Fear and Resentment.
In the shaky peacetime economy that followed the Great War in Europe, Americans, especially organized labor, feared economic competition from immigrants, who willingly worked for low wages. White Protestants resented the flood of Catholics and Jews from southern and eastern Europe into the United States. Prohibitionists condemned the drinking habits of most immigrants. Many Americans distrusted foreigners in general, perceiving them as stereotypical anarchists bent on importing communism and destroying Americans' freedom. Although the United States already restricted Asian immigration, it had always had an open-door policy in regard to the European immigrants. In the 1920s, Americans' anxieties about foreigners resulted in the first European-immigration laws, designed to keep potential troublemakers out of the country.
Congress readily accommodated constituents who...
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