By Marilyn C. Baseler
Baseler explains how British and colonial officials and landowners lured settlers from rival nations with promises of religious toleration, economic opportunity, and the "rights of Englishmen", and identifies the liberties, disabilities, and benefits experienced by different immigrant groups. She also explains how the exploitation of slaves, who immigrated from Africa in chains, subsidized the living standards of Europeans who came by choice.
American revolutionaries enthusiastically assumed the responsibility for serving as an asylum for the victims of political oppression, according to Baseler, but soon saw the need for a probationary period before granting citizenship to immigrants unexperienced in exercising and safeguarding republican liberty. Revolutionary Americans also tried to discourage the immigration of those who might jeopardize the nation's republican future. Her work defines the historical context for current attempts by municipal, state, and federal governments to abridge the rights of aliens.
- Cheesman A.
- Ithaca, NY