Though Jews have been part of America since colonial times, their numbers would increase dramatically during the 19th century. Rising anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe saw a number of pogroms in which Jews were slaughtered and their properties and businesses destroyed. As a result, many sought refuge abroad with roughly two million migrating to the U.S. between 1880 and 1914. The shift this caused in America’s demographic led to an increase in anti-Jewish sentiment and a series of immigration restrictions were introduced over the 1920s.
This essay by Mark Twain provides a detailed, and typically rambunctious, exploration of the perception of Jews in America.