In My Family’s American Dream, Bootstraps Met Blocks of Government Cheese

After an arduous journey emigrating from Vietnam in the 70s, the author benefited from both personal resilience and public assistance. I spoke my first words on a boat: “milk,” “cockroach,” and “itchy.” An unusual toddler vocabulary perhaps, but not surprising considering that I spent the second year of my life on a freighter with thousands[…]

Why Don’t More Americans Remember the 1897 Massacre of Pennsylvania Coal Miners?

The mostly Eastern European victims were forgotten because of an ensuing backlash against immigrant workers. At the western entrance of the coal patch town of Lattimer, in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, sits a rough-cut shale boulder, about 8 feet tall, surrounded by neatly trimmed bushes. A bronze pickax and a shovel are attached to the boulder,[…]

A History of Immigration to Boston: Eras, Ethnic Groups, and Places

Examining different time periods and ethnic groups to document the history of a city where immigrants have long been a vital force in shaping economic, social and political life. Eras of Immigration First Wave Immigration, 1820-1880 During the nineteenth century, Boston evolved from a bustling port town to a booming industrial city. Through landfill and[…]

New Beginnings: A History of Immigrant Women and the American Experience

Women immigrants have played a dynamic role in transforming America socially, politically, and economically. A Woman’s Story Though women are integral characters, immigration is rarely thought of as a woman’s story. Women historically have accounted for almost fifty percent of immigrants and currently exceed that. Women’s motivations for migration have been varied and complex. Gender[…]

Louisa Catherine Adams: From a London Alley to the White House

Until today, she was the only first lady born outside the U.S.. She had to prove herself to her husband’s family, Congress – and the country. It was hard for Louisa Catherine Adams, the only first lady born outside the United States, to say where she came from. She began her life in a narrow[…]

Gypsies, Roma, Travelers: An Animated History

The “Roma” and Travelers are not a single, homogeneous group of people. The terms Gypsies, Roma, and Travellers are broad titles which describe diverse and different communities and are used in this article and film as general descriptors for the purpose of clarity. Europe is home to 10–12 million Roma and Travellers, yet many Europeans[…]

French Identity and Immigration to Constantinople and Greece in the 13th Century

After capturing Constantinople in 1204, the Fourth Crusaders established several states in former Byzantine territory. Starting from the captured imperial center, westerners moved into Thrace, Greece, the Aegean islands, and even Asia Minor. These campaigns of conquest had varied success, with the greatest and longest lasting in southern Greece.[1][2] The Fourth Crusaders had struck out[…]

19th-Century Immigration: The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882

Chinese immigration to the United States was a result of European and American imperialism in Asia on the one hand, and a response to global trade networks and labor demands on the other. Introduction Although Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 decades before the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, the[…]

Codifying Citizenship: Naturalization Act of 1790

The first statute in the United States to codify naturalization law. Alternately known as the Nationality Act, the Naturalization Act of 1790 restricted citizenship to “any alien, being a free white person” who had been in the U.S. for two years. In effect, it left out indentured servants, slaves, and most women. This implied that[…]

European Immigration to America and Colonization

Eventually, the entire Western Hemisphere would come under the domination of European nations, leading to profound changes to its landscape, indigenous population, and plant and animal life. Introduction The start of the European Colonization of the Americas is typically dated to 1492, although there was at least one earlier colonization effort. The first known Europeans[…]

The Phasing-Out of 18th-Century Patterns of German Migration to the United States after 1817

The years 1816 to 1819 saw the last wave of immigration into the United States that basically followed patterns of travel, finance, and trade established in the 1700s. Introduction The years 1816 to 1819, at the beginning of the 19th century, saw the last wave of immigration into the United States that basically followed patterns of[…]

A History of Evolving Meaning in the Statue of Liberty

It has meant different things to different people at different times, which is part of its genius. Abolition In 1886, The Statue of Liberty was a symbol of democratic government and Enlightenment ideals as well as a celebration of the Union’s victory in the American Civil War and the abolition of slavery. Edouard de Laboulaye,[…]

Colonial Circuits between Europe and Asia in the 19th and Early 20th Centuries

The emergence of colonial migration circuits between Europe and Asia followed the ascendency of European mercantile and military power. Introduction The emergence of colonial migration circuits between Europe and Asia followed the ascendency of European mercantile and military power. In the early 19th century, the European presence in Asia was still extremely modest and very[…]

A History of the Many Conflicting Identities of the Statue of Liberty

Eastern and Western, feminine and masculine, motherly yet ready for war, the sculpture holds a multitude of meanings. The Statue of Liberty’s creator, the Alsatian artist Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, grew up in a world apart from the “huddled masses” who arrived in the New World, sailing toward her beacon. Born in 1834, into a rich and[…]

A Brief Overview of Immigration in the Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries

An overview of the “new immigration” that originated from Southern and Eastern Europe and American responses to it. Between 1880 and 1910, almost fifteen million immigrants entered the United States, a number which dwarfed immigration figures for previous periods. Unlike earlier nineteenth century immigration, which consisted primarily of immigrants from Northern Europe, the bulk of[…]

Jewish Migration from 1500 to the 20th Century

The beginnings of Hamburg’s Jewish community are linked to the Jews’ expulsion from the Iberian Peninsula at the end of the 15th century. Introduction The term migration is used to describe different, interconnected processes, especially mobility, immigration and emigration, internal migration, labor migration, seasonal migration, flight and expulsion. Among the most extreme forms of forced[…]

Border Security in Ancient Rome

There are lessons from ancient history that could prove instructive. A caravan of Goths – the Thervingi and the Greuthungi – were massing along the Danube river, at the border of the Roman Empire. This was not an invading army, but men, women, and children fleeing the enemy at their backs: a seemingly invincible army[…]

Historical Processes of Europeanization

The majority of these processes played out over the long-term, but accelerated since the second half of the 18th century. Introduction Processes resulting in the development of a single European culture can be bundled under the term Europeanization. The majority of these processes played out over the long-term, but accelerated since the second half of[…]

Immigration to America in the Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries

Groups who opposed immigration and those attempting to help immigrants during the period from 1877 to 1925. Introduction “Immigration of some kind,” the historian John Higham has written, “is one of the constants of American history, called forth by the energies of capitalism and the attractions of regulated freedom.” This constancy did not preclude alternating[…]

Jewish Immigration during the Revolutionary War

Jews were not welcomed everywhere in the colonies, but they established small communities. Not many Jews immigrated to the United States before about 1820, but the 350th anniversary of Jewish settlement in America was celebrated in 2004 to mark the arrival in New Amsterdam (New York City) in 1654 of a group of two dozen[…]

Four Waves of Immigration from the Colonial Period to Today

America was seen as the promised land by the oppressed and exploited masses. By Åse Elin LangelandHistorian Introduction Immigration to the United States was influenced by both push and pull factors. The push factors were what drove the immigrants from their country such as religious persecution, political oppression and poverty. The pull factors were those[…]

Migration to and from Germany, 17th Century to Today

Germany can look back on a long history of migration. By Dr. Vera Hanewinkel and Dr. Jochen OltmerProfessors of HisoryUniversität Osnabrück Migration Flows during the 17th, 18th and 19th Centuries The Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) led to serious destruction and a significant reduction in population in some German regions. The respective sovereigns therefore recruited employable[…]

Following a Migrant Route through Dust Bowl Camps of the 1930s

This network of FSA camps—the series of communities designed to be occupied and left on a seasonal basis—served the basic needs of their temporary residents. I still don’t know where I’ll be staying tonight. But I’ve accomplished the few tasks I needed to get done by this evening. I have a rental car that is[…]

Diverse, Fragile and Fragmented: European Migration Since the Mid-20th Century

Examining political events and economic forces shaping contemporary migration within and into Europe.    By Dr. Russell King (left) and Dr. Marek Okólski (right)King: Professor of Geography, Sussex Centre for Migration Research, University of SussexOkólski: Professor of Political Science, Uczelnia Łazarskiego Abstract In this paper we review the significant political events and economic forces shaping contemporary migration[…]