Celebrating Calvin Coolidge: The Man Who Signed the 1924 Immigration Act | VDARE Video Bulletin
August 10, 2023, 12:29 PM
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JOHN DERBYSHIRE: It’s 100 Years Since Calvin Coolidge, Who Signed The 1924 Immigration CutOff Into Law, Was Sworn In As President!

In the early 20th century, the United States faced challenges brought about by waves of immigration. Amidst these challenges emerged a figure who would make a significant impact on the nation's immigration policies – President Calvin Coolidge.

We here at VDARE.com are especially grateful to the thirtieth President for his having signed the 1924 Immigration Act.

The act established a quota system based on the nationality of immigrants and their countries of origin. The quotas were determined by the percentage of foreign-born individuals from each nationality residing in the U.S. as of the 1890 census. This meant that immigrants from countries with a significant population in the U.S. at that time were favored, while immigrants from countries with smaller populations in the U.S. faced more stringent restrictions.

If you consult Wikipedia, the federal law was designed to uphold “white supremacy.”

But Coolidge was no “white supremacist” bogeyman, despite what the woke writers at Wikipedia seem to think. He said it best himself during a State of the Union address on December 8th, 1925:

We ought to have no prejudice against an alien because he is an alien. The standard which we apply to our inhabitants is that of manhood, not place of birth. Restrictive immigration is to a large degree for economic purposes. It is applied in order that we may not have a larger annual increment of good people within our borders that we can weave into our economic fabric in such a way as to supply their needs without undue injury to ourselves.

The immigration restriction was hardly even controversial in 1924. The House of Representatives voted for the Bill to become an Act by 306-58, the Senate by 69-9.

Coolidge was in any case not instrumental in writing or promoting the Bill; he’d only been President a few weeks when Congress started debating it.

Still, he supported it, and signed it into law while making his motivations clear. During a speech Coolidge delivered on October 16, 1924 entitled “The Genius of America”, the president remarked:

We are all agreed, whether we be Americans of the first or of the seventh generation on this soil, that it is not desirable to receive more immigrants than can reasonably be assured of bettering their condition by coming here. For the sake both of those who would come and more especially of those already here, it has been thought wise to avoid the danger of increasing our numbers too fast. It is not a reflection on any race or creed. We might not be able to support them if their numbers were to great. In such event, the first sufferers would be the most recent immigrants, unaccustomed to our life and language and industrial methods. We want to keep wages and living conditions good for everyone who is now here or who may come here.
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