Immigration Timeline

Historical Events

The Founding of the USA


The start of a new country. After battling the British, the United States, a country of 13 original colonies opened their doors to people who were seeking freedom and tranquility.

Vermont is a state


Within 40 years of its founding, the US picked up 4 more states



Within 4 years the US picked up 4 states

The First Recession


the United States goes through it first recession because of The Bank of England, freezing transactions to the United States, leaving people without pay.

The War of 1812

1812 - 1815

The war of 1812 begins. A war built on the greed of both England and France. Both countries wanted to trade with the United States. Plus, England blocked Spanish ships from getting to the states.

Erie Canal was built


Opening the Erie Canal allowed for shipping and trade to states like Ohio to international trade.

Economic Stability


Thomas Jefferson and the US government decide to impose a tariff that taxed England after the war. His goal was to rebuild America's industry and make money off the tax dollars.



During this time, the textile industry flourished. This boom was, in part, due to the fact that textile jobs were given to women because mills could pay less to them. A tariff mixed with cheaper labor costs allowed for a boom in textiles.

The First Telegraph


First telegraph was createdFirst telegraph was created

A hard recession


The United States gets into financial trouble when it tried to push west. Because of this push, a surplus of land arose. This made land cheaper and also made land in the east less valuable. People took out loans that were cheaper and that meant the banks were earning less from interest, leading 40% of all banks to close.



Gold was discovered in California, leading to a mass migration to the west. This not only pushed other American west but word spread to Europe of the discovery and the modern

Civil War

1861 - 1865

The northern states go to war with the southern states, battling on the idea of slavery. Because of the intensity of the war, over 640,000 people died. Causing the souther states to return to the Union.



Union Pacific and Central Pacific railways connect, allowing people in New York to visit the west.

The Smead school


The Smead School is founded

The Statue of Liberty


France gifts the Stature of Liberty to the US. This statue is displayed at the Worlds Fair

President McKinley is shot by an immigrant


President Mckinley is shot by a Polish Immigrant

Panama Canal is built


Having the Panama Canal allowed for more efficient ways of transportation. This meant that if someone in England wanted to ship something to Las Angles, they could send it through the canal rather than going all the way down to Argentina.



Adolf Hitler moves to Austria, here he adopted his radical views


1914 - 1915

June 28, Archduke Ferdinand is assassinated. WWI begins



Nazi Party is formed

The Great Depression


The great depression hits the US and in the first day of the depression, markets fell 40%, with an estimated 14 billion dollar loss at the end of the day

Hitler in power

1934 - 1944

Adolf Hitler becomes the Head of Germany.


1939 - 1945

Germany invades Poland, causing a mad rush of immigrants and refugees. During these 7 years, over 45 million people(WWII Museum New Orleans) innocent people died. (15 million soldier deaths-25 million wounded in battle)

Pearl Harbor


Pearl harbor- When American battle ships were docked off in Hawaii, Japanese airplanes dropped missiles on top of the ships, then the ships sank in the harbor.



FDR signs a bill that puts Japanese into internment camps, in fear of attacks



A day when the English and alies stormed the beaches of Normandy in plan to force German soldiers back to Germany

Bombing of Hiroshima/ Nagisaki

August 6, 1945

The United States used two Nuclear war heads, the skinny man and the fat boy, which in turn forced the Japanese to surrender

More Houses in the US


William J. Levitt, an entrepreneur designs the modern Suburban. He bought a huge plot of land and constructed homes in an assembly line type way. This means cheaper homes and a larger quantity of houses.



North Atlantic Treaty Organization insured that if one country within NATO's walls were attacked, the others would help out

Korean War

1950 - 1953

The Korean war takes place, a military exercise in order to defeat communistic ideology coming from North Korea.

Vietnam War

1954 - 1975

LBJ authorizes airstrikes in Vietnam in order to combat a radical communist group, the Vie-kong.



The United States sets up The Federal Highway act, a plan that would build an estimated 41,000 miles of highway across the country

Berlin wall

1961 - 1989

Berlin wall is built, separating Soviet, west Germany from the democratic East.

Bay of Pigs


In the height of the cold war, the United States decideds to train Cuban Exiles, planing to invade Cuba and turn it back into a democracy

Nixon visits PRC


President Nixon became the First sitting president to ever go to the People's Republic of China

Peace between Israel and Palstien


The US, Israel, and Palestine reach a peace agreement, while all three heads of state are staying at Camp David



NAFTA is signed, increasing trade between Canada, US, and Mexico

World Trade Center Bombed


Al-Qaeda bombs the twin towers, spreading fear across America


2000 - 2007

George Bush becomes president

USS Cole bombing


The USS Cole, an american Battle ship is bombed by Al-Qaeda, in Yemen

Twin Towers Attacked


Al-Qaeda flies a plane into the twin towers as well as hitting the Pentagon



In an effort to capture Sadam military, the US Hussain invades Iraq



1776 - Present


US Constitution

Approx. 1789

The US Constitution was instated

The Naturalization Act of 1790

Approx. 1790

The Naturalization Act of 1790 was instated, making it so that aliens have to reside in the US for 2 years and be free white people with good morals to become citizens of the US

Alien and Sedition Act

Approx. 1798

One of the Alien and Sedition acts was instated that kept John Adams from deporting seemingly dangerous foreigners and also increased the required residency to 14 years.

Naturalization Act Revision

Approx. 1802

The Naturalization Act is revised again making the minimum residency required to 5 years

Slave Laws

Approx. 1808

Slave importation is banned in the US, even though it keeps happening

Shipmaster Act

Approx. 1819

An act is passed making shipmasters turn in a manifest listing all aliens brought for immigration.

Castle Garden

Approx. 1855

Castle Garden is dedicated as the main point of entry in New York

Homestead Act

Approx. 1862

The Homestead Act gives free plots to immigrants who agree to live on it for 5 years and develop it.

“Anti-Coolie” Act

Approx. 1862

The “Anti-Coolie” Act poses special taxes on employers who have chinese workers and discourages Chinese people from immigrating to California.

Fifteenth Amendment

Approx. 1870

The Fifteenth Amendment is ratified, allowing voting rights for all citizens regardless of looks or cultural background.

The Naturalization Act

Approx. 1870

The Naturalization Act offers citizenship to both white and African-Americans, while Asian people are still excluded.

The Immigration Act of 1882

Approx. 1882

The Immigration Act of 1882 instills a tax of 50 cents on all immigrants arriving in US ports and also deems several more categories of people ineligible for citizenship including people likely to become public charges and mentally unstable people.

Chinese Exclusion Act

Approx. 1882

The Chinese Exclusion Act denies all Chinese immigration to the US for the next 10 years.

The Alien Contract Labor Law

Approx. 1885

The Alien Contract Labor Law keeps all companies and people from bringing people from outside the US into the US to do work under a contract. The few exceptions are skilled workmen helping establish a new industry in trade in the US or people brought to perform domestic service.

Congressional Immigration Act

Approx. 1891

Congress deems “persons suffering from a loathsome or a dangerous contagious disease,” people accused of a “misdemeanor involving moral turpitude,” and polygamists unable to immigrate to the US.

The Geary Act

Approx. 1892

The Geary Act lengthens the Chinese Exclusion Act to another ten years and also requires Chinese residents to carry permits, in addition to excluding them from acting as witnesses in court and from bail.

Ellis Island

Approx. 1892

Ellis Island is opened in NYC and is the dedicated entry point to the US.

Anarchist Exclusion Act

Approx. 1901

Congress enacts the Anarchist Exclusion Act prohibiting the entry of people considered anarchists or political extremists into the US.

The Chinese Exclusion Act

Approx. 1902

The Chinese Exclusion Act is extended again for an infinite period of time.

The Naturalization Act of 1906


The Naturalization Act of 1906 standardizes all procedures for naturalization, and also makes knowledge of the English language a necessity in order to be able to become a citizen.

The “Gentlemen’s Agreement”

Approx. 1907

The “Gentlemen’s Agreement” allows all Japanese immigration in return for Japan’s promise of restricting Japanese emigration to the US by not giving passports to Japanese workers.

The Expatriation Act

Approx. 1907

The Expatriation Act deems American women that marry a foreign national lose her American citizenship.

Alien Land Law

Approx. 1913

California’s Alien Land Law keeps “aliens ineligible for citizenship” from owning property in the state.

The Jones-Shafroth Act

Approx. 1917

The Jones-Shafroth Act grants citizenship to Puerto Ricans. In return, they can be recruited by the US military.

Literacy Requirement, Asian Immigration Ban

Approx. 1917

Congress creates a literacy requirement for all immigrants, also banning all immigration from Asia except from Japan and the Philippines.

The Immigration Act of 1917

Approx. 1917

The Immigration Act of 1917 restricts immigration from all of Asia.

The Emergency Quota Act

Approx. 1921

The Emergency Quota Act limits immigration from a certain country to 3% of the amount of people from that country living in the US in 1910

The Cable Act

Approx. 1922

The Cable Act changes the Expatriation Act so that you don’t lose citizenship unless you are marrying an Asian.

Supreme Court Immigration Act

Approx. 1923

The Supreme Court rules that Indians from Asia aren’t allowed to become citizens.

The Oriental Exclusion Act

Approx. 1924

The Oriental Exclusion Act prohibits immigration from most of Asia, including American citizens of Asian descent.

The Immigration Act of 1924

Approx. 1924

The Immigration Act of 1924 limited European immigration to 2% of the current amount of them living in the US in 1890, reducing immigration from minorities.

The National Origins Formula

Approx. 1929

The National Origins Formula makes the maximum amount of immigrants 150,000 and completely denies all Asian immigration.

The Tydings-McDuffie Act

Approx. 1934

The Tydings-McDuffie Act gives the Philippines freedom from the US, but revokes citizenship and restricts Filipino immigration.

The Alien Registration Act

Approx. 1940

The Alien Registration Act makes fingerprinting of all aliens in the US over 14 necessary.

Chinese Exclusion Laws

Approx. 1943

The Chinese exclusion laws were all repealed, allowing all Chinese immigration.

The Displaced Persons Act

Approx. 1948

The Displaced Persons Act took in 205,000 refugees over two years.

The Immigration and Nationality Act

Approx. 1952

The Immigration and Nationality Act eliminated all laws showing favor to certain races when granting permission for citizenship and immigration.

1948 Refugee Law Expansion

Approx. 1953

Another 200,000 refugees was added to the 1948 refugee law adds another 200,000 refugees in addition to previously promised amount.

The Refugee Act

Approx. 1980

The Refugee Act reduces the immigration cap to 270,000 and prioritizes refugees less.

The USA Patriot Act

Approx. 2001

The USA Patriot Act restricts citizenship from people associated or affiliated with terrorist parties.

Waves of Immigration

Immigrants entering at about 6,000 per year

1780 - 1800

Around the 1780s to the 1800s many people were immigrating to America at about 6,000 yearly. People immigrated from many countries such as France. Many of the French refugees left France and came to America due to the Haitian Revolution.

about 27 million immigrants enter America for jobs

1800 - 1930

From the 1880s to the 1930s many people at about 27 million were coming overseas from other countries looking for work, better lives, and other things.

The number of immigrants entering the U.S. Declined


The series of immigration started to decline around 1806 when aggression arose between France and England as a result of the French Wars. This interrupted people’s ability to get onto ships and sail to America through the Atlantic.

The war of 1812 - immigration declines even more


Immigration was very low during the war of 1812, involving America and Great Britain.

Famine in Ireland - more Irish migrate to the U.S.

1840 - 1859

In the 1840s and 1850s, The Great Famine was in existence where Ireland went through a great deal of hunger, causing many people to die because of the lack of potatoes. As a result, the Irish immigrated to America in hopes of a better life.

More immigrants from Hamburg and Liverpool

1840 - 1859

Also, in the 1840s and 1850s, many more people from Europe were crossing over. The people came from countries like Liverpool and Hamburg because they were driven out of their countries due to many issues such as industrialization, increases in the number of residents in their country, and modifications to the spreading of land that caused them to change their ways of living.

California Gold Rush influences people to migrate to America

1848 - 1855

Around the time of the California Gold Rush, interests sparked natives of Asia and Europe particularly China, Germany, Chile, Ireland, Turkey, Mexico, and France. This caused many of them to immigrate to America looking for gold.

Nearly 9% of Norway's population immigrates to the U.S.

1880 - 1889

Also during the 1880s, many European natives were commonly immigrating to the U.S. A lot of these Europeans were Norwegians with nearly 9% of the population of Norway immigrating to the U.S.

Steam engine becoming popular causes immigration to the U.S. Increase

1880 - 1889

With steam engines becoming popular in the 1880s, more immigrants were importing through steam transportation into America from many places like Canada, the Middle East, Southern Europe, Eastern Europe, and the Mediterranean.

1882 Chinese Exclusion Act - not allowing Chinese immigrants to U.S.


In 1882 congress passed an act that did not allow immigrants from China to come into America. Because of this act, it was harder for the Chinese immigrants to bring their families to America compared to the Europeans.

Gentlemen's Agreement of 1907 sparks animosity towards Asian immigrants


Animosity towards Asian immigrants grew and made it hard for Asians to find a sense of belonging. The Gentlemen's Agreement of 1907 involving Japan is what sparked the animosity of this time because of issues of Japanese natives immigrating to the U.S.

Mexican Revoulution - more mexicans immigrate to U.S.A.

1910 - 1920

America allowed people of countries who were in danger seek asylum in America. Mexicans came seeking refuge due to the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920).

People are suspicious of immigrants


People began to grow suspicious towards immigrants after 1914’s WWI and many questioned the loyalty and backgrounds of the immigrants.

More Armenians flee to America

1915 - 1918

The people of Armenia left their country for America in 1915 due to massacres in Turkey against Armenians that forced them to remove themselves and their lives from Turkey.

The number of immigrants allowed in America declines


By 1920, laws began to pass limiting the amount of immigrants that passed through the American border.

The decline of immigration grows and immigrants flee to their native countries

1929 - 1939

Immigration began to decline even more during the Great Depression while the laws that passed limiting immigrants continued to be active. Many people did not have a desire to sail to America and many of the immigrants who were already in America began to flee back to their native countries. More than 100 thousands of Mexicans had to leave America unwillingly during the Great Depression since some Americans thought their problems were brought about by immigrants.

German, Italian, and Japanese immigrants in the U.S. are detained

1939 - 1945

German and Italian immigrants in America were held back for questioning because the U.S. had proposed war upon the Axis Powers during WWII. People of Japanese backgrounds were held back for questioning if they were immigrants and even if they were American-born.

More Germans migrate to the U.S. but are denied access

1939 - 1945

While WWII was in action, people from Germany began to migrate to America to seek refuge but many were denied citizenship.

Displacement Persons Act helps many refugees enter America but some still are not accepted in


After WWII, former president, Harry S. Truman tried to make it so that America could accept and protect more refugees. After this was stated from the former president, Congress made it so hundreds of thousands of refugees would be accepted in the U.S. by passing the Displacement Persons Act. Though this was very helpful to refugees, many of them were not let in and had to seek asylum in other countries.

38,000 Hungarians come to America

1956 - 1957

From 1956 to 1957, 38,000 Hungarians came to America to seek refuge due to revolting against the Soviets and the Soviet methods that consisted of Hungary's government and not succeeding. One of the very first refugees in America around the time of the Cold War were the Hungarians.

More women immigrate to U.S. than men

1956 - 1957

Also around this time (1956-1957), many more women were immigrating to the U.S. compared to men. They began to seek work while the economy was growing along with their husband and families that had immigrated to the U.S. already.

People begin to request immigration improvement

1960 - 1969

Requests for immigration improvements grew during the 1960s.

People flee to the U.S. to escape Cold War and jobs for immigrants in the U.S. provided good wages

1960 - 1979

In the 1960s and 1970s people of many countries were seeking refuge in the U.S. to escape the dangers of the Cold War. Also, the government provided professional jobs for the immigrants and refugees that allowed them to save their earnings and eventually bring their families across the seas to America.

Hart- cellar Act causes immigration of Asians to increase


About five years after the signing of the Hart-Cellar Act (1961), Asian immigration to the U.S. increased greatly. Because of the Hart- Cellar Act Asians were able to seek refuge while the war in Southeast Asia was taking place. Since many of Asians immigrated to the U.S. the rate of Asians seeking refuge in America had skyrocketed.

Illegal immigration spikes

1980 - 1999

Eventually, illegal immigration in the U.S. spiked in the 1980s and 1990s. With immigrants coming in from so many ways including land routes through Canada and Mexico.

More than 3 million immigrants are discharged for illegal acts.


The 1986 Immigration Reform Act discharged more than 3 million immigrants for their illegal acts.

Immigration continues to grow

1990 - 2017

From the 90s to today immigration is still growing continuously with some Americans accepting of them and some in question of their loyalty.

Acceptance of immigrants declines once again

1990 - 1991

During the 90s the acceptance of immigrants had declined with people starting to go against immigrants due to the recession taking place at this time.