Immigration in the United States - Cours d'Anglais avec Maxicours - Lycée

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Immigration in the United States

The United States is a society of immigrants. Since its early days, the country has admitted more than 50 million newcomers, a larger number of immigrants than in any other country in history. Most people came, and still come today, for wealth, land and freedom.
1. The first immigrants
Stories of the New World's gold attracted the first Spanish explorers, who in 1500s established outposts in what is now Florida.

The British, who were the first to colonise on larger scale, came for profit and also for religious freedom. English Puritans, Protestants who disagreed with the teaching of the Church of England, established settlements in the north eastern region. When they settled in the New World, many immigrants tried to preserve the traditions, religion, and language of their particular culture. But the American society was predominantly English White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP).

2. The major immigration wave
Between 1840 and 1880, the United States received the greatest influx of immigrants. During this period, 10 million people came to America. By the middle of the century the United States, with over 23 million inhabitants, had a larger population than any single European country. The proportion of newcomers increased rapidly so that by 1860 about 13 of every 100 persons in the U.S. were recent immigrants.

Up until 1880, the overwhelming majority of immigrants, however, came from northern and western Europe. Many left Europe to escape poor harvests, famines and political unrest. Between 1845 and 1860, a serious blight (maladie de la pomme de terre) on the potato crop (récolte) in Ireland sent hundreds of thousands of Irish people to the U.S. to escape starvation. In one year only (1847) 118. 120 Irish people settled in the U.S.

3. The new immigration wave (1880–1924)
A new wave of immigration began in the late 1880's. The new immigrants were Latin, Slavic, and Jewish peoples(peuples) from southern and eastern Europe. Among these new arrivals were Italians, Hungarians, Poles, Russians, Rumanians and Greeks. This new wave of immigration was so important that in the peak years of unlimited immigration between 1900 and 1920 the number of immigrants rose to as many as a million a year.
4. Immigration today
The Americans continue to debate the issue of immigration, which is still important. New groups of immigrants have come and go on coming, specially from Asia and Latin America. Their integration depends above all on their cultural background.
Some groups in favour of tightening immigration restrictions argue that overpopulation is a threat.

Today, the paradox between the myth of the "Open Door"and the reality of xenophobia is striking.

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