Letter to the Editor: Immigration Quiz

The following was excerpted from the “U.S. History” website page on immigration to the United States. The article has been redacted to disguise which countries the article is about, but see if you can guess which countries are country (A) and country (B). Answers at


In ___, more than one-half of the population of (A) emigrated to the United States. So did an equal number of people from (B). Most of them came because of civil unrest or severe unemployment. This wave of immigration affected almost every city in America. From ___ to ___, over seven and a half million immigrants came to the United States. About a third came from (A) and almost a third from (B).

In (A) almost half of the population lived on farms that produced little income. Over two million people from (A) eventually moved to the United States. Impoverished, the people from (A) could not buy property. Instead, they congregated in the cities where they landed. Today, (A) has just half the population it did in the early ___. There are now more people from (A) in America than there are nationals in (A).

In the decade from ___ to ___, more than a million people from (B) fled to the United States to escape economic hardship and political unrest caused by riots, rebellion and eventually a revolution. Few other places besides the United States allowed immigration from (B). Unlike the people from (A), many people from (B) had enough money to journey to the Midwest in search of farmland and work. The largest settlements of people from (B) were in New York City, Baltimore, Cincinnati, St. Louis and Milwaukee.

With the vast numbers of people from (A) and (B) coming to America, hostility to them erupted. Part of the reason for the opposition was religious. All of the people from (A) and many of the people from (B) were ___. Part of the opposition was political. Most immigrants living in cities became ___ because that party focused on the needs of commoners. Part of the opposition occurred because Americans in low-paying jobs were threatened and sometimes replaced by groups willing to work for almost nothing in order to survive. Signs that read N_NA — “No people from (A) Need Apply” — sprang up throughout the country.

Ethnic and anti-___ rioting occurred in many northern cites, the largest occurring in ___ during a period of economic depression. “Nativist” political parties sprang up almost overnight. The most influential of these parties, the ___, was anti-___ and wanted to extend the amount of time it took immigrants to become citizens and voters.


Mark Polczynski

Baileys Harbor, Wis.

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