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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

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  • Historical Eras > Industrialization and Expansion (1877-1913) (x)

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A Country within a Country: Understanding San Francisco's Chinatown

In this activity, students use a range of primary and secondary sources about San Francisco's Chinatown (1880s-1920) to explore what the community meant to residents and to outsiders.

A Spanish-Language Newspaper Calls for an End of "Disagreeable Migration" to the U.S.

Lands and mines cannot produce wealth without labor. Anglo-American mine owners, plantation managers and ranchers recruited Mexican and Mexican-American workers as a cheap source of labor. The western economy depended on the constant northward flow [...]

The Pay Envelope worksheets

These worksheets help students complete "The Play Envelope: A Role Play." The worksheets set up the role play, help students organize their characters' talking points, and help students assess the success of the final role play as it is performed.

A St. Louis Union Opposes Immigration Restriction (with text supports)

In 1896 Congress passed a bill which would require all immigrants to be able to read at least 40 words in any language in order to enter the country. The bill was supported by the Immigration Restriction League. They worried that the increasing [...]

A St. Louis Union Opposes Immigration Restriction

In 1896 Congress passed a bill which would require all immigrants to be able to read at least 40 words in any language in order to enter the country. The bill was supported by the Immigration Restriction League. They worried that the increasing [...]

The Wall Street Journal Argues for Immigration "Distribution, Not Prevention" (Short Version, with text supports)

This Wall St. Journal article acknowledges some of the problems that accompanied early-twentieth-century immigration—urban overcrowding, the strain on local resources, threats posed by foreign anarchists—but argues that immigrants should [...]

“The High Tide of Immigration—A National Menace”

This cartoon appeared in the weekly humor magazine Judge in 1903. It reflects the alarm among some Americans at the growing number of immigrants from countries in Southern and Eastern Europe (such as Italy, Russia, and Austria-Hungary) and the [...]

Debating Immigration Restriction Character worksheets

These worksheets help students analyze primary sources and cite evidence supporting various perspectives in the early 20th century debate over immigration restriction.

Background Essay on San Francisco's Chinatown (short version, with text supports)

This essay describes the origins of San Francisco's Chinatown, as well as some of its major economic, political, and social features. The essay also describes the challenges San Francisco's Chinese community faced from the city's white politicians [...]

Diners Describe the first Chinese Restaurants in America (with text supports)

The first Chinese restaurants in America sprang up in 1850s California and catered to Cantonese miners and railroad laborers. Known as "chow chows" (Chinese slang for anything edible), they were identified by yellow triangle signs. By the 1880s San [...]

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