AWCheney’s Forum On Immigration

Thomas Jefferson and the Immigration Debate

Thomas Jefferson has oft been cited by the proponents of lax immigration policy as a champion of their cause, quoting this passage from the Declaration of Independence:

“He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.”

A history of the background of this passage can be found in the Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups in the section entitled “Immigration: History of U.S. Policy, ” subsection “The Open Door Era, 1776-1881,” page 488:

“The rejection by the British government of colonial demands for a more open immigration policy to attract newcomers was one of the many grievances that led colonists to take up arms against the British in 1775. The Declaration of Independence attacked the King and the Privy Council for endeavoring “to prevent the population of these states” by refusing to recognize general naturalization acts passed by colonial assemblies and by restricting westward settlement in the Proclamation of 1763 and the Quebec Act of 1774.”

This naturalization effort was very much a part of the effort of the colonies toward expansion with new immigrant groups at the forefront opening new territories. The British government was naturally loathe to have their colonies expanded to unmanageable proportions until such time as their control was firmly re-established in those colonies already existing, where that power was already beginning to slip. With the enormous amount of unexplored territory, and potential lands and resources available to present and future colonists, it was a logical next step, and one over which the British feared losing their control.

What is forgotten in this debate is that Thomas Jefferson was also NOT favorably disposed toward unbridled immigration or of immigrants unwilling to assimilate:

“Born in other countries, yet believing you could be happy in this, our laws acknowledge, as they should do, your right to join us in society, conforming, as I doubt not you will do, to our established rules. That these rules shall be as equal as prudential considerations will admit, will certainly be the aim of our legislatures, general and particular.” –Thomas Jefferson to Hugh White, 1801. ME 10:258

“Shall we refuse the unhappy fugitives from distress that hospitality which the savages of the wilderness extended to our fathers arriving in this land? Shall oppressed humanity find no asylum on this globe? The Constitution, indeed, has wisely provided that for admission to certain offices of important trust a residence shall be required sufficient to develop character and design. But might not the general character and capabilities of a citizen be safely communicated to every one manifesting a bona fide purpose of embarking his life and fortunes permanently with us?” –Thomas Jefferson: 1st Annual Message, 1801. ME 3:338

The number of its inhabitants?

Thomas Jefferson; 1787

“…But are there no inconveniences to be thrown into the scale against the advantage expected from a multiplication of numbers by the importation of foreigners? It is for the happiness of those united in society to harmonize as much as possible in matters which they must of necessity transact together.

Civil government being the sole object of forming societies, its administration must be conducted by common consent. Every species of government has its specific principles. Ours perhaps are more peculiar than those of any other in the universe. It is a composition of the freest principles of the English constitution, with others derived from natural right and natural reason. To these nothing can be more opposed than the maxims of absolute monarchies.

Yet, from such, we are to expect the greatest number of emigrants. They will bring with them the principles of the governments they leave, imbibed in their early youth; or, if able to throw them off, it will be in exchange for an unbounded licentiousness, passing, as is usual, from one extreme to another. It would be a miracle were they to stop precisely at the point of temperate liberty. These principles, with their language, they will transmit to their children. In proportion to their numbers, they will share with us the legislation. They will infuse into it their spirit, warp and bias its direction, and render it a heterogeneous, incoherent, distracted mass. I may appeal to experience, during the present contest, for a verification of these conjectures.

But, if they be not certain in event, are they not possible, are they not probable? Is it not safer to wait with patience 27 years and three months longer, for the attainment of any degree of population desired, or expected? May not our government be more homogeneous, more peaceable, more durable?

Suppose 20 millions of republican Americans thrown all of a sudden into France, what would be the condition of that kingdom? If it would be more turbulent, less happy, less strong, we may believe that the addition of half a million of foreigners to our present numbers would produce a similar effect here. If they come of themselves, they are entitled to all the rights of citizenship: but I doubt the expediency of inviting them by extraordinary encouragements….”

Even at a time when the United States was a new nation with enormous untapped lands and resources, Thomas Jefferson also questioned the advisability of opening the country to uncontrolled immigration (“…but I doubt the expediency of inviting them by extraordinary encouragements…”). Today, with a population of over 300,000,000 souls, with few undeveloped areas and rapidly diminishing resources, I very much doubt that Mr. Jefferson would have been very supportive of an open borders policy, or even the encouragement of untold millions of additional illegal aliens to violate our borders with the promise of amnesty. The following is an excerpt from a speech by Professor Jose Angel Gutierrez, the founder of La Raza, which many people believe to be a benign (meaning, not militant) pro-illegal immigration lobby and educational group:

If you actually read all of Thomas Jefferson’s views on the issue of immigration, you will see that he actually fell more into that “middle ground” to which so many refer…and I firmly believe he would be the first to demand that Professor Gutierrez be investigated for possible charges of sedition. They took that very seriously back in his day.


July 5, 2008 1:53 am - Posted by | Illegal Immigration, Immigration | ,


  1. How many people have actually been charged with sedition in the history of our country? I do not know.

    I was playing the video and my husband came roaring out of the back of the house with a choice quote or 2. I would post it here but Mrs. Cheney would zap me as it clearly violates blog rules. It goes something like this:

    “who IS THAT NASTY mother *explective* spewing all that nasty *expletive!!!?????*

    Ah, Mr. Dolph has such a way with words. He didn’t like the video.

    I believe the lines in TJ’s day were much more blurred than they are today because the boundaries were much more blurred. Thinking about the Lewis and Clark expedition, the Corp of Discovery were dodging the Spanish and the Russians They missed each other by hundreds of miles, but it was a concern. The Spanish didn’t want them out there exploring the netherhinders of the Louisana purchase and the Russians didn’t want them out there either.

    Come to think of it, that expedition is truly an American Miracle. And amazingly enough, it happened only a little more than 200 years ago….less than 20 years before my great great grandfather was born. Only 1 member of the corp of discovery did not make it back to St. Louis. He died of appendicitis. Unbelievable!

    Comment by Dolph | July 6, 2008 9:33 am | Reply

  2. “Talk of the Nation, January 10, 2006 · Law students at the University of Montana are trying to clear the names of 74 Montanans convicted of sedition in 1918 and 1919.”

    “New York Times, May 9, 1918, Thursday
    Page 22, 1053 words
    Charged with spreading doctrines calculated to promote unrest and disloyalty among the men of the army and navy, six leaders of the International Bible Students’ Association, which has founded by the late “Pastor” Charles T. Russell, were arrested yesterday afternoon in Brooklyn by United States Marshal James M. Power.”

    “The trial of Matthew Lyon
    U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Vermont
    October 5, 1798
    A grand jury in the U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Vermont returned an indictment of Matthew Lyon on three charges of violating the Sedition Act.” plus two more in 1800. (I expect that this wasn’t all of them, just a few that turned up with Google.)

    These last three were arrested, and convicted, for saying unkind things about the President. Gee, I wonder how they would have handled Gutierrez? My, how times have changed.

    Comment by AWCheney | July 6, 2008 10:12 am | Reply

  3. By the way Dolph, I LOVE the way you handled Mr. Dolph’s quote. 😉

    Comment by AWCheney | July 6, 2008 10:19 am | Reply

  4. Thanks, awc. I had always heard about people being charged with sedition but never knew of any cases. It sounds like things have loosened up a great deal since those days. I smiled over unkind things being said against the president. We would all be goners if that standard were still in effect.

    As for my quotes, I probably dated myself: the Watergate era. sigh…..I am sure you understand;)

    Comment by Dolph | July 6, 2008 11:35 am | Reply

  5. People like Gutierrez are dangerous to a stable and peaceful society. The only end-state militant advocates and “political voices of hatred” like Gutierrez want is a civil or ethnic war. He is no better than Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Lenin, or the leaders of the French Revolution. He thinks he is leading a new “hispanic” nation to war. In reality he is creating hatred and political unrest, political division along ethnic group lines of power that can only end in violence in 10-15 years.

    The way you prevent people like this from gaining wider support and un-stoppable political power and a revolutionary milita behind them is to put them in jail. The sooner the better. Imagine if Sadam Hussein were put in jail 15 yeaqrs ago? Do you think we would have Iraqi’s fighting maniacal separatist Muslims advocating the “Hatheem” and “jihad” as the way to peace and prosperity?

    Of course his ignorance of history also shows as he claims to be a descendent the “original” inhabitants of the US. Sounds like Hitler’s claim to be the “original” and rightful inhabitants of Germany. Hitler had no history to back up the reality that the original inhabitants of Germany came from “Kazakstan” and “Afghanistan” 20,000 years ago. They became the “celtic” peoples, inventors of “iron” before the Romans even had Iron.

    What is amazing is Gutierrez claims hispanics inhabited the region before “Celts”. Paleo Indian research shows this is absolutely not true. Paleo-Indians first came to the US from “FRANCE”, 12,000 years ago (2,00 years before the paleo-Asians came down the Alaskan bridge). The trip was made possible by the glacier that hung between Greenland, France and the area of the Chesapeak bay. The people hunted “seals” along the ice shelfs and used seal skinned boats to make the journey. Boats did exist in cave paintings (I think), but paleo evidence was destroyed when the seas returned to current levels. These “celtic” peoples had paleo-ruins dated over 20,000 years ago in France, with almost identical technology discovered in Virginia, 12,000 years ago and Clovis NM 10,000 years ago. I’ll bet you a million bucks “Turtle Island” everyone of these “native Americans” claims reverence for as “proof of their ancestry in folklore” refers to Santa Catalina island off the coast of California, where more “clovis” arrows were discovered dating 6,000 years ago. Santa Catalna is a sea turtle breeding ground. There are more “French” arrows and spear tips in the Chesapeak bay area than all of those discovered in New Mexico and California together, and dated some 2,000 years before the same (similarly fluted) arrowheads were discovered in Clovis New Mexico dated 10,000 years ago. THe tools of the Asians that came down the Alaska bridge were not “clovis” arrows, but bone and serrated inlaid rock, totally different technology. What Gutierrez fails to tell you (because he’s too stupid to do the research) is that a gap of 2,000 years exists in the peleo record, due to a “huge” dust bowl desert covering the entire east coast from 12,000 to 10,000 years ago laid down 2 feet of fine grained dust in the chesapeak bay clay, showing no trace of paleo-technology in Virginia after 12,000 years and only surfacing again in Clovis NM 2,00 years later. Go to any Bay area and you can see this dust bowl band of fine dirt 1 foot below a richer layer of soil. That dust bowl was the “desert that was saused by the melting ice cap in Greenland and Canada shutting off the Gulf Stream (due to fresh water floating over salt water), and creatig severe cold and dryness “desert” destroying the lives of Virginia paleo-indians. They resurfaced in New Mexico and Santa Catalina island, meeting and inter-breeding with the paleo-Asian Indians coming down the Alaska Bridge into North America. 6,000 years ago they headed into Mexico, creating the later Mayan and Incan cultures (all north American Celts and Asians, not Hispanics from Europe, they stayed in Spain, seperated by the Pyranees until the 1400 invasion of Cortez. Even Celtic paleo descendents cannot claim the lan as the very earlist inhabitants of entral and South America were aborigines, 15,000 years ago (skull records prove this), and thier ancestors were killed by the paleo indians, alive only in Southern Argentia today. They are the true “owners” of North and South America.

    Gutierrez is such a fool claiming “hispanic” heritage, as even modern Northern Europeans came to Virgina and Florida in the early 1400s, before Cortez ever came into Central America.

    This is just hate speech drivel designed to incite a riot based on lies, deceit, and hateful anger for all peoples not “hispanic”, so no different than any other Hate group and racial supremacy advocate we’ve seen in the rest of the world. He is committing a crime by doing this to people of a different race and ethnicity than he is.

    Comment by michael | July 6, 2008 7:10 pm | Reply

  6. If you want “proof” of this, visit the NAS exhibit on 3rd street WASH,DC, on “Global warming” and see the effects of the Gulf Stream shut down by ice melt water 12,000 years ago (10,000 BC) in a matter of “decades”.

    Comment by michael | July 6, 2008 7:16 pm | Reply

  7. The Truth has arrived!

    Truly, your call to investigate prof gutierrez for sedition is ludicrous in the extreme.

    You should spend more energy on charging those people in the deep south who continue to fly the banner of the confederacy, call ‘the civil war’ the ‘war of northern aggression’ and teach their children that the ‘south will rise again’. There is a growing secessionist movement in the south. It is real and the last time it flowered, our country was bathed in more blood than all the other wars combined.

    Funny how none of you anti-immigrant types speak out against the flying of a rebel flag on American soil…a flag under which more Americans were murdered than any other.

    WHy the double standard?

    [Editor’s Note: The Truth, you are as welcome to comment on my blog as anyone else, however, I suggest that you read the rules to the right very carefully and stick to the debate, without attacking people for their opinion. I welcome passion here, but I do not welcome unfounded attacks or inflamatory remarks/statements which have no bearing on the discussion…so try to be polite in your passion. I don’t want to be forced to moderate anyone. Consider this your first warning.]

    Comment by The Truth | July 6, 2008 7:38 pm | Reply

  8. Columbus came in 1492, Cortez after Mexico was discovered in 1518, came in 1519.

    Comment by michael | July 6, 2008 7:40 pm | Reply

  9. Truth, you would be hard pressed to prove that statement about “secession” in the south, unless you cite civil war records.

    Comment by michael | July 6, 2008 7:42 pm | Reply

  10. Eirc the Red a Celtic descendent first “settled” Greenland in 982. His descendent Leif Erikson, was the first modern explorer to discover North America, Vinland, or modern day Newfoundland in 1003. This was way before Cortez again.

    Facts always free you from hatred and hate speech. Gutierrez should be discredited and if he persists put into jail for inciting militant sedition, subversion and violence against the nation.

    Comment by michael | July 6, 2008 7:55 pm | Reply

  11. Columbus and Italian, encouraged the exploration and settlement of Florida, which was first settled by Spain (Ponce De leon), in 1513, again before Cortez invaded Central and South American Aztex nations, Sir Walter Raleigh (English), discovered and settled Roanoke in 1585 (the colony disappeared), 22 years before Jamestown (1607) and 37 years before Plymouth rock.

    Comment by michael | July 6, 2008 8:32 pm | Reply

  12. Spain and Franch supported the new US Constitutional government in a 1779 revolutionary war support declaration, France in 1778. Of course the US and Spain went to war in 1812. Spain lost. A treaty signed in 1819 firmly established the boundaries of the US and lands owned by Spain, from the sabine river in Texas, to the Pacific. The US annexed the rest of Texas from Mexico in the 1846 Mexican America war. Mexico lost. This set the boundary of ownership and all claims to the current “lands” as belonging to US Citizens, not Hispanics or hispanic decendents. This is a historical fact that Guiterrez ignores and wishes to pretend is not a rightful claim to the land as much and as factual claim to “ownership” as current “hispanics” have a rightful claim to the Central American lands they annexed in their own wars with “native” Americans.

    Comment by michael | July 6, 2008 8:52 pm | Reply

  13. […] – bookmarked by 1 members originally found by chesskor on 2008-07-18 Thomas Jefferson and the Immigration Debate – bookmarked […]

    Pingback by Bookmarks about Debate | August 7, 2008 12:15 am | Reply

  14. thanks for this nice post 111213

    Comment by Laftorakita | February 21, 2011 5:45 am | Reply

  15. […] untold millions of additional illegal aliens to violate our borders with the promise of amnesty.…ration-debate/ __________________ I am going to hang a Batman Costume in my closet. ………. Just to screw […]

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