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Foreign Relations:
American Immigration in Global Perspective
Donna R. Gabaccia

Winner of the 2013 Theodore Saloutos Memorial Book Award, Immigration and Ethnic History Society

Paperback | 2015 | $20.95 | £16.95 | ISBN: 9780691163659
288 pp. | 5 x 8 | 2 halftones. 1 line illus. 3 tables.
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eBook | ISBN: 9781400842223 |
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Histories investigating U.S. immigration have often portrayed America as a domestic melting pot, merging together those who arrive on its shores. Yet this is not a truly accurate depiction of the nation's complex connections to immigration. Offering a brand-new global history of the subject, Foreign Relations takes a comprehensive look at the links between American immigration and U.S. foreign relations. Donna Gabaccia examines America’s relationship to immigration and its debates through the prism of the nation’s changing foreign policy over the past two centuries. She shows that immigrants were not isolationists who cut ties to their countries of origin or their families. Instead, their relations to America were often in flux and dependent on government policies of the time.

An innovative history of U.S. immigration, Foreign Relations casts a fresh eye on a compelling and controversial topic.

Donna R. Gabaccia is professor of history and former director of the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota. Her many books include We Are What We Eat and Immigration and American Diversity.


"Gabaccia's book is a rare treat for immigration scholars. She takes the hackneyed idea that U.S. immigration policy reflects U.S. domestic policy exclusively and turns it on its head, demanding that readers reframe immigration debates as U.S. foreign relations and, more specifically, trade relations. . . . The book would be an excellent teaching tool to explain how to challenge what scholars assume that they know."--Choice

"By deftly weaving the stories of individuals and families into her discussion--not so much as illustrations of a generalized story as the basic elements of this story--Gabaccia has opened new windows onto the history of American immigration."--Orm Øverland, Journal of American History

"[T]he book's expansive connections and extensive research signal its author as an impressive senior scholar in the field."--Deborah Cohen, Diplomatic History

"[T]he book is an excellent summary of U.S. migration history (for which Gabaccia's strength is well known) and a courageous, insightful exploration of America's international history. In laying out the analysis concisely she not only expands migration history but provides a model for linking historical fields together. In so doing, she also expands the methodology of world history."--Patrick Manning, Journal of Social History


"No one has done more than Donna Gabaccia to develop a global framework for understanding the history of American immigration. In this book, she brings together her earlier work on international migration with a new interest in American foreign relations. The result is a bold, sweeping, and provocative recasting of America's encounter with immigrants past and present."--Gary Gerstle, author of American Crucible: Race and Nation in the Twentieth Century

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Table of Contents:

Preface ix
Introduction 1
Chapter 1: Isolated or Independent? American Immigration before 1850 24
Chapter 2: Empire and the Discovery of Immigrant Foreign Relations, 1850-1924 70
Chapter 3: Immigration and Restriction: Protection in a Dangerous World, 1850-1965 122
Chapter 4: Immigration and Globalization, 1965 to the Present 176
Conclusion: "The Inalienable Right of Man to Change His Home and Allegiance" 222
Appendix: Suggestions for Further Reading 235
Notes 247
Index 263


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