The United States is a nation of, largely, assimilated immigrants that spans back over 200 years. Or at least it used to be. Today an American is an American that retains their cultural identity to their homeland. America is a nation of multiple cultures and races thrown together haphazardly but still one whole. The term salad bowl would seem fitting would it not? We used to be considered a melting pot, a blend of multiple cultures and races that were American. America is a melting pot because we are Americans, not matter where we came from, we are here now in the United States, and that is our culture.
A Brief History of United States Immigration
Immigration in America is often broken down into distinct “waves”. These waves were the greatest influxes of immigration into the United States. The first settlements consisted of people from Spain, (in Florida) England, (in Virginal and Massachusetts), and others from France, Sweden, the Netherlands and sadly the slaves from Africa (Matthews, 2013). These people were the foundations of a nation that from its beginning was already multicultural, but still considered American. The second wave of immigration was in the 1800’s. 4 million Irish immigrants and 6 million German immigrants flocked to the eastern shores of the United States to escape from bad economies, hunger, and war. Tapering off during the Civil War another influx in the second wave of immigration happened after its conclusion. Hailing from Sweden, Norway and Denmark, these immigrants once again sought American shores to escape hard times in their home countries, this time shrinking land holds being the reason. After the discovery of gold in 1849 yet another influx of immigration boomed. With thoughts of striking it rich more than 300,000 Chinese came to California. The third was the largest wave of immigrants to come to the United States, more than 23 million people between 1881 and 1924. The fourth wave came when President Johnson signed the Nationality Act in 1965, opening up a flood gate with many and more pouring in.
The Effects of Adversity toward Immigrants
The adversity of immigrants faced throughout history creted a legion. America is one of many, yet still one whole. It is through the racism, restrictions on access to our country, and job security concerns, that hindered many immigrants; but through that adversity, it ultimately lead to many immigrants assimilating to form a culture that is American. For the first 100 years our nation had no restrictions on immigration. In 1849 though the Supreme Court ruled that immigration was a form of commerce and would be regulated by the federal government (Erensberger, 2013). This began a downward trend of racism and distrust toward those who were immigrants. The Chinese exclusion law was the first time that a law had been passed to restrict a group of immigrants rather than immigrants in general (Erensberger, 2013). When the United States declared war...