Building the Union, 1865–1913: the immigration process

Bernadette Whelan

in American Government in Ireland, 1790-1913

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780719083013
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781703281 | DOI:
Building the Union, 1865–1913: the immigration process

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The word ‘immigration’ is not mentioned in the US Constitution but it allowed for a naturalisation process, permitted immigrants to hold all offices, except that of president and vice president. Early congressional leaders realised that increasing their control over territory required people and, therefore, they encouraged immigration. In 1808 Congress ended the importation of slaves and in 1819 it legislated that immigrants be counted at all ports. Just over forty years later, the Supreme Court ruled that immigration was ‘foreign commerce’ and could be regulated by Congress. But it was not until the ineffectual Page Act in 1875 and the creation of a dedicated bureaucracy in the 1880s, that consistent congressional interest in the issue emerged. At a popular level, however, anti-immigrant movements appeared, particularly during the 1840s, which produced state-level efforts to restrict immigration.

Keywords: Ireland; United States; immigration policy; emigration

Chapter.  22684 words. 

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