Paired Texts > "Shut the Door" Speech
We've identified these texts as great options for text pairings based on similar themes, literary devices, topic, or writing style. Supplement your lesson with one or more of these options and challenge students to compare and contrast the texts. To assign a paired text, click on the text to go to its page and click the "Assign Text" button there.
"The New Colossus" is a poem by Emma Lazarus that was published in 1883. It describes the millions of immigrants who came to America through the port of New York City at Ellis Island.Pair “The New Colossus” with the “Shut the Door” speech and ask students to consider two different perspectives on immigration.
This informational text describes the hard lives of Mexican-Americans and immigrants who became migrant workers throughout the 20th century in the United States.Pair this famous speech by a Senator opposed to immigration with “Mexican Migrant Workers in the 20th Century” and have students compare the perspectives of each text. How do the authors’ points of view differ? How do the tones differ? How does each author support their argument, and – in your opinion – which is stronger?
This informational text describes the tide of new immigrants to the United States from southern and eastern Europe and Asia from the mid-1800s to the 1920s, detailing the struggle they faced due to cultural differences and racism.Pair “The Rush of Immigrants” with the “’Shut the Door’ Speech” and ask students to discuss the cause and effects of anti-immigrant sentiments in the United States. Ask students to compare the American values in the Shut the Door speech to the concept of America as the great melting pot.
Mike Kubic, a former Newsweek magazine correspondent, discusses his experiences as a post-WWII refugee and the need to address the refugee crisis of Middle Eastern migrants struggling for entry into Europe.Pair “‘Shut the Door’ Speech” with “A Refugee Looks Back” and ask students to compare the viewpoints of President Truman and Senator Durant Smith. What reasons do the politicians give to substantiate their positions regarding immigration policy?
This article details the rise of anti-Semitic laws in Nazi Germany throughout the 1930s which eventually led to the complete dehumanization and segregation of Jews living in Nazi-occupied territory.Pair “'Shut the Door' Speech” with “Anti-Jewish Legislation in Prewar Germany” and ask students to discuss the effects of prejudice towards particular groups of people. Many Jews emigrated from Germany during the 1930s to escape antisemitism only to find countries like the United States would not admit the majority of them. Ask students to discuss the morality of anti-immigrant policies in the context of this historical background and the article on anti-Jewish legislation.
In "America's Shifting Views on Immigration," Mike Kubic discusses the history of immigration in the United States, from immigrants' initial passage through Ellis Island to immigration today.Pair “'Shut the Door’ Speech” with “America’s Shifting Views on Immigration” and ask students to discuss how Senator Ellison DuRant Smith’s speech exemplifies some of the anti-immigrant views of the time. What additional reasons does the speech provide for why people wanted to keep immigrants out of America?