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JFK Authors, “A Nation of Immigrants”

Not many people realize that President John F. Kennedy wrote a book about immigration. The book called, A Nation of Immigrants, describes how America became the melting pot of the World. Within this book, is a chronology of immigration showing major events from the 17th Century until the modern day. What follows is an excerpt from President Kennedy’s book where he lists these milestones and milestones after his book was written up to the current immigration law.

  • 1607 – Founding of Virginia by English colonists
  • 1620 – Voyage of the Mayflower, carrying Pilgrims
  • 1623 – Settlement of New Netherland as a trading post by Dutch West India Company
  • 1634 – Lord Baltimore founds Maryland
  • 1654 – First Jewish immigrants to reach North America arrive at New Amsterdam fleeing Portuguese persecution in Brazil
  • 1670 – Settlement of the Carolinas by a group of English courtiers
  • 1681 – Founding of Pennsylvania by the Quakers
  • 1683 – First German settlers, Mennonites, to reach New World arrive in Pennsylvania
  • 1717 – Act of English Parliament legalizes transportation to American colonies as punishment
  • 1718 – Large scale Scotch-Irish immigration begins sparked by discontent with Old Country land system
  • 1732 – Georgia founded by James Oglethorpe
  • 1740 – Parliament enacts Naturalization Act conferring British citizenship on alien immigrants to colonies in hope of encouraging Jewish immigration. Jews enjoy a greater degree of political and religious freedom in the American colonies than anywhere in the world
  • 1783 – Treaty of Paris ends Revolutionary War. Revival of immigration, mostly Scotch-Irish
  • 1798 – Unsuccessful Irish rebellion; rebels emigrate to the U.S.
  • 1812 – War of 1812 brings immigration to a complete halt
  • 1814 – Treaty of Ghent ends War of 1812, beginning the first great wave of immigration: 5,000,000 immigrants between 1815 and 1860
  • 1825 – Arrival in the U.S. of first group of Norwegian immigrants
  • 1830 – Polish revolution, 36 sections of public land in Illinois given to Polish revolutionary refugees
  • 1837 – Financial panic. Complaints that immigration lowers wage levels, contributes to the decline of the apprenticeship system and generally depresses the condition of labor
  • 1840 – Cunnard Line founded beginning the era of steamship lines especially designed for passenger transportation between Europe and the United States
  • 1846 – Crop failures in Germany and Holland send tens of thousands of dispossessed to the United States
  • 1846-47 – Irish potato famine. Large scale emigration to the United States of all classes of Irish population
  • 1855 – Opening of Castle Garden immigrant depot in New York to process mass immigration
  • 1882 – First federal immigration law bars lunatics, idiots, convicts and those likely to become public charges
  • 1882 – Sharp rise in anti-Semitism in Russia sparks migration of Jews to the United States
  • 1886 – Statue of Liberty dedicated
  • 1891 – Congress adds health qualifications to immigration restrictions
  • 1891 – Pogroms in Russia cause large Jewish immigration to the U.S.
  • 1894 – Massacre of Armenian Christians by Moslems set emigration to the U.S. in motion
  • 1903 – New immigration law denies entry to anarchists or person believing in the overthrow by forced or violence of the U.S. or any other government
  • 1917 – Literacy test for immigrations
  • 1923 – Ku Klux Klan at the heart of anti-immigration movement
  • 1924 – National Origins Act sets a ceiling on the number of immigrants
  • 1933 – Hitler becomes Chancellor of Germany; many Jews emigrate to the U.S.
  • 1942 – After U.S. enters World War II, evacuation of Japanese-Americans from the Pacific Coast into detention camps
  • 1945 – Large scale immigrants from Puerto Rico to escape poverty, many settle in New York
  • 1952 – Immigration and Nationality Act codifies existing regulations and legislation
  • 1960 – Cuban refugees paroled into U.S.
  • 1966 – The Cuban Adjustment Act provides permanent residence to Cubans admitted into the United States after January 1, 1959.
  • 1972 – The U.S. State Department issues a set of guidelines for dealing with requests for political asylum
  • 1980 – The Refugee Act of 1980 systemizes the refugee process and codifies asylum status
  • 1990 – President George Bush signs into the law the Immigration Act of 1990
  • 1996 – President Bill Clinton signs into law the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act

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