The second chapter presents a historical overview of presidential rhetoric on immigration policy. Beginning after American independence, it investigates the role of the president’s words on federal immigration policy to summarize the evolution of presidents’ immigration rhetoric. In the pre-modern era, the federal government increases its involvement in immigration policy due to western conquest, changing international trade, alliances, and conflicts, and changing transportation technologies. Further, presidents begin to take a larger public-facing role over immigration policy as reflected in the speeches data presented later in the chapter. The chapter ends with an introduction of the rhetoric of modern presidents on immigration policy, setting the stage for the remainder of the book: a systematic analysis of presidential attention to immigration and the impact of presidential immigration rhetoric on the news media, public, and Congress.