“Suspicion of foreigners goes back to the earliest days of the republic…Kraut traces how different ideologies would be considered intolerably dangerous according to the dominant fears of a given era. Anarchism gave way to communism; communism gave way to Islamic radicalism.”
—Jennifer Szalai, New York Times
“Magisterial and well written…A gripping, expansive story that traces the consequences of suspicions of ‘un-American’ ideologies and loyalties in federal jurisprudence from the War of 1812 through the still-raging War on Terror.”
—Rachel Ida Buff, Journal of Interdisciplinary History
“An original, comprehensive history of one of the most pervasive and insidious forms of political repression in the United States—one few Americans know anything about.”
—Michael Kazin, author of War Against War
Beginning with the Alien Friends Act of 1798, the United States has passed laws in the name of national security to bar or expel foreigners based on their beliefs and associations. From the War on Anarchy to the War on Terror, the government repeatedly turns to ideological exclusions and deportations to suppress radicalism and dissent.
Threat of Dissent delves into major legislation and court decisions at the intersection of immigration and the First Amendment without losing sight of the people involved. We follow the cases of foreign-born activists and artists such as Emma Goldman and Carlos Fuentes, meet determined civil rights lawyers like Carol Weiss King, and discover how the ACLU and PEN challenged the constitutionality of exclusions and deportations. While sensitively capturing the particular legal vulnerability of foreigners, Julia Rose Kraut reminds us that deportations are not just a tool of political repression but a deliberate instrument of demagogic grandstanding.
Suspicion of foreigners goes back to the earliest days of the republic…Kraut traces how different ideologies would be considered intolerably dangerous according to the dominant fears of a given era. Anarchism gave way to communism; communism gave way to Islamic radicalism.
Excellent…Generate[s] important insights into…questions about the history of deportation and removal of foreign-born residents from and by the United States…A magisterial and well-written account…A gripping, expansive story that traces the consequences of suspicions of ‘un-American’ ideologies and loyalties in federal jurisprudence from the War of 1812 through the still-raging War on Terror.
[Kraut’s] careful archival work is impressive…This book is engaging and well suited for undergraduate or graduate legal history courses, immigration and ethnicity courses, or as selected readings for either US history survey.
Julia Rose Kraut, in Threat of Dissent, seeks to capture those dissenting and opposing voices in her excellent history of the ‘ideological exclusion’ of persons who held unorthodox beliefs…Her close analysis yields a superb study of gatekeeping in action.
Kraut is a gifted narrator…Threat of Dissent is highly recommended to all readers concerned with U.S. immigration policy and how it has and still relates to matters of free speech and free association.
A must-read for those who care about immigration or the First Amendment. In clear and lively prose, Kraut charts how noncitizens are doubly vulnerable under American law: treated with suspicion as strangers, and subject to expulsion based on their political beliefs. Along the way, she forces us to reckon with a deeply troubling reality: freedom of speech has not been available for everyone.
I opened these pages skeptically, and then could not put them down. Threat of Dissent tells the rich and instructive history of efforts to protect America’s borders, first by legislation that excluded unwanted people, and then by legal and judicial challenges to those with unwelcome ideas and beliefs. An essential book for all concerned with US immigration policy and with the free expression of ideas inside and outside the nation.
An eye-opening and powerfully written book. Julia Rose Kraut demonstrates that though the methods and technologies used by the government to suppress political dissent in the United States have changed over the generations, the fear of radicals—and the association of foreigners with radicalism—has remained constant. Every politically engaged citizen will be riveted by this history of the architects of political suppression and the legal challenges launched by those who sought to protect core American values of freedom of speech and association.
This is an original, comprehensive history of one of the most pervasive and insidious forms of political repression in the United States—one few Americans know anything about. In a rich narrative spanning more than two centuries, gifted legal historian Julia Rose Kraut reveals how federal authorities routinely barred foreign dissidents who hoped to mingle freely with the public in the ‘land of the free.’
- 352 pages
- 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
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