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Presentation Immigration and Relocation in U.S. History

Global Timeline

Global Timeline

  1. 1786

    Native American
    The U.S. establishes first Native American reservation and policy of dealing with each tribe as an independent nation.
  2. 1790

    The federal government requires two years of residency for naturalization
  3. 1808

    African American
    Congress bans importation of slaves.
  4. 1816

    African American
    The American Colonization Society forms—assists in repatriating free African Americans to a Liberian colony on the west coast of Africa.
  5. 1819

    Congress establishes reporting on immigration.
  6. 1820

    African American
    The Compromise of 1820 admits Maine as a free state, Missouri as a slave state and prohibits slavery in territories north of Missouri.
  7. 1830

    Native American
    Congress passes the Removal Act, forcing Native Americans to settle in Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River.
  8. 1838

    Native American
    Cherokee Indians forced on thousand-mile march to the established Indian Territory. Approximately 4,000 Cherokees die on this "Trail of Tears."
  9. 1845

    Irish
    Potato crop fails in Ireland sparking the Potato Famine which kills one million and prompts almost 500,000 to immigrate to America over the next five years.
  10. 1848

    Mexican
    The Mexican-American War ends: U.S. acquires additional territory and people under its jurisdiction.
  11. 1849

    Chinese
    The California Gold Rush sparks first mass immigration from China.
  12. 1850

    African American
    The Compromise of 1850 includes the Fugitive Slave Act, a law designed to assist in the recovery of runaway slaves by increasing federal officers and denying fugitive slaves a right to a jury trial.
  13. 1857

    African American
    Supreme Court's Dred Scott Decision declares blacks are not U.S. citizens; rules 1820 Missouri Compromise's ban on slavery in the territories unconstitutional.
  14. 1860

    Polish & Russian
    Poland's religious and economic conditions prompt immigration of approximately two million Poles by 1914.
  15. 1861

    African American
    Abraham Lincoln takes the presidential oath of office. The Southern Confederacy ratifies a new Constitution and elects Jefferson Davis as the first Confederate president. The Civil War begins with Confederate soldiers firing upon Fort Sumter.
  16. 1862

    The Homestead Act of 1862 allows for any individual, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or country of origin, over the age of 21 or head of household to claim up to 160 acres of free land if they have lived on it for five years and made the required agricultural improvements.

    African American
    The Union Army permits black men to enlist as laborers, cooks, teamsters, and servants.
  17. 1863

    African American
    The Emancipation Proclamation abolishes slavery and permits African-American men to join the Union Army.
  18. 1864

    Congress legalizes the importation of contract laborers.

    Native American
    Thousands of Navajo Indians endure the "Long Walk," a three-hundred mile forced march from a Southwest Indian territory to Fort Sumner, New Mexico.
  19. 1868

    African American
    The 14th Amendment of the Constitution endows African Americans with citizenship.

    Native American
    A clause in the 14th Amendment "excluding Indians not taxed" prevents Native-American men from receiving the right to vote.

    Japanese
    Japanese laborers arrive in Hawaii to work in sugar cane fields.
  20. 1870

    African American
    The 15th Amendment of the Constitution provides African-American males with the right to vote.
  21. 1876

    Chinese
    California Senate committee investigates the "social, moral, and political effect of Chinese immigration."
  22. 1877

    Chinese
    United States Congress investigates the criminal influence of Chinese immigrants.
  23. 1880

    Italian
    Italy's troubled economy, crop failures, and political climate begin the start of mass immigration with nearly four million Italian immigrants arriving in the United States.
  24. 1881

    Polish & Russian
    The assassination of Czar Alexander II in 1881 prompts civil unrest and economic instability throughout Russia.
  25. 1882

    Polish & Russian
    Russia's May Laws severely restrict the ability of Jewish citizens to live and work in Russia. The country's instability prompts more than three million Russians to immigrate to the United States over three decades.

    Chinese
    The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 suspends immigration of Chinese laborers under penalty of imprisonment and deportation.
  26. 1885

    Congress bans the admission of contract laborers.
  27. 1887

    Native American
    The Dawes Act dissolves many Indian reservations in United States.
  28. 1889

    Native American
    Unoccupied lands in Oklahoma are made available to white settlers.
  29. 1896

    African American
    The Supreme Court rules in Plessy v. Ferguson that "separate but equal" accommodations for African Americans and whites are Constitutional. This decision allows for legalized segregation.
  30. 1898

    Cuban & Puerto Rican
    The Spanish-American War begins with a naval blockade of Cuba and attacks on the island. The four-month conflict ends with Cuba's independence and the U.S. acquisition of Puerto Rico and Guam.
  31. 1900

    Cuban & Puerto Rican
    Congress establishes a civil government in Puerto Rico and the Jones Act grants U.S. citizenship to island inhabitants. U.S. citizens can travel freely between the mainland and the island without a passport.
  32. 1907

    The United States and Japan form a "Gentleman's Agreement" in which Japan ends issuance of passports to laborers and the U.S. agrees not to prohibit Japanese immigration.
  33. 1911

    Mexican
    The Dillingham Commission identifies Mexican laborers as the best solution to the Southwest labor shortage. Mexicans are exempted from immigrant "head taxes" set in 1903 and 1907.
  34. 1913

    Japanese
    California's Alien Land Law rules that aliens "ineligible to citizenship" were ineligible to own agricultural property.
  35. 1917

    German
    The U.S. enters World War I and anti-German sentiment swells at home. The names of schools, foods, streets, towns, and even some families, are changed to sound less Germanic.
  36. 1922

    Japanese
    The Supreme Court rules in Ozawa v. United States that first-generation Japanese are ineligible for citizenship and cannot apply for naturalization.
  37. 1924

    Japanese
    Immigration Act of 1924 establishes fixed quotas of national origin and eliminates Far East immigration.

    Native American
    President Calvin Coolidge signs a bill granting Native Americans full citizenship.
  38. 1929

    Congress makes annual immigration quotas permanent.
  39. 1941

    Japanese
    Japan's surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii galvanizes America's war effort. More than 1,000 Japanese-American community leaders are incarcerated because of national security.

    African American
    President Roosevelt signs Executive Order 8802, forbidding discrimination in federal hiring, job-training programs, and defense industries. The newly created Fair Employment Practices Commission investigates discrimination against black employees.
  40. 1942

    Japanese
    President Franklin Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9066, authorizing the building of "relocation camps" for Japanese Americans living along the Pacific Coast.

    Mexican
    Congress allows for importation of agricultural workers from within North, Central, and South America. The Bracero Program allows Mexican laborers to work in the U.S.
  41. 1943

    Chinese
    The Magnuson Act of 1943 repeals the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, establishes quotas for Chinese immigrants, and makes them eligible for U.S. citizenship.
  42. 1945

    Chinese
    The War Bride Act and the G.I. Fiancées Act allows immigration of foreign-born wives, fiancé(e)s, husbands, and children of U.S. armed forces personnel.
  43. 1948

    The United States admits persons fleeing persecution in their native lands; allowing 205,000 refugees to enter within two years.

    Japanese
    The Supreme Court rules that California's Alien Land Laws prohibiting the ownership of agricultural property violates the Constitution's 14th Amendment.
  44. 1950

    Native American
    Bureau of Indian Affairs terminates federal services for Native Americans in lieu of state supervision.
  45. 1952

    The Immigration and Nationality Act allows individuals of all races to be eligible for naturalization. The act also reaffirms national origins quota system, limits immigration from the Eastern Hemisphere while leaving the Western Hemisphere unrestricted, establishes preferences for skilled workers and relatives of U.S. citizens and permanent resident aliens; and tightens security and screening standards and procedures.

    Native American
    The Bureau of Indian Affairs begins selling 1.6 million acres of Native American land to developers.
  46. 1953

    Congress amends the 1948 refugee policy to allow for the admission of 200,000 more refugees.
  47. 1954

    African American
    The Supreme Court rules in Brown v. Topeka Board of Education that "separate but equal" educational facilities are unconstitutional.
  48. 1959

    Cuban & Puerto Rican
    Fidel Castro's Cuban revolution prompts mass exodus of more than 200,000 people within three years.
  49. 1961

    Cuban & Puerto Rican
    The Cuban Refugee Program handles influx of immigrants to Miami with 300,000 immigrants relocated across the U.S. during the next two decades.
  50. 1964

    African American
    The Civil Rights Acts ensures voting rights and prohibits housing discrimination.
  51. 1965

    Chinese
    The Immigration Act of 1965 abolishes quota system in favor of quota systems with 20,000 immigrants per country limits. Preference is given to immediate families of immigrants and skilled workers.

    Cuban & Puerto Rican
    "Freedom flight" airlifts begin for Cuban refugees assisting more than 260,000 people over the next eight years.

    Mexican
    The Bracero Program ends after temporarily employing almost 4.5 million Mexican nationals.
  52. 1966

    Cuban & Puerto Rican
    The Cuban Refugee Act permits more than 400,000 people to enter the United States.
  53. 1980

    The Refugee Act redefines criteria and procedures for admitting refugees.
  54. 1986

    The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) legalizes illegal aliens residing in the U.S. unlawfully since 1982.
  55. 1988

    Japanese
    The Civil Liberties Act provides compensation of $20,000 and a presidential apology to all Japanese-American survivors of the World War II internment camps.
  56. 2001

    Japanese
    A memorial honoring Japanese-American veterans and detainees opens on the edge of the Capitol grounds in Washington, D.C.
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