Imigration and discrimination in the 20\'s



Beginning in the early nineteenth century there were
massive waves of immigration. These "new" immigants were
largely from Italy, Russia, and Ireland. There was a mixed
reaction to these incomming foreigners. While they provided
industries with a cheap source of labor, Americans were both
afraid of, and hostile towards these new groups. They
differed from the "typical American" in language, customs,
and religion. Many individuals and industries alike played
upon America\'s fears of immigration to further their own
goals. Leuchtenburg follows this common theme from the
beginning of World War I up untill the election of 1928.

If there was one man who singlely used America\'s fear
of immigrants to advance his own political goals it was
Attorney General Palmer. The rise of Communism in Russia
created a fear of its spread across Europe, and to America.
Palmer tied this fear to that of immigration. He denounced
labor unions, the Socialist party, and the Communist party
in America, as being infultrated with radicals who sought to
overturn America\'s political, economic, and social
institutions. Palmer exasperated this fear in Americans
and then presented himself as the country\'s savior,
combatting the evils of Communism. He mainly centered his
attack on Russian immigrants. During the infamous Palmer
raids thousands of aliens were deported and even more were
arrested on little or no evidence. Their civil liberties
were violated, they were not told the reasons for their
arrests, denied counsel, and not given fair trials. What
followed was an investigation of Palmer led by Louis Post
which overturned many of Palmer\'s actions. Palmer\'s
cretability was shattered after in a last minute attempt to
gain the 1920 presidencial nomination, he made predictions
about a May Day radical uprising, the nation perpared
itself, but on May 1st 1920 all was peaceful. While the
raids had stopped, the hostilities towards immagrants still
remained prevelent.

Immigrants were used by organized industries as a
source of cheap labor. But as labor unions began to form and
push for better pay, shorter hours, and improved working
conditions industries saw that it was not as easy to exploit
these immigrants as it had been before. Like Palmer, they
tied the American\'s hostilities towards immigrants to the
newly emerging fear of radicalism. When workers struck,
industry leaders turned public opinion agains them by
labling the strikes as attemps at radical uprising. As a
result, workers were often left with no other choice than to
accept the terms of industry management. The fight for
prohabition was aided by America\'s antagonism for
immigrants.

Protestants and "old-stock" Americans attempted to link
alchol with Catholic-Irish and Italian immigrants. They were
viewed as immoral and corrupt for their vice. Prohabition
was a means of counterattacking the evils of the urban
cities and their immigrant dwellers. In addition, the
rise of the KKK was a direct result of the hostilities
harbored towards the immigrant population. Started by native
born, white, Protestants, the KKK was afraid of "the
encroachment of foreigners," expecially those who answered
to a foreign Pope as their religious authority. Playing upon
these fears, the KKK gained support and was it\'s members
were able to politically control parts of Ohio, Oklahoma,
Texas, and much of Indiana.