Friday, July 30, 2010

Colonization v. Immigration

Colonization was a primary organizing principle in Western history from ancient times to modern. The Ancient Greeks attempted to preserve the empire of Alexander the Great by placing colonies in select locations including Alexandria, Egypt.

The Ancient Romans later perfected colonization and maintained their rule with colonies stretching from Great Britain to the Middle East.

Constantinople was a colony established by Emperor Constantine that lasted through to 15th century.

With the fall of Constantinople and rise of the West, the world saw Western Europe transform into colonial lords. North and South America were quickly subdivided by the European powers and colonized.

NOTE, when reading literature prior to the US Revolution, many spoke of colonization in glowing progressive terms. The idea was that successful societies would replicate their success through colonization. Colonization would lead to the progress of man.

Despite the good intentions of colonists, the structure of colonialism tended to be oppressive as the distant kings exploited the colonies in the struggle for power.

The colonial system was oppressive. The oppressive nature of colonialism reached its height with the reintroduction of slavery into the Western World. The colonial slave trade saw the forced movement of populations for the express purpose of establishing and maintaining political control.

The American Revolution was a rebellion of the American colonies against the oppression of the colonial system and corrupt kings.

The left drums the talking point that the United States is a nation of immigrations. This talking point is misleading. The United States was a colony that rebelled against the colonial system.

After rebelling against the colonial system, immigration took on a new characteristic.

In colonialism, people were sent to an area with the goal of radically changing the area and establishing political control for the motherland.

After the rebellion, American immigration took on more of an individual flare and began to be seen as people moving about in pursuit of their personal aspirations.

Colonization v. Immigration

There is a difference between colonization and immigration.

Colonization is about a political elite moving people with the intent of establishing or extending a power base. Colonist seek to create radical change in the places they colonize.

Immigration is about individual people freely moving about. The immigrant seeking to improve his life is engaged in a slightly different process that is more likely to change the immigrant than it is to choice the destination of immigration.

Immigration and colonization are not polar opposites. Both ideas exist simultaneously in the American Experience.

The American Experience

The American experience has episodes of both individual immigration and colonization. For example, the settlement of Missouri and Kansas included groups from slave states sought to colonize the area with sympathy toward slavery. In a dark moment of American history, the governor of Missouri issued an extermination order of the Mormons who were against slavery.

On the Mormon question, both Joseph Smith and Brigham Young sent missionaries abroad to recruit immigrants for various Mormon settlements. These immigrants appeared to vote as a block controlled by the Mormon leaders. This episode has the appearance of ambitious political leaders using a colonial form of immigration for political ends.

The 1847 emigration to Utah is interesting in that it appears that some emigrants had a political aspiration to set up their own country to be known as the Empire of Deseret.

Ironically, the early Utah Pioneers were illegal immigrants into areas claimed by Mexico. The Western US officially traded hands after the Mexican American War and Treatise of Quadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. So, there where was year where Utah emigrants were illegal immigrants.

Mexico and California

When judging history, it is important to note that Mexico was the product of colonization.

In California, one sees the Spanish missions along the King's Road (el camino real) were part of a traditional European colonization effort. The political displacement of this group by the rabble of the California gold rush was partially a colonization effort and partial just a lot of individuals running about trying to improve their lot.

Colonization in the Modern Era

International politics continued to be dominated by colonialism well after the American Revolution. European colonies persisted in South America, Africa and Southeast Asia well into the 20th century.

Non-European countries have taken stabs at colonization as well. Notably, in the 1970s, Turkey sent 150,000 colonists to Cyprus with hopes of gaining political control of the island.

The Distinction between Immigration and Colonization

I happen to be a big supporter of immigration. Personally, I hope the world evolves in the direction of open borders. However, I am not naïve to the point where I simply close my eyes to two millennia which was dominated by elite political groups to gain power through the mass movement of people.

Currently, the United States is under the yoke of an extremely powerful elite group calling for radical change that supports a massive uncontrolled migration from Socialist nations and that appears engineered to give an elite group near absolute control for the foreseeable future.

As nations revert to using the movement of people for political gains, the pendulum swings from a free movement of people for their personal betterment to the exploitation of immigration for political gains. Political trends appear to be leading toward greater oppression.

To punctuate this negative direction, the dictators of Iran have recently launched a program to pay women to have children with the idea that they could use these children to expand their political reach.

1 comment:

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