Foreign Relations: American Immigration in Global Perspective

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Overview

Histories investigating U.S. immigration have often portrayed America as a domestic melting pot, merging together those who arrive on its shores. Yet this is not a truly accurate depiction of the nation's complex connections to immigration. Offering a brand-new global history, Foreign Relations takes a comprehensive look at the links between American immigration and U.S. foreign relations. Donna Gabaccia examines America's relationship to immigration and its debates through the prism of the nation's changing foreign policy over the past two centuries, and she highlights how these ever-evolving dynamics have influenced the lives of individuals moving to and from the United States.

With an emphasis on American immigration during the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century industrial era and the contemporary era of free trade, Gabaccia shows that immigrants were not isolationists who cut ties to their countries of origin or their families. Instead, their relations to America were often in flux and dependent on government policies of the time. She cites a wide range of examples, such as how bilateral commercial treaties of the nineteenth century influenced whether family members might receive passage to America, how families maintained bonds to their countries of origin through the exchange of letters and goods, and how politics on behalf of the mother country could still be fought from across the ocean. Today, U.S. commercial diplomacy in China and NAFTA-era Mexico raises concerns about immigrants once again, and Gabaccia demonstrates that immigration has altered with America's developing geopolitical position in the world.

An innovative history of U.S. immigration, Foreign Relations casts a fresh eye on a compelling and controversial topic.

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Editorial Reviews

Choice
Gabaccia's book is a rare treat for immigration scholars. She takes the hackneyed idea that U.S. immigration policy reflects U.S. domestic policy exclusively and turns it on its head, demanding that readers reframe immigration debates as U.S. foreign relations and, more specifically, trade relations. . . . The book would be an excellent teaching tool to explain how to challenge what scholars assume that they know.
Journal of American History - Orm Øverland
By deftly weaving the stories of individuals and families into her discussion—not so much as illustrations of a generalized story as the basic elements of this story—Gabaccia has opened new windows onto the history of American immigration.
From the Publisher

Winner of the 2013 Theodore Saloutos Memorial Book Award, Immigration and Ethnic History Society

"Gabaccia's book is a rare treat for immigration scholars. She takes the hackneyed idea that U.S. immigration policy reflects U.S. domestic policy exclusively and turns it on its head, demanding that readers reframe immigration debates as U.S. foreign relations and, more specifically, trade relations. . . . The book would be an excellent teaching tool to explain how to challenge what scholars assume that they know."--
Choice

"By deftly weaving the stories of individuals and families into her discussion--not so much as illustrations of a generalized story as the basic elements of this story--Gabaccia has opened new windows onto the history of American immigration."--Orm Øverland, Journal of American History

"[T]he book's expansive connections and extensive research signal its author as an impressive senior scholar in the field."--Deborah Cohen, Diplomatic History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691134192
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 3/12/2012
  • Series: America in the World
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 899,260
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Donna R. Gabaccia is professor of history and the Rudolph J. Vecoli Chair and Director of the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota. Her many books include "We Are What We Eat" and "Immigration and American Diversity."
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Table of Contents

Preface ix

Introduction 1

Chapter 1: Isolated or Independent? American Immigration before 1850 24

Chapter 2: Empire and the Discovery of Immigrant Foreign Relations, 1850-1924 70

Chapter 3: Immigration and Restriction: Protection in a Dangerous World, 1850-1965 122

Chapter 4: Immigration and Globalization, 1965 to the Present 176

Conclusion: "The Inalienable Right of Man to Change His Home and Allegiance" 222

Appendix: Suggestions for Further Reading 235

Notes 247

Index 263

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