Thomas Jefferson Believed ‘Excessive Immigration’ Would ‘Destroy’ America
This article is an opinion piece from Bill Lockwood. Catch American Liberty with Bill Lockwood weekly at 11 a.m. Saturdays on NewsTalk 1290.
W. Cleon Skousen perfectly summarized the view of the "Founding Generation" toward immigration in their book "The Making of America."
A major element of the American success story is the fact that the Founders considered a law-abiding, hard-working population of productive people as its greatest resource. Only a few nations appreciate this point of view. Most of them suffer from a Malthusian complex with imaginary nightmares of an overpopulated planet smothered with people.
John Adams, for example, looked forward to the day that the United States would have two hundred million or three hundred million people working and prospering together.
What attracted people to America? Freedom.
Liberty, without government oversight in all areas of their lives. But few people in the world appreciated this viewpoint. Therefore, the Founders limited the flow of immigrants primarily to those nations that had similar concepts of restrained government.
This “melting-pot” idea was to enable proper assimilation into the culture of America.
All this changed when the so-called “progressives,” (aka, socialists), with cries of “xenophobia” and “racism," radically overturned the American system of government and crafted it into the welfare state as we now know it. Not only did “national quotas” vanish, but the enticement became, not so much freedom, but access to American taxpayer dollars.
Thomas Jefferson's sound thoughts on immigration to America.
This brings us back to the Founders. What reasoning did they present to control not only the flow of immigration into this country, but to justify quota’s tilted toward European nations?
No greater thinker there is than Thomas Jefferson, whose sound reasoning on these matters is probably lost to most in modern America who desire to frame all issues in terms of black, brown or white skin.
The basic clue, however, is grounded in the sharing of values and whether America would be able to exist in the future as a free society based upon these common principles. Below is and excerpt from Jefferson's "Notes on the State of Virginia," explaining why "excessive immigration would destroy a once-free America."
…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.
Principles of liberty. Freedom. Not a financial welfare-state.
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.
Jefferson recognized and forecasted that there would be the possibility that myriads would come from dictatorial-style governments and would carry those concepts with them. When that occurs, Jefferson added:
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.
Isn’t that an accurate picture of America today?
This is what Ted Kennedy knew when he insisted on opening our system to all-comers; and what the present socialist-Democrats are counting on. The tearing up of our system by uncontrolled immigration, allowed by government actors for the past thirty to forty years, is because the leaders of the Democrat Party, and many Republicans, do not like the Constitutional limited form of government we have and are on changing it from within.
Jefferson underscored his point of the necessity of sharing our values of freedom from God and limited government.
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.
What a prophet! What he called a “heterogeneous, incoherent, distracted mass” is what we term “balkanizing” a nation today.
Then with clarity of foresight, Jefferson asked:
May not our government be more homogeneous, more peaceable, more durable? Suppose 20 millions of republican Americans [were] 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….
Extraordinary encouragements. Such as the immoral siphoning-off of hard-working taxpayer money and doling it out like so much candy. Parroting Barack Obama and Joe Biden can only have this braggadocio comment, “this is who we are,” to explain massive immigration from all point of the compass. Maybe so. But it is not who we were, nor should be, if we expect to remain free.