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Despite popular images of the adverse disruptions caused by migration in today's global world, the migration of children in the contemporary world often repeats patterns from the past. We are also witnessing genuinely new elements. In either case, to understand and evaluate these matters requires historical understanding of childhood and knowledge about earlier migrations, such as those of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Important areas affected by migration with significant consequences for children include education, social mobility, family authority, gender roles, and the potential contributions that older children can make to strategies for family success and survival. Changes in these areas have resulted in important social transformations and can be expected to do so again. Understanding contemporary globalization should involve the knowledge of American historians especially because of the long experience in the United States with many of the factors associated with globalization that are currently being played out around the world. The paper looks at how the American experience with migration in the context of free market economic activity and of the resulting interpenetration of many cultures can help us to frame questions about migration and globalization today.