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Dorothee Schneider
Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: Harvard University Press
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    Dorothee Schneider relates the story of immigrants’ passage from an old society to a new one, and American policymakers’ debates over admission to the United States and citizenship. Bringing together the histories of Europeans, Asians, and Mexicans, the book opens up a fresh view of immigrant expectations and government responses.

    eISBN: 978-0-674-06130-9
    Subjects: History, Sociology, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. Introduction: Crossing Borders and Nation Building
    (pp. 1-9)

    Like all works of history, this book emerged within a number of different contexts—political, scholarly, and personal. The politics of immigration and citizenship have supplied a background for historians of immigration for over a decade now, and a political controversy over immigrant rights contributed in important ways to my original motivation to start this project. Congress launched a debate in the spring of 1996 about Immigration Reform resulting in a number of laws passed in the same year. The discussion, which I have analyzed in detail elsewhere, highlighted profoundly divergent views on immigration, immigrants, and citizenship.¹ The laws that...

  5. CHAPTER 1 Leaving Home
    (pp. 10-60)

    For immigrants, leave-taking from home is often remembered as a defining, traumatic moment, the beginning of a long journey into an uncertain future. In the reminiscences of the migrants or observers, the drama of departure from home cast dramatic shadows and the light of finality and decisiveness on an infinite, ill-defined future journey. This reality of exit was only one perspective on a usually drawn-out process of leaving, both in the nineteenth and the twentieth century. Leaving home was the first in a series of border crossings with an uncertain outcome.

    The character of departure changed from the first third...

  6. CHAPTER 2 Landing in America
    (pp. 61-112)

    In the American imagination, the history of immigration is always tied to the port of arrival: Ellis Island or Angel Island, the dusty border towns of Texas or the verdant Canadian border. The writer Mary Antin remembered how as a young child she reacted to seeing the North American shoreline after a sixteen-day crossing: “What are the feelings these sights awaken! They can not be described. To know how great was our happiness, how complete, how free from even the shadow of a sadness, you must make a journey of sixteen days on a stormy ocean. Is it possible that...

  7. CHAPTER 3 Forced Departures
    (pp. 113-149)

    When Doukenie Bacos arrived in New York harbor from her home in Greece in 1913, she was both expectant and frightened. As the ocean liner sailed past the Statue of Liberty, she remembered thinking, “Lady, you’re such a beautiful. You opened your arms, and you get all the foreigners here. Give me a chance to prove that I am worth it, to do something, to become somebody in America.” But she was also worried about what lay ahead: “It was a very hard, small road with thorns. Would I be able to pass those thorns and get out to go...

  8. CHAPTER 4 Americanization
    (pp. 150-192)

    In the mid-1930s, Fermin Souto, a Galician-born cigar maker who had lived in New York and Florida since the 1880s, told a Works Progress Administration (WPA) interviewer that he had a clear image of the United States and its inhabitants well before he set foot in the country.¹ He had read about the United States as a teenager when he devoured heroic stories about Lincoln and Washington. This motivated him to emigrate to the United States as a young man.² Like him, German emigrants of the early twentieth century had read plenty about life in America: among other sources, the...

  9. CHAPTER 5 Becoming a Citizen
    (pp. 193-241)

    While World War I was claiming the lives of thousands in Europe, gratitude marked the celebrations of the Fourth of July, 1915. From Washington to Los Angeles, local committees of “leading citizens” made that year’s national holiday into a celebration of American citizenship for newly minted Americans. The celebration in Washington, D.C., was particularly colorful. Before a backdrop of grazing sheep and children playing on the grounds of the Washington Monument and with the French ambassador in attendance, a Washington official proclaimed “only those who have chosen to become citizens of the United States, giving up but not forgetting their...

  10. Epilogue: Crossing Borders in the Late Twentieth Century
    (pp. 242-250)

    On October 3, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Immigration and Nationality Bill of 1965, ending over four decades of racialized nationality quotas in U.S. immigration law. At the signing, which was picturesquely recorded next to a flagpole at the bottom of the Statue of Liberty, Johnson’s remarks were brief, and he summarized the intention of the new immigration law plainly: “This bill says simply that from this day forth those wishing to immigrate to America shall be admitted on the basis of their skills and their close relationship to those already here . . . Those who can...

  11. Appendix 1: Figures
    (pp. 253-254)
  12. Appendix 2: Deportation Categories, 1917
    (pp. 255-256)
  13. Notes
    (pp. 257-310)
  14. Index
    (pp. 311-317)