Immigration restrictions WI
POD- The 1863 Draft Riots get even more out of control and result in
some perceived sabotage of the war effort. It does not change the
outcome by 1865.
But it does effect political perceptions, and stigmatize the Irish as
dangerous copperheads. Postwar congresses, designing the package of
measures designed to strengthen GOP control, support immigration
restriction. A quota much lower than 1850s peak immigration is set,
and the quota is apportioned on the basis of national origin based on
the 1840 census, or 1850 census. The goal is to keep the WASP
proportion of the voting public as large as possible, in the belief
that in most states they are more loyal to the GOP. With the south
returning to the Union, and the abolition of the 3/5ths rule, it will
have greater representation than ever in Washington. To counter this,
the GOP wants to take every possible step to keep the north an
undivided bastion of support for itself. Immigrant groups are
identified with disloyalty in wartime as the Germans were in WWI. The
fear is a united Democrat south and a divided north, with Irish voters
tipping some eastern states towards the Democrats. The idea is to
keep the north solidly Republican and the South at least partially
If President Johnson vetoes the law it may be more out of reflexive
opposition to GOP proposals than out of sincere conviction. His
constituency is, after all, more border state redneck than urban
Irish. It might be one of the few things he lets slip by. He might
figure it will benefit his southern constituency by slowing the
increase of northern population and therefore House seats. If he does
veto the measure successfully throughout his term, it is passed early
in the Grant Administration. Perhaps this TL is altered enough that
Johnson isn?t on the ticket in the first place, which has plenty of
butterfly effects but not ones that are likely to disrupt the general
flow of the scenario.
The Effect- Immigration declines overall as the quota is decreased.
The Irish and Germans still fill their portions of the quota and
people of those ethnic backgrounds do grow in proportion to the
native-born for awhile anyway because of higher birthrates. Compared
to OTL, by 1900, the proportion of Germans in the US is much lower
than Anglo-Saxons, or even Irish, ironically, because Germans wre the
bulk of the newcomers from 1860 to 1880 in OTL and ,maybe even from
1880 to 1900. The 1865 Quota system constitutes de facto exclusion of
the Chinese if the base year is set before 1848-thus rendering a
specific Chinese exclusion act later unneccesary. If the base year is
from a later date before 1860, the Chinese Quota will still be so
small that Chinese exclusion does not become an issue. Totally
excluded, except for special categories like professors, students,
clergy and architects, are Japanese and many East and Southern
European nationalities. The Italian and Russian quotas are extremely
miniscule. Japanese immigration to the US does not become a major
bilateral issue, as it was never a prospect in the first place. If
anything, the Japanese might be given some portion of the Chinese
quota during the many decades when Japan is regarded as a more
important country. Norwegians, Danes and Swedes also come in smaller
numbers than in OTL.
The Great Plains and Rockies are settled a bit more slowly with fewer
Central European immigrants available. Texas may retain a more
southern character. More of the west will initially be settled as
cattle pasture rather than farmland or sheep pasture, and the era of
the cowbuy lasts longer. [Pretty much because cattle was the
Anglo-Saxon specialty, while farming and dairy was the German.]
Eventually more and more arable land will be brough under cultivation.
There is still substantial labor unrest in the late 1870s and Federal
troops are pulled from the South. There is still a limited Exoduster
movement of southern blacks toward Kansas and the west. More land is
available for freedmen to take, but in the short-run, their capital
situation isn?t much improved so the increase in black farmers in the
west is marginal.
Northern industries begin recruiting freedmen for labor, and the
northward movement gathers steam so to speak throughout the 1880s.
First, those Freedmen with the poorest economic prospects head north,
those who can afford it prefer the farming life. Then as economic
conditions and harassment worsen in the south in the 1890s, the
migration rate more than doubles. Many of the people who move north
and do well enough, save up and move west eventually to farm, so that
by 1900 the nonwhite population of the Plains states is 3 or 4 times
greater than OTL, although decidedly still a minority.
Migration causes resentment among working class whites in the north in
urban areas.. However, pro-business middle-class Republicans who live
in high-priced neighborhoods, suburbs or small towns are delighted to
have blacks who are ready to act as strikebreakers and vote
Republican. Both the racist and mildly pro-Labor bent of the
Democratic Party in the north, is reinforced in the north. The
Freedmen?s right to vote in the north is protected by business
interest and both Freemen and wealthier whites continue to vote for
the party of Lincoln for decades. Some Democratic officeholders try
to include southern newcomers, white and black, in their big tent in
northern cities. This succeeds in some cities, but the national trend
is for Democrats to go with racist demagoguery and intimidation, and
for freedmen to vote for the party of Lincoln. There?s plenty of race
rioting in the north in the 80s, 90s, and 00s.
In some states the northward black migration is resented enough that a
complete Jim Crow system is enacted. This only works for any length
of time in Indiana or Illinois. Remember in OTL, when large-scale
black migration northward occurred, no northern states replicated the
Jim Crow system in toto. I don?t see any reason why this should
change, especially with memories of the civil war being in the more
Southern whites also migrate northward and westward looking for jobs
as the sharecropping economy begins to decline. They go in smaller
numbers than blacks, and tend to get back into farming as quickly as
they can. By the end of the 1890s a couple trends are in effect.
Black out-migration from the south eases pressure on the sharecropping
system in the south. The cotton glut is less severe. Fewer whites
are rendered landless in the first place as the labor supply
diminishes in the south. In several places the labor shortage causes
more former plantation land to go back to swamp or woodland as its
hard to clear. Laborers of both races can command higher wages in the
south. Labor shortages put a higher premium. Labor shortages put a
higher premium on labor-saving technology, and state policies
encourage its development.
By 1900, black out-migration from the south has been so substantial
that a majority of the nation?s blacks live in the north or midwest,
and nonwhites make up no more than 15% of the population of any
southern state. That is in contrast to OTL, where the black
proportion of the population in the south is much smaller than this.
The labor vacuum in the north from 1880 to 1920 causes an almost
audible giant sucking sound.
The diminished proportions of nonwhites makes race-based appeals a
less promising avenue of political advancement in the south compared
to OTL. Many Democratic politicians go for more populist appeals.
Southern voters are also more supportive of public education than in
OTL. This influences the Democratic Party nationally, so that
Grover Cleveland types may not be nominated. However, the Republicans
may also be a bit more competitive in the south.
Southern, mostly black migrants are first stuck in cheap company
housing and overcrowded slums in the cities. They do not get into
established residential neighborhoods. Housing discrimination is the
norm. In the industrial and metropolitan areas of the northeast and
midwest, migrants often live in squatter communities. Much of the
land is still undeveloped enough even in these regions that newcomers
can build housing on woodland or marginal farmland. Those blacks who
are best off, factory foremen, successful retailers, etc. are the
first ones who can afford land and construction materials outside of
slums and company housing. Starting in the 1890s and continuing for
many decades, this process causes many counties in Pennsylvania, New
Jersey, northern Ohio, northern Illinois and the San Francisco Bay
area to become majority ?minority?. After 1900, despite redistricting
shenanigans, this starts to be reflected in the House of Reps and in
By 1900 ?urban? Republicans start to flex their muscles in a
progressive direction. Nonwhite politicians start picking up House
seats and Mayoral positions in many smaller cities in the industrial
parts of the country. In 1912, the first black mayor of Philadelphia
is elected. The next year, the same thing happens in Chicago. It?s
the black nalog of the election of Fiorello LaGuardia in OTL around
this time. AS MAJOR LEAGUE SPORTS EMERGE AROUND THE turn of the
century, they become integrated relatively quickly, particularly
because black athletes do well in the first olympics of 1896 or in
1900 or 1904.
Even if the AFL remains discriminatory for a long time, after 1910 or
so they will begin to coordinate strike actions with minority unions.
By the late 20s in Chicago, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, San
Francisco, Baltimore, Hartford and Detroit, minorities dominate the
civil sector and police departments. In Ne York and Boston the Irish
still dominate those areas.
Many nationalities with low quotas: Italians, Poles, Russians,
Japanese, settle in Canada around the tur of the century. Canada is
the biggest pathway for people of those ethnic groups to the US, legal
and illegal, although most who move to Canada stay in Canada.
Americans call illegals Great Lakes wetbacks. Minneapolis, Milwaukee,
Seattle, Buffalo, Chicago and most of all Detroit are where those
groups have the biggest impact on the cities? character culturally and
politically. Americans associate authentic pizza with Detroit, not
New York, same goes for kosher food.
The demographic trends in the industrial states are increased by two
factors, the higher minority birthrates, and white flight which occurs
for several decades when minorities begin to make enough money to buy
homes in established neighborhoods. Although for several reasons the
country is not as racist in this 1920 as in OTL?s, other factors spur
black advancement even more. They come to be the majority in some
wealthy and populous states, and they?ve secured the right ot
political participation in their new homes outside the south. Woodrow
Wilson, if he?s born and grows up with the same atitudes,, cannot be
public with them and still expect to be a successful politician in New
Jersey for example. A film like Birth of a Nation would not be
well-received in this TL?s 1919. Studios frankly might not give a
damn about making ?Gone with the Wind? into a feature film.
I don?t know when, in this TL, women would get the vote. I don?t know
when or if prohibition of alcohol would be adopted. If it was
adopted, the urban gangster niche would be filled mostly by blacks,
Assuming immigration restrictions are never lifted, whites would be
only 70% of the US population by 1990, or 65%.
Meanwhile, there are serious effects on the rest of the world.
If there is a situation that causes the US to grant citizenship to
Puerto Ricans, they come in such numbers that the island is fairly
depopulated and they have better employment opportunities and become
more geographically spread compared to OTL.
Other impacts. With better economic advancement of blacks, there may
be a longer period of more genuine ?separate but equal? social lives,
supported by elites in both races. There also may be more substantial
intra-black disputes between lighter and darker-skinned blacks.
Probably the earlier black politicians would be lighter. Also, for a
decade or more before blacks get elected to major positions in the
north, there may be white politicians, WASP or even Irish, who cater
to primarily black constituencies, which is how things worked with
many immigrant groups.
Here?s one off-the-wall variant-
What if something similar to the 1964 immigration reform is tried
between 1905 and 1910. Perhaps it is partially based on the principle
of family unification, and supported by some people who wan more white
people in the country, and Irish or German descended politicians who
think it will mainly help their ethnic kin. The result is likely to
be as unexpected as the immigration reform of 1964. Southern and East
Europeans, and possibly Chinese and Japanese, who have tiny footholds,
will bring in large numbers through family reunification. Native-born
whites and blacks alike will have some anxieties about the newcomers,
although blacks will probably not be any more anti-Asian than
She Hath Done What She Could
but if you take out the immigrants from the picture you might not see the backlash that lead to prohibition... no "Rum, Romanism and rebellion" for the republicans to use to tout prohibition...