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The Founding Fathers on immigration

“My opinion with respect to immigration,” said Washington, “is that, except for mechanics and particular description of men and professions, there is no use in its encouragement.” Alexander Hamilton stated: “The influx of foreigners must, therefore, tend to produce a heterogeneous compound; to change and corrupt the national spirit; to complicate and confound public opinion; to introduce foreign propensities. In the composition of society, the harmony of ingredients is all-important, and whatever tends to a discordant intermixture must have an injurious tendency.” Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and other Founders expressed similar sentiments.” – from William F. Jasper, “The New American’,V. 2, No. 4 “The Nation State is Finished”

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7 thoughts on “The Founding Fathers on immigration

  1. Interesting.

    Michelle Malkin posted an article over at Vdare on the same subject using quotes from the Founding Fathers as well, although her conclusions were different. I guess that's no surprise considering she's Asian. She seemed to say the FF had a positive view of immigration, although she qualified it by saying that they didn't think this because “diversity”.

    Anyways, I didn't really feel persuaded by it. Hopefully you'll expand on this subject in the near future.

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  2. The Founding Fathers seemed to have thought to leave the survival of their own people to someone else as if it was an unimportant afterthought. Big mistake. A mistake that nullified everything else they did.

    A strange mistake since the survival of one's own is not something invented recently.

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  3. Nick – I haven't seen Michelle Malkin's piece. I think maybe her parents were immigrants, or maybe grandparents. It does seem that people of recent immigrant heritage (or even within a few generations) keep a very liberal view on immigration generally, even if they are somewhat conservative on other subjects.

    OA – I think that the Founding generation had no inkling that the world would ever grow so ''small'' via quick and inexpensive travel (air travel, fast ships, etc.) making it possible for people to traverse the globe so casually. Even in my lifetime, many people, especially those who are immigrating now, could not afford to fly to the other side of the globe. Air travel used to be much more costly. Cheap and fast travel has been very damaging to us and has made this ''One World” vision more possible, unfortunately.

    I think we should cut the Founding Fathers some slack; they didn't have a crystal ball and in their day most Third World peasants never even heard of America, never mind thinking of pulling up stakes and coming here to live. There were no handouts to lure them, and they hadn't yet been taught to envy and covet what the ''rich world'' possessed. They've since learned all that through mass media (TV, movies, etc.) and Communist propaganda, visits from Peace Corps and other do-gooders, etc.
    -VA

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  4. Nick – Thanks.

    OA – I can understand somewhat where you are coming from. You may remember that I am a Jefferson descendant, and of late I have often thought if I ever meet Thomas Jefferson in the 'world to come' I will ask him what in the blazes he was thinking when he wrote the ''all men are created equal” bit when it's so patently untrue.
    Yet I do know he didn't truly believe that, not in the way that it's being construed these days.
    -VA

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