Immigration Restriction

Grades 5-12



Lessons

As the numbers of immigrants to the United States dramatically increased 1880 to 1920, concerns about the shifts in population composition and changes in culture increased, especially by those groups who were at the top of the social ladder.  In this unit, students learn about the challenges to increased immigration.

The four lessons in this unit help students understand what those advocating immigration restriction argued and what the responses were. The challenges presented by the Immigration Restriction League (IRL) and others shaped a legislative debate that ultimately did severely change the composition of American immigration after 1920.  Students will learn about the Immigration Restriction League and their opponents North American Civic League for Immigrants, the Literacy test and the Immigration Restriction Act of 1921, and how the Spanish-American War sparked fears of new citizens. Students’ understanding is guided by a variety of sources, past and present: historical and modern newspaper articles, photographs, speeches and cartoons, as well as modern video journalism. Through these explorations of immigration, students come to understand why “becoming American” can be so hotly contested.


How would you vote? The Literacy Act of 1917 -- Rebecca Drayer Lights, Camera, Immigration! Community Perceptions of Immigrants Among Us -- Helen Martin Oh Say Can You Read?</em>  <em>The Immigration Restriction League & the Literacy Test -- Kevin Cullen We the People: The Immigration Impact of the Spanish-American War -- Matt Brophy
How would you vote? The Literacy Act of 1917

Created by:
Rebecca Drayer, South Middle School, Braintree
Lights, Camera, Immigration! Community Perceptions of Immigrants Among Us

Created by:
Helen Martin, Everett High School, Everett
Oh Say Can You Read?  The Immigration Restriction League & the Literacy Test

Created by:
Kevin Cullen, Medford High School, Medford
We the People: The Immigration Impact of the Spanish-American War

Created by:
Matt Brophy, Medford High School, Medford