AMERICA CLOSES THE GATE
OPPOSITION to the immigrant, and restrictive immigration laws have concurrent histories. Our native American opposition to the immigrant began earlier than most people realize. Thomas Jefferson expressed the fear that too many subjects of the European monarchs might pollute our democracy and so destroy the foundations of our republic. He would admit intelligent artisans, trained to some craft, since we might need their help. It was the peasantry he feared, and the common laborers from the crowded cities of Europe.
Few Americans in the time of Jefferson saw the matter as he did. So long as we had an abundance of free land open to settlement, the American people gave all immigrants a royal welcome. The lonely settler on the frontier wanted neighbors. He who had lands to sell wished as many purchasers as the world might offer. All forms of business enterprise sought to increase the home market for goods. The whole tendency of this country was to grow bigger, and grow we did at a pace which never ceased to astonish those left behind in Europe.
The Germans were welcomed, and the French, though they spoke strange tongues and preserved their peculiar manners and customs.
Quakers, who were persecuted in New England, received as their own the great rich province of Pennsylvania.
When the English took over New York, in the middle of the