The Immigrant Problem: June, 1896

    The Atlantic has put this opinion piece from its archive up for free access:

    Restriction of Immigration

    "The question to-day is ... of protecting the American rate of wages, the American standard of living, and the quality of American citizenship from degradation through the tumultuous access of vast throngs of ignorant and brutalized peasantry from the countries of eastern and southern Europe."

    By FRANCIS A. WALKER, June 1896 issue

    Warning: Definitely not Twitter material, they didn't even believe in short paragraphs yet. 

    (I have changed the author link to his Wikipedia entry, and it is pretty long as well!)


    Well.  There's that.

    eta:  Sorry for the blunt response, arta.  It was an interesting read that was both provocative and depressing, and because it was so well written also profoundly sad.

    I am pleasantly surprised to find any comment, don't expect it on this type of thing much less discussion. Was just sharing it for the fellow history buffs around here

     Also lots of people's families immigrated around that time and though there's plenty of scholarship and oral history about discrimination and prejudices of the time, struck me that it's actually rare to find contemporary proof like this online, such a detailed argument by a highly educated person who also had high standing and in a very respected elite publication.

    Show me a long dirt road that ends with an old, decrepit house with decades worth of azaleas hiding the crumpled front porch and I'm hooked ... that's what articles about our past political and societal structures remind me of, so they call me as well.  And much like the yard full of overgrown everything immediately puts a picture in my mind of children playing and dogs barking, articles such as this one remind me of what it was like when our yesterday was their today. 

    It's important to recognize the reasons people did what they did, and why they chose to do so.  An article like this is a treasure, in that it gives an articulately worded snapshot of a past we prefer, too often, to forget.  Which is part of why it made me so sad to read it, arta; we're being doomed to repeat it. 

    Latest Comments