Nation of Immigrants

The Council Against Intolerance in America

So often we hear that the United States is a nation of immigrants, but what does that really mean?

Have we always been welcoming towards immigrants? Is slavery a form of “forced immigration” and if not are there people that are excluded from being a part of the nation of immigrants?

Immigration has been and will always be a vital part of American history. 37 maps that explain how America is a nation of immigrants is the holy grail of maps, graphs, and primary sources related to all things immigration. From colorful maps showing immigrant populations throughout the United States to maps of the Atlantic slave trade each source makes an important point about immigration in America.

My favorite source is a graph showing the percentage of people who are immigrants from countries around the world and the perceived percentage of immigrants. In each case the actual number of immigrants is much lower than the perceived number. As it states in the article “One reason some Americans fear immigrants? They overestimate how many there are.”

Both historical and connected to current events the sources on this website provide endless opportunities for great conversations about immigration over the years in America .

Teaching Tips

  • Assign each student in the class a source from the list to analyze and describe to the rest of the class.
  • Have students conduct further research on one of the sources to find more background information about the topic.
  • Have students pick three that are most interesting to them and explain why.
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