2nd Edition

Almost All Aliens Immigration, Race, and Colonialism in American History and Identity

    538 Pages 16 Color & 69 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    538 Pages 16 Color & 69 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    538 Pages 16 Color & 69 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Almost All Aliens offers a unique reinterpretation of immigration in the history of the United States. Setting aside the European migrant-centered melting-pot model of immigrant assimilation, Paul Spickard, Francisco Beltrán, and Laura Hooton put forward a fresh and provocative reconceptualization that embraces the multicultural, racialized, and colonially inflected reality of immigration that has always existed in the United States. Their astute study illustrates the complex relationship between ethnic identity and race, slavery, and colonial expansion.

    Examining the lives of those who crossed the Atlantic, as well as those who crossed the Pacific, the Caribbean, and the North American Borderlands, Almost All Aliens provides a distinct, inclusive, and critical analysis of immigration, race, and identity in the United States from 1600 until the present. The second edition updates Almost All Aliens through the first two decades of the twenty-first century, recounting and analyzing the massive changes in immigration policy, the reception of immigrants, and immigrant experiences that whipsawed back and forth throughout the era. It includes a new final chapter that brings the story up to the present day.

    This book will appeal to students and researchers alike studying the history of immigration, race, and colonialism in the United States, as well as those interested in American identity, especially in the context of the early twenty-first century.

    1. Immigration, Race, Ethnicity, Colonialism

    Beyond Ellis Island—How Not to Think About Immigration History

    Not Assimilation but Race Making

    The Immigrant Assimilation Model

    The Transnational Diasporic Model

    The Panethnic Formation Model

    Race Versus Ethnicity: The Difference, and the Difference It Makes

    Ethnic Formation Processes

    Colonialism and Race Making

    Words Matter

    Some Terms the Reader May Want to Think About Differently

    An Idea That May Be New

    2. Colliding Peoples in Eastern North America, 16001780

    What Do We Celebrate?

    In the Beginning There Were Indians



    There Goes the Neighborhood: European Incursion and "Settlement"

    Spanish, French, and Dutch Encounter Native Peoples

    English Immigrants Encounter Native Peoples

    Resistance, Conflict, Genocide

    A Mixed Multitude: European Migrants

    English Immigrants

    Immigration Policy Under the British

    Other Europeans


    From English to American

    Out of Africa

    To Become a Slave

    Dimensions and Effects

    How "Black" and "Slave" Came to Mean the Same Thing

    Variations on a Theme

    From Igbo and Bambara to Negro

    Merging Peoples, Blending Cultures

    The End of an Age

    Identity: Black, White, and Red


    3. An Anglo-American Republic? Racial Citizenship, 17601860

    Slavery and Antislavery in the Era of the American Revolution

    Thinking About Freedom, and Not

    Three-Fifths of a Person

    Partly Free People of Color and One Drop of Blood

    Africans and Indians

    Free White Persons: Defining Membership

    Playing Indian: White Appropriations of Native American Symbols and Identities

    European Immigrants

    Beginnings of US Immigration Policy

    Immigration, but Not "Old" or "New"



    Peasants Into City People: The Famine Irish

    Sephardim and German Jews

    Issues in European Migration

    Individual Choice or Embedded in a Web of Industrial Capital?

    Recruitment and Chain Migration

    Changes in Transportation Technology and Travel Conditions


    Were the Irish Ever Not White?

    Making a White Race

    4. The Border Crossed Us: Euro-Americans Take the Continent, 18301900

    US Colonial Expansion Across North America

    Making Empire, Making Race: Manifest Destiny and Westward Expansion

    Indian Deportation to the West

    Resistance and Genocide

    The Remnant: Reservation Indians

    Disappearing Peoples

    Native American Panethnic Formation

    Taking the Mexican Northlands

    Forget the Alamo: Taking Texas for Slavery

    Expanding Aggression

    Incorporating Mexico’s People, and Not

    Making Race in California

    Racial Replacement

    East from Asia

    Chinese Immigrants

    The Anti-Chinese Movement

    Slave and Citizen

    Colonialism and Race Making

    5. The Great Wave, 18701930

    From New Sources and Old, to America and Back

    Still Coming From Northwest Europe

    New Sources of Workers in Southern Europe

    From Eastern Europe, Too

    Northeast Europeans

    Making a Multiethnic Working Class in the West




    Filipinos and Other Asians

    Expunging Native Peoples

    Interlocking Discriminations

    6. Cementing Hierarchy: Issues and Interpretations, 18701930

    How They Lived and Worked

    The Immigrant Working Class

    Not All Were Working Class

    Leading the Poor

    Gender and Migration

    Angles of Entry

    Making Jim Crow in the South

    Making Racial and Ethnic Hierarchy in the North

    Whiteness of Several Colors

    Beginnings of Black Migration

    Empire and Race Making

    Making War on Our Little Brown Brothers

    Queen Lili`uokalani Loses Her Country

    Law, Race, and Immigration

    Race and Gender Before the Law

    Legal Whiteness

    Racialist Pseudoscience and Its Offspring

    Pseudoscience Becomes Popular Knowledge

    Perfecting Humans

    Anti-Immigrant Movements

    The Anti-Japanese Movement

    The Americanization Campaign

    The Campaign for Immigration Restriction

    Interpretive Issues


    Ethnicity on Display: Ethnic Festivals, World’s Fairs, and Human Zoos

    Racializing Religion: Jews as White and Not

    7. White People’s America, 19241965

    Recruiting Citizens

    Second Generations and Third

    Recruiting Guest Workers


    Filipinos and Puerto Ricans

    Indians or Citizens?

    World War II

    Rooting Out the Zoot

    Neither an Accident, Nor a Mistake

    European Refugees and Displaced Persons

    Cracks in White Hegemony

    The Cold War: Competing for the World’s Peoples

    The Black Freedom Movement

    Racial Fairness and the Immigration Act of 1965

    8. New Migrants From New Places: Since 1965

    Some Migrants We Know

    From Asia

    Fleeing War in Vietnam and Mainland Southeast Asia

    Draining Brains From the Philippines

    From Korea

    From South Asia

    From China

    A Model Minority?

    From the Americas

    Perhaps a Model Minority: Migrants From Mexico

    Migrants or Exiles? From Cuba

    From Other Parts of Latin America and the Caribbean

    From Europe

    From Africa

    Continuing Involvements Abroad

    9. Redefining Membership amid Multiplicity: Since 1965

    Immigration Reform, Again and Again

    Panethnic Power

    The Chicana and Chicano Movement

    The Asian American Panethnic Movement

    Native American Political and Cultural Resurgence

    African Americans After Civil Rights to President Barack Obama

    Disgruntled White People

    Not the KKK: White Ethnic Movements

    Fighting Affirmative Action

    New Issues in a New Era

    Changes in Racial Etiquette


    The Multiracial Movement

    Forever Foreigners: Asians and Arabs

    September 11, 2001, and the Racialization of Middle Eastern Americans

    National Security and Borders

    10. The Return of White Supremacy?

    Hate in the Time of COVID

    Triumph of the New Nativism

    Epoch of Hate: Nativism, the Alt-Right, Anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia

    Racist and Anti-Immigrant Policies During the Trump Presidency

    Racism and Etiquette


    By the Numbers: Not Enough Immigrants

    The Rise and Fall of Mexican Migration

    Central Americans


    Militarizing the Border

    People Without Papers

    Refugees and Asylum

    Babies in Cages

    Political Swings and Resistance

    11. Epilogue

    Projecting the Future

    Some Issues to Consider As We Look Ahead

    What Do Immigrants Cost?

    How Shall We Deal With Inequalities That Have Been Shaped by Generations?

    Who Is an American?


    Hope for the Future?

    Appendix A


    Paul Spickard is Distinguished Professor of History and several other fields at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has held positions at 15 universities in the United States and abroad. Among his many books are Race in Mind: Critical Essays and Shape Shifters: Journeys Across Terrains of Race and Identity.

    Francisco Beltrán is Assistant Professor of History at Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK. Previously, he taught at San Francisco State University, the University of Michigan, and Reed College. His teaching and research interests include Chicanx and Latinx history, race and ethnicity, immigration, borderlands, and oral history.

    Laura Hooton is Assistant Professor of History at Angelo State University, San Angelo, TX. She taught at the United States Military Academy at West Point for three years, where she founded the Black History Project. Her work appears in Farming Across Borders: A Transnational History of the North American West and California History.

    Praise for the first edition:


    "Placing race at the center of his story, Spickard offers an important corrective to dominant immigrant narratives about European huddled masses and bountiful golden doors. As immigration debates rage, Almost All Aliens provides vital historical perspective.

    ―Thomas A. Guglielmo, Associate Professor and Chair of American Studies at GWU


    "Almost All Aliens is simply stunning. Spickard powerfully connects the study of immigration to the histories of race, slavery, and the displacement of Native peoples. In doing so, he revises both immigration history and American history."

    ―Erika Lee, author of At America's Gates: Chinese Immigration During the Exclusion Era, 1882-1943 and The Making of Asian America or America for Americans.


    "With Almost All Aliens Paul Spickard again demonstrates that he is one of our most skillful and innovative interpreters of race and ethnicity in American life.  He challenges most of the assumptions made about the topic since Crèvecoeur asked his fateful question and provides an exciting analytic narrative of our immigrant past."

    ―Roger Daniels, Charles Phelps Taft Professor Emeritus of History, University of Cincinnati


    "Almost All Aliens is a stunning achievement! By combining the insights of the massive recent literature on immigration, race, and colonialism, Paul Spickard has produced a masterful new narrative of U.S. immigration history for the 21st century. Immensely readable and thoroughly provocative, it will delight students and scholars of immigration alike."

    ―George J. Sanchez, University of Southern California, author of Becoming Mexican American and Boyle Heights


    "With this book, Paul Spickard has produced the best single-volume study of American immigration history available today."

    ― K. Scott Wong, Williams College