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Immigrants Arriving During the Periods1880 and 1900-1925

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Although the immigrants arriving during the periods1880 and 1900-1925 were markedly different in culture and origin, the overall American response remained the same.

The second wave of immigration brought peoples from the Slavic and Baltic regions of Southern and Eastern Europe, and Chinese and Japanese immigrants on the west coast near Los Angeles and San Francisco. As opposed to the dominant Catholic Irish and English Protestant immigrants of the first wave, this second wave was composed mainly of Jews, Greek Orthodox Christians and Catholics. The period 1880-1925 also saw a decrease in literacy amongst immigrants, as many of the new Europeans were poor and illiterate.

During both periods, there was a strong natives' sentiment against the sudden demographic change. The American Party or the Know-Nothing Party marked the first period of natives sentiment. These Anglo-Americans believed they were the only "true" Americans and protested against the new foreigners. In addition to opposing immigration, they also rallied against the election of Roman Catholics to political office.

While the Know-Nothing party met in secret and declined commenting about their actions, natives renewal in 1880 was much stronger. Direct legislative action was taken against foreigners, particularly the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 to restrict Asian immigration to the United States. The American Protective Association was also formed in 1887 to directly oppose any election of a Catholic to public office. Reverend Josiah Strong openly placed blame on immigrants as the reason for the downturn of American cities as now being places of hell, in his book "Our Country".

Both periods, while marked by distinct differences in immigration, saw similar resentment by the American population.



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