JCU Logo


COURSE NAME: "History of Immigration to the United States"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Spring 2021

INSTRUCTOR: Andrea Lanzone
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: TTH 3:00 PM 4:15 PM

This course examines the history of immigration to the United States since the beginning of the nineteenth century. In it, students will use historical and anthropological sources to study the causes of immigration and the social, cultural and economic adaptation of immigrants to the American way of life. Significant attention will be given to immigrants’ experiences in the United States and the various processes through which immigration has shaped American identities, politics and society.

Satisfies "Modern History" core course requirement for History majors.
This course is designed to give students a broad overview of the history of immigration to the United States. Students will learn about the immigrants’ experience in America from the great waves of European immigrants during the 19th and early 20th century to the more recent immigrant communities from Asia, Africa and Latin America.The class will discuss the assigned readings. Students’ active participation in discussions is absolutely necessary to making the course work well. The very high percentage of the final grade will be based on class participation. Lectures will be followed by questions and discussion. Students should come to lectures prepared. All assigned readings should be completed before each class meeting. In addition, students will be required to write a paper on a particular immigrant group, a specific time period, and some aspects of the immigrants' experience,

The course provides the student with a deep and critical understanding of the United States of America in terms of historical events, social systems, economic processes and ideologies. One of the aims of the course is to enhance student's skills in critical thinking and reading. To this end, students shall investigate one key event in the history of immigration to the United States of America. Group discussions will be a central part of the course structure. In successfully completing this course, students will further develop their abilities to:

1)      Formulate a research question about a historical topic.

2)     Assemble and evaluate primary and secondary sources.

3)     Analyze events, actions, and ideas of historical significance.

4)     Formulate precise and effective historical arguments.

5)     Consider the influences and intersections of such factors as: economics, politics, ideology, race, ethnicity, class, gender and religion.

Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:

1)      Identify the various processes of migration that have characterized the history of the United States.

2)      Analyze migration’s causes and consequences.

3)      Analyze how government laws and policies have influenced migration patterns.

4)      Analyze issues concerning legal and illegal immigration and forced migration.

Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
A Nation of ImmigrantsJohn Fitzgerlad KennedyPerenniall 978-0-06-144754-9 Chapter 4: Waves of Immigration Chapter 5: The Immigrant Contribution Chapter 6: Immigration policy Chapter 7: Where we Stand
The transplanted: A History of Immigrants in Urban AmericaJohn BodnarBloomington : Indiana University Press, ©1985.E184.A1 B59 1985 Chapter 1: The Homeland and Capitalism Chapter 2: Families enter America Chapter 3: Workers, Unions and Radicals Chapter 5: Church and Society Chapter 6: Immigrants and the promise of American Life Chapter 7: America on Immigrants Terms
Ethnic Americans: A History of ImmigrationLeonard DinnersteinNew York : Columbia University Press, ©1999E184.A1 D48 1999 • CHAPTER 1 The Colonial Heritage • CHAPTER 2 A Wave of Immigrants, 1789–1890s • CHAPTER 3 A New Wave of Immigrants, 1890s–1920s • CHAPTER 4 Ethnic Conflict and Immigration Restriction • CHAPTER 5 Immigration After World War II, 1945–1998 • CHAPTER 6 Newcomers from South of the Border • CHAPTER 7 Pilgrims' Progress: Ethnic Mobility in Modern America • CHAPTER 8 Whither Ethnic America? Assimilation into American Life • EPILOGUE A New Immigration Debate
La storia: Five Centuries of the Italian American experienceJerre Mangione & Ben MorrealeHarper Perennial978-0-06-092441-6  Chapter 3: Italy Before and After Unification. Chapter 4: Saints and Legends to Live By. Chapter 5: Italian Unity and the Southern Exodus Chapter 6: To Leave or Not to Leave. Chapter 7: Parting. Chapter 8: Arrival Chapter 14: Identity Chapter 17: The Road to Sacco and Vanzetti. Chapter 19: Changing Images of Italian Americans. Chapter 20: The Postwar Years -- Organized Crime and Cultural Anger. Chapter 21: The Writers between Two Cultures, 1890-1960

Midterm Examination A choice of two essay tests that will demonstrate students’ ability to identify, understand and critically discuss the concepts learned in the course10%
Final ExamA combination of short and long answer questions that will determine students’ capacity to recognize, understand and critically debate the concepts learned in the course.30%
Attendance and participationStudents’ active participation in our discussions is absolutely necessary to making the course work well. The high percentage of students final grade that will be based on their attendance and participation.30%
Papers: Students will write two seven page papers on a topic which interests them and is relevant to the course. The papers will be graded based upon students’ capacity to develop a strong research question and critically analyze the materials used in class30%

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the cour
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.



Students cannot make-up a major exam (midterm or final) without the permission of the Dean’s Office. The Dean’s Office will grant such permission only when the absence was caused by a serious impediment, such as a documented illness, hospitalization or other situations of similar gravity. Absences due to job interviews, family celebrations, travel difficulties, student misunderstandings or personal convenience, will not be excused. Students who will be absent from a major exam must notify the Dean’s Office prior to that exam. Absences from class due to the observance of a religious holiday will normally be excused. Individual students who will have to miss class to observe a religious holiday should notify the instructor by the end of the Add/Drop period to make prior arrangements for making up any work that will be missed.

As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.


Week 1) The Colonial Heritage

Week 2) A Wave of Immigrants, 1820-1890s

Week 3) The Immigrant Diaspora: The Irish  

Week 4) The Germans, the California Gold Rush and the Scandinavian Immigration

Week 5) A New Wave of Immigrants, 1890s-1920s: The phenomenon of Italian Immigration

Week 6) Ethnic Conflict and Immigration Restriction, Ellis Island, The Naturalization Act of 1906, The Dillingham Commission

Week 7)  The Immigration Act of 1917 , Immigration after World War I

Week 8) Red Scare and the Sacco and Vanzetti Case

Week 9) Immigration after World War II

Week 10) Immigration after the 1960s

Week 11) The Phenomenon of Mexican Immigration, US Border-Enforcement Policies, Push and Pull factors

Week 12) The Phenomenon of African and Asian Immigration

Week 11) Assimilation into American Life

Week 12) Economic Migrants, Refugees and Asylum Seekers 

Week 13) Social Inclusion and Integration

Week 14)
Immigration to the United States Today