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National Origins Act of 1924

Calvin Coolidge

National Origins Act of 1924: Calvin Coolidge was the 30th American President who served in office from August 2, 1923 to March 4, 1929. One of the important events during his presidency was the National Origins Act of 1924.

Definition and Summary of the National Origins Act of 1924
Summary and definition:
The 1921 Emergency Quota Act was intended to be a temporary measure but the passage of the National Origins Act of 1924 made immigration restriction a permanent policy. Admission to the United States of America was determined by ethnic identity and national origin.

The National Origins Act of 1924 tightened the 1921 quota system  by setting quotas at 2% of each national group residing in the America in 1890. By moving the year back from the census figures of 1910 to 1890 this allowed a larger number of quotas to be allotted to the "Old Immigrants" from North-Western Europe than the "New Immigrants" from South-Eastern Europe.

What did the 1921 Emergency Quota Act do?
The 1921 Emergency Quota Act established a temporary quota system by which only 3 per cent of the total population of any ethnic group already in the USA in 1910, could be admitted to the United States.

What did the National Origins Act of 1924 do?
The National Origins Act of 1924 established a permanent quota system by which only 2 per cent of the total population of any ethnic group already in the USA in 1890, could be admitted to the United States.

Why was the National Origins Act of 1924 passed?
There are many reasons why the National Origins Act of 1924 was passed and these are detailed as follows:

The government wanted to make immigration restriction a permanent policy and tighten the 1921 quota formula

The passage of the law ensured preference was given to "Old Immigrants" from North-Western Europe 

The act was in response to public opinion following the 1919 recession and high unemployment, civil unrest and the Red Scare and the massive levels of immigrants

The Dillingham Commission Report discriminated between Old and New Immigration and concluded that the "New Immigrants" from South-Eastern Europe were "inferior, uneducated and posed a serious threat to American society" and recommended that immigration to America by "New Immigrants" should be restricted.

The government wanted to limit and control immigration.

National Origins Act of 1924 - "Old Immigrants" and "New Immigrants"
The European countries of origin Are defined as follows:

  • Definition: "Old Immigrants" were from Anglo-Saxon or Nordic races who came from the North Western areas of Europe such as Britain, Ireland, Scotland, Holland, Germany, France and Scandinavia

  • Definition: "New Immigrants" were from Slovak and Jewish races who  came from South eastern European countries such as such as Italy, Greece, Russia, Slovakia, Hungary, Russia, Poland, Croatia, Lithuania and Serbia

Effects of US Immigration Laws
By passing of the 1921 Emergency Quota Act admission to the United States of America was determined by ethnic identity and national origin. The 1924 National Origins Act made immigration restriction a permanent US government policy and gave preference to the "Old Immigrants".

  • 1881-1890 the majority of immigrants to the US were the "Old Immigrants" from North-Western Europe

  • From 1891-1900 the immigration trend began to change, there were more "New Immigrants" from South-Eastern Europe

  • From 1901-1910 the US welcomed immigrants as a source of cheap labor due to the Industrialization of America - the number of "New Immigrants" from far outnumbered the "Old Immigrants". The trend continued from 1911-1920

  • Following the Dillingham Commission Report, the impact of WW1 and the Red Scare the immigration trend was completely reversed.

What was the Purpose of the National Origins Act of 1924?
The purpose and main objective of the National Origins Act of 1924 was:

  • To increase the quotas allotted to immigrants from North-Western Europe

  • The existing 1921 quota calculation was lowered from 3% to 2% percent of the foreign born population

  • The introduce a new percentage quota formula using the population of the foreign-born of each nationality in the US as recorded in the 1890 census. (the 1921 law had used the 1910 census figures)

  • To allow a larger number of quotas to be allotted to the "Old Immigrants"

National Origins Act of 1924 for kids:  Impact
The impact of the National Origins Act of 1924 was as follows:

  • The revised quota formula reduced total immigration from 357,803 in 1924, to 164,667 in 1925

  • The impact of the law varied widely by country. For instance, immigration from Great Britain fell by 19% whereas immigration from Italy fell by more than 90%

  • The quotas remained in place, with a few minor alterations until the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965

  • The National Origins Act of 1924 exempted people from the Western Hemisphere from the quota system and a record number of Mexican immigrants entered the United States 

National Origins Act of 1924 for kids: 1929 Amendments
The second part of the act became effective in 1929 replacing the 1924 quotas with a 150,000 immigration limit per year. The quota percentage allotted to each country of origin was based on the 1920 US census. The total immigration quota of 150,000 immigrants would therefore be divided between countries in proportion to the ancestry of the 1920 population (with a minimum quota of 100).

US American History
1913-1928: WW1 & Prohibition

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