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AP US Mid-Term 16/17

Long Essay:
During the 1800s, the American economy relied in immigrants. Fueled by the vast
resources and abundance of technology, immigrants flooded to the United States. After the Civil
War, immigrants came from Britain and Western Europe, while immigrants came from Southern
and Eastern Europe in the late 19th century. According to the statement, The experience of the
new immigrants in the late 19th century was little different from the experience of preceding
groups of immigrants to the United States, new and old immigrants appear to have shared the
same struggles. The validity of this statement is mainly true because both the old immigrants and
new immigrants faced discrimination, Nativist feelings, and the struggle to find jobs to support
their family.
In the old immigration period, Germans and Irish came to the Americas in search of a
better life. The Irish mainly came because of the famine that was happening in Ireland. The Irish
were more discriminated against than the Germans because of their religion. The Roman
Catholic Irish were seen as a lesser people and viewed by Anglo Saxon Americans as following a
foreign Church. Just like the old immigrants facing discrimination, the new immigrants faced
it on a larger scale. Since many of the new immigrants spoke different languages and followed a
plethora of religions, the Americans did not like them. It was very hard for the new immigrants
to fit in, while the old immigrants had an easier time.
Because of the discrimination against immigration, Nativist feelings were starting to
arise. During the time when old immigrants were coming to America, the Know-Nothing Party
formed. This Nativist group wanted more restrictions and laws restricted the flow of
immigration. The American Protective Association was formed during the second wave of

immigrants in the late 19th century. This group was formed to protect the native people of
America. They urged people to vote against Catholics. Both of these political parties, the KnowNothings and the American Protective Association, were formed out of Nativist feelings and
wanted to restrict foreigners access to America. This relates back to the Alien and Seditions Acts
that restricted immigration back in the late 18th century. The Nativists were more scared of the
new immigrants than the old because of their high birthrate and their ability to change the vote
their way. They were also scared of the idea of the new immigrants bringing over radical ideas
like socialism, anarchism, and communism.
Immigrants have been coming to the United States trying to find jobs. The Irish came
over and took over the low-skilled jobs, whereas the Germans came over and took up farming in
the West. Poor Americans were afraid that these immigrants were going to take their jobs,
especially when the new immigrants were coming over. The new immigrants moved to large,
overcrowded cities, hoping to find factory jobs. They were mainly used as strikebreakers and did
not care about the lower wages they received. Business owners also liked hiring new immigrants
because it was harder for them to form Unions because they all spoke different languages.
A group of old immigrants that were highly discriminated against were the Chinese.
Accounting for about 9% of Californias population, they took jobs building the railroad and
digging for gold. This made Americans mad, and also the Irish immigrants, because they were
taking away jobs. The Chinese Exclusion Act was enacted to control the immigration of Chinese
into the United States. This was the first and only time in Americas history that one race was
discriminated against and forbidden to come into the country. The Chinese Exclusion Act relates
back to the Alien and Sedition Acts from the late 18th century. The Alien and Sedition Acts
changed the amount of years required to gain citizenship from five years to fourteen years. Also,

the Acts allowed the president to deport an immigrants or put them in prison during a time of
All throughout Americas history, immigrants have been coming over, trying to find a
new life. What the native Americans did not realize was that they, too, were immigrants and
that they should not be discriminating against neither the old and new immigrants. It was
unfair that both the new and old immigrants faced discrimination, Nativists feelings, and their
struggle to find well-paying jobs. Overall, the old immigrants faced the same struggles as the
new immigrants did, but America did not realize how these aliens could change America for
the better.