Residents as Immigrants
We acknowledge that America is the land of immigrants. In the nineteenth and early decades of the twentieth century millions of immigrants came to its shores. Some came because they wanted to, but most came because they had to escape persecution, poverty, or both. To all of them America represented a new lease on life, free to live their lives in unaccustomed freedom. The “old country” would not be like the “new country,” which welcomed and needed them in a fast developing industrial society. They came with hope, great expectations, and mixed anxiety about the unknown, a total unknown. They had been part of a community of people which was their nuclear and extended families. They had no intention of ever forgetting their relations and their community. The old country was in them in the long, arduous, dangerous voyage to America. They were plagued by memories of those they left behind and even regret that they chose to separate from them. They felt alone and lonely.