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Who Belongs in America?

Presidents, Rhetoric, and Immigration

Edited by Vanessa B. Beasley

Publication Year: 2006

Published by: Texas A&M University Press

Series: Presidential Rhetoric and Political Communication


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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

The chapters appearing in this volume were fi rst presented at the seventh annual conference on presidential rhetoric held at Texas A&M University’s Presidential Conference Center, March 1–4, 2001. The conference was sponsored by the Program in Presidential Rhetoric, a research unit of the Center for Presidential Studies in the George Bush School of...

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Introduction: Presidential Rhetoric and Immigration: Balancing Tensions between Hope and Fear

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pp. 3-18

Over the course of U.S. history, few questions have been as enduring, as emotional, and as imperative as the question of, in Harry Truman’s words, “whom we shall welcome” to the nation’s shores and its citizenry. Although immigration to the United States has often been viewed primarily as a public policy problem, it represents something of...

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Chapter 1. President of All the People

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pp. 19-36

Consider the role of the president of the United States as king, obliged to represent and to speak for all the people. There is a lot of meaning packed into the phrase “represent all the people.” A king is not just a manager, the head of an administration; not even a prime minister, in the European fashion, or just a “representative” in the way a U.S. Senator...

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Chapter 2. The Aliens Are Coming: The Federalist Attack on the First Amendment

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pp. 37-60

Alexander Hamilton, born a bastard in the Bahamas, rose to become George Washington’s aide de camp, speechwriter, and secretary of the Treasury. As one of the writers of The Federalist Papers, he was in the center of the fight for the ratification of a new constitution, though his arrogance sometimes retarded the process. He opposed adding a bill of...

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Chapter 3. Presidents and Religious Diversity in the Nineteenth Century

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pp. 61-88

When the successors of George Washington took the oath of office in the early nineteenth century, they inherited an immigrant nation that was largely “unchurched.” Roger Finke and Rodney Stark estimate that only about 17 percent of the population in the colonies identified with a religious denomination or attended church at the time...

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Chapter 4. Chinese Exclusion: Causes and Consequences, 1882–1943

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pp. 89-106

Chinese exclusion influenced the development of both American immigration policy and the bureaucracy created to enforce that policy. This chapter aims to show how the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 came to be enacted and to explain presidential involvement with Chinese immigration and the consequences of that involvement...

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Chapter 5. Hooking the Hyphen: Woodrow Wilson’s War Rhetoric and the Italian American Community

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pp. 107-133

Sociologist Arthur Train posed the following questions in an article about Italian Americans published in the Saturday Evening Post in 1918: “And why has not this great heterogeneous multitude of people become better absorbed into the body of our native American population? Why is it still speaking and reading in its own divers [sic] tongues? What...

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Chapter 6. Immigration and the Red Scare

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pp. 134-148

The notable restrictions on immigration in the temporary Act of Congress of 1921, which increased and were made permanent in the Act of 1924, derived from a change in the national temper that became clear during World War I and rose to its height in 1919 and 1920, at the time of the Red Scare. These legislative acts were, alas, entirely in accord with...

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Chapter 7. Can the Alien Speak? The McCarran-Walter Act and the First Amendment

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pp. 149-182

A quick quiz: What do the following people have in common? French philosopher Michel Foucault, French entertainer Maurice Chevalier, the Right Reverend Hewlett Johnson, Anglican Dean of Canterbury, English poet Stephen Spender, English novelists Graham Greene, Doris Lessing, and Iris Murdoch, Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz, English political scientist...

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Chapter 8. Questions of Race, Caste, and Citizenship: H

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pp. 183-205

During the initial months of George W. Bush’s first term in executive office, the president’s administration was proposing several immigration reforms. Even though reports of anti-immigrant attitudes and activities had appeared in the media at the time, labor conditions for immigrants were receiving notably less attention.1 Indeed, the...

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Chapter 9. Rhetorical Ambivalence: Bush and Clinton Address the Crisis of Haitian Refugees

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pp. 206-246

Yet, as Frank Sharry, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, a pro-immigration group, noted, Americans have a love-hate relationship with immigrants based upon the conflict “between the traditions of America as a nation of laws and as a nation of immigrants.”1 Americans want immigrants to enter the United States legally, even though some...

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Chapter 10. The Class Politics of Cultural Pluralism: Presidential Campaigns and the Latino Vote

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pp. 247-271

The history of immigration in American presidential rhetoric may be regarded as a record of responses to the defining question posed by Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur in 1783: “What then is the American, this new man?” Although presidents and presidential candidates from Washington forward have addressed the assimilation of new immigrants...

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Afterword: A New Hope or a Recurring Fear?

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pp. 272-278

In the introduction, I suggested that the history of political rhetoric concerning immigration to the United States could be read through a long-standing cultural dialectic that features the immigrant as both a symbol of hope and a source of fear. In these final pages, I offer a more specific account of how I see this dialectic playing out within the individual...


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pp. 279-281


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pp. 283-294

E-ISBN-13: 9781603445443
E-ISBN-10: 1603445447
Print-ISBN-13: 9781585445059
Print-ISBN-10: 1585445053

Page Count: 296
Illustrations: 3 cartoons.
Publication Year: 2006

Series Title: Presidential Rhetoric and Political Communication
See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 646572710
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Who Belongs in America?

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Subject Headings

  • Presidents -- United States -- Language -- Case studies.
  • Rhetoric -- United States -- Political aspects -- Case studies.
  • Political oratory -- United States -- Case studies.
  • United States -- Emigration and immigration -- Government policy -- Case studies.
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