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He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual. . He has dissolved representative houses. . He has refused . . ”1 Not content with bringing the unruly colonies to heel now, King George is determined to limit their population so as to minimize their future. Taking up the challenge, the colonists are equally determined to replace the immigration policy fashioned for a European empire with one of their own making, designed to serve an expansive American republic. Duly noted in accounts of the founding, but as a side issue, grievances regarding immigration and naturalization belong in the foreground because these matters were regarded by both British imperial authorities and the American leaders as key processes that shaped basic features of the colonies’ existence: the size of their population, its composition, and the rules for membership in the body politic.

47 Some of these problems are addressed in a recent study by Keith Fitzgerald, inspired by the “structuration” approach of Anthony Giddens. 48 The work is founded on a disaggregation of immigration policy into three segments, dealing respectively with permanent residents (“front-gate immigration”), refugees, and unsanctioned migrant laborers (“back-door immigration”), which display distinct policy dynamics that can be accounted for by contending theories of policy formation. Whereas policy regarding the “front gate” is shaped by the relatively free play of competing societal interests (political science’s traditional “pluralism”), refugee policy is shaped by “realism” (in which the state looms as a major agent pursuing interests of its own), and “back-door” policy comes close Themes and Perspectives 23 to fitting classical “class-conflict” theories.

Hence, it is no wonder that convicts emerged early on as a key issue in American immigration policy. 57 Albeit organized by Presbyterian ministers, the initial exodus from Ulster was induced primarily by economic necessity rather than religious disabilities. Its immediate cause was the expiration of leases that had been granted on easy terms as an inducement to Protestant immigrants from Scotland so as to reduce the province’s native Roman Catholic population to a minority. 58 As the pool of potential emigrants grew following successive catastrophic harvests, more sought to leave; and since few could pay their own fares or go as redemptioners, Ulster moved to the fore as a major source of supply for the servant trade.

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