The United States is always been a cultural melting pot for the world. Immigration is the foundation of what has built the United States into one of the most diverse and powerful nation on the planet. While its very origins were founded on the principle of immigration, the modern concept of immigration began in 1790 with what is referred to as the great wave or the golden age of immigration. It is during this time that more than 10 million people flowed into the country from foreign lands and this inflow of new citizens undoubtedly had a big impact on America.
The golden age ran from 1790 to 1850. This period of a little over 60 years signify the largest immigration drive in the history of the country. The vast majority of these immigrants came from lands that were part of the greater European socioeconomic complex. Most of these immigrants help from Scotland, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Greece, the Bavarian nations, and the Baltic nations. There was also a heavy contingent present from France in northern Europe. One of the most important groups to immigrate to the United States during this period was the Irish which accounted for almost 1/3 of the total immigration of the period.
The period from 1850 to 1930 is commonly referred to as the second wave, or the Silver age of American immigration. During this timeframe in additional 15 million immigrants arrived in the United States mostly from Russia, Germany, Turkey, and Asia. The main reason for such a large increase in this period was due to the advance of steam technology which allow for faster and more reliable transoceanic passage. The largest group of immigrants during this timeframe were those who came from Germany. Germans accounted for more than 5 million of the immigrants who arrived in the United States over this a year time span.
Beginning in the 1940s a new generation of immigrants embarked on the journey to America. The mindset regarding immigration in United States, however had begun a dramatic turn. Immigration began to become a political issue. Often referred to as the era of restricted immigration, or "new immigration" the amount of immigrants entering the country grew, but also a steady rise in the amount of immigration tension that was measurable among the population began to be seen. Issues such as "whiteness", religious ambiguity, and the feared belief of a political weakening of established minority groups who had already been part of a long ongoing struggle for equal representation in government and in the workplace, created an environment where immigration became a negative topic. In the first 10 years of the 21st century however, despite the increasing tension regarding illegal immigration, the mindset toward legal immigration has once again turned to a positive tone.
The modern age of immigration has seen an enormous amount of immigrants from the Middle East, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Mexico. In fact, Mexican immigration both legal and illegal accounts for more than half of total immigration numbers to the United States today. Immigration always has been and always will be a vital component of the American experience. Without immigration, the United States would not be the vibrant, powerful, and diverse nation that it is. Truth be told, without immigration, the United States as we know it would not exist at all.