By Olivia Pierson
America never was 'a nation of immigrants.'
Neither was New Zealand, nor Australia, nor any other Western nation.
We are nations of citizens - and citizens flourish under laws which are designed to preserve our natural rights as a free people.
Our archaic ancestors began moving around the globe when they first left the savannahs of Africa 1.5 million years ago. By the time homo sapiens graced the archaeological record some 195,000 years ago, they had just begun their epic migration across the fertile steppes of Europe and Asia. Dwelling in primitive hunter-gatherer tribes, the concept of ritually burying their own dead was still another 145,000 years into the future; any notions of ‘nationhood,’ let alone ‘citizenship,’ were at least 173,000 years away.
History has gifted us with a written code of law and conduct as early as the ancient Babylonian empire, engraved on a seven and a half foot stone - the Code of Hammurabi (1754 BC). But it was the ancient Greek city state - the polis - especially the polis of ancient Athens, which gave us the first comprehensive idea of what it meant to be a citizen, not a subject. In the polis, the private lives of men were very closely enmeshed with their public lives as citizens. Eligible men were intended to both rule fellow citizens and be ruled by them in their turn - this was the foundation of democracy and citizen government. This was the time of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle who set the Western world on its strong-minded course.
The later Roman Republic furthered the concept of citizenship by defining it as a man’s legal relationship to the state - with justice and common interests at its very core. Roman citizenry was made up of Italians, Jews, Persians, Illyrians (modern day Dalmatians), Greeks, Alexandrines, Anatolians (modern day Turks), Carthaginians (modern day Tunisians) and many more ethnicities - even Britons and Gauls. If they wished to live in Rome, they abode by Roman law, first under a republic then under an empire. Roman jurisprudence expanded into unifying even distant outposts of the Empire into a vast network of citizens.
In 1216, at the time that Britons authored the Magna Carta (the great Charter of Freedoms), a charter to define the rights of citizens, the native inhabitants had already absorbed the conquering Romans (A.D 43), the Anglo-Saxons, the Vikings and then the French Normans (A.D 1066).
…. "No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled … except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land.” [Magna Carta]
When the thirteen colonies which formed America fought for and won their independence from Great Britain to form a citizen government, the constitution defined the nature of what it meant to be a citizen: anyone born in the United States. Yet it excluded all blacks - even freedmen. The Fourteenth Amendment enacted after the Civil War corrected this to include them. All blacks and their descendants then became citizens in the fullest sense of the law, even though the hangover of segregation still existed. But even segregation was eventually overturned by law, as it ought to have been when one considers that blacks were brought to America in chains, against their own will. America owed it to them to right these wrongs - and it resoundingly did.
Now the sanctimonious narrative parroted, nay - shrieked from every Left and many Right rooftops are words which demand that the whole third-world ought to be given admittance to America on the basis that “America is a nation of immigrants!”
It is not.
Immigrants did not build America anymore than they built Ancient Rome - loyal, passionately patriotic citizens did. George Washington was not an immigrant, neither was Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton or John Hancock. Abraham Lincoln was not an immigrant, and for that matter, neither was Martin Luther King.
If immigrants found a home and a big American Dream to pursue inside the borders of a free nation, it was because a great nation had already been set in motion by the tenacious veracity of its founders' creed and ensuing constitutional laws - that's how it came to be free.
To say that America, or any other modern Western nation, 'is a nation of immigrants’ is to erroneously define a nation by its least essential element of what an inspiring nation actually is. What has made first-world Western nations so incredibly attractive to those coming in from second & third-world $h!tholes is the absence of tyranny precisely because they uphold these five hard-won principles of enlightened individualism:
- the separation of religion from state
- the emancipation of women and children
- a commitment to scientific inquiry
- a commitment to the economic system of capitalism
- the law of free speech and a free press
This civilisational oxygen is what animated the passions of those who built our remarkable nations, America being the greatest living example.
Considering how ubiquitous the movement and migration of people has always been around this great globe for hundreds of millennia, to say, “we are a nation of immigrants” is as hackneyed as saying, “we are a nation of people.” What else could we possibly be?
Such a banal assertion tells us absolutely nothing about the spirit or character of a nation that so many different people want to be a part of.
If you enjoyed this article, please buy my book "Western Values Defended: A Primer"
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