Welcome to the first in a six-piece series on the history and facts behind American immigration. Each week, Liberty Nation author Kelli Ballard will examine a contentious issue related to today’s hottest topic.
Was this country founded by immigrants? Absolutely, but we’re not talking about Europeans. We’re talking about those who discovered this land more than 15,000 years ago, following animals in their never-ending quest for food, shelter, and comfort. As time evolved, so did the people. Yes, there were tribal wars, especially over land boundaries. But it is arguable that significant changes didn’t happen until the Europeans came to this land and conquered the indigenous people. In this first part of a series, we examine what might seem a farfetched but thought-provoking question: Will Americans lose their country to immigrants as Natives lost their land to Europeans?
European Immigrants Justify Taking Land
It’s common to hear that Columbus discovered America in the 15th century, but this has long been a bone of contention and controversy — the Vikings have made this claim as well but that overlooks who was already here. And then there’s the question — were the indigenous people already here or did they migrate from elsewhere? The expansive land was apparently settled by the original immigrants who had arrived tens of thousands of years earlier. In the 1600s, Pilgrims came to the New World to escape religious persecution in England. During their first winter, they almost died, only to be saved by the indigenous people who showed them where to catch fish and how to grow corn and other crops. In 1675, King Philip’s War broke out between the settlers and the Natives. According to History.com, “In terms of percentage of population killed, King Philip’s War was more than twice as costly as the American Civil War and seven times more so than the American Revolution.” And this launched what is commonly described as a takeover of land from those who had lived there, hunted, and created families, laws, and traditions for more than 10,000 years.
The entire Manhattan Island was purchased from the Canarsee tribe in 1626 for a mere $24. By the 20th century, almost all the land comprising today’s United States had been taken, in one way or another, from Native Americans.
Stuart Banner, in his book How the Indians Lost Their Land, wrote:
“…every land transfer of any form included elements of law and elements of power. No non-Indian acquiring Indian land thought himself unconstrained by Anglo-American law. Whites always acquired Indian land within a legal framework of their own construction. Law was always present, but so was power. The more powerful whites became relative to Indians, the more they were able to mold the legal system to produce outcomes in their favor – more sales, of larger tracts, at lower prices than would have existed had power relationships been more equal.”
Banner went on to say, “In the end, the story of colonization of the United States is still a story of power, but it was a more subtle and complex kind of power than we conventionally recognize.”
Which leads us to our next question: Are Americans Headed for the Same Fate as the Natives?
A Changing Nation
The term Native American describes the first American settlers, who planted roots deep and strong thousands of years ago. But now we refer to those who came, mostly from Europe, settled, and developed the land as Americans. About 300 years ago, Americans established settlements, complete with laws, traditions, and customs. Immigrants were encouraged to make a fresh start in a new land. However, just two decades after the framing of the Constitution, the American government realized that not everyone coming into the country had honorable intentions. The Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 handled that by deporting people who were considered “dangerous to the safety and security of the United States.”
Our country has gone through a lot of changes, but today you might find parallels between the indigenous people and their aid to the Pilgrims and the American response to the increased and unrestrained influx of migrants crossing our southern border. Are we handing our country over to migrants who are searching for a better life than their native countries can provide? Traditionally, we have taken care of immigrants, documented or undocumented, feeding and clothing them, providing medical, education, and housing assistance, and more. But that, apparently, isn’t good enough. Now, many Democrats insist on free medical coverage for illegal aliens (something not enjoyed by most American citizens), free education, and open borders. Some states even give illegal migrants driver’s licenses, appoint them to public office, and provide sanctuary from the legal consequences of crime.
It makes some citizens angry or at least uncomfortable when members of Congress who are migrants or first generation degrade the United States, when it seems logical they should have something positive to say about the country that took in them and their families and helped them achieve their goals. Rep. lhan Omar (D-MN) is notorious for belittling the attack of 9/11, insulting the president, and spouting anti-Semitic talk. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) famously said about Trump “…we’re gonna go in there and we’re gonna impeach the motherf**ker” and has been called on her racist comments. The lawmakers sit in the Congress, a powerful branch of government.
Hundreds of thousands of migrants storm our border, demanding entry into our great nation. The detention centers that provide food, water, shelter, and protection are disparagingly and unfairly called concentration camps. Some illegal aliens have ordered our government to pay them $50,000 each to leave.
“What kind of conqueror takes such care to draft contracts to keep up the appearance that no conquest is taking place? A conqueror that genuinely does not think of itself as one.”
The tide is swelling once again. First, the Native Americans lost the country to the Europeans. Now, will Americans lose it to a new flood of immigrants?
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