Tag Archives: Immigration

Thomas Jefferson On Foreign Ideas and Immigration

In 1782, Thomas Jefferson wrote of the dangers of unrestricted immigration.

What we can apply today from his words of wisdom.

Thomas Jefferson circa 1780 the 3rd President of the United States. Born in Virginia, he drafted the Declaration of Independence,

The United States faced a population problem in 1782. There simply weren’t enough people living in the U.S.: just over 2.7 million according to the census.

Some citizens proposed increasing population by inviting foreigners to settle in the United States.

Thomas Jefferson was firmly against using immigration by “inviting (foreigners) by extraordinary encouragements” as a means of increasing population. Jefferson was not against immigration for people who wanted to come to the United States on their own.

Jefferson’s belief was to allow population to increase naturally through its native stock and continue to allow immigration at its natural pace. While Jefferson wasn’t speaking against any particular group of immigrants flooding our shores, he knew that foreign allegiances and ideas could cause great upheavals. Jefferson questioned whether increasing population just for the sake of increasing population was a wise move for our young country.

Jefferson espoused civilized values, the current “Western ideals” that the United States was founded upon and that are currently under attack by terrorists. Continue reading

This Man Was The Last Immigrant To Pass Through Ellis Island

60 Years Ago – Ellis Island Closes

Arne Petterson last Ellis Island immigrant, 1954 photo: A.P.

Arne Petterson last Ellis Island immigrant, 1954 photo: A.P.

On November 12, 1954 Arne Petterson became the last alien immigrant to pass through Ellis Island, when the busiest immigration station in the United States permanently closed its doors.

Petterson is seen here waving goodbye on a ferry in New York Harbor as he was on his way to be picked up by a friend who would sponsor him for citizenship.

Petterson, 48, was a Norwegian merchant seaman from Narvik who had overstayed his shore leave while in New York. In 1942, during World War II, Petterson survived a German u-boat attack on his ship, the Leiv Eiriksson.

Ellis Island was in operation for 62 years and processed over 12 million immigrants.

The Stowaway

Illegal Immigration 1931

Stowaway 4 16 1931

Stows Away in Box To Enter America

He tried to come to America in a box of hats, but now he has to go back to France. Louis Chianese nailed himself carefully in a wooden box, with biscuits, chocolate and water. On the outside was printed the legend that the box contained hats for a New York department store. Young Louis stood it for two days in the hold of the liner Lafayette – that was enough. He fired two revolver shots and was quickly released. Here he is on deck of the ship in New York, box and all. He says he will never try it again. – Associated Press Photo 4-16-31

20-year-old Louis Chianese said to his parents before leaving home without their knowledge, “I will go to America even if I have to go in a box!” His parents probably did not take him literally, but the box Chianese ended up in measured 7 by 2 by 3 feet. When the box was initially delivered to the pier in Havre, France, it was placed upside down.  Chianese said, “I thought my head was going to burst.” He almost accidentally burned himself to death when he struck a match inside the box to consult his watch to check the time. The box caught fire. Luckily he was able to extinguish the fire.

According to follow-up news reports, Chianese was actually in the box five days, not two, and it was his parents who alerted the shipping company to search for their son after he had been missing for days. The tip off was they received a packing and shipping bill for the box.

After he was returned to France, Chianese ended up in  a slightly larger confined space – he was sentenced to 15 days in prison.

Book Review: A Penny From Heaven

A Penny From Heaven by Max Winkler  (Appleton-Century-Crofts, Inc 1951)

Anyone suffering through the trepidation of an uncertain job market and being out of work with no savings, would find comfort and inspiration by reading Max Winkler’s, 1951 autobiography and ode to America,  A Penny From Heaven.

Even for those not being in the same circumstances, Winkler’s book is a page-turning, lively recreation of the United States at the dawn of the twentieth century.  Achieving the American Dream and leaving behind the “old country” forever, was the goal of millions of ignorant, poor and helpless European immigrants and Winkler conveys the struggle as well as any writer ever has. Continue reading