Italian Immigrants In America Essay

1350 words - 5 pages

Italian Immigrants in America

        Ever since the United States was founded, immigrants have been arriving on its soil.  The first white inhabitants of the U.S. were immigrants from Europe.  They came for many reasons, such as religion and opportunity.  As the country grew and became more prosperous, it became more enticing to foreigners looking for opportunity.  This continued into the 20th century and finally during the 1920’s, the United States began to restrict immigrants from coming to their country, mostly for cultural and economic reasons.  Even the immigrants that were allowed in during the 20’s faced many hardships such as religious persecution, racism, and xenia phobia.  One of the major groups of immigrants during that time was the Italians, but did the Italian immigrants experiences typify the overall immigrant experience during the 1920’s?  From the research I have compiled, I would have to say yes.  The Italians provide us with a wonderful look into the common immigrant experience due to their large numbers and their wide range of settlement throughout the U.S.

        During the period from 1920 to 1930, 4,652,115 total immigrants came to the United States and 550,460 of these were Italians.  That means that 11.8% of the immigrants over the ten years period were from Italy. (Historical Statistics of the United States).  A little over half of the Italians made their homes in the city.  When looking into the Italian immigrants of the 1920’s one can easily gain a wide perspective on the overall immigrant experience.  The Italians, like the other immigrants, faced prejudice, had different cultural norms, and kept to themselves during the early years of their time in the U.S.  Furthermore, the Italian immigrants eventually assimilated into American culture just like other ethnicity's.

        The Italians, like other immigrant groups, faced many hardships when arriving in the United States caused by heavy racism and naturism.  The old stock Americans weren't used to the immigrants and for this reason they thought less of them and oppressed them.  The Italians and other immigrants were blamed for many of the nations problems.  For example, the government led raids on immigrants’ houses because they feared the immigrants were communists.  This was evidenced in the Sacco and Vanzetti trial, when two Italian immigrants were convicted for murder and the prosecution had no real substantial evidence.  They were convicted mainly because of their beliefs, not their actions.  Religious beliefs also brought the immigrants problems.  The KKK was openly anti-Catholic and most of the Italians were catholic.  The immigrants and Italians also helped to bring on prohibition.  The Americans didn't approve of their drinking habits; therefore the prohibition amendment was made for this and other reasons.  Job competition was also a major reason for the racist feelings of the Americans.  Native white workers saw the immigrants as...

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