GOD BLESS AMERICA?
The INTERSECTION of IMMIGRATION, RACE, and REALITY
God bless America
Land that I love
Stand beside her
And guide her
Through the night with the light from above
From the mountains
To the prairies
To the oceans
White with foam
God bless America
My home sweet home
My maternal grandmother came to the United States of America as an undocumented alien. She was the youngest daughter, and the ninth of ten children of Jamaican and Puerto Rican emigres who settled in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Nana was attracted to the American Dream of the early Twentieth century and pursued it. She followed one of her nieces, Becky, Rebecca Carter, a lively, energetic young woman, a dancer enticed by images of life across the border. Perhaps she perceived possibilities as freer, more glamorous, unbound by stifling constraints at home. Becky didn’t stay… she returned to Victoria and died, most likely from Tuberculosis. Nana, however, cast her lot on American soil. She met my grandfather at a dance in Spokane, WA. They married June 11, 1921, and eventually Alice Beatrice Barnswell Graves became a naturalized citizen. She died in Portland, OR sixty-three years later; both she and Grandpa are interred in a local cemetery. Two of their three children, my mother and her older sister, were born in Washington state.
I don’t know when Nana became a US citizen; it’s possible she hadn’t attained resident status when Uncle Billy, my grandparents’ only son was born, November 14, 1926, in Victoria… theoretically, was he a Dreamer, too? William Arthur Clinton Graves served in the US Navy and merchant marines; lived and died in the USA. He married and sired a family. But… during Uncle Billy’s lifetime he was simply a brotha… another Black man just tryin’ to make it in a country where his worth was tied to his race and his manhood disrespected. No one ever told him he resided at the intersection of immigration, race, and reality! For the record, no one told Nana, either.
I learned about my maternal family from my grandmother; we began our marvelous journey during my childhood. My love of, and appreciation for history.”… the whole series of past events connected with someone or something…  a continuous, typically chronological, record of important or public events…” ¹ was nurtured by a petite, strong-willed, yet long-suffering woman delighted to indulge her only granddaughter’s inexhaustible curiosity. I don’t know what Nana had to do to become a card-carrying U.S. citizen. Oh, yes, she had one! She didn’t keep it on her person, out of vanity. She was older than Grandpa… and sensitive about her age. Ah, the beauty and complexity of human nature. Ironically, we never discussed her journey to citizenship. Was it a big deal? Was it something she strongly desired? I don’t know.
The history behind the intersection of immigration, race, and reality in the US is a breathtaking chronology of laws and Supreme Court decisions based on one unshakable belief in the superiority of white settlers and their outrageous sense of entitlement. Immigration, access to land owned and occupied by Native Americans, and slavery combined to create a dispiriting social, moral, and economic morass, memorialized in song, aided and abetted by political polarization, an idealized attitude toward patriotism, and feckless leadership spanning more than two centuries. God bless America?
Racism, bigotry, xenophobia, and the plight of undocumented people of color living in the US has been front and center in our daily lives for the past eighteen months defying a humane, dignified, and rational resolution. At the core of our bifidity is a hostile government whose role in creating and perpetuating an us (White America) vs. them (everybody else) mentality dates further back than the general election of 2016. God bless America?
The concept of America as a privileged nation for wealthy white men is eloquently articulated in the preamble to the Declaration of Independence:
July 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by the Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,–That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.—Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direction object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States…”²
Forty-one of the fifty-six white men who signed the declaration were slaveowners. Among these names forever esteemed and enshrined as founding fathers are men familiar to many. Their personal histories, with notable exceptions, remain purposefully obscure. Anyone who remembers the rudiments of early American history ought to recognize Thomas Jefferson, John Hancock, and Benjamin Franklin. Jefferson and Franklin were among The Committee of Five designated by the Continental Congress to write the declaration. Of the five, Jefferson, Franklin, and Robert R. Livingston were slave-owners. God bless America?
Jefferson was chosen to author the first draft in which he absolved the fledgling government of responsibility for slavery by blaming it on Britain’s King George, III, The Enemy, or better yet, the OG! For the uninitiated, OG stands for original gangster, someone unfairly perceived as guilty of wrongdoings. His original contained the following passage: “…He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the Christian King of Great Britain. Determined to keep open a market where Men should be bought & sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or restrain this execrable commerce. And that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people on whom he has obtruded them: thus paying off former crimes committed again the Liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another.”³
Edited out by John Adams, second president of the United States, and Benjamin Franklin, it was replaced with an ambiguous reference to Native Americans: “…He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose know rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions…”⁴ Having toned down or more specifically dialed back any reference to the ‘peculiar institution,’ the document was adopted July 2, 1776. Thus was another plank added to the foundation for the intersection of immigration, race, and reality in the US. God bless America?
By the time Nana and Grandpa married, God Bless America was part of our national songbook. The lyrics were composed in 1918 by a young man known to history as Irving Berlin, one of the country’s most prolific composers. Often referred to as America’s song-writer, Berlin was born Israel Balin, May 11, 1888 in Tyumen, Russia. His family fled Jewish persecution and emigrated to the US in the mid-1890s, settling in New York City. Berlin wrote God Bless America as a prayer for peace on the eve of the entry of the US into World War I. He became a citizen in 1918 and was promptly drafted into the Army.
Berlin, who could neither read nor write music, revised the song in 1939 as World War II began and added an introduction:
“While the storm clouds gather far across the sea
Let us swear allegiance to a land that’s free
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair
As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer.”
Kate Smith, a nationally known singer, actress, and radio personality formally introduced the song to America in 1939, incorporating the introduction as the opening verse. She made her film debut in This is the Army singing God Bless America in a spectacular Hollywood period piece featuring an all-white cast including Ronald Reagan and Berlin singing his composition. Ah, God Bless America…land that I love?
Congress’s first immigration law added to the intersection of citizenship, race, and reality. “The 1790 Naturalization Act [1 Stat. 103] establishes the country’s first uniform rule for naturalization. The law provides that ‘free white persons’ who have resided in the United States for at least two years may be granted citizenship so long as they demonstrate good moral character and swear allegiance to the Constitution. The law also provides that the children (under 21) of naturalized citizens shall also become US citizens.”⁵
Between 1790 and 2006, the Congress of the United States of America passed thirty-five immigration laws. The Alien and Sedition Acts were enacted in 1798. “Congress enacts four laws known collectively as the Alien and Sedition Acts, which contain a number of stringent immigration enforcement provisions. Among other provisions, the laws require that noncitizens have resided in the United States for 14 years prior to naturalization, authorize the President to apprehend, restrain, and remove noncitizens who are citizens or subjects of countries with which the United States is at war, and allows the Executive Branch to deport any noncitizen deemed “dangerous to the peace and safety of the United States.” Congress eventually repeals the naturalization provisions in 1802 and the other portions of the laws are permitted to expire.”⁶
Immigration took a back seat as slavery moved to the forefront. Although the importation of slaves to the US was banned by Congress in 1807, [2 Stat. 426] and became effective in 1808, planters were already dependent on the unpaid labor of Africans and their progeny. The founding fathers’ reluctance to decisively address the shameful act of placing African men, women, and children in bondage for the sake of making money, inflamed debate, turning a fallow field ripe for conflict. “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of representatives.
The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States…
Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons…”⁷
The turn of the century brought fresh challenges to unresolved issues plaguing the fragile union known as the United States of America. “An act of February 28, 1800 authorized the second census of the United States to include the states and territories northwest of the Ohio River and Mississippi Territory…”⁸ By 1800 the federal government boasted sixteen states, Vermont, admitted March 4, 1791; Kentucky, admitted June 1, 1792; and Tennessee, admitted June 1, 1796 plus the aforementioned territories. The resident population was 5,308,483 citizens of whom 893,602 were enslaved and counted as only three-fifths of a person. “Prior to 1900 few Indians are included in the decennial Federal census. Indians are not identified in the 1790-1840 censuses. In 1860, Indians living in the general population are identified for the first time…”₉
Gabriel Prosser was a twenty-four-year-old, six-foot, two-inch enslaved blacksmith whose plan to take over Richmond, VA and transform it into a kingdom under his leadership was foiled. A literate, well-regarded young man, his revolt was inspired by the American, French, and Haitian revolutions. “Prosser planned to initiate the insurrection on the night of August 30, 1800. However, earlier in the day two slaves who wanted to protect their masters betrayed the plot to Virginia authorities. Governor James Monroe alerted the militia. A rainstorm delayed the uprising by 24 hours, preventing Prosser’s army from assembling outside Richmond and providing the militia crucial time to prepare a defense of the city. Realizing their plan had been discovered, Prosser and many of his followers dispersed into the countryside. About 35 leaders were captured and executed but Prosser escaped to Norfolk where he was betrayed by fellow slaves who claimed the reward for his capture on September 25. Prosser was returned to Richmond and tried for his role in the abortive uprising. He was found guilty on October 6, 1800 and executed the following day.”10 God bless America land that I love…My home sweet home.
Between 1800 and 1830, an additional eight states joined the Union: Ohio was admitted March 1, 1803; Louisiana, April 30, 1812; Indiana, December 11, 1816; Mississippi, December 10, 1817; Illinois, December 3, 1818; Alabama, December 14, 1819; Maine, March 15, 1820; and Missouri, August 10, 1821. As the nation grew, so did the debate over slavery. “In an effort to preserve the balance of power in Congress between slave and free states, the Missouri Compromise was passed in 1820 admitting Missouri as a slave state and Maine as a free state. Furthermore, with the exception of Missouri, this law prohibited slavery in the Louisiana Territory north of the 36̊ 30’ latitude line…”11
“The Compromise of 1850 consists of five laws passed in September of 1850 that dealt with the issue of slavery. In 1849 California requested permission to enter the Union as free state, potentially upsetting the balance between the free and slave states in the U.S. Senate. Senator Henry Clay introduced a series of resolutions on January 29, 1850, in an attempt to seek a compromise and avert a crisis between North and South. As part of the compromise of 1850, the Fugitive Slave Act was amended and the slave trade in Washington, D.C., was abolished. Furthermore, California entered the Union as a free state and a territorial government was created in Utah. In addition, an act was passed settling a boundary dispute between Texas and New Mexico that also established a territorial government in New Mexico.”12
“The Kansas-Nebraska Act repealed the Missouri Compromise, allowing slavery in the territory north of the 36º 30’ latitude. Introduced by Senator Stephen Douglas of Illinois, the Kansas-Nebraska Act stipulated that the issue of slavery would be decided by the residents of each territory, a concept known as popular sovereignty. After the bill passed on May 30, 1854, violence erupted in Kansas between pro-slavery and anti-slavery settlers, a prelude to the Civil War.” 13
“Nathanial “Nat” Turner (1800-1831) was a black American slave who led the only effective, sustained slave rebellion (August 1831) in U.S. history. Spreading terror throughout the white South, his action set off a new wave of oppressive legislation prohibiting the education, movement, and assembly of slaves and stiffened proslavery, antiabolitionist convictions that persisted in that region until the… Civil War…
He was born on the Virginia plantation of Benjamin Turner, who allowed him to be instructed in reading, writing, and religion. Sold three times in his childhood and hired out to John Travis…, he became a fiery preacher and leader of African-American slaves on…Turner’s plantation and in his Southampton County neighbourhood, claiming… he was chosen by God to lead them from bondage…
Believing in signs and hearing divine voices, Turner was convinced by an eclipse of the Sun (1831) that the time to rise up had come, and he enlisted the help of four other slaves… An insurrection was planned, aborted, and rescheduled for August 21, 1831, when he and six other slaves killed the Travis family, managed to secure arms and horses, and enlisted about 75 other slaves in a disorganized insurrection…[resulting] in the murder of 51 white people.
Afterwards, Turner hid nearby successfully for six weeks until his discovery, conviction, and hanging at Jerusalem, Virginia, along with 16 of his followers. The incident put fear in the heart of southerners, ended the organized emancipation movement in that region, resulted in even harsher laws against, and deepened the schism between slave-holders and free-soilers (an anti-slavery political party whose slogan was ‘free soil, free speech, free labor, and free man’)…[culminating] in the Civil War.”14
1830 was also a significant year affecting the lives and futures of Native Americans living on millions of acres in North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, and Florida. God bless America…Stand beside her…And guide her… White America’s growing sense of entitlement emboldened negative attitudes toward Native Americans whom they feared, reviled, and resented. They wanted Indian land, believing it should be theirs. Their cause was championed by Andrew Jackson, 7th president of the United States. He was a veteran of brutal army campaigns waged against the Creeks in Georgia and Alabama and the Seminoles in Florida. These wars resulted in the transfer of hundreds of thousands of acres of land from Native American ownership to white farmers.
Jackson signed into law and aggressively enforced The Indian Removal Act of 1830. The legislation gave the federal government the right to exchange Native American owned land in the ‘cotton kingdom’ east of the Mississippi for land to the west in a region known as the Indian colonization zone, acquired by the US as part of the Louisiana Purchase. The zone is present-day Oklahoma. “…The law required the government to negotiate removal treaties fairly, voluntarily and peacefully: it did not permit the president or anyone else to coerce Native nations into giving up their land. However, President Jackson and his government frequently ignored the letter of the law and forced Native Americans to vacate lands they had lived on for generations. In the winter of 1831, under threat of invasion by the U.S. Army, the Choctaw became the first nation to be expelled from its land altogether. They made the journey to Indian territory on foot (some “bound in chains and marched double file,” one historian writes) and without any food, supplies or other help from the government. Thousands of people died along the way. It was, one Choctaw leader told an Alabama newspaper, a “trail of tears and death…
…By 1838… about 2,000 Cherokees had left their Georgia homeland for Indian territory. President Martin Van Buren [8th president of the US] sent General Winfield Scott and 7,000 soldiers to expedite the removal process. Scott and his troops forced the Cherokee into stockades at bayonet point while whites looted their homes and belongings. Then, they marched the Indians more than 1,200 miles to Indian territory. Whooping cough, typhus, dysentery, cholera and starvation were epidemic along the way, and historians estimate that more than 5,000 Cherokee died as a result of the journey.
By 1840, tens of thousands of Native Americans had been driven off… their land in the southeastern states and forced to move across the Mississippi to Indian territory. The federal government promised… their new land would remain unmolested forever, but as the line of white settlement pushed westward, “Indian country” shrank and shrank. In 1907 Oklahoma became a state and Indian territory was gone for good.” 15
While Native Americans suffered the traumatic and dehumanizing theft of their land and forced colonization on reservations, slavery dominated. Congress ducked and dodged, hemmed and hawed, careening from one ill-advised action to another bringing the country closer to war. The last straw was a Supreme Court decision affirming the right of slave-owners to take their slaves into the Western territories, negating the doctrine of popular sovereignty, arguing African Americans could never be citizens of the United States. “The Supreme Court decision Dred Scott v. Sanford was issued on March 6, 1857. Delivered by Chief Justice Roger Taney, this opinion declared that slaves were not citizens of the United States and could not sue in Federal courts. In addition, this decision declared that the Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional and that Congress did not have the authority to prohibit slavery in the territories. The Dred Scott decision was overturned by the 13th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution.”16 God bless America… my home sweet home…
Congress took up immigration again in 1864 and in 1882. The Immigration Act of 1882 was legislation aimed at establishing broad federal oversight of immigration. Race and immigration intersected in 1882 in The Chinese Exclusion Act. “Congress passes the first Chinese Exclusion Act [22 Stat. 58], the United States’ first attempt at regulating immigration along racial lines. The law suspends the immigration of Chinese laborers for ten years, but allows those Chinese who were in the United States as of November 17, 1880 to remain. The 1882 law paves the way for a series of laws between 1882 and 1904 that severely restrict Chinese immigration flows and provide for the deportation of many Chinese nationals already residing in the United States.”17
Between 1882 and 1942, Congress passed eight raced-based immigration laws. The 1917 Immigration Act (39 Stat. 874) draws on the prohibitions of the Chinese exclusion laws and creates an “Asiatic barred zone” covering British India, most of Southeast Asia, and almost all of the Middle East. Nationals from countries within the zone are prohibited from immigrating, though the law exempts students, as well as certain professionals (e.g. teachers, government officers, lawyers, physicians, and chemists), and their wives and children. The law also expands the list of grounds of inadmissibility to include, among other grounds, anarchists, persons previously deported who seek re-entry within a year without obtaining special permission, and all individuals over the age of 16 who are deemed “physically capable of reading” and who cannot read.
The 1921 Emergency Quota Act constitutes Congress’ first attempt to regulate immigration by setting admission “quotas” based on nationality. The law limits the number of immigrants of each nationality allowed to immigrate to the United States each year to 3 percent of the number of foreign-born persons of that nationality present in the United States as of the 1910 census. Temporary visitors, government officials, and nationals of Western Hemisphere countries are excluded from the quotas.
The 1924 National Origins Quota Act (known as the Jonson-Reed Act) establishes that quotas will be calculated based on 2 percent of each nationality’s proportion of the foreign-born US population in 1890, as indicated in the 1890 census. The use of the 1890 census to set the quotas is criticized as discriminating against southern and eastern Europeans, who arrived in the United States in greater numbers during the last decade of the 19th century and the first two decades of the 20th century. Students, nationals of Western Hemisphere countries, members of certain professions, and the wives and minor children of US citizens are exempted from the quotas.
In 1942, sixty years after the first Chinese Exclusion Act, congress passed the Magnuson Act, repealing the exclusion acts and allowing Chinese Nationals to become citizens.
Prompted by labor shortages in the United States as a result of World War II, the United States and Mexico enter into the 1942 Bracero Agreement, allowing Mexican nationals to enter the United States to serve as temporary agricultural workers. The agreement, which Congress extended in 1949 and 1951, provides that US employers will pay the transportation and living expenses of Mexican laborers, as well as wages equal to those of American farmworkers doing similar work. The program continues in some form until 1964.
Sixty years after the first Chinese Exclusion Act, , the Magnuson Act (57 Stat. 600) repeals the Chinese Exclusion Acts and allows Chinese nationals to become US citizens…”18
Nana never discussed becoming a citizen, nor did she express thoughts about the country either positive or negative. She wasn’t caught up in the idiomatic hype intended to be definitive, “As American as baseball, hotdogs, motherhood, and apple pie.” She didn’t wax rhapsodic as some feel is required to establish the proper attitude of patriotic fervor… perhaps living at the intersection of immigration, race, and reality was enough. What she did tell me was if her father had been alive when she emigrated, he would not have allowed it. I continue to ponder her revelation… God bless America.
More legislation covered war brides in 1945. Refugee relief acts were passed through 1986’s Immigration Reform and Control Act. 1988 ushered in drug-related immigration laws. Congress continued enacting laws in 1988, 1990, 1994, and 1996. In 1997 Congress passed the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act, providing avenues of relief from deportation and adjustment of status for eligible Nicaraguans, Cubans, Salvadorans, Guatemalans and nationals of former soviet-bloc countries. A similar bill was passed in 1998 providing relief for qualified Haitians. Both pieces of legislation are currently under scrutiny with thousands of foreign nationals residing in the US legally facing deportation.
Since the advent of the twenty-first century, the focus of legislation shifted to terrorism: 2001, The USA Patriot Act; 2002, The Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act; the Homeland Security Act; 2005 the REALID Act; and …”Congress enacts the Secure Fence Act  after the Senate fails to adopt immigration reform legislation that had passed the House in 2005. The law mandates the construction of more than 700 miles of double-reinforced fence to be built along the border with Mexico, through the US states of California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas in areas that experience illegal drug trafficking and illegal immigration. It authorizes more lighting, vehicle barriers, and border checkpoints and requires the installation of more advanced equipment, such as sensors, cameras, satellites, and unmanned aerial vehicles, in an attempt to increase control of illegal immigration into the United States.”18
The latest immigration proposal, which does not require congressional approval, will make it more difficult for legal immigrants to become citizens. The proposed rule, which has not been published in the Federal Register as of yet, is intended to limit the number of immigrants obtaining legal status. It targets green card holders and other immigrants with legal status who use the Affordable Care Act, children’s health insurance, CHIP, food stamps, or other benefits.
As reprehensible as current family separations are, it helps to put our history in context and understand what we’re witnessing isn’t new. The federal government has taken extreme measures to control the emigration of nonwhites since the first Africans had their status as indentured servants downgraded to slaves in the seventeenth century. Japanese citizens were forced into the internment camps during World War II. The United States of America, contrary to popular myth, has always been a reluctant melting pot. Skin color, race, ethnicity, and religion matter far too much when examined in the light of the Charters of Freedom, the Declaration of Independence, the constitution, and the bill of Rights. God bless America… my home sweet home…
My Country ‘Tis of Thee, America, God Bless America, The Star Spangled Banner, and similar songs celebrating the United States of America evoke myriad feelings. Those who perceive them as the epitome of what it means to be an American fail to grasp how difficult it is to feel patriotic or sentimental when one is treated as less than, inferior, unwanted, and disrespected. God bless America? Living at the intersection of immigration, race, and reality poses one heck of a conundrum, and I believe Nana understood.
Men talk of the Negro problem; there is no Negro problem.
The problem is whether American people have loyalty enough, honor enough, patriotism enough, to live up to their own Constitution.
Paul Laurence Dunbar
Copyright August 17, 2018 by Theresa W. Bennett-Wilkes. All rights reserved.
1. Stevenson and Lindberg, Editors, New Oxford American Dictionary, Third Edition, 2010, Oxford University Press, Inc, NY.
2. Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, Livingston, Sherman, Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. Reference www.BillofRightsInstitute.org.
3. www.BlackPast.org. Sources: Thomas Jefferson, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson: Being His Autobiography, Correspondence, Reports, Messages, Addresses, and Other Writings, Official and Private (Washington, D.C.: Taylor & Maury, 1853-1854).
4. Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, Livingston, Sherman, Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. Reference www.BillofRightsInstitute.org.
5. Migration Policy Institute Timeline, Major US Immigration Laws, 1790-Present, www.migrationpolicy.org.
7. The Constitution of the United States: A Transcription Note: The following text is a transcription of the Constitution as it was inscribed by Jacob Shallus on parchment (the document on display in the Rotunda at the National Archives Museum.) The spelling and punctuation reflect the original. https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/constitution-transcript.
11. Primary Documents in American History, Missouri Compromise, https://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/ourdocs/missouri.html.
12. Primary Documents in American History, Compromise of 1850 www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/ourdocs/compromise1850.html.
13. Primary Documents in American History, Kansas-Nebraska Act, www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/ourdocs/kansas.html.
16. Primary Documents in American History, Dred Scott v. Sandford www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/ourdocs/dredscott.html.
17. Migration Policy Institute Timeline, Major US Immigration Laws, 1790-Present, www.migrationpolicy.org.
18. Loc. Cit.