History U | American Immigration History: People, Patterns, and Policy

American Immigration History: People, Patterns, and Policy

This History U course enables students to better understand the history of American immigration from the colonial period to the twenty-first century.


Course Instructor: Professor Madeline Y. Hsu, University of Maryland, College Park
Eligibility: High school students


Image Source: Unknown photographer, "Landing at Ellis Island," 1902 (Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, 97501086)

Line of immigrants landing at Ellis Island, 1902
  • History U

  • Free for high school students

Course Description

This History U course enables students to better understand the history of American immigration from the colonial period to the twenty-first century. The republican foundation of the United States, with its promises of democracy and equality for all, seems to strain against the high numbers of immigrants from parts of the world barely imagined by the Founding Fathers, much less as sources of new citizens. What is the breaking point for the assimilating powers of US democracy, and how much does national vitality rely upon a continued influx of diverse immigrants with their strenuous ambitions and resourcefulness? Today we remain divided by competing beliefs about how immigration shapes our nation’s well-being and to what ends we should admit, exclude, or grant citizenship to immigrants, and in what numbers. 

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The views expressed in this course are those of Dr. Madeline Y. Hsu.


  • Twenty-five video sessions led by Professor Madeline Y. Hsu
  • Links to optional resources
  • Short quizzes to review your knowledge
  • A certificate of completion for 12 hours of course time

How to Access

  1. Click Log In and either log into your account or click the Sign Up link on the login screen to create an account.
  2. Click the Register Now button and complete the order form.
  3. After registering, you may access your course by signing in and visiting your My Courses link under My Account.

Course Introduction

Kory Loyola explains what you will learn in this course.

About the Scholar

Madeline Y. Hsu, Professor of History and Director of the Center for Global Migration Studies, University of Maryland, College Park

Madeline Y. Hsu is a professor of history and director of the Center for Global Migration Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her first book was Dreaming of Gold, Dreaming of Home: Transnationalism and Migration between the United States and South China, 1882–1943 (Stanford University Press, 2000). The Good Immigrants: How the Yellow Peril Became the Model Minority (Princeton University Press, 2015) received awards from the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, the Immigration and Ethnic History Society, the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association, and the Association for Asian American Studies. Her third book, Asian American History: A Very Short Introduction, was published by Oxford University Press in 2016, and the co-edited anthology A Nation of Immigrants Reconsidered: US Society in an Age of Restriction, 1924–1965 was published in 2019 by the University of Illinois Press.

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