Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: April 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963879 | Print ISBN: 9781412926942 | Online ISBN: 9781412963879 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Immigration, the entry and settlement of persons born in another nation-state, has played an important role in shaping the population and culture of the United States since the nation's founding. The country has experienced three large waves of immigration following the first arrival of Europeans, and is currently in the midst of a fourth. This entry reviews the history of immigration and examines past and present policies governing the arrival of people from other countries. The first immigration wave included the original settlers of the U.S. colonies beginning in the 17th century and continuing into the 18th century, consisting mainly of British, Scots, Scotch Irish, Germans, and people from the Netherlands, France, and Spain. Servants and slaves from Africa were also brought coercively to the continent during this period. The second wave began in 1820 and consisted mostly of German, British, and Irish migrants who furthered the westward expansion of ...