Immigration cartoon, 1916

“The Americanese wall - as Congressman [John Lawson] Burnett would build it ,” 1916. (Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)This political cartoon appeared as the nation debated new restrictions on immigration. After 1917, immigrants entering the United States had to pass a literacy test. In the cartoon, the literacy test appears as an insurmountable barrier to a family of immigrants. Uncle Sam peers out over the barrier, a flag behind him ironically proclaiming "the land of the free." The law foreshadowed the 1924 National Origins Act, which ended the years of mass immigration.