Moving to America – History of Immigration in the U.S.

When people arrive in New York City, they are greeted by the Statue of Liberty, one of the most well-known symbols that represent the United States of America. The Statue has inscribed the following words that best represent the country:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses, yearning to breath free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door. “

This inscription found on the Statue of Liberty, was a very appropriate description of the philosophy of immigration for America both then and now. Since colonial days, the country has accepted all people from all lands. This has made the United States a great melting pot of all people from the earliest days of the country to today.

Beginning in the 1600’s the country was settled by a host of people from other countries. Once the Americans received their freedom from England through the American Revolution, it continued to accept people from all lands. In history there were many events and legislation from the U.S. Government which impacted the amount of people entering the country. They include the Naturalization Act of 1795, Irish Potato Famine of the 1840’s and the 1849 California Gold Rush. Because of the influx of people into the country, the government opened Ellis Island, which became an iconic location for immigrants to the country.

To learn more about the various key events of movers dc immigration in the United States of America, we have put together the following information. We hope you find it useful in learning more about how immigrants have shaped this country.

Colonial Expansion

Naturalization Act of 1795

  • Early Naturalization Laws – Summary of the laws of naturalization that were enacted following the Revolutionary War.
  • The Naturalization Act of 1795 – Information on one of the first acts to control the flow of immigration into the country.
  • Immigration Legislation – Summary of the 1795 Act pertaining to immigration to the United States.
  • Naturalization Act – Historical look at the document and wording of the 1795 legislation.
  • Naturalization Laws – Useful background information on the various laws that were enacted in the early days of the United States.

Irish Potato Famine 1840s

  • Irish Potato Famine – Overview of the events surrounding the 1847 potato famine.
  • Great Famine of 1845 – Summary of the potato famine that occurred in 1845.
  • The Irish Potato Famine – Informative page which discussed the famine and how it led to a mass emigration to North America.
  • Irish Immigration – Overview of the mid-1840’s events in Ireland which led to immigration to America.
  • Irish Potato Famine – Information on the famine which led to movement to America.

California Gold Rush 1849

Ellis Island

Immigration Laws

  • Quota Act – Helpful page which was put into place in 1921 limiting the number of immigrants admitted to the United States.
  • Johnson-Reed Act – Summary of the 1924 Act further limiting aliens admitted to America.
  • History of Immigration Policy – Useful page with information on the history of policy changes regarding immigration.
  • Immigration Policy Overview – A useful look at the policy changes about United States immigration.