Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What was the National Origins Act of 1924?

The National Origins Quota Act of 1924 amended the first National Origins Act that was passed in 1921. The goal of both Acts was to curb the large number of immigrants that were coming to America during the early 20th century.

The first Act "capped all immigration at 350,000 and parceled out entry by admitting up to 3 percent of each nationality living the United States as of 1910" (Davidson 707). The 1924 Act "cut the quota to 150,000, reduced the percentage to 2, and pushed the base year back to 1890" (Davidson 707-708). The 1924 Act also created a Border Patrol to protect U.S. borders.

The National Origins Act, according to the text, became legislation because of "American bigotry and prejudice...Alarmed white native-born Protestants warned that if the flood [of immigrants] continued, Americans might become...as worthless and futile" as those in minor civilizations (Davidson 707).

While I believe some Americans felt this way, I believe the Act was created because of money. White or black, really anyone who had a job, people had a great deal to worry about with the increased immigration by the turn of the century. Just like today, and just like a thousand years ago, companies exist to make a profit and will do almost anything to do so. One of those things include hiring cheap labor. By the end of the 19th century, Asians and southeastern Europeans were being using as this cheap labor. Thus, those with jobs had the most to fear and were willing to support legislation that theoretically increased job opportunities for native born Americans.

Davidson, James, Brian Delay, Christine Heyrman, Mark Lytle, and Michael Stoff, Nation of Nations: A Narrative History of the American Republic Volume II: Since 1865. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2008.

1 comment:

  1. The Immigration Act of 1924 was enacted on may 26, 1924. When did it go into effect?