Tuesday, December 08, 2015
In the early part of the 20th century an increasing number of Americans grew concerned about violent immigrants from Eastern Europe who harbored messianic beliefs about anarchism and communism. This fear was inflamed when an anarchist (Leon Frank Czolgosz, a home grown terrorist whose parents had immigrated to Ohio) assassinated President William McKinley in 1901.
After World War I, with a devastated Europe suffering economic and social upheaval, hundreds of thousands of immigrants from Eastern Europe headed for America. It is said that there were over 150,000 anarchists and communists in the United States by 1919 (which represented only 0.1% of the overall population, a small but dangerous minority).
A series of bomb explosions in 1919, including a failed attempt to blow up the Attorney General, A. Mitchell Palmer, lead to a vigorous campaign against the communists. On New Year’s Day, 1920, over 6,000 people were arrested and put in prison. In 1921, Congress passed the Emergency Immigration Act of 1921 which severely restricted immigration (new immigrants admitted fell from 805,000 in 1920 to 309,000 in 1921-22). The 1921 act was made even tougher by the Immigration Act of 1924. The purpose of this act was “to preserve the ideal of American homogeneity,” and, among other things, outright banned the immigration of Arabs.
These tough immigration acts lasted until 1965 when they were replaced during the administration of Lyndon B. Johnson.
A brief look at the often overlooked stories of American history from colonial times to modern times, stories such as, the original Emancipation Proclamations, the plot to kill Martha Washington, terrorism in the Civil War, America’s plan to invade Canada in 1930, a planned coup against the president, and many others hidden tales.