The united states experienced major waves of immigration during the colonial era, the first part of the 19th century and from the 1880s to 1920 many immigrants came to america seeking greater economic opportunity, while some, such as the pilgrims in the early 1600s, arrived in search of religious freedom. The history of immigration to the united states details the movement of people to the united states starting with the first european settlements from around 1600 beginning around this time, british and other europeans settled primarily on the east coast. Thus, the history of us immigration spans a long period of migration of many different peoples from various parts of the world one common belief is that america was originally peopled by wanderers from northeast asia about 20,000 years ago.
The united states has always been a land of immigration some 12,000 years ago, the first indigenous people crossed the ice bridge connecting asia to north america, yet it wasn't until the end of the 15th century that europeans set their eyes on the new world in numbers. 1870-1880 - chinese immigration to the united states increases during the gold rush chinese came to the country they called 'gold mountain' to participate in the california gold rush, and their numbers grew slowly. The naturalization act of 1790 established the first rules for acquiring citizenship in the united states of america the act created a uniform rule of naturalization and a residency requirement for new citizenship applicants.
For thousands, the angel island immigration station in san francisco bay would be as close as they would ever get to the american mainland for mexicans victimized by the revolution, jews fleeing the pogroms in eastern europe and russia, and armenians escaping the massacres in turkey, america provided refuge. Otis l graham jr, phd unguarded gates, a history of america's immigration crisis, 2006 1913 - bureaus of immigration and naturalization created and moved to the department of labor. Immigration was nothing new to america except for native americans, all united states citizens can claim some immigrant experience, whether during prosperity or despair, brought by force or by choice however, immigration to the united states reached its peak from 1880-1920. The immigration act of 1924 ushered in a new era in immigration history it curtailed massively the number of european immigrants but opened up the way for people from mexico, the caribbean and central and south america to come legally - and illegally - to the us.
The history of immigration to the united states is the history of the country itself, and the journey from beyond the sea is an element found in american folklore, appearing over and over again in everything from the godfather to gangs of new york to the song of myself to neil diamond's america to the animated feature an american tail. The united states and the colonial society that preceded it were created by successive waves of immigration from all corners of the globe but public and political attitudes towards immigrants have. Americans encouraged relatively free and open immigration during the 18th and early 19th centuries, and rarely questioned that policy until the late 1800s after certain states passed immigration laws following the civil war, the supreme court in 1875 declared regulation of immigration a federal responsibility.
The history of america's immigration policy is a swinging door that often opens during periods of economic prosperity and slams shut when times get tough scroll through the timeline above to follow the tangled history of america's ever-changing immigration policies. Throughout its history, america has served as the destination point for a steady flow of immigrants during the colonial era most migrants came from northern european countries their numbers declined with the onset of the revolutionary war during the 1770s, but immigration later picked up strongly again during the 1840s and 1850s.
By 1806, the flow of immigration was reduced to a trickle as hostilities between england and napoleon's france disrupted atlantic shipping lanes the war of 1812 between the united states and britain slowed immigration even further with peace re-established in 1814, immigration from great britain, ireland and western europe resumed at a record pace.