American Social History Project • Center for Media and Learning

Immigration, Race, and Citizenship

Published January 5, 2009

Matthew Jacobson, Yale University
“Immigration and Conceptions of ‘Fit’ Citizenship, 1790-1924″
The Graduate Center, CUNY
April 14, 2008

In this talk to New York City schoolteachers, historian Matthew Jacobson challenges conventional notions about America’s immigrant past. First, Jacobson discusses immigration from Europe to the United States within the larger context of global migration set off by the rise of industrial capitalism. Jacobson then examines the cultural and political responses of native-born Americans to new immigrants, and the long-lasting effects of the 1790 Naturalization Act. Finally, he discusses the strategies used by immigrants to survive in new surroundings while also preserving their ethnic identities.

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