Early American Immigration

We normally think of the Native Americans as the original American population, but the migration of this group of people to America closely mirrors the consistent effects of immigration. Just as the Europeans wiped out the Native American population with war, disease, and intermarriage, the introduction of Native Americans coincided with the extinction of many North American mammals. Though the causes of this outcome are still unclear, some experts believe that this is due to overhunting. Though this fact is not as well-known as the consequences of European settlement on the Native American Population, it still leaves room for thought. For instance, what would have happened if the Europeans never disrupted the Native Americans’ population and lifestyle? Would the Native Americans have led to even more detrimental affects on the North American environment just as the Europeans had done to them? Though these questions may never be answered, it is still important to find a pattern in events where large-scale immigration took place and to learn from our mistakes.

Another key point to early immigration is conquest. This factor may not be as common as it was centuries ago, but it is still interesting to look at how the outcomes of conquest affect today’s society. If we look at a newly-conquered, European-dominated North America, we can find trends of when society stays rigid or when the native culture becomes malleable. Unlike the Native Americans, the European-Americans had a larger population and were more efficiently organized. When a third large wave of humans began to migrate to America, the European-Americans were able to stand their ground and keep control of the society they had created. They had formed a system so that they had the upper hand through creating a gap between the immigrants and the “new native” population. By having a better education and a larger population, the original Northern European cultures and traditions remained even after Southern and Western Europeans began to arrive in the New World.