A Nation Of Immigrants

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Every Passover Jews the world over sit down to the Seder table to retell the story of Exodus from Egypt in order to pass on to their children and renew in themselves their sense of who, what, and why they are. There was a time when the Fourth of July was an occasion for re-creating the days of the American Revolution, in order to serve the same purpose for Americans. (I hope that it makes a comeback, despite the assaults of a misguided “multiculturalism.”)

Now is the proper occasion for retelling the immigration story. So let us begin at the beginning, with the statement that offends the new exclusionist.

IN THE BEGINNING: 1607–1798

YOUNG REPUBLIC, 1815–60

HIGH TIDE AND REACTION: 1885–1930

THE THIRD WORLD COMES TO THE UNITED STATES: 1965–90