3.2 fears of immigration

Learning Goal: I’m working on a history multi-part question and need an explanation and answer to help me learn.

After decades of largely unfettered immigration, America began to close her doors and discuss limiting the number of new immigrants to the country. This was driven in part by the Red Scare and the fear of radicalism, but also the perception that many immigrants were failing to integrate into American society. Using the readings on pp. 794–795 of the textbook and Vanzetti’s last statement (Reading 137), as well as the longer readings on Congressional immigration (Reading 138) and the Meyer v. Nebraska case (Reading 139), how do these readings reflect the growing divisions over the nature of American society in the 1920s?



World War I at Home

This lecture looks at the causes of U.S. entry to the First World War despite President Wilson’s vow that America would remain neutral in thought and action. Once the U.S. entered the war, however, all the country would accept was unconditional support for the war effort. We will look at what this meant for those who opposed the war effort and how the government sought to silence its critics.


False Prosperity

In this lecture, we will explore the economic transformation of American society that was brought on by the spread of electricity to American homes. We will also examine the impact of advertising on the sale of these new electrical, “labor saving” devices.


Fads and Celebrities

The 1920s, in many ways, saw the birth of America’s true fascination with celebrity and the undertaking of new fads. In this lecture, we will look at the influence of sports, movies, and radio on the development of an American national audience for the consumption of a common culture.




Give Me Liberty (6th edition)
By Eric Foner

  • Chapter 19
  • Chapter 20

Voices of Freedom (6th edition)
By Eric Foner

  • Chapter 19
  • Chapter 20


Directions: follow these links to the identified websites and videos.

World War I (Links to an external site.) *Flash asset only viewable on Flash enabled browsers

The Temperance Movement (Links to an external site.)

The Red Scare (Links to an external site.)

Calvin Coolidge and the 1920s (Links to an external site.)

Timeline of Culture in the 1920s (Links to an external site.)

Unless otherwise noted, the external documents, websites, and videos included in each module were posted with the intention of giving you more information and insight into the topics. They are not required reading. However, they may be helpful regarding the type of material you should use to supplement your readings in that module. If there is a problem with the link, please advise the instructor. External sites are not under the control of the university or faculty. Please immediately report any inappropriate material to the instructor.

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