American Immigration - American Immigration American...

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American Immigration, American Nativism Throughout our history, many citizens of this "nation of immigrants" have, like Thomas Bailey Aldrich, harbored deep doubts and fears about the impacts imposed on American society by foreign-born newcomers to the country. As early as 1753—more than 20 years before the American Revolution—Benjamin Franklin worried that heavy German immigration into Pennsylvania would leave the English colonists there unable to preserve their language or government. In the early years of the American Republic, the Federalist Party of George Washington and John Adams passed the draconian Alien and Sedition Acts in order to limit immigrants' potentially destabilizing influence in American politics. For a brief moment in the 1850s, it seemed likely that anti-immigrant Know-Nothings , rather than antislavery Republicans , would become the Democrats' main rivals within America's two-party political system. The anti- immigrant politics of nativism have always been a potent force in American life. Before 1882, however, the politics of nativism in America never translated into a general government policy of exclusion. Through the entire colonial era and the first century of the American Republic, free and open immigration remained the basic law of the land. The First
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