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42 Immigration 1789-1916

country, immigrants, period, record, till, conditions and result

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42. IMMIGRATION (1789-1916). The causes which operated before the Revolution to bring a small stream of European emigrants to the United States continued to operate after the establishment of the Federal government. Though no trustworthy records were kept in the early history of the republic, it is estimated that from 1783 onward the number of immigrants to this country was about 4,000 a year till 1794, when, as a result of the French-English war, the number was increased to 10,000. After that date it dropped to about 6,000 a year till 180 when, as a natural result of the British and French Continental blockades and of the Ameri can Embargo, it was reduced practically to nothing for the next 10 years. Then, beginning with 1816, the passenger arrivals, including re turned Americans, reached about 8,000; and in the following year the number bounded up to 22,240. The large number of immigrants flocking to the country about this time pro duced considerable hardship incident to over crowding. At this juncture the first legislation concerning immigrants was enacted by Con gress, which simply provided that a record should be kept of the number of passengers in each customs district, registering the sex, age, occupation and country of birth. Since the government encouraged immigration as increas ing the wealth and developing the resources of the country, this act of March 1819 was not in the nature of a restriction, but was intended merely as a record of the arriving aliens. Ac cordingly, from 1 Oct. 1819, an account has been kept at all the customs ports of the num ber, sources and conditions of all immigrants to the United States. The record will be found in the accompanying table.

It is to be noted: first, that up to 1856 the record includes all ealien passengers arrived," and does not distinguish immigrants from pas sengers, so that a reduction must be made from the total; second, that the immigration over land from Canada and Mexico is not included in these figures. For example, in the census of 1900 Canada is given as the birthplace of 1,183, 255 persons, and Mexico as 103,445. An ex amination of the table reveals the fact that the record shows several well-defined periods, with notable fluctuations. The first period extends

from the beginning to 1826, inclusive, when the maximum seems to have been about 10,000 (reached in 1794, 1825 and 1826). The second period extends from 1827 to 1831, when the maximum is 27,382, the aver age being more than. double that of the first period. This increase is perhaps ex plained by the enormous influx of Europeans to this country as the natural result of the wretched industrial conditions in Europe during the time of the Holy Alliance. The third period includes the decade from 1832 to 1842, when the tide of immigration is trebled or quadrupled, save a considerable ebb in 1838 due to the panic of the preceding year. After this period, when steamboat navigation and railroads began to render the fertile plains of the West acces sible, such abnormal conditions as the Irish famine and the California gold discoveries sent immigration up by leaps and bounds till 1854. The flood of immigration that swept over the country during these years, demoralizing poli tics, trade and industries of all sorts, gave rise to the anti-foreign agitation; and this combined with the business depression of 1857 and the Civil War, which followed soon after, to reduce the number of immigrants greatly. However, after the war when the country entered upon a new era of industrial enterprise offering an almost boundless field for laborers, the tide of immigration again rose rapidly till 1873, when, under the influence of the panic and the hard times that followed, it once more receded. But, with the revival of business in 1880, foreigners again flocked to our shores in larger numbers than ever before, and immigration reached a been in the preponderance. The following table shows the racial groups of immigration by decades: highwater mark (669,431) in 1881. Since that year there has been a steady stream pouring into the country, save during the period of bust mess depression from 1894 to 1898. In 1905, 1906, 1907 and again in 1910, 1913 and 1914 the number of immigrants exceeds the million mark.

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