From the late 1800s to mid 1900s there were many Acts and restrictions for foreigners to come into the United States. The Immigration Act of 1924 was very important because it had many effects on immigration and in US population. There were three factors that probably influenced Congress to pass the Immigration Act of 1924. These three factors were due to ethnic control, economic issues, and political control.
First of all, Americans wanted to stay “white”, they did not wanted aliens to come and mix with their culture to produce an inferior race.
“Many of these alien people are temperamentally and racially unfitted for easy assimilation” (Document F). In other words they were inferior to Americans, their race did not fit with the one of Americans. Also, they were not “temperamentally” capable to live in American society. “Thank God we have in America… the largest percentage of… pure unadulterated Anglo-Saxon stock; certainly the greatest of any nation in the Nordic breed” (Document I), said Ellison D.
smith in 1924. Again in this phrase we can find Americans finding themselves superior to any other type of race.
The same year in which the Immigration Act was passed Mr. Keaton from the Department of Adjutant of the American Legion of California wrote to John Raker in the House of Representatives in Washington, DC that he was “standing behing… 100 per cent in the fight to make this a white man’s country” (Document G). Once again we can find proof that one of the most important reasons why the Immigration Act of 1924 was passed was because the United States wanted to have control over ethnicity.
Secondly, Congress had to study very well how would immigrants affect US economy. The United States Bureau of the Census shows a table from 1919 to 1925 showing national and personal income during those years. In here we can se the sharpest declines between 1920 and 1921. By 1924, the year in which the Immigration Act of 1924 was enforced, economy was getting better, but not fast enough, and so they thought immigrants were affecting economy. (Document D). “There is not now the relative advantage for the peasant of England, Germany, or Scandinavia… As regards the new immigrants…the one great reason for their coming is that they believe that on the wage which they can receive in America they can establish a higher standard that the one to which they have been accustomed” (samples of argumentative essays).
Congress was limiting more Southern Europeans than Northern because they were poorer and could not bring any benefits to the country. “We need three generation to educate, to crossbreed with Western strains and to assimilate a large number of those that we have here now” (Document F). This suggests that inferiority is would not last forever but the bulk of the argument indicates clearly that the effort to “Americanize” the new, particularly the “new immigrants” will exhaust America’s resources had ultimately prove impossible.
Thirdly, having political control was very important also. Congress felt that by allowing people from different countries with different government will try to change the way America was governed. For example, communism was something Congress was afraid. It was the time when Bulsobism was trying to infest the US with its communism. The US was afraid that in those immigrants a group of Bulsobist could sneak in introduce bad habits to Americans. Philadelphia inquirer, 1920 (document E), shows a communist immigrant under the US flag trying to get it through the United States boundaries.
Concluding, we find proof, once again, of the fears that the United States has and this is why American Congress takes drastic caution towards immigrants who could affect the US. “Under the act of 1924 the number of each nationality who may be admitted annually is limited to 2 per cent of the population of such nationality resident in the United States according to the census of 1890” (Document A). This Act was mostly influenced by the factors of economy, ethnic and political control.
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