The following IHRC resources have been compiled by IHRC staffer Chris DiSalvi as appropriate resources for the topic "Debate & Diplomacy: Successes, Failures, and Consequences." Discussion questions are posed following each resource description.
18th Century Debate on American Immigration (Gjerede, Jon. Major Problems in American Immigration and Ethnic History. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. 1998. Print.)
From 1736 to 1790, several influential Americans held very distinct positions on American Immigration. For instance, Ben Franklin believed that immigration should be restricted only to English immigrants with useful skills because they could make an immediate positive impact on the economy and needed less time to adjust to the culture. In contrast, Patrick M’Robert claimed that the 13 colonies should not restrict migration to the country because all new people need time to adjust to the new culture, language, and occupational skills needed to thrive in the new colonies. After the U.S. wins the Revolutionary War, Congress passes its first legislation standardizing naturalization in 1790. However, these principles change when Congress passes The Alien Act of 1798, giving the president to deport any alien he felt to be a threat to the United States.
Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service: Part 3: Ellis Island, 1900-1933 (Microfilm)
This microfilm collection documents several immigrants’ experiences upon arriving to Ellis Island. Ellis Island was the most common entry point for Europeans that wanted to immigrate to the United States. Once these people arrived at the island, many were checked to see if they were mentally, physically, or socially fit enough to be allowed passage into the country. As a result, arriving at Ellis Island was a stressful moment for many people. This collection includes information regarding how the “insane and mentally defective” immigrants were treated upon arrival, the medical services available to detained aliens, and allegations of unfair exclusion from the United States.
Refugee Studies Center, University of Minnesota, Records (1970-1999)
The Refugee Studies Center was initially known as the Southeast Asian Research Center (SARS) and was interested in documenting the Southeastern Asian immigrants’ experiences arriving in the United States following the Vietnam War. As time passed, SARS began to expand its focus to other refugee groups arriving in the U.S., which caused them to switch names. The materials that are in the collection include unpublished manuscripts, videos of the living conditions of refugees in refugee camps and in the United States, journals and articles from scholars, among many other items.
Tuomi, Kaarlo Papers (1916-1970s)
Kaarlo Tuomi was born in a Finnish community in Michigan to a father who supported the Communist Party. In 1933, he immigrated to the Soviet Union. While living in the Soviet Union, from 1939-1946 he served in the Soviet Army fighting against the Finnish. In 1957, he became a Russian spy for the KGB. While spying on the U.S. he was discovered by the FBI and became a double agent against the Soviets.
Anne Guzy Papers
In this collection, Guzy writes a first-hand account of her family history in Velkop, Austria-Hungary (now in the Czech Republic). Some of the topics in her manuscript include her thoughts on cultural traditions such as marriage customs, housing, child care, and food.
United States Immigration and Naturalization Service: Part 1: Asian Immigration and Exclusion 1906-1913 (Microfilm)
In 1882, President Chester A. Arthur signed the Chinese Exclusion Act which officially excluded Chinese migrants from entering the country. These microfilms contain Chinese protests of the law, documentation of arrests, detention, and testimonies of Chinese migrants; allegations of Chinese migrants bribing INS officials, and U.S. Supreme Court decisions on regarding the law.
Tyomies Society (Photographs), (1900-1975)
Tyomies was a Finnish-American newspaper that was published from 1900 until 1998. The newspaper critiqued American capitalism as well as published political, social, and cultural news regarding Finish people. Despite surviving the anti-socialist movement in the 1920s and McCarthyism of the 1950s, the newspaper lost relevance among Finnish-American readers due to the gradual assimilation of the population into the mainstream American culture.
Assembly of Captive European Nations, (1953-1972)
Assembly of Captive European Nations (ACEN) members came from each of the Eastern European countries that the Soviet Union intervened in after World War II. ACEN’s purpose was to help the United States liberate these countries from Soviet influence during the Cold War, educate the American public about the daily problems of people living in the Eastern Bloc, and solicit support from public and private organizations.
Immigration and Refugee Services of America (IRSA), (1918-1986)
The materials come from the American Council of Nationalities Services, an organization created during World War I in order to educate and provide services for new immigrants. After 1939, the organization created foreign language newspapers and radios stations. Additionally, the organization helped the government with alien registration and foreign language publicity. It has been very helpful with the resettlement of Cuban and Southeast Asian immigrants. Note: Access to Cuban refugee files is restricted. All other materials are available to the public.