in Other popular cities of Mexican migration were San Francisco, El Paso, Chicago, Detroit, and Philadelphia, and New York. In the Southwest, many of them came to work in agriculture, the mines and the railroad. The railroads were recruiting more than a thousand Mexican workers a month. A farm worker earned between $1 and $1.50 a day. The highest pay was in the mines were a worker could earn up to $5 a day!
Nativism One response to the growth in immigration was nativism, or overt favoritism toward native- born Americans. Nativism gave rise to anti- immigrant groups and led to a demand for immigration restrictions. Violence and prejudice against Mexicans and Mexican Americans were prevalent in major US cities in California and Texas.
History of Nativism
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Immigration Policies The passage of the Chinese Exclusion Acts of 1882,1892, and together with the Gentlemen’s Agreement with Japan of 1900 and reduced and then eliminated the number of Chinese and Japanese immigrating to the US, increasing the pull of Mexican workers. Immigration Act of placed a literacy test on immigrants over 16 and prohibited criminals, alcoholics, anarchists, and “idiots” among others from entering the US. The Emergency Quota Act of 1921 also set a limit on European immigration. In 1924, the National Origins Act further lower the number allowed to enter the US and and prohibit legal entry to any one of Asian descent.
Melting Pot vs. Salad Bowl
According to the Melting Pot Theory peoples from various cultures come to America and contribute aspects of their culture to create a new, unique American culture. The result is that contributions from many cultures are indistinguishable from one another and are effectively "melted" together.
Melting Pot vs. Salad Bowl
According to the Salad Bowl Theory there are times when newly arrived immigrants do not lose the unique aspects of their cultures like in the melting pot model, instead they retain them. The unique characteristics of each culture are still identifiable within the larger American society.
Assimilation Assimilation is the concept that eventually immigrants or their decedents adopt enough of the American culture that while they may retain aspects or traditions of their cultural heritage, they are identifiable as uniquely "American". Most if all of these cultural traditions (language, foods, etc..) have been replaced with "Americanized” traditions. Assimilation has proven difficult, even over multiple generations for some physically unique cultural group.
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