Academic Perceptions of Italian American Immigration as Seen in Scholarly Journals of the 1880s

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Book attempts to highlight anytime “Italian immigration” or “Italian immigrants” are mentioned in a scholarly periodical, including both passing notations and in-depth critical analyses of these topics. These references allow us to examine the initial and evolving perceptions of the academic community toward mass Italian American immigration from its basic beginnings in the early 1880s through the end of that decade. In addition, references about Italian immigration from the popular periodical press of the time are juxtaposed with the scholarly references to allow further insight into the erudite community’s perceptions as they are framed within the public opinion of the day.


“One of the great riches of this nation, the United States of America, has been the diversity introduced by immigrant people coming from many different parts of the world. A courageous, industrious and patient people who left their homelands seeking a better quality of life, these immigrants and their families shared in a dream. America was seen as a land of freedom and opportunity, a fulfillment of their dreams.Beginning in the late 1800s, thousands of predominately southern and Sicilian Italians followed the earlier migration of German, Irish, and English families. They sought to own their own land, to leave behind repressive government measures, and to pursue better economic security.

The experiences of these early Italian immigrants are told well by Kathryn DeFatta Barattini in the pages that follow. She reports not only the dreams, but also the disappointment brought on by unjust discriminatory practices, exploitation, and prejudices. A beautiful part of this story is the fact that these immigrant people did what they had to do and in time enjoyed acceptance, and respect, as well as the realization of their dreams, at least in the lives of their children and grandchildren. Barattini’s account offers an excellent contribution for our considerations as we attempt to address today’s challenges associated with the new waves immigrant people, such as the anti-immigrant sentiment that was reflected in California’s Proposition 187, or the exploitation of “offshore workers” who are used by Florida’s sugar cane producers, or the policies that inhibit family reunification. Even more challenging in Barattini’s message lies the issues of public policy at home and globally that fail to effectively address the root causes brought on by political, social, and economic inequities that prompt people to seek migration as the only reasonable answer.” – (from the Commendatory Preface) William B. Friend, D.D., LL.D., Bishop of Shreveport, Member of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. 1880-1884
3. 1885-1889
4. Summary
APPENDIX A: Schuyler, Eugene. “Italian Immigration into the United States.” Political Science Quarterly 4, is. 3 (September 1889): 480-495
APPENDIX B: Mayo-Smith, Richmond. “Control of Immigration. I.” Political Science Quarterly 3, is.1 (March 1888): 46-77

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