Gilded Age and Progressive Era

Immigration in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era

Clock 120 minutes

This lesson explores immigration during the Gilded Age and Progressive Era.  Students will explore the causes of immigration to the United States, the effects of immigration on American society, the experience of immigrants, and the reaction of Americans to immigrants.  The lesson includes a historical narrative, primary sources, and student activities.  Students will better understand the debate over immigration in American history and today.

Founding Principles

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Equality

Every individual is equal to every other person in regards to natural rights and treatment before the law.

Limited Government image

Limited Government

Citizens are best able to pursue happiness when government is confined to those powers which protect their life, liberty, and property.

Rule of Law image

Rule of Law

Government and citizens all abide by the same laws regardless of political power. Those laws respect individual rights, are transparently enacted, are justly applied, and are stable.

Quotes

The New Colossus, found on the statue of Liberty

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. - Emma Lazarus

Overview

The late nineteenth century experienced one of the largest mass migrations in history, tens of millions of immigrants came to America from Europe, Asia, and North America. Immigrants settled in the United States primarily for economic opportunity afforded by the growing industrial economy and faced challenges upon arriving. The influx of so many immigrants changed American culture and presented unique tensions in American society, leading to a debate over immigration, citizenship, and the restriction of immigration.

Objectives

  • Students will identify what it means to be an immigrant and discover what was involved in the process of immigration.
  • Students will investigate the impact immigration had upon the United States socially and economically.
  • Students will assess the arguments given for and against the restriction of immigration.

Materials

  • Handout A: Migration Experiment Graphic Organizer and Discussion Questions
  • Handout B: Background Essay: The New Wave – Immigration in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era
  • Handout C: The Challenges of Assimilation
  • Handout D: Selections from Henry Cabot Lodge’s Speech in the Senate, March 16, 1896
  • Handout E: Selections from the President Grover Cleveland’s veto message of the 1896 Literacy test March 2, 1897
  • Handout F: Immigration in the Progressive Era
  • Handout G: Class Discussion Questions
  • Handout H: Immigration Today

Key Terms

  • Migration
  • Immigrant
  • Ancestral
  • Arduous
  • Push factor
  • Pull factor
  • New World
  • Civil Rights Act of 1866
  • 14th Amendment
  • Ellis Island
  • Familial
  • Social Darwinism
  • Nativism
  • Immigration Restriction League
  • American Protective Association
  • Chinese Exclusionary Act of 1882
  • Literacy test

Essential Virtues

  • Civil discourse
  • Contribution
  • Courage
  • Initiative
  • Justice
  • Moderation
  • Perseverance
  • Respect
  • Responsibility
  • Resourcefulness
  • Self-governance

Standards

National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS)

  • 1) Thematic Standards
    • II. Time, Continuity, and Change
    • VI. Power, Authority, and Governance
    • VII. Production, Distribution, and Consumption
    • VIII. Science, Technology, and Society
    • X. Civic Ideals and Practices
  • 2) Disciplinary Standards
    • 1. History
    • 3. Civics and Government
    • 4. Economics

Center for Civic Education

  • 9-12 Content Standards
    • V. What are the Roles of the Citizen in American Democracy?

UCLA Department of History (NCHS)

  • US History Content Standards
    • United States Era 6: The Development of the Industrial United States (1870 – 1900)
    • United States Era 7: The Emergence of Modern America (1890 – 1930)

Background 30 minutes

  1. Use the graphic organizer in Handout A: Migration Experiment Graphic Organizer and Discussion Questions and sample questions to lead your class in a background discussion regarding immigration. Begin the discussion with general questions, transitioning to discussing themes of immigration. Try to group your students’ answers into themes fitting into the two categories.
  2. Tell your students you would like to experiment with a new seating arrangement. They have a choice of either remaining where they sit now, or moving to any seat they’d like, so long as it’s not occupied. Allow them to sit near their friends.
  3. Once they take their new seats, arbitrarily pick a few students to move.
  4. Take a few desks, and say they cannot be sat in as they are due for repairs. Make the students sitting in these chairs either stand or sit on the floor somewhere else (demonstrating push factor).
  5. Reward students who chose to sit in the front row with some sort of prize or treat. Then allow other students to come sit up front now that they know there is an incentive (demonstrating pull factor).
  6. (Optional) – Work with another teacher to swap students between two classes. Have them sit randomly amongst the students in your class.
  7. Once all the students have taken their seats, and asked a few questions – let them know they’ve all just been migrants (demonstrating tensions caused by newcomers).
  8. Let them return to their return to their seats (or classrooms) or leave them where they are, and conduct a class discussion about their impressions of the experiment.
  9. Use Handout A: Migration Experiment Graphic Organizer and Discussion Questions to lead
    the discussion.

Activities 60 minutes

Activity I » 30 minutes

  1. Have students read the Handout B: Background Essay: The New Wave – Immigration in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, and answer the critical thinking questions.
  2. Students should be prepared to discuss their responses to the critical thinking questions with the class.

Activity II » 30 minutes

  1. Divide students into groups of 3 to 5.
  2. Have them read the instructions and introduction on Handout C: The Challenges of
    Assimilation
    .
  3. Afterwards, they should read Handout D: Selections from Henry Cabot Lodge’s Speech in the Senate, March 16, 1896, and answer the review questions.
  4. Finally, they should read Handout E: Selections from the President Grover Cleveland’s veto message of the 1896 Literacy test March 2, 1897, and answer the critical thinking questions.
  5. Once all groups are finished, move on to Activity III.

Wrap-Up 30 minutes

  1. Pass out Handout F: Immigration in the Progressive Era and allow your students time to read the two passages.
  2. Students should be instructed to write down 5 initial reactions to the passages.
  3. Using Handout G: Class Discussion Questions as a guide, lead your class in an open discussion about immigration restriction and its impact on the United States.

Extensions

  1. Have students search for three articles on immigration. One should be economically focused, one should be socially focused, and one should be politically focused.
  2. For each question, have the students answer the questions on Handout H: Immigration Today.
  3. Discuss their findings in class.

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