|The Colonial Era (1565-1775)|
|The Era of Regulation (1882-1916)|
|The Era of Liberalization (1965 – 2000)|
|1565||First permanent European settlement in the United States is established at St. Augustine, Florida, by the Spanish.|
|1598||Spanish immigrants settle in what is now Texas and New Mexico.|
|1619||First shipment of African slaves arrives in Virginia.|
|1630-40||The Great Migration applies to the period of time during the 1630's when Massachusetts's population sky rocketed with the migration of approximately 21,000 immigrants to New England, about a third of them being Britons|
|1751||Benjamin Franklin worries about German immigrants, writing, "This Pennsylvania will in a few years become a German colony; instead of [their] learning our language, we must learn theirs, or live as in a foreign country."|
|1776||The Declaration of Independence charges the king of England
with obstructing migration to British North America, thereby indirectly
indicating that the colonies were greatly interested in recruiting new
settlers. In fact, most colonies are in active competition with other
colonies for these prospective settlers.
In his pamphlet Common Sense Thomas Pain writes that "Europe, not England, is the parent country of America," thereby offering early evidence that America's very heterogeneity is intimately connected with its character.
|1789||Jedidiah Morse used the word "immigrant" in his patriotic textbook American Geography, making mention of the "many immigrants from Scotland, Ireland, Germany, and some from France" living in New York. Previously writers had referred only to "emigrants." but after 1789 the American language identified newcomers with the country they were entering rather than the country they had left.|
|1795||Congress passes the Naturalization Act, requiring for citizenship a five-year residence in the United States and the renunciation of all former allegiances.|
|1798||Alien and Sedition acts give President John Adams arbitrary power to seize and expel resident aliens suspected of subversive activities. The laws expired after two years and were not renewed.|
|1812||The War of 1812 brings immigration to a complete halt as hostilities prevent transport across the ocean.|
|1820-1880||The first great wave of immigration to the United States. Over ten million immigrants arrive with northern and western Europeans (mostly British, Irish, and German) predominating. Many settle in the rural Midwest.|
|1835||Scottish-born journalist James Gordon Bennett founds the New York Herald, thus beginning the long history of immigrant pioneers in the fertile field of the mass culture in the United States.|
|1839||Pennsylvania passes a law enabling public schools to provide instruction in the German language when at least 30 percent of the parents request such instruction.|
|1841-1850||First decade in American history in which immigration to the United States exceeds one million. (The total for the decade is 1,713,251.)|
|1848||Lajos Kossuth tours the United States in search of support for the
Hungarian revolution against the Hapsburg Empire. He fails to gain
official governmental support and returns to Europe, but many Hungarians
choose to remain in or migrate to the United States nonetheless.
Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo ends Mexican-American War and allows the United States to acquire Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, California, and parts of Utah and Nevada from Mexico for $15 million. Mexican residents of the newly acquired territory are allowed to remain. They are subjected to serious discrimination but become the heart of labor for the American Southwest.
|1848-1849||Failed revolutions in Europe spur migration to the United States from what will be Germany and what was the Austro-Hungarian Empire.|
|1849||Significant Chinese migration to the United States begins in the aftermath
of the California gold rush.
In the Passenger cases the Supreme Court rules that state laws, such as head taxes on arriving immigrants are unconstitutional because only Congress has the power to regulate immigration under the commerce clause of the Constitution.
|1850||As of this census the Roman Catholic church becomes the largest religious denomination in the United States, due primarily to Irish and German immigration. It remains the largest single religious denomination today.|
|1851-1860||The peak decade for Irish migration to the United States. (The total for the decade was 914,199.)|
|1854||The California Supreme Court bars Chinese immigrants from testifying
in any trail involving a white man.
The Know-Nothing movement wins sweeping victories in Congress and state legislative elections. The Know-Nothings objected to the increasing numbers of Roman Catholic immigrants from Ireland and other countries. They called for limits on immigrants and a twenty-one-year period before immigrants could become voting citizens. The Know-Nothing movement ceases to be a national force by 1860, although nativists (those who stand up for the "native" Americans) continue to lobby against immigrants in succeeding decades.
|1861-65||American Civil War|
|1864||Congress enacts legislation to help stimulate immigration by authorizing employers to pay for the passage of prospective immigrants, This legislation is repealed in 1868.|
|1868||The Burlingame Treaty is ratified. The treaty pledges to China the right of unrestricted immigration of Chinese citizens to the United States.|
|1869||Japanese begin to migrate to the United States. The first arrive in California as political refugees. Racial tensions grow between Asians and other Californians.|
|1870||The Naturalization Act is passed, limiting American citizenship to "white persons and persons of African descent," thereby discriminating against Asian immigrants.|
|1875||The Supreme Court, in Henderson v. Mayor of New York, rules that the administration of immigration is a federal matter and not a concern for state and/or local government.|
|1880||Polish National Alliance is founded with the idea of promoting middle-class, secular Polish-Americans.|
|1880-1920||The peak decade for German migration to the United States. ( The total
for the decade is 1,452,972.)
The peak decade for Scandinavian migration to the United States. (The total number of migrants from Sweden, NOrway, and Denmark for this decade is 656,494.)
|1882||The Chinese Exclusion Act is passed. The first serious prohibition of free immigration in all of American history, this legislation bans Chinese migration to the United States for ten years. It was renewed in 1892 and again in 1902 when Congress moved to make the ban permanent.|
|1883||Hungarian-American Joseph Pulitzer purchases the New York World, continuing the connection between the American immigrant and the American mass popular culture.|
|1885||Josiah Strong publishes Our Country, which is a strongly nativist
statement against the encroachment of the immigrant from central and southern
Congress moves to place a ban on contract labor. Passed largely to please organized labor, this law was seldom enforced.
Bohemian and Polish workers strike the Cleveland Rolling Mill Company after facing repeated wage cuts. Armed with guns and clubs, they forced their way into the mill and shut it down. But their efforts failed when they received no support from the skilled native workers.
|1885-1886||Anti-Chinese riots engulf the city of Seattle.|
|1886||The Statue of Liberty is dedicated in New York Harbor.
Hull House opens in Chicago. Under the leadership of Jane Addams this settlement house will become a model for reformers working among working-class immigrants in many american cities.
|1886-1887||The Haymarket riot occurs in Chicago in May of 1886. German-American anarchists are among those indicted for inciting the riot and killing police officers. Four German-American anarchists are executed in November of 1887 for their role in the riot even though none of the four was present at the time of the riot itself.|
|1887||The American Protective Association is founded by Henry F. Bowers. It was essentially and anti-Catholic organization that appealed to midwestern middle-class white Americans. The APA was most note worthy anti-Catholic organization between the Know-Nothings of the 1850s and the second Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s.|
|1889||Daniel DeLeon, who was born in Curacao, takes control of the Socialist Labor party and gives it a solidly Marxist direction.|
|1890||Wisconsin passes the Bennett Law, which becomes a model for other states.
It required public school instruction in English for at least sixteen weeks
Ignatius Donnelly reveals the divided mind of American populism on the subject of the Jewish immigrant. HIs utopian novel Caesar's Column, published in 1890, portrays the Jew as an evil revolutionary, but also regards the Jew as a "noble race" perverted by Christian persecutions.
|1891||Several leading citizens of New Orleans lead a lynching party into
a local prison and kill eleven Italian immigrants who had just been found
not guilty of a murder charge.
Congress bans the immigration of "all idiots, insane persons, paupers or persons likely to become a public charge, persons suffering from a contagious or loathsome disease, persons who have been convicted of a felony or other infamous crime or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude, and polygamists."
|1892||The federal government opens its new immigration reception center on Ellis Island, which had been the site of a naval arsenal in New York Harbor. Over the next forty years some twelve million immigrants passed through it.|
|1893||The Pennsylvania Slovak Catholic Union is formed by immigrant miners to ease the financial burden on injured fellow workers and the families of miners killed while on the job.|
|1894||The Immigrant Restriction League is founded in Massachusetts by a group of Harvard graduates. In short order Senator Henry Cabot Lodge becomes its leader and its reason for being becomes the passage of a literacy test for entering immigrants.|
|1897||Abraham Cahan founds the Jewish Daily Forward. A Yiddish newspaper with socialist inclinations, it became the largest foreign language newspaper in the United States prior to WWI.|
|1899||Fourteen Jewish societies in Brooklyn declare that "no Jew can go on the street without exposing himself to the danger of being pitilessly beaten."|
|1901||Pres. William McKinley is assassinated by a young Polish-American anarchist.|
|1901-1910||The decade during which the largest number of immigrants arrived in the United States. (The total for the decade is 8,795,386.)|
|1902||A riot occurs in New York City when a Jewish funeral procession is attacked by Irish immigrants.|
|1903||Congress passes the Anarchist Exclusion Act in response to the assassination of President McKinley. This is the first time that Congress demands to examine the political opinions of prospective immigrants.|
|1905||For the first time in American history more than one million immigrants
arrive in the United States in a single year.
An anti-Japanese movement begins to gather steam in the United States. It is centered on the West Coast, especially California.
The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) is organized. Though it grew out of the struggles of western miners, it immediately moved to include immigrant workers from the cities of the East Coast of the United States.
|1906||The American Jewish Committee is founded. It was the first national
Jewish organization that claimed to speak for all American Jews.
The National Liberal Immigration League is founded, largely under Jewish auspices. Its central purpose was to fight against literacy tests for prospective immigrants.
|1907-1908||President Theodore Roosevelt negotiates the Gentlemen's Agreement with Japan. This effectively ends the migration of Japanese laborers to the United States by having the Japanese government refuse to issue passports to them.|
|1907-1911||The Dillingham Commission (officially the United States Immigration Commission) works to record the migration of the so-called "new immigrants" from Italy and Russia, as well as central, eastern, and southeastern Europe. The results of its work is a forty-two volume report on immigration to the United States.|
|1908||Israel Zangwill's play The Melting Pot opens in New York City. For the first time the notion of the United States as a melting pot is asserted. Previously, the process os assimilation was thought to be more effortless and spontaneous than the result of the heat generated within a fiery crucible.|
|1910||Croats, Serbs and Slovenes come together to create a tenuous alliance
named the Yugoslav Socialist Federation. But ethnic divisions are
so serious that the alliance publishes three newspapers in three separate
Mexican Revolution sends thousands of Mexicans to the United States. Over the next twenty years, nearly a million enter the United States, seeking work.
|1911||The Triangle Factory Fire rages through the garment district of New York City killing 145 young immigrant working women.|
|1912||A strike breaks out in the textile mills of Lawrence Massachusetts. IWW organizers quickly move to bring unity to the various immigrant strikers, including Italian, Irish, and French-Canadian workers.|
|1913||Epic (and partially successful) strike of immigrant workers in Paterson, New Jersey, is organized by the IWW.|
|1914-1918||World War I interrupts mass immigration to the United States.|
|1915||The American Jewish Congress is founded by American Zionists who draw their greatest support from eastern European Jews.|
|1916||Madison Grant writes The Passing of the Great Race, which warns Anglo-Saxon Americans that they had better prepare to make their last stand against the inferior races pouring into the Unites States for southeastern Europe.|
|1917||A literacy test for incoming immigrants finally becomes law. Such legislation had previously secured congressional approval only to fall to vetoes by three different presidents. In this instance the bill was passed over the veto of President Woodrow Wilson. With its passage Congress for the first time enacts a general restriction of immigrants. In this case the legislation excluded any adult unable to read some language. The legislation also ordered the deportation of aliens who preached revolution or sabotage any time after their entry into the United States.|
|1918||Socialist party member Victor Berger is elected to Congress form a largely Polish-American district in Milwaukee. However, he is denied his seat in Congress during the Red Scare of the following year.|
|1919||Two years after the Russian Revolution succeeds, many Americans panic, believing that the nation is threatened by a communist menace. Thousands of immigrants are seized and hundreds deported for their anarchist of communist beliefs.|
|1920||19th Ammendment Gives women the right to vote|
|1921||Congress passes immigration restriction legislation. A quota of 350,00 is established. Under this legislation European immigration is limited ot 3 percent of the number of foreign-born of each nationality present in the United States as of the last available census, that of 1910.|
|1922||Congress passes the Cable Act which nullifies the so-called Expatriation Act of 1907 except as it applies ot hose American women who married "aliens ineligible to citizenship" (meaning Asians).|
|1924||Congress passes the National Origins Act, which reduces the total number of potential immigrants to 300,000 annually and sets 1890 as the base year for determining the quota of those eligible. The quota itself is reduced from 3 to 2 percent of those migrants from any given country living in the United States as of 1890.|
|1928||Governor Al Smith of New York is the Democratic nominee for president of the United States. For the first time in American history the son of immigrant parents is the candidate of a major political party.|
|1929||Stock Market on Wall Street Crashes|
|1938||World War II Begins in Europe|
|1941||Japanese Bomb Pearl Harbor and America enters WWII|
|1942-64||Bracero Program begins to provide temporary residence from Mexican farm laborers|
|1942||Japanese Internment begins|
|1943||The Chinese Exclusion Act is repealed.|
|1945||World War II Ends with nuclear bomb attacks on Japan and the Nuremburg war crimes trails begin|
|1954||Operation Wetback- President Eisenhower's border control program. Cut illegal immigration at the cost of anti-Latino discrimination.|
|1964-1975||Vietnam War creates pool of southeast Asian refugees|
|1964||Civil Rights Act passed|
|1965||The Immigration Act of 1965 removes the national origins quota system. It establishes a ceiling of 270,000 immigrants per year with no more than 20,000 from one country. It creates a system of preferences, with highest priority given to family reunification.|
|1980||The Refugee Act of 1980. Systematizes refugee process and codifies asylum status. Ten million permanent immigrants are admitted legally to the United States. Enacted in response to vietnamese and Cuban refugee crisis.|
|1986||The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 allows most illegal aliens who have reside in the U.S. continuously since January 1 of 1982 to apply for legal status and prohibits employers from hiring illegal aliens and mandates penalties for violations|
|1990||The Immigration Act of 1990 sets an annual ceiling of 700,000 immigrants per year to enter the U.S. for the next three years and an annual ceiling of 675,000 per year for every year after|
|1995||Proposition 187 enacted by California Legislature prohibited physicians from providing medical care to illegal aliens. Ultimately repealed as unconstitutional.|
|1996||Welfare Reform Reconcilliation Act cuts the availability of government
aid to legal immigrants
The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act makes it easier to deport aliens attempting to enter the U.S. without proper documents. Enacted, in part, as a response to World Trade Center bombing by terrorists.
|2001--9/11||Two airplanes crash into the World Trade Center and the World Trade Center collapses|
|2002||U.S. Patriot Act is considered by Congess to restrict the flow of immigrants and potential terrorists into the U.S.|