Visions and Divisions: American Immigration Literature, 1870-1930


For many years, America cherished its image as a Golden Door for the world's oppressed. But during the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, mounting racial hostility along with new national legislation that imposed strict restrictions on immigration began to show the nation in a different light. The literature of this period reflects the controversy and uncertainty that abounded regarding the meaning of "American." Literary output participated in debates about restriction, assimilation, and whether the idea of the "Melting Pot" was worth preserving. Writers advocated-and also challenged-what emerged as a radical new way of understanding the nation's ethnic and racial identity: cultural pluralism.

Additional information

Includes content by:
  • Emma Lazarus
  • Thomas Bailey Aldrich
  • Mark Twain
  • Lee Chew
  • Caspar Day
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New Brunswick, NJ
Publication year:
  • 2008


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