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Guarding the Golden Door: American Immigration Policy and Immigrants since 1882 (Paperback)

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"Arguably the most useful for general readers. Clearly written, reasonably lean and on the whole, balanced in its assessments, it is an excellent primer." --Los Angeles Times

The federal government's efforts to pick and choose among the multitude of immigrants seeking to enter the United States began with the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Conceived in ignorance and falsely presented to the public, it had undreamt of consequences, and this pattern has been rarely deviated from since. As renowned historian Roger Daniels shows in this brilliant new work, America's inconsistent, often illogical, and always cumbersome immigration policy has profoundly affected our recent past.

Immigration policy in Daniels' skilled hands shows Americans at their best and worst, from the nativist violence that forced Theodore Roosevelt's 1907 "gentlemen's agreement" with Japan to the generous refugee policies adopted after World War Two and throughout the Cold War. And in a conclusion drawn from today's headlines, Daniels makes clear how far ignorance, partisan politics, and unintended consequences have overtaken immigration policy during the current administration's War on Terror.

Irreverent, deeply informed, and authoritative, Guarding the Golden Door presents an unforgettable interpretation of modern American history.

About the Author


Roger Daniels, author of Prisoners Without Trial: Japanese Americans in World War II, is a renowned expert on immigration, consultant to PBS and the Immigration Museum on Ellis Island, and expert witness on Japanese-American internment.

Praise for Guarding the Golden Door: American Immigration Policy and Immigrants since 1882…


"Roger Daniels, a leading historian of American immigration, has written a valuable book covering American immigration policy since the 1880s. This was no easy task, but Daniels deftly manages to cover the many laws, administrative decisions, politics, and policy debates that comprise this fascinating history. Throughout it all, Daniels explains the issues and outcomes with clarity and insight. Guarding the Golden Door should be read by every American trying to get a grasp on how central immigration has been to our history, and continues to be. Immigration is now front-page news, and to grasp the background of current issues this is the book to read." --David Reimers, author of Unwanted Strangers: American Identity and the Turn Against Immigration

"In a clear-eyed, smartly argued analysis, Daniels shows that both sentiment and statistics have obscured the truth of immigration history, so much of which takes place between the lines of laws. Ranging from Chinese Exclusion to Homeland Security, Guarding the Golden Door assembles a powerful and provocative argument about why the United States has remained an immigrant country--and why it should stay one for its own benefit." --Eric Rauchway, author of Murdering McKinley

"Roger Daniels confirms his standing as our preeminent historian of immigration policies. Guarding the Golden Door has it all: solid, informed research, and clear, cogent writing. His conclusions underline the constant paradox that has plagued immigration history: however invaluable to our economy and our material comfort, we exploit, marginalize, and particularly now, regard immigrants with suspicion, distrust, and hatred."--Stanley I. Kutler, author or Wars of Watergate: The Last Crisis of Richard Nixon

Product Details ISBN-10: 0809053446
ISBN-13: 9780809053445
Published: Hill and Wang, 12/23/2004
Pages: 344
Language: English