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America and Immigration

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History 53

Spring 2000


America and Immigration

When reading two articles that are decades apart, one sees that the nation's, as a whole, opinion has changed about immigrants. In an article from 1905 the South wanted immigrants because they were cheap labor. Almost 80 years later, in 1983, the South had a different opinion about immigrants. In his 1905 article, "Immigration and the South," Robert DeCoury Ward just begins to touch on the idea that immigrants could be bad for America's economy. On the contrary, the 1983 article, "Immigration: How It's Affecting US," James Fallows bluntly tells of immigration being harmful to the U.S. economy.

When Robert DeCoury Ward wrote his article "Immigration and the South," it was during a time when there was a heavy flow of immigrants to the North and the South was just beginning to receive immigrants. The North was clearly growing tired of the immigrants, yet the South welcomed them.

For example, he stated, "The North finds itself greatly burdened with the many problems which have grown out of, or have at least been greatly aggravated by immigration." He then goes on to say the following, "The South is developing a newborn zeal for immigration." These two statements clearly show the opinions of the American people during this time in the 20th century. There are a few prime reasons for the South's "new zeal" for immigration. First of all, the rapid growth of manufacturing resulted in a demand for thousands of new workmen. This was a need that the native population of America could not meet. Second, with the newly freed Negroes asking for higher wages and more vacation, landowners needed cheaper workers, which is exactly what the immigrants were. One other key reason, and maybe the one that standouts the most, is that the South had not really experienced immigration yet. They did not know of the troubles that the North had been experiencing for years now. They just saw immigrants as "cheap labor."

After reading the entire DeCoury article, the reader gets a sense that DeCoury wants them to believe that immigration is a controversial subject



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