Explain Why Many Americans Feared Mass Immigration the the Years 1890-1920

522 Words3 Pages
Mass immigration was widely feared by many Americans due to a number of reasons. Firstly, there was a great amount of friction between those immigrating post 1900 and those who had immigrated pre 1900 due in many cases to a clash in religious beliefs, as those who had immigrated from Northern Europe before where mainly Protestant, whereas those after were mainly Catholics and Jews. This caused many of the Protestants who had already settled to blame the incoming Catholics for many things, and tensions were worsened by the construction of organizations such as the American Protestant Association, who’s sole purpose was to combat Catholicism. Furthermore, many of those who immigrated were of diversely different nationalities than the White Anglo Saxon Protestants (WASPs) who were already settled in America and had most of the political power. This predominantly Protestant power base caused disputes with the Catholics who immigrated to America, as the Catholics felt disenfranchised and apathetic due to the politicians in power not being able to relate to their culture. In addition, many of the traditions of that those who immigrated were discordant with those of the WASPs, which generated great amounts of segregation and suspicion around those who immigrated. A prime example of this would be the Russian Jews, as their beliefs about washing their dead were very different to the traditional funeral values instilled in the Protestants. Moreover, the suspicion was in many cases political as well as religious, due to the proliferation of socialist, and later Communist ideals in Europe: both were substantially different to the philosophies set out in the American Constitution. For example many of the Jews escaping the Pogroms in Russia had been influenced by the ideas of Karl Marx and Lenin. Additionally, Americans feared bass immigration for economic reasons, as
Open Document