Early American Immigration Quotes
They Said It
| "Give me your tired, your poorYour huddled masses yearning to breathe freeThe wretched refuse of your teeming shoreSend these, the homeless, tempest-tost to meI lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
- Poet Emma Lazarus, "The New Colossus," inscribed beneath the Statue of Liberty28
| "Unless the Stream of their Importation could be turned... they will soon so outnumber us, that all the advantages we have, will not in my Opinion be able to preserve our Language, and even our Government will become precarious."
- Benjamin Franklin, on the threat posed by German immigration to Pennsylvania, 175329
| "As a nation we began by declaring 'all men are created equal.' We now practically read it, 'all men are created equal, except Negroes.' When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read 'all men are created equal, except Negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics. When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty—to Russia, for example, where despotism can be taken pure and without the base alloy of hypocrisy."
- Abraham Lincoln, 185430
| "I will lead you to the City Hall, clean out the police force, hang the Prosecuting Attorney, burn every book that has a particle of law in it, then enact new laws for the workingmen."
- Denis Kearney, leader of the California Workingman's Party31
| "Either the Anglo-Saxon race will possess the Pacific slope or the Mongolians will possess it. We have this day to choose... whether legislation shall be in the interest of the American free laborer or for the servile laborer from China... You cannot work a man who must have beef and bread, and would prefer beer, alongside a man who can live on rice."
- Republican U.S. Senator James G. Blaine32