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Americans’ Perceptions of Immigration in the 1920s by Ceci Brunning and Jenna Bunnell

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Americans’ Perceptions of Immigration in the 1920s by Ceci Brunning and Jenna Bunnell

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Americans’ Perceptions of Immigration in the 1920s by Ceci Brunning and Jenna Bunnell

  1. 1. Designed by Ceci Brunning and Jenna Bunnell Photo source: “Immigrants at Ellis Island” The Roaring Twenties signaled an era in American history in which modernity and progress were at the forefront of every American mind. Business was booming in the post- AMERICANS’ PERCEPTIONS OF IMMIGRATION 
 IN THE 1920S
  2. 2. Photo source: “Newly Arrived immigrants on Ellis Island” http://teacher.scholastic.com/ activities/immigration/tour/ stop3.htm World War era and the new consumer- based economy catered to an ever evolving society, which rejected traditional social norms and and embraced modern notions of cultural and social freedoms. The famous “Jazz Age” has been immortalized as an age of unabashed creativity and liberation all set to the tune of a sexy jazz rhythm in a neighborhood speakeasy. Of course, the image of the 1920s entrenched in the splendor of fictional characters like F. Scott Fitzgerald’s, Jay Gatsby and in famous residents of West Egg are romanticized visions of a society that was in all actuality full of social and economic disparities between American urban areas and American farmlands. Fear and paranoia swept through the more conservative epicenters of America, and many people experienced a period of backlash against social change, foreign objects, and foreign peoples. This DBQ assignment is meant for students to view the issue of immigration through various primary sources based on the perceptions of different individuals and groups from the 1920s. Using these primary sources, students will be introduced to differing opinions on the issue of immigration during a time period where racial tensions were high, and fear and paranoia ruled the day. 2
  3. 3. The following documents are meant for examination purposes. As you look over them, consider the various perceptions of immigration throughout the 1920s. What was the reasoning and motivations behind these differing beliefs? How did different groups or individuals view immigrants and immigration? What did these same individuals and groups believe should be done with immigrants? How are their arguments similar and different? 3 Picture Source: “Norfolk and Hester Street’s” Photographer: J.S. Johnston, 1898. http://macaulay.cuny.edu/eportfolios/ friedlander12/demography-and- residence-patterns/jewish- demographics-and-residence- patterns-2/emigration-to-the-us/
  4. 4. 4 The “immigration problem,” so called, has always been and always will be an economic problem. There are many people who feel that there is an inherent superiority in the Anglo- Saxon race, that it has a better mind, greater virtue, and a better reason for existence and expansion than any other race. They insist there are eugenic reasons for excluding immigration from South and Central Europe; they would preserve America for people of Anglo-Saxon stock. As an immigration official I presided over Ellis Island for five years. During this time probably a million immigrants arrived at the port of New York. They were for the most part poor. They had that in common with the early immigrant. They had other qualities in common. They were ambitious and filled with hope. They were for the most part kindly and moved by the same human and domestic virtues as other peoples. And it is to me an open question whether the “new immigration,” if given a virgin continent, and the hope and stimulus which springs from such opportunity, would not develop the same qualities of mind and of character that we assume to be the Frederic C. Howe was appointed the Commissioner of Immigration of the Port City of New York between 1914 and 1919. Howe wrote prolifically on social reforms and women’s suffrage. He would later help to establish the National Progressive League to support the president candidacy of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Photo Source: “Frederic C. Howe” http://spartacus-educational.com/ Frederic_C_Howe.htm As you read this excerpt from Howe’s “The Alien,” think about the way in which Howe describes the immigrants he witnessed during his time as Commissioner. 1. What is the author’s perspective on the root of the immigration problem is? 2. How does the author address other perspectives on immigration? 3. What comments is he making overall on the point of view of immigrants in America? Except from Fredric C. Howe’s, “The Alien,” in H.E Stern’s, ed., Civilization in the united States: An Inquiry by Thirty Americas, 1992. Source:http://americainclass.org/sources/ becomingmodern/divisions/text7/
  5. 5. 5 Video source: Felix the Cat: all Puzzled https://archive.org/details/Felix_AllPuzzled_NoAudio Felix the Cat: All Puzzled The beloved Felix the Cat debuted his silent acting career in a 1919 cartoon. Throughout the1920s and up until the 1940s, Felix cartoons were wildly popular with the American public. While you are watching the short film, try and figure out what Felix is “saying” about immigrants and foreigners in general. 1.How are Russians portrayed in this clip? 2.What does the answer to the crossword indicate about the American perception of immigrants and foreigners? 3. In what ways would this video affect the perceptions of the American public? Note: there is no audio in this film. 
 It begins with 7 seconds of black screen
  6. 6. 6 The Rising Tide of Color Against White World Supremacy, 1920 [E]ven under even the most favorable circumstances, we are in for generations of racial readjustment—an immense travail [project/challenge], essentially needless, since the final product will probably not measure up to the colonial standard. We will probably never (unless we adopt positive eugenic measures) be the race we might have been if America had been reserved for the descendants of the Re-Forging America: The Story of Our Nationhood, 1927 However, we know enough about present-day America to realize that it differs from the America of 1914 fully as much as the America of 1870 did from America before the Civil War. Happily, while the America of 1870 had changed for the worse, our America of today is vastly improved. Indeed, not since the nation’s youthful days before 1850 have America’s prospects been so bright as they are Picture Sources: “Lothoro Stoddard” http://www.toqonline.com/blog/lothrop-stoddard-and-the-rising-tide-of-color/ “The Rising Tide Of Color Against White World Supremacy” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rising_Tide_of_Color_Against_White_World-Supremacy Text Sources: “The Rising Tide of Color Against White World Supremacy, 1920” “Re-Forging America: The Story of Our Nationhood, 1927” http://americainclass.org/sources/becomingmodern/divisions/text7/colcomnativeforeign.pdf Lothrop Stoddard wrote The Rising Tide of Color in 1920. Stoddard was a supporter of eugenics and argued that the destruction of Western civilization began with the mixing of races. His ideas about racial purity would later be held in high regard by the National Socialist Lothrop Stoddard Read the excepts from Stoddards theories on race and reflect on his attitudes towards race. 1. What is the author’s perspective on immigration? 2. How does he view America? Immigrants? 3. What does he credit as positive and effective in the life of Americans?
  7. 7. 7 Photo source: “We Can’t Digest the Scum” Billy Ireland (1919) http://hti.osu.edu/sites/hti.osu.edu/files/styles/raw-image/public/ RedScare_50.jpg?itok=7kfE8iYn After the Russian Revolution and the rise of the Communist Bolsheviks in Russia, capitalist Americans began to feed into the idea that radical foreigners would attempt to overthrow the government and capitalist economy. America’s melting pot, or the idea that mixed heritages were happily unified in America, suddenly became an American weak-point.The “red scare” of the 1920s gave way to massive speculation over communist tendencies in both foreigners and American’s sympathetic to socialist ideals. Look at the political cartoon and try to determine the meaning behind the images: 1. How does this comic portray immigration? 2. What words are included in the melting pot? 3. How do those words connect to immigration? 4. What is the melting pot a symbol for? How does this cartoon change the meaning of the melting pot?
  8. 8. 8 “America for the Americans,” Madison Grant, The Forum, September 1925 America, like all other nations, must consider immigration and its limitation solely from her own standpoint. Her first duty is to herself and to the people already here. No obligation or duty what- ever in this connection is owing to anyone else. Whether or not we should admit any individual or racial group is a matter to be determined solely by the interest and welfare of Americans. Such is the national viewpoint. The international viewpoint is that America should share its prosperity and the wealth of its citizens with the world at large and should admit anyone who desires to come here. . . . The aliens in our midst are not assimilated as it was fatuously believed would be the case a few decades ago, when the “Myth of the Melting Pot” was enthusiastically accepted and welcomed. Recent discussions in the press have brought out clearly the fact that those who are alien in race and religion have not amalgamated with the native population. They largely marry among them- selves, maintain their religions and customs, and retain their foreign connections and sympathies almost without abatement. . . . We might as well recognize the fact once for all that, with the exception of individuals, the great mass of our foreigners remain foreign and will so remain as long as we allow them to recruit their numbers from abroad. . . . Whether the foreigners remain in separate colonies, or whether they Photo source:”Madison Grant” found in “Our Vanishing Wildlife: Its Extermination and Preservation” William T. Hornaday (1913). http://www.gutenberg.org/files/13249/13249-h/images/img77a.jpgText Text source: “America for the Americans,” Madison Grant, The Forum, September (1925). http://americainclass.org/sources/becomingmodern/divisions/text7/ colcomnativeforeign.pdf Madison Grant Madison Grant was a prominent conservationist and eugenicist throughout the 1920s and 1930s. He wrote the infamous book, “The Passing of the Great Race” in 1916 in an attempt to highlight the need for European racial purity. Grant championed eugenics, or the belief and practice of improving the genetic quality of the human race, as a means of maintaining white supremacy. Read Grant’s short essay and then answer the following questions: 1. What does Grant believe about the melting pot analogy? 2. What is his view on immigrants? 3. What does he believe immigrants do? 4. According to Grant, how do immigrants fit into society?
  9. 9. 9 “In the past twenty-five years an innumerable host has crossed the ocean in the steerage quarters of the great, trans-Atlantic steamships, and landed on our shores, making America the dumping ground for every class of criminals and other undesirables. They have come out from old religious and political dynasties, as truly pagan as those of India and China, where the heathen in their blindness and superstition bow down to gods of wood and stone. What respect have these persons for our laws? or what appreciation for the great achievements wrought out by the hands of toil and sacrifice? They have taken advantage of our hospitality, monopolized our American industries, and carried the spoils back across the seas. In some places—of which New York is a good example—under the leadership of corrupt politicians they have captured the government and subsidized it to their own purposes. Such persons are only waiting for the opportunity to substitute the green, yellow, or red flag for the Stars and Stripes. 
 - Alma White, Founder of the Pillar of Fire Church in Denver, Colorado Alma White was the founder of the Pillar of Fire Church in Denver, Colorado. White was famous for her connections with the Ku Klux Klan and often attended Klan functions with her church members. She published a monthly publication called The Good Citizen and wrote many pamphlets in direct support of the Ku Klux Klan’s agenda of intolerance and white supremacy. Photo source: “The Ku Klux Klan in Prophecy” Alma White (1925) http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/0/0f/Kkkinprophecy.jpg Text source: “Heroes of the Fiery Cross” Alma White (1928) http://americainclass.org/sources/becomingmodern/divisions/text7/ colcomnativeforeign.pdf Questions to answer: 1. What are the main complaints addressed in this paragraph? 2. What does White accuse immigrants of doing to America? 3. What does white suggest is the immigrant ‘agenda?’ ! ! ! !
  10. 10. 10 Does Americanization Americanize? Gino Sperenza, The Atlantic, (1920) This nation has two functions in history and toward mankind: first, to disseminate principles of democracy, freedom, and humanity among all men throughout the world; and, second, to be a nation characteristically American from top to bottom. It is this latter function that we have sacrificed — if not seriously endangered — by our policy and desire of forcing quick or accelerated Americanization, be it political or spiritual. The present ‘drive’ has already brought forth a number of bills in Congress which, in effect, would compel aliens, after a certain length of residence, to become ‘citizens’ or leave the country. Yet the more ‘raw’ citizens (if I may use the term) you take in, helping the process by a veneer of Americanization, the more you threaten our characteristically American form of democracy. ‘If we believe,’ as I said several years ago before the American Academy of Political Science, ‘in the great system of self-government developed and stubbornly fought for by the English people through centuries of training and struggle, we may fairly claim that its continuance and stability will depend on a citizenship attached to and understanding its spirit and history and in sympathy with its political ideals,’ ‘We want and must have real spiritual allegiance; we want and must have only such citizens as think in terms of American life.’ As the finest contemporary exponent of America said, in his American Ideals, there is ‘one quality that we must bring to the solution of every problem, that is, an intense and fervid Americanism.’ Even in the great struggle now going on between capital and labor, ‘the outcome,’ as President Gino Sperenza was a lawyer and journalist who focused much of his career on serving the Italian immigrants of New York. His later years were spent developing his theories of what it meant to be American and how the idea of Americanism affected the recent influx of immigrants during the 1920s. After reading the selection, answer the following questions: 1. What is Sperenza’s general feeling towards immigrants? 2. How would he address the issue of excessive immigration? 3. Does Sperenza feel that americanization works in terms of assimilating immigrants? Text Source: Does Americanization Americanize? Gino Sperenza, The Atlantic, (1920) http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1920/02/ does-americanization-americanize/309208/
  11. 11. 11 The following are posters promoting free English classes in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The poster promotes the concept of ‘Americanization,’ in which immigrants were encouraged to share American values, beliefs, and customs. Learning English was an attempt by immigrants to assimilate into American culture. 1.How might these posters be useful to newly arrived immigrants? How might these posters be harmful to newly arrived immigrants? 2.How do these posters explain the American perception of immigrants? What assumptions do they make? 3.What are the potential pros and cons of Americanization? Photo(s) Source: “Learn English” Posters http:// digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/dgkeysearchdetail.cfm? trg=1&strucID=247442&imageID=434264&total=37&num=20 &word=Tompkins%20square %20&s=1&notword=&d=&c=&f=&k=1&lWord=&lField=&sSc ope=&sLevel=&sLabel=&sort=&imgs=20&pos=22&e=w English Learn English posters
  12. 12. 12 Herbert Hoover The Johnson-Reed Act of 1924 was the primary immigration reform of the 1920s. The act called to limit the number of immigrants entering the United States. Quotas were set and provided visa to a limited total number of people from each nationality represented in the 1890 census. Asian immigrants, however, were completely excluded from the quota. The following proclamation was issued by Herbert Hoover re- affirming the Johnson Reed Act of 1924. A Proclamation, Herbert Hoover 1929 Whereas it is provided in the act of Congress approved May 26, 1924, entitled "An act to limit the immigration of aliens into the United States, and for other purposes" that "The annual quota of any nationality shall be two per centum of the number of foreign-born individuals of such nationality resident in continental United States as determined by the United States Census of 1890, but the minimum quota of any nationality shall be 100 (Sec. 11 a). . . . "The Secretary of State, the Secretary of Commerce, and the Secretary of Labor, jointly, shall, as soon as feasible after the enactment of this act, prepare a statement showing the number of individuals of the various nationalities resident in continental United States as determined by the United States Census of 1890, which statement shall be the population basis for the purposes of subdivision (a) of section 11 (Sec. 12 b). "Such officials shall, jointly, report annually to the President the quota of each nationality under subdivision (a) of section 11, together with the statements, estimates, and revisions Text source: “Proclamation 1872-Limiting the Immigration of Aliens into the United States on the Basis of National Origin,” Herbert Hoover, (March 22nd, 1929) http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=21838 Photo Source: “Herbert Hoover” http://media-1.web.britannica.com/eb-media/72/1272-004-4C7530A2.jpg 1. Which countries are excluded from the list? Which countries are included on the list? 2. What are similarities and differences between the countries listed? Who is allowed more people, and who is not allowed very many people? 3. What does the passage of all these quota indicate about the American government’s attitude towards immigration?
  13. 13. 13 Photo sources: “The Arrival” http://teacher.scholastic.com/ activities/immigration/tour/stop2.htm “Forging Our Legacy” http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/ resources/publications/legacy/ chap-4.asp What we Learned: A Reflection We have learned a lot about teaching history as well as history itself through this DBQ project.  First off, we were reminded about how vast history is and how deep you can go with a topic.  Our topic developed and changed over the course of the semester, but it always stayed within the realm of America in the 1920’s.  The reason we switched around so much was because we realized there was so much going on in the 1920’s in America and had to decide on a corner to focus on. We eventually decided upon views of immigration in the 1920’s in America, not only because there are a lot of primary sources on the topic but also because it directly connects to the hot contemporary topic of views of immigration today in America. Some difficulties we encountered were sifting through all the primary sources out Ceci Brunning AboutMe
  14. 14. 
 Complete iBook available free at iTunes FROM - EXPLORING HISTORY: VOL II
  15. 15. This eBook is a collaborative project of Peter Pappas 
 and his Fall 2014 Social Studies Methods Class 
 School of Education ~ University of Portland, Portland Ore. Graduate and undergraduate level pre-service teachers were assigned the task of developing an engaging research question, researching supportive documents and curating them into a DBQ suitable for middle or high school students. For more on this class, visit the course blog EdMethods 
 For more on the assignment and work flow tap here. 
 
 Chapters in chronological order 1. The American Revolution by Scott Deal 2. The Pig War by Andy Saxton 3. Cesspool of Savagery by Michelle Murphy 4. Chemical War by Erik Nelson 5. Americans’ Perceptions of Immigration 
 in the 1920s by Ceci Brunning and Jenna Bunnell 6. The New Deal and the Art of Public Persuasion 
 by Kari VanKommer 7. Combat Soldiers in Context by Kristi Anne McKenzie 8. The Marshall Plan: Altruism or Pragmatism? 
 by Sam Kimerling 9. Little Rock Nine: Evaluating Historical Sources 
 by Christy Thomas 10. First Ladies as a Political Tool by Emily Strocher EXPLORING HISTORY: VOL II xv Engaging questions and historic documents empower students to be the historian in the classroom.
  16. 16. Cover image: Replica of old French globe
 Date:1 January 1, 2013
 Petar Milošević Peter Pappas, editor 
 School of Education ~ University of Portland His popular blog, Copy/Paste features downloads of his instructional resources, projects and publications. Follow him at Twitter @edteck. His other multi-touch eBooks are available at here. For an example of one of his eBook design training workshops tap here. CC BY-NC 3.0 Peter Pappas, Ceci Brunning and Jenna Bunnell 2014 The authors take copyright infringement seriously. If any copyright holder has been inadvertently or unintentionally overlooked, the publisher will be pleased to remove the said material from this book at the very first opportunity. xviSource

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