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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Over the years, people have tended to move to the United States for one (or both) of two main reasons.  They have moved to the US to find greater economic opportunities or they have moved to have greater personal and political liberty.

America has long been seen as the “land of opportunity.”  People have moved here when jobs seemed scarce in their home countries.  They have moved here when bad economic times have hit their countries, as with the Irish potato famine of the 1840s.  Today, immigrants come from Latin America (whether legally or illegally) because they feel that they can get better jobs here in the US.

America has also long been seen as the “land of the free.” People have moved here in hopes of escaping persecution of various sorts at home.  Germans fled to the US after the failed revolution in their country in the 1840s.  Jews came to the US in the late 1800s in part because of pogroms in Eastern Europe.  Cubans and Vietnamese came to the US after their countries each fell to communism.  The idea that the US is a country in which people have personal and political liberties is a major draw.

Thus, there are two main reasons why people have “moved to America.”  They have done so partly for economic reasons and partly for reasons having to do with freedom.