The vast migrations of the past millennium played a large role in the creation of almost all modern nations. Yet relatively few countries - notably Australia, Canada, and especially the United States - have considered themselves to be 'nations of immigrants'. Putting the few 'nations of immigrants' into global, comparative perspectives helps us to single out those characteristics that explain their singularity. Historians did not create or popularize images of the U.S. as a nation of immigrants until well along in the country's national history. Indeed, the popular celebration of the U.S. as a 'nation of immigrants' did not really begin until after immigration had been severely restricted. By exploring the very different choices made in countries such as Argentina, France, and Switzerland, this paper points to the racial dynamics of the British empire and to the nation-building strategies of republics around the Atlantic to differentiate 'nations of immigrants' from others.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.