Where did they settle?

The Port of New York has almost always gotten the lion's share of the publicity and recognition for U.S. immigration. But while New York has undoubtedly been the major port of entry for immigrants, several other ports deserve mention. Until the end of the 19th century Philadelphia was the second largest port of immigration, closely followed by Baltimore, New Orleans, Boston and Charleston, South Carolina making up the next category. A few immigrants trickled into the country at several other ports –even into Sandusky, Ohio, on Lake Erie. Between about 1870 and 1930 San Francisco functioned as the principal, if not only, West Coast port of entry. In February 1848, the first steamer arrived with immigrants who had officially entered the United States at New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore. (At that time the city's population was reportedly only 2,000.) These people had been delivered by boat to the Caribbean port of Panama, and had then ridden or walked across the Isthmus to board another boat bound for San Francisco. Later, after California was admitted to the Union in 1850, the port was the major point of entry for Orientals emigrating to the United States. The city is justly known for the character of its Chinese and Japanese communities.  Between 1871 and 1880- the years of greatest railroad construction in the United States –over 123,000 people entered the country from the Orient. Most entered at San Francisco.  The principal immigrant groups to the United States during the 18th and 19th centuries spread out across the land, often settling in groups to give their own character to given areas. We have already mentioned the Germans of northwest Philadelphia (Germantown) and Lancaster. But still other German and Austrian immigrants established communities in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota.  In fact, there are few states without their "German" or Anabaptist areas. Canadian immigration has been less and has spread out less than almost any other nationality-source. And, as might be expected, the Canadian immigrants settled principally in the northern tier of States: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York and the Great Lakes States.  French immigrants entered the United States principally through the Port of New Orleans; they were quite at home in the southern provinces of the Louisiana Territory which the United States purchased from Napoleon in 1803. Other French immigrants, especially the Protestant Huguenots, settled in eastern States: northern New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, and Kentucky. British -by far the largest contingent of immigrants during the Colonial period and the first century of nationhood -spread more widely throughout the land than any other group. And they more readily assimilated to their new environment and submerged their overseas heritage than did almost any other nationality.  Southern European immigrants, especially from Mediterranean countries, and most especially those from Italy and the Near East, settled heavily in the big industrial cities of the north. This was no accident, as U.S. immigration policy during the latter half of the 19th and first quarter of the 20th centuries was largely directed to allow the entrance of people most likely to provide cheap menial labor for the great industries -steel, automobiles, mining and construction. Thus resulted the prevailing pattern for these immigrants settling in New York City; Paterson, New Jersey; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Youngstown, Ohio; Detroit, Michigan; Gary, Indiana; Chicago; and St. Joseph, Missouri.  1\vo significant groups of early immigrants –that is, before 1850 -were Africans and South Americans. The African-American is unique in the annals of U.S. immigration. The African- American is the only class which immigrated against its will. As we have already noted, the American slave trade had already been started a century before by the New England rum-and-slave merchants -and even long before them by Columbus himself. Principal ports of entry for African slaves were at Baltimore, Savannah, Charleston and New Orleans. Britain abolished slavery at home and in her colonies in 1833. Certain American States abolished slavery on their own -Vermont as early as 1777 , New Jersey by 1804. But ultimately this nefarious trade was not to be ended in the entirety of the United States by anything less than a bloody civil war. The Emancipation Proclamation was announced on January 1, 1863; three years later Congress proposed the Fourteenth Amendment, declaring that "all persons born or naturalized in the United States...are citizens of the United States... [and no State shall] deny to any person wid1in its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." Before 1863, as the territories west of the Mississippi organized themselves into state-sized units and applied for admission to the Union, the question of the propriety of slavery in a nation founded on principles of freedom and justice had been raised anew. But all those entering the Union after 1864 entered slave-free.  The abolition of slavery in the United States was one of the conditions that encouraged Mexicans and other South and Central Americans to seek entry into the country. Many Mexicans already lived in the Southwest Territory when its several divisions finally became integrated into the Union. Thus, they automatically became citizens. Often, however, the illegality of slavery was only a technicality: both Mexicans and African-Americans continued to be exploited almost mercilessly well into the second half of the 20th century. But while Mexican and other Central and South American immigrants have stayed pretty much in the southwest -principally in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California- the African-American has migrated principally to the larger cities in the eastern half of the country. There are African-American farmers in the Midwest, to be sure, but they are only an occasional phenomenon between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains.  The most recent immigrant groups to the United States are refugees, principally Asians from Vietnam, Cambodia and Korea, and Caribbeans from Puerto Rico, Cuba, Haiti and other West Indian islands. By far the heaviest concentrations of these immigrants have been in Miami and New York City, but here, again, the older pattern seems to be showing up: gradual dispersion from the congested central communities along with somewhat slower assimilation into other areas.