So, I decided to go ahead and post an incomplete post. I will be back with more good things after the New Year. Enjoy the school break and the holiday.
Teaching about Nativism
If you're going to talk about late 19th century immigration to the U.S., you also have to talk about anti-immigration sentiment, or nativism. You won't have any trouble finding current examples of nativism, even if that's not the term we use anymore, so you could start with the present and then look backwards.
But if you prefer to start with the past, one way to teach about nativism is by having students read some primary sources and look at political cartoons to come up with their own definition. I created this document for that purpose. I have followed up this in-class activity up by using some of the political cartoons collected here. See here for more Thomas Nast cartoons, especially on the Chinese Exclusion Act. And here is a google doc presentation I found online with more political cartoons about nativism. Also see this short, readable essay that has good background information for the teacher or older students, including a connection to the post 9/11 surge in anti-immigrant sentiment.
Teaching about Contemporary Immigration
For contemporary statistics and other information on current U.S. immigration:
- From the U.S. Census Bureau: see graphics (charts and maps) and Information on foreign-born population. The graphics link has maps and charts that show the top 10 countries where immigrants came from in 1960 compared to 2010. You can also see this interactive map based on U.S. Census data from the Migration Policy Institute. It has data on each state.
- For recent news from the White House about Obama's actions on immigration, click here. See here for the story from The Atlantic Monthly.
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security
- frequently requested statistics from Migration Policy Institute (a non-partisan Washington think tank)
- You can find a variety of resources from another non-partisan Washington think tank, the Immigration Policy Center.