Americanization versus Restriction

Christina A. Ziegler-McPherson

in Americanization in the States

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print July 2009 | ISBN: 9780813033617
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813039718 | DOI:
Americanization versus Restriction

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In the 1920s, as the national obsession about immigrant loyalty and the meaning of American citizenship peaked and then ebbed in favor of immigration restriction, pro-immigration progressives suffered attacks on their policies of Americanization. As the country became more politically conservative, immigrant social welfare agencies in New York, California, and Massachusetts struggled to maintain programs designed to reform the social environment to facilitate immigrants' adoption of a more “American” way of life. Instead, the United States reversed 100 years of immigration policy, adopted a policy that dramatically reduced the number of southern and eastern Europeans admitted, and totally barred Asian immigrants. This new immigration policy defined American citizenship and national identity in racial terms that progressive Americanizers had rarely used. By the time of passage of the 1929 National Origins Act, Americanization as an expression of immigrant social welfare policy was politically dead in most states.

Keywords: immigration restriction; social welfare; Americanization; progressive Americanizers; National Origins

Chapter.  8446 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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