chapter  3
The Nineteenth-Century Immigration
WithOscar Handlin
Pages 14

The United States only slowly worked out the dynamics of the relationship between foreign policy and the people of a democratic republic. Diplomacy had long been the concern of monarchs and an aristocratic elite, and the means of assessing popular attitudes had scarcely developed in the nineteenth century. The relationship tended to change once the second generation gained importance. People who grew up within the United States were native-born citizens and had absorbed US attitudes toward political action. In the closing decades of the eighteenth century, the most striking attractions of the New World were its political innovations, and they remained so through the nineteenth century. The consequences of those implications would soon unfold in the exclusionary immigration laws and the isolationism of the 1920s. The traditional assumptions about the universality of republican society found confirmation both in the policies of open immigration and in the confident assertions of a foreign policy of manifest destiny.