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FT-269846-20

Kevin Kenny
New York University (New York, NY 10012-1019)
Slavery and immigration, an American history (1789-1889)

Research and writing leading to a book on the interrelationship of immigration standards and slavery in federal policy, constitutional reform, and political action after the Civil War.

Immigration and slavery are separate subjects but their histories are tightly entangled. Before the Civil War, the federal government played almost no role in immigration. National laws regulating the movement of one kind of people (immigrants) would have affected the movement of others (free black and slaves). The states set their own terms for the admission, exclusion, and expulsion of foreigners, and for the movement of free blacks and enslaved persons. Only after slavery was abolished did the Supreme Court rule unequivocally that immigration was a federal matter. By this time, the Chinese were subject to the kinds of racial practices that had been used against free blacks in the antebellum era. To justify Chinese exclusion, the Supreme Court ruled in 1889 that federal authority over immigration resided in the inherent sovereignty of the nation, rather than any particular part of the Constitution. This doctrine has been the basis of U.S. immigration policy ever since.

Project fields:
U.S. History

Program:
Summer Stipends

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2020 – 8/31/2020