Thomas Jefferson’s Enlightened Views on Immigration

VDare took the opportunity upon the release of Lin Manuel Miranda’s great monument to cultural appropriators to point out that if Alexander Hamilton had gotten his way, Miranda would probably have lived as a nameless street-rat in Puerto Rico rather than the pampered son of one of Ed Koch’s diversity hires. In doing so, they published a rather scathing take-down written by Hamilton attacking his chief political enemy and favorite object of hatred, President Thomas Jefferson. It was quite a lot of fun and brilliantly executed on VDare’s part.

The attack was against Jefferson’s proposed plan on naturalization of immigrants (this being long before the abomination of birth-right citizenship was made to sit upon the high place with the Fourteenth Amendment). The great Southern philosophe, however, was not permitted to defend himself against the attack, though a defense was ready-made, waiting in his Notes on the State of Virginia – a work that ought to occupy a high place on any Dixian’s reading list, if only to acquaint himself with the thought of one of the great minds to have been produced by the South.

Let’s let Jefferson speak for himself first, since it’s a relatively short excerpt, and then we’ll reflect briefly on it:

Here I will beg leave to propose a doubt.  The present desire of America is to produce rapid population by as great importations of foreigners as possible.  But is this founded in good policy? The advantage proposed is the multiplication of numbers. Now let us suppose (for example only) that, in this state, we could double our numbers in one year by the importation of foreigners; and this is a greater accession than the most sanguine advocate for emigration has a right to expect.  Then I say, beginning with a double stock, we shall attain any given degree of population only 27 years and 3 months sooner than if we proceed on our single stock.  If we propose four millions and a half as a competent population for this state, we should be 54 1/2 years attaining it, could we at once double our numbers; and 81 3/4 years, if we rely on natural propagation…

I have taken the term of four millions and a half of inhabitants for example’s sake only.  Yet I am persuaded it is a greater number than the country spoken of, considering how much inarrable land it contains, can clothe and feed, without a material change in the quality of their diet.  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.

Let’s contextualize first. It is 1781; America has just won its independence, and American moneyed elites are eager to import as many foreigners as possible to swell the population and increase economic output (wait… this sounds familiar.) Preceding this, Jefferson has discussed how Virginia’s population has doubled itself once every 27 years or so; and this has indeed had very salubrious effects on Virginian economy and society. The problem is not with population growth, but the mode of growth. This is a purely practical concern.

What Jefferson says about government is of far greater interest, however. He opens his digression with a typical statement of Enlightenment universalism, namely that all government derives from consent of the governed.  Then, however, he takes what is a typical Southern articulation of human governance: not only that there are multiple species of government, but that these species of government have a clear and explicit tie to the discrete population from which they arise. America has a distinctly and explicitly American government, which does not apply to other discrete population groups; it is for this reason that Jefferson spoke in his inaugural address that he would honor fellow Virginian Washington’s call to avoid “entangling alliances”, and fellow Virginian Monroe’s formal condemnation of Imperialism as a doctrine of foreign policy, decidedly rejecting Alexander Hamilton’s assertion in his Camillus essays that “we are the embryo of a great empire.” More than this, though, it also asserts that nations produce governments, and not the other way around.

What nation produced the American government, this unique entity in the world? The English nation – the Anglo-Saxon people upheld as the racial basis for the whole of the South by every vocal defender of the South from Calhoun to Davis right up to Governor Wallace and Sam Dickson. What happens if this people is displaced? What is the result of importing en masse a foreign horde from a part of the world in which despotism is the only experienced reality they have? Precisely what history has demonstrated, precisely the result Jefferson predicts: a nation that has been warped, rendered into a “heterogeneous, incoherent, distracted mass”.

This is what we must escape: the result of Jefferson’s advice for Virginia being ignored, and our people thereby suffering under a regime of immigration reform, which provided precisely those “extraordinary encouragements” which have flooded our nation with masses of peoples from lands more despotic and more foreign to the spirit of our Anglo-Celtic folk than Jefferson might ever have found in his most febrile nightmares. If even a man as moderate—indeed, as liberally-minded—as Jefferson could see this most basic truth of demographic change and exchange, how utterly foreign to the spirit of our people is the support for mass unmonitored immigration, state-sponsored refugee resettlement, and indeed the entire (((narrative))) of the “melting-pot”.

-By Leon Pantera and originally published at Identity Dixie.

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22 Comments on "Thomas Jefferson’s Enlightened Views on Immigration"

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Krafty Wurker
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There were just a little over 3 million White people in the US in 1790. Maybe 3.25 million White Americans of both genders? Hard to believe, huh?

Captain John Charity Spring MA
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Captain John Charity Spring MA

We got a riot starting in the Islamic Borough of Kensington.

spahnranch1969
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The Founding Fathers were in debt up to their eyeballs to Uncle Shmuli, no different from the aristocrats of Europe.

billyrayjenkins
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Thomas Jefferson was either the most dishonest man who ever lived or someone who made a statement, then forgot what he originally said and reversed the decision later. Jefferson’s emotional involvement with France changed him into MR. OPEN BORDERS. Remember Jefferson supported the Jacobins murdering Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette having the unmitigated gall to call it Liberty and prattle on about the Tree of Liberty being watered with the blood of tyrants. The problem with Jefferson was that Jefferson saw everything through the Rose-Colored glasses of Jeffersonian Equality and by that I mean White Male Equality which is obviously… Read more »
Joe Putnam
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Thomas Jefferson was indeed a brilliant man. But his idea of all me equal only works when the country only contains white men. Otherwise, it devolves to chaos. In his book “Notes on the State of Virginia”, Jefferson argued for the removal from the U.S. (via deportation or frontier settlement) of the Negro race after their emancipation. This was less than a decade after the declaration in 1776. Jefferson specifically did not think the two races could ever dwell together in one land in peace. The Declaration of Independence must be read with Notes on the State of Virginia to… Read more »
billyrayjenkins
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For anyone to properly understand Thomas Jefferson and his Schitzo writings on Immigration know this. The Immigration Act of 1790 established Free White and 21 for citizenship, but remember WHITE in 1790 only means those not of Negro or Chinese parentage. The first Immigration Act required a 3 year waiting period, which was unenforceable as states handled naturalization. The Act of 1795 extended it to 5 years. Following the Negro uprising in Haiti and in France the collapse of both the Girdonists in 1792 and the Jacobins in 1795 French Revolutionaries had swarmed New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Baltimore. All… Read more »
billyrayjenkins
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THOMAS JEFFERSONS AUTOBIOGRAPHY ON THE VIRGINIA STATUTE FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM 1786. The bill for establishing religious freedom, the principles of which had, to a certain degree, been enacted before, I had drawn in all the latitude of reason and right. It still met with opposition; but, with some mutilations in the preamble, it was finally passed; and a singular proposition proved that its protection of opinion was meant to be universal. Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word “Jesus Christ,”… Read more »
Krafty Wurker
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I’m related a couple of different distant ways to Muhlenberg who was the Speaker of the House when the Immigration bill of 1790 was passed. He and his brother were both big fans of George Washington from what little I know of them. There are much more direct descendants of the Muhlenberg brothers kicking around. I met a couple of them years ago. It would be interesting to know where they are on these immigration issues?

spahnranch1969
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@BillyRay: The Acts of Union between England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland did not formally take place until 1707.

Krafty Wurker
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First, we let in large numbers of Roman Catholics & Marxist socialists from Ireland and Germany in the 1850’s. It was all down hill from there.

Captain John Charity Spring MA
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Captain John Charity Spring MA

How could Jefferson know that Somalis would set fire to concrete tower blocks?

https://m.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=120&v=OfI7O2QRryo

juniusdaniel1828
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@Billy Ray… ‘Thomas Jefferson was either the most dishonest man who ever lived or someone who made a statement, then forgot what he originally said and reversed the decision later. ‘ /////////////////////////////////////////////// I think neither. He was a deeply conflicted man who never became mindful of these conflicts, and, hence, never worked to develop an integrated self. At his core Jefferson was a plantation brat, who, having hot and cold runnin’ negresses, who waited on his every desire, including sexual, dreamed similar feel- good dreams that the Bush family have dreamt. With that fragmented state of mind, we have often… Read more »
billyrayjenkins
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spahnranch1969 JUNE 16, 2017 AT 10:00 PM @BillyRay: The Acts of Union between England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland did not formally take place until 1707. Spahn You’re right, From 1603 until 1649 and 1660-1707 it was what was called a Personal Union under the House of Stuart. Scotland was briefly independent in 1649 and 1650 but was conquered by Cromwell in 1651 and held until 1660. However the formation of the United Kingdom of England Wales and Scotland didn’t take place until 1707 and official union with Ireland didn’t happen until 1801. Thats why the Flag of Great Britain that… Read more »
ethnostatist
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I think the real causes of the civil war was that the Constitution was a hodgepodge of diverse and incompatible ideas and- as the Anti-Federalists warned- would erode state power, lead to uncontrollable taxation, and elevate the Judicial power above the other two branches. Right on all counts! Had the delegates done what they were elected to do- reform the Articles of Confederation and make it stronger- then the civil war would not have happened. But they threw out the baby with the bathwater, swore everybody to secrecy, and gave us the Constitution. A document that has insufficient safeguards against… Read more »
Krafty Wurker
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Most of you forget that in Jefferson’s day the only means of transportation between Europe and America was by sail, and that was risky. We forget that the death rate between Europe and America, and Africa, and America was about the same. The old ship records have been studied, and re-studied. That in itself limited immigration to America.

Captain John Charity Spring MA
Guest
Captain John Charity Spring MA

The Bretwalda predates all this. London is the engine of power. That’s why Khan must die.

spahnranch1969
Guest

If only TJ could see what the bad guys have done to America since his day, including his beloved University of Virginia and the town of Charlottesville!

billyrayjenkins
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Krafty Wurker JUNE 17, 2017 AT 1:49 AM Most of you forget that in Jefferson’s day the only means of transportation between Europe and America was by sail, The old ship records have been studied, and re-studied. That in itself limited immigration to America. Krafty Steamships were plying the seas between Europe and the USA by the 1830’s the SS Great Western hit the ocean in 1838. The SS Savannah was a steam/sailing hybrid ship that crossed the ocean in 1819. Travel by sailing ship sped up dramatically during the early 1800’s with better ships and better understanding of ocean… Read more »
billyrayjenkins
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spahnranch1969 JUNE 17, 2017 AT 12:49 PM If only TJ could see what the bad guys have done to America since his day, including his beloved University of Virginia and the town of Charlottesville! Spahn he’d probably call it liberty, Remember he said this. The bill for establishing religious freedom, the principles of which had, to a certain degree, been enacted before, I had drawn in all the latitude of reason and right. It still met with opposition; but, with some mutilations in the preamble, it was finally passed; and a singular proposition proved that its protection of opinion was… Read more »
billyrayjenkins
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ethnostatist JUNE 17, 2017 AT 1:35 AM I think the real causes of the civil war was that the Constitution was a hodgepodge of diverse and incompatible ideas and- as the Anti-Federalists warned- would erode state power, lead to uncontrollable taxation, and elevate the Judicial power above the other two branches. The real cause was definately UNCONTROLLED IMMIGRATION causing quick demographic shifts. Jefferson and the Anti-Federalist losers idea that each state should limit immigration was a fools errand. Most of the states and their ports were so horribly corrupt, New York and Baltimore wouldnt limit Sheyitt. Mathematics prove this out.… Read more »
billyrayjenkins
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Silas, NOTES ON THE STATE OF VIRGINIA was written some years before Jefferson’s term in office. His policy on Immigration and his beliefs on Religion bordered on Cultural Genocide and Heresy once he took office. JEFFERSON WAS NOT OUR GUY. He was the ILLUMINATI’s GUY. The next exceptionable feature in the Message [from President Jefferson], is the proposal to abolish all restriction on naturalization, arising from a previous residence.2 In this the President is not more at variance with the concurrent maxims of all commentators on popular governments, than he is with himself. The Notes on Virginia are in direct… Read more »
joseph bftsplk
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One of the commenters misspelled definitely [as “DEFINATELY”] at least twice.

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