B. This period of immigration was marked by a large influx of people from northern and western Europe – in particular Ireland and Germany. Many Irish had come to escape widespread famine caused by a failed potato crop. Many Germans also left their homeland because of crop failure. Other Germans came to escape political persecution after the failure of the Revolution of 1848.
The new immigrants flocked to the American cities, where they lived together in ethnically homogenous neighborhoods such as “Little Italy” or Chinatown.” In their communities, they re-created the churches, synagogues, clubs, and newspapers of their homeland.
Some Americans resented the large influx of immigrants. Because immigrants lived in their own neighborhoods and held onto their own customs, many Americans wondered if they would ever be assimilated into American life. Some workers blamed immigrants- who often were willing to work for little pay – for taking jobs and lowering wages.
Some Americans formed groups to counter what they considered the immigrant threat. One group, the American Protective Association, was founded in 1887 to protest the large number of Catholic immigrants.
In some parts of the country, local laws were passed that prohibited immigrants from holding certain kinds of jobs and denied them other rights.
The Chinese suffered discrimination on the Pacific Coast. Their willingness to work for low wages prompted a violent anti-Chinese movement among white workers in California.
In 1882, Congress responded to public pressure by suspending nearly all immigration from China for 10 years.