Almost All Aliens : Immigration, Race, and Colonialism in American History and Identity book cover
1st Edition

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

ISBN 9780415935937
Published June 21, 2007 by Routledge
744 Pages

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Book Description

Almost All Aliens offers a unique reinterpretation of immigration in the history of the United States. Leaving behind the traditional melting-pot model of immigrant assimilation, Paul Spickard puts forward a fresh and provocative reconceptualization that embraces the multicultural reality of immigration that has always existed in the United States. His astute study illustrates the complex relationship between ethnic identity and race, slavery, and colonial expansion. Examining not only the lives of those who crossed the Atlantic, but also those who crossed the Pacific, the Caribbean, and the North American Borderlands, Almost All Aliens provides a distinct, inclusive analysis of immigration and identity in the United States from 1600 until the present.

For additional information and classroom resources please visit the Almost All Aliens companion website at

Table of Contents



1 Immigration, Race, Ethnicity, Colonialism

Beyond Ellis Island—How Not to Think about Immigration History

Not Assimilation But Race Making

Words Matter

2. Colliding Peoples in Eastern North America, 1600–1780

In the Beginning There Were Indians

There Goes the Neighborhood: European Incursion and “Settlement”

A Mixed Multitude: European Migrants

Out of Africa

Merging Peoples, Blending Cultures

3 An Anglo-American Republic? Racial Citizenship,


Slavery and Antislavery in the Era of the American Revolution

Free White Persons: Defining Membership

Playing Indian: White Appropriations of Native American Symbols and Identities

European Immigrants

Issues in European Migration


Were the Irish Ever Not White?

4 The Border Crossed Us: Euro-Americans Take the

Continent, 1830–1900

U.S. Colonial Expansion across North America

Taking the Mexican Northlands

Racial Replacement

East from Asia

Slave and Citizen

Colonialism and Race Making

5 The Great Wave, 1870–1930

From New Sources and Old, to America and Back

Making a Multiethnic Working Class in the West

6 Cementing Hierarchy: Issues and Interpretations,


How They Lived and Worked

Gender and Migration

Angles of Entry

Making Jim Crow in the South

Making Racial and Ethnic Hierarchy in the North

Empire and Race Making

Law, Race, and Immigration

Racialist Pseudoscience and Its Offspring

Anti-Immigrant Movements

Interpretive Issues

7 White People’s America, 1924–1965

Recruiting Citizens

Recruiting Guest Workers

Indians or Citizens?

World War II

Cracks in White Hegemony

Racial Fairness and the Immigration Act of 1965

8 New Migrants from New Places Since 1965

Some Migrants We Know

From Asia

From the Americas

From Europe

From Africa

Continuing Involvements Abroad

9 Redefining Membership Amid Multiplicity Since 1965

Immigration Reform, Again and Again

Panethnic Power

Disgruntled White People

New Issues in a New Era

10 Epilogue: Future Uncertain

Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration at the Dawn

of the Twenty-First Century

Projecting the Future

Immigration Issues




Chronology of Immigration and Naturalization Laws and Decisions




Illustration Permission Acknowledgments

Also by Paul Spickard


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Paul Spickard is Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is co-author of Revealing the Sacred in Asian and Pacific America (Routledge 2003) and editor of Race and Nation: Ethnic Systems in the Modern World (Routledge 2004).


"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, Assistant Professor, American Studies Department, George Washington University

"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

"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

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

— K. Scott Wong, Williams College