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Entangling Migration History

Contested Boundaries

University Press of Florida


Florida A&M University, Tallahassee
Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton
Florida Gulf Coast University, Ft. Myers
Florida International University, Miami
Florida State University, Tallahassee
New College of Florida, Sarasota
University of Central Florida, Orlando
University of Florida, Gainesville
University of North Florida, Jacksonville
University of South Florida, Tampa
University of West Florida, Pensacola

E N TA N G L I N G

Migration
History
Borderlands and Transnationalism
in the United States and Canada

Edited by Benjamin Bryce and Alexander Freund


Gene Allen Smith, Series Editor

University Press of Florida


Gainesville / Tallahassee / Tampa / Boca Raton
Pensacola / Orlando / Miami / Jacksonville / Ft. Myers / Sarasota

The University Press of Florida acknowledges the financial support of this publication
from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
Copyright 2015 by Benjamin Bryce and Alexander Freund
All rights reserved
Printed in the United States of America on acid-free paper
This book may be available in an electronic edition.
20 19 18 17 16 15

6 5 4 3 2 1

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data


Entangling migration history : borderlands and transnationalism in the United States
and Canada / edited by Benjamin Bryce and Alexander Freund.
pages cm. (Contested boundaries)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-0-8130-6073-6 (acid-free paper)
1. United StatesEmigration and immigration. 2. CanadaEmigration and immigration. 3. United
StatesBoundariesCanada. 4. CanadaBoundariesUnited States. 5. Transnationalism.
I. Bryce, Benjamin, editor. II. Freund, Alexander, 1969 editor. III. Series: Contested boundaries.
JV6450.E65 2015
304.8'73dc23 2014046644
The University Press of Florida is the scholarly publishing agency for the State University System
of Florida, comprising Florida A&M University, Florida Atlantic University, Florida Gulf Coast
University, Florida International University, Florida State University, New College of Florida,
University of Central Florida, University of Florida, University of North Florida, University of
South Florida, and University of West Florida.
University Press of Florida
15 Northwest 15th Street
Gainesville, FL 32611-2079
http://www.upf.com

Contents

List of Maps vii


List of Tables viii
Foreword ix
Dirk Hoerder

Acknowledgments xiii
Introduction 1
Benjamin Bryce and Alexander Freund
1. Canada and the Atlantic World: Migration from a Hemispheric
Perspective, 15001800 14
Jos C. Moya
2. A Spatial Grammar of Migration in the Canadian-American
Borderlands at the Turn of the Twentieth Century 47
Randy William Widdis
3. Mexicans, Canadians, and the Reconfiguration of Continental
Migrations, 19151965 77
Bruno Ramirez
4. Sexual Self: Morals Policing and the Expansion of the U.S. Immigration
Bureau at Americas Early Twentieth-Century Borders 100
Grace Pea Delgado
5. Out of One Borderland, Many: The 1907 Anti-Asian Riots and the
Spatial Dimensions of Race and Migration in the Canadian-U.S. Pacific
Borderlands 120
David C. Atkinson
6. Bridging the Pacific: Diplomacy and the Control of Japanese
Transmigration via Hawaii, 18901910 141
Yukari Takai

7. Entangled Communities: German Lutherans in Ontario and North


America, 18801930 162
Benjamin Bryce
8. Religious Borderlands and Transnational Networks: The North
American Mennonite Underground Press in the 1960s 181
Janis Thiessen
Epilogue: Entanglements and the Practice of Migration History 207
Erika Lee
List of Contributors 217
Index 219

Maps

2.1. Great Lakes borderland region: Canadian-born migrants


entering the United States at Detroit, Michigan, 18951915 60
2.2. Great Lakes borderland region: Canadian-born migrants
entering the United States at Buffalo, New York, 18951915 61
2.3. Prairie borderland region: Migration into Canadian Prairie
provinces through Emerson, Manitoba, 19081919 66
2.4. Prairie borderland region: Migration into Canadian Prairie
provinces through North Portal, Saskatchewan, 19081919 67
2.5. Prairie borderland region: Migration into Canadian Prairie
provinces through Coutts, Alberta, 19081919 68
2.6. Great Lakes borderland region: American-born migrants
entering Canada at Windsor, Ontario, 19081919 69

Tables

1.1 Indentured servants as a proportion of the white population


and slaves as a proportion of the total population in North
American and West Indian colonies, 16291790 24
1.2. Sex ratios of transatlantic migrations, 14931800 34
2.1. Top twenty-five Canadian-American connections as measured
by percentage of migrants from last places of residence in Canada
residing in particular American centers 64

Foreword

Entangled histories and experiences? The oft-evoked immigrant pioneers to


North America were said to have moved straight ahead into unsettled spaces,
and some states, though bordering on others, preferred splendid isolation if we
believe the manufacturers of historical lore. Actual human experiences in any
societyor, for migrants, in several societiesare braided, interwoven, and
entwined. Once historians move states and territories out of the foreground,
where they obstruct the view, womens and mens experiences and agency in
their entangled complexity appear at center stage. People are often seen as defined by ethno-culture and religion, and borderlands often refer to these aspects. But people also negotiate meeting or separating spaces between genders,
and young men and women chart out their life courses in the borderlands
between generations. Out of this entanglement, communities emerge and societies develop.
When early newcomers reached the shores of North America, whether in
the St. Lawrence Valley or on Vancouver Island, they perceived no borders and
entered without proper documents, to use a modern administrative concept.
The residents did agree to economic transactions across cultural bordersthe
exchange of fur and iron household utensils was one example. In these social
spaces, those who were resident and those who were arriving were mobile
or, on occasion, settled. Or settled for a while and then mobile again. Their
interests and lives became entangled, and tender ties emerged. Women and
men joined in partnerships, and only later would ideologues construct their
children as mixed subjects who transgressed cultural-racial borders. These
relations changed when one side had more guns and began to impose separating lines, creating both contested borders and spaces of interaction that have
lasted to the present.
Once states became inscribed onto territories, borders required interaction
between distinct polities. People living on both sides continued the transbor-

Foreword

der activities of their local communities. But where is the border? Common
imagery posits a belt across the North American continent. This image, in a
westward vision, usually focuses on the straight line along the 49th parallel.
But the line was complex in the Great Lakes region and in the difficult-totraverse hills between what once was New France and New England. There
is a second line cutting through the macro-region of the Sonoran Desert that
follows the curvy (and formerly shifting) banks of the Rio Grande. For large
parts, one of these political boundaries is a line in the grass, the other a line in
the sand. Borders do not impose clear lines, just as early pioneering and laterarriving families and individuals did not push a straight line of white European
settlement, labeled frontier, across the continent. In order to reach Winnipeg in the 1870s, a migrant arriving in Montreal would have to pass through
Detroit, Chicago, and St. Paul in the neighboring United States. The men and
women who came early, who came later, or who arrive in the present pursue
many life courses in overlapping spaces; they braid aspects of cultures brought
with them with aspects of those in the communities, social groups, and polities
where they arrive.
Borders circumscribe countries with, as late nineteenth-century gatekeepers proclaimed, one single nation inside. We, the (American) people suggests
a unity; the later we, the bi- and many-cultured Canadians permits a more
nuanced approach. But elites in Boston, Quebec City, Toronto, Ottawa, and
Washington, D.C., added internal borders that excluded residents from being
part of the new homogenizing construct of the nation. Beginning in the 1880s,
intellectual gatekeepers pursued projects of Americanization or Canadianization. But each of the two polities had emerged and continued to emerge out of
the shared lives of migrants of many cultural backgrounds. People moved and
related transnationally.
By the 1880s, North America was connected not only to the Atlantic World
but also the Pacific World. And the lands to the south, the separate state of
Mexico, were penetrated by capital from the north, which was invested in
south-north railroad links. If a border existed, it separated Ontario and East
Coast ways of seeing the world from a British Columbia-California version
of transpacific connectivity. Borders emerged where they were not supposed
to be, according to political-territorial structures. Powerful gatekeepers imposed their bordered mental constructs on others and, lastingly, on historical memory. Powerful politicians enforced only some borders but not others, be it through exclusion laws or an array of border guards. Proclaimed
and intended separation notwithstanding, people lived transnationally in the

Foreword

Arizona-Sonora region or the Great Lakes economy while the Plains and Prairies were different in name but the same in soil to farming families. Men and
women passed through connected spaces such as the Hudson River Valley, the
Vancouver-Tacoma route, or the Tijuana-San Diego-Los Angeles rail tracks.
Transborder lives might be internal, transnational, or transoceanic. People
of Europes many cultures or dynastic states left societies whose internal social
borders prevented them from leading decent and economically secure lives.
After a U.S. fleet breached Japans political borders in 1853 by steaming into
Yokohama Bay, the political and economic elite of the country drew internal borders between urban and rural dwellers by taxing the latter to fund industrialization. In consequence, impoverished rural men and women crossed
the Pacific and entered the United States and Canada, but many remained in
their sphere of agricultural work and traditional way of earning their living. In
translocal moves from southern Chinese villages to mining sites in California
and the Fraser Valley, Chinese did the same. When racists built a legal great
wall against men and women from Asia, these migrants wove their life courses
around the hindrances imposed on their routes.
The fixing of borders by imperial or state governments (and their relocation when power permitted) and the creating of entangled spaces to pursue
life courses constantly question and rearrange borders. When the powerful,
whether states or racists, imposed and impose borders, those who have to deal
with such obstacles in their everyday lives create pathways, circuitous routes,
and transborder spaces to continue their and their childrens life projects. They
reconfigure patterns of migration, in the past between Canada and the United
States, in the present between Mexico and the United States. For peoples local lives, state borders may have little meaning, but entangled transregional
or transglobal economic zones have a direct impact on peoples opportunities. Men created additional borders for women through gender roles, sexual
norms, and gendered immigration legislation. Migrant women who came to
the United States and Canada in the nineteenth century knew that they entered
a space that offered more rights. But in the 1890s, male bureaucrats made immigration difficult for single European women and, constructing women of
darker skin color as prostitutes, made border crossings difficult for Mexican
women as well.
America does not begin or end at the east and west coasts. Nor did and
do Canada, the United States, and Mexico begin or end at a political border.
Life courses require continuity; family, community, and regional economies require trans-action (agency across spaces). Thus women and men from Europe

xi

xii

Foreword

and Asia as well as those from Mexico created entangled social spaces across
oceans and continents because elites at home had confined them to social
spaces that were difficult to inhabit. Their arrival made the Americas into spaces
between the old and the new. These spaces provided better options to develop
sustainable lives, but in the process, new borders segregated resident Aboriginal
peoples. Gendered borderlands are global and they are changeable, constantly
constructed and reconstructed by those excluded. They need to be analyzed and
understood in historical perspective and they need to be challenged in the present. The human rights clause in the Charter of the United Nations was an attemptstill needing to be implementedto end the hierarchical bordering of
human beings, ideally to change bordered states and cultural borderlands into a
global community of many distinct cultures that are constantly evolving through
the actions of each individual who departs or arrives.
The essays in this volume challenge traditional approaches to migration
history and actual migration policies. The editors and authors bring into conversation three approaches: transnationalism, comparative history, and borderland studies. Thus, more than an interdisciplinary agenda emerges; what
emerges is a project that entangles migration history. This involves a conversation between U.S.-based and Canada-based scholars who look at the borders
from their two sides and provide a transborder spatial grammar. They discuss
the extension of routes from the south across the two continental dividing
lines, Mexico-United States-Canada. By transcending the focus on states and
their national immigration-exclusion legislation, the authors discuss the policing lines based on sexualities and races and how those lines were constructed.
They trace how religious communities, also usually viewed as bordered or even
exclusive, can create entangled communities across North America. And they
place not merely the United States and Canada but all of the people living
in North America in their webs of relations across the Atlantic and Pacific
Oceans, which have been connecting spaces for centuries.
Dirk Hoerder
Professor emeritus, Arizona State University

Acknowledgments

Many people have assisted us with this project, and we would like to thank
them for their support and insights along the way. Roberto Perin and Colin
Coates were crucial in helping us organize the Borderlands, Transnationalism, and Migration in North America workshop in October 2012 at Glendon
College, York University, and in acquiring funding. The assistance of Laura
Taman leading up to that workshop and throughout the preparation of this
volume has been unparalleled, and she deserves great praise. Reagan Brown
provided detailed feedback as we applied for funding, and we are most appreciative of her comments. Sian Hunter, Marthe Walters, and Kate Babbitt at
the University Press of Florida were essential in guiding this volume through
the publication process, and Grace Pea Delgado provided much assistance as
well. Jordan Stanger-Ross and Stephanie Bangarth provided invaluable feedback on the entire manuscript. Daniel Ross helped organize the original workshop at Glendon and offered important help with preparing the manuscript.
A special thanks also to Anna Casas Aguilar, Andrew Watson, Brittany Luby,
Marcel Martel, Christopher Stolarski, and Rachel Gordan.
We would also like to thank the twenty-five participants of our initial workshop. They provided feedback on earlier versions of the chapters in this book,
and the volume is considerably stronger because of their comments. A Connection Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of
Canada supported both the workshop and the production of this book, and
we are extremely grateful for the Government of Canadas commitment to research. The Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies, the university provost, the
dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, the Avie Bennett Historica Chair in
Canadian History, the Centre for Refugee Studies, the Department of History,
and the Office of the Principal of Glendon College, all at York University, supported the original workshop from which this volume loosely developed. We
thank the Journal of the Canadian Historical Association for allowing us to
publish a revised version of chapter 7.

Introduction
Benjamin Bryce and Alexander Freund

In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the United States and Canada were
two major destinations for international migrants.1 While U.S. and Canadian
historians have written these people into national immigration histories,
women, men, families, and groups migrated between towns, cities, and regions
that were defined more by their economies than by political boundaries. In
the late nineteenth century, the governments of the United States and Canada
began to regulate borders, set immigration quotas, and define categories of
citizenship. The nation-building projects north and south of the 49th parallel
were informed by different ideologies of race, empire, and cultural belonging,
yet they developed in a dialogue with one another and a wider world. Migrants
lives, often in regions not fully divided by political borders, and the nationalizing projects of these governments became deeply entangled.
This book explores how people and ideas transcended the political boundaries of the United States and Canada. It situates the history of migration to the
two countries in broader transnational, borderland, and comparative contexts.
The eight chapters in this volume focus on local, regional, national, and transnational scales, illustrating that the state and the nation were not contained
social, cultural, and political systems in modern North American history. The
chapters challenge the persistent historiographic interest in examining international migration from a single location in a country of origin to a single
country of destination. As the chapters demonstrate, the United States and
Canada constituted a fluid space that was as much connected as divided by
borders and policies. As the border became more rigid in the twentieth century, the nature of policies and migration changed, but peoples lives continued
to be shaped by local, national, and transnational factors.
This book argues that migrants, government officials, and other actors in
the United States and Canada entangled their ideas and lived realities and thus

Benjamin Bryce and Alexander Freund

the histories of these two countries. Following people rather than borders, the
authors in this book investigate migrants transnational connections and governments international relationships. They study national politics and migration experiences in borderlands regions, and they compare migration patterns
and policies between regions and countries.
Entanglement is a historical process, and, as this book demonstrates, it is
a useful approach that binds together several literatures concerned with the
study of migration. In light of a growing interest in global, imperial, transnational, transatlantic, transpacific, pan-American, and borderlands history,
the concept of entangled history can give cohesion to a fractured field. It embraces all scales, from the local or transborder to the national and the global.
Entangled history decenters the nation, and it charts the relations, linkages,
and transfers at several geographical scales and across national borders and
cultural boundaries. The approach stresses the webs and strands of ideas, policies, economies, kin networks, and migrants that are not neatly separated by
countries borders or the boundaries of national historiographies.
This volume seeks to connect the conversations migration historians have
had about borderlands and transnationalism while anchoring themselves in
either U.S. or Canadian history. Comparison stands, therefore, alongside borderlands and transnationalism as another approach in this volume. Transnational analyses that extend across the Atlantic, Pacific, and Caribbean; studies of borderland regions; and comparisons of parts of the United States and
Canada complement one another and contribute to U.S. and Canadian historiographies in different ways. The flourishing of transnationalism in the past two
decades has added new vigor to the push since the 1960s to connect studies of
European emigration and American immigration.2 A more recent interest in
borderlands adds another critique to the long-standing myth of immigration
to America as the dominant and even iconic view of migration.3
In North America, borderlands history grew out of historians interest in
the U.S. Southwest. This book suggests that this is a powerful approach that
can be extended to other spaces. Furthermore, rather than creating separate
borderland histories, this book suggests that diverse borderland regions may
be nationally and internationally connected through migrants, policies, and
ideas. U.S.-Canadian and U.S.-Mexican borderlands are often studied with a
view to contributing to one national historiography.4 By contrast, Entangling
Migration History places the United States and Canada on an equal footing,
and it engages with two national historiographies. The volumes attention to
borderlands and transnationalism seeks to create a dialogue between scholars

Introduction

who research migration predominantly in the United States or in Canada. Such


a dialogue among scholars can help to decenter national historiographies on
both sides of the border.
Entangled history brings together comparative, transnational, and borderland approaches. It allows historians to compare different locations separated by national borders, to highlight transnational linkages such as migration flows, and to study how the dynamics of immigration, transculturalism,
and citizenship play out in contested sites such as borderlands. The term
entangled history comes from the French term histoire croise, and in many
ways histoire croise and histoire compare (comparative history) complement one another. Jrgen Kocka contends that it is not necessary to choose
between histoire compare and histoire croise. The aim is to combine them.5
Heinz-Gerhard Haupt and Jrgen Kocka note that entanglement-oriented
approaches stress the connections, the continuity, the belonging-together,
the hybridity of observable spaces or analytical units and reject distinguishing them clearly.6

On Transnationalism
Transnationalism as a methodological approach moves research questions
beyond the confines of the nation-state.7 It helps scholars examine the international linkages and influences that comparison neglects. Transnational approaches do not naively ignore or stubbornly deny the importance of national
borders or nationalist ideologies, and the state and the nation continue to
matter. However, this approach emphasizes experiences and processes below
and above the national scale, and it can illustrate how local and regional histories can cross national borders.8 Thomas Bender, in a study of the relationship between American and global history, proposes to view the history of
the United States as something shaped by forces both bigger and smaller than
the nation.9
Transnationalism has many uses, and in The Palgrave Dictionary of Transnational History, Akira Iriye and Pierre-Yves Saunier note how slippery the
definition of transnational can be.10 In this volume, we propose that it can be
helpful to view the transnational as a scale that complements other local, regional, and national scales and entangled history as an approach that combines
these scales. In addition, the transnational scale can transcend the boundaries
of countries without necessarily encompassing the entirety of the country in
question. In three chapters in this book, David Atkinson, Yukari Takai, and

Benjamin Bryce and Alexander Freund

Benjamin Bryce examine several ways that local and regional histories were
shaped by ideas and policies originating outside national borders. A transnational approach can help describe a region such as the Pacific coast of the
United States and Canada, as seen in Atkinsons and Takais chapters, which are
examples that highlight a transnational space that does not include all of the
United States and Canada.
A transnational perspective helps examine the flow and circulation of
people, ideas, and objects within a region that is not contained by national
boundaries and national historiographies. In chapter 6, Takai traces the migration of Japanese agricultural workers across the Pacific to Hawaii and then
onward to coastal ports such as San Francisco and Vancouver. At the same
time, she tracks the external influences the Japanese government attempted to
exert in Hawaii. A transnational approach can also demonstrate how ideas, institutions, or people outside the United States or Canada can influence people
living within one countrys political boundaries. Eiichiro Azuma shows how
processes of state formation that emerged in Japan could shape the experience
of Japanese immigrants and their children in California.11 Similarly, Sebastian
Conrad argues that nationalism and national boundaries in Germany were
greatly transformed between 1880 and 1914 precisely because of greater global
interaction through phenomena such as in-migration from eastern Europe
and because of Germanys connections with German speakers living in other
parts of the world.12
In addition, paying attention to the transnational scale can enable historians
to observe common ideas, behaviors, or policies that developed in parallel in
many countries. Transnationalism is often used as an umbrella term for histories of transfer; postcolonial and new imperial historical approaches; translocal, transregional, and transcultural perspectives; and global and world history.13 Chinese exclusion laws arose at a very similar time in the United States,
Canada, and Australia in the late nineteenth century.14 Ideas and policies about
assimilating the children of European immigrants through schooling led to the
creation of universal public education in places such as Ontario, New York, and
Buenos Aires at around the same time.15 Policies of multiculturalism began to
emerge in Canada and the United States in the 1960s and 1970s, and by the
1990s they found counterparts in Brazil and Germany.16 These local instances
of global processes reveal a transnational history. All of these state policies resulted from the international circulation of ideas, but this sort of transnational
approach does not trace the lines of connection so much as it integrates local
and national history into global history.

Introduction

On Borderlands
Borderlands are quintessentially transnational, and scholars who study borderlands necessarily engage with a space that transcends the borders of nationstates. As several chapters in this volume demonstrate, it can be beneficial to
include a broader transnational perspective in regional histories.17 Borderlands
in North America are studied in reference to European colonialism and imperialism from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries, in reference to the
emergence and solidification of nation-states in the nineteenth and twentieth
centuries, and in reference to new questions of the U.S. empire and Canadas
ongoing involvement in the British Empire.18 Writing about the eighteenth
and nineteenth centuries, Jeremy Adelman and Stephen Aron contend that
borderlands are the contested boundaries between colonial domains.19 In
the national period, borderlands history often engages with Frederick Jackson
Turners frontier thesis about the westward expansion of the United States.20
Pekka Hmlinen and Samuel Truett note that borderlands history has become anchored in spatial mobility, situational identity, local contingency, and
the ambiguities of power.21 They argue that if frontiers were the places where
we once told our master American narratives, then borderlands are the places
where those narratives come unraveled.22 Finally, Hmlinen and Truett note
that if imperial and national histories are about larger-scale conquests, borderlands histories are about smaller-scale accommodations or pockets of resistance. If imperial and national histories fill the continent, borderlands history
seeps into the cracks in between those studies.23
In the case of migration, the historiography of North American borderlands
has taken different tacks. The histories of human movement, state control, and
national imaginings differ significantly at the U.S.-Mexico or the U.S.-Canada
borders. While concepts such as government cooperation, economic integration, or human mobility may best characterize the Canada-U.S. border, the
U.S.-Mexican borderlands, in the words of Gloria Anzalda, are an open
wound where the Third World grates against the First and bleeds.24 As
Grace Pea Delgado shows in chapter 4, the sexualization of migrant Mexican
women at this border in the early twentieth century was one of the earliest
expressions of immigration and border control in the United States. In the
U.S.-Mexico borderlands, according to Anzalda, the lifeblood of two worlds
. . . forms a third country.25 The kind of cultural hybridity that one can find
in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands is far less visible in the border areas where
English-speaking Canadians and Americans interact. In questions of cultural

Benjamin Bryce and Alexander Freund

exchange and the formation of hybrid spaces, then, the northern and southern
borderlands of the United States are very different.
In many of the studies that use a borderlands approach to study migration
and the Canada-U.S. border, the imperial component of eighteenth-century
borderlands history remains. Kornel Chang positions the study of the British
Columbia-Washington borderlands in the context of U.S. and British empire
building. He examines the tension between those who sought to control national boundaries and the racialized laborers, merchants, smugglers, and activists who undermined these projects.26 Similarly, Seema Sohi examines interimperial U.S. and British cooperation in Washington and British Columbia
that sought to control the movement of assumed Indian radicals.27 In chapter
5 of this volume, David Atkinson engages with discussions of empire by studying a series of race riots in Washington and British Columbia. He contends
that the tendency to view these riots within a local and national context causes
scholars to overlook the importance of the transnational current of anti-Asian
mobilization that existed across North America and the British Empire.
From the perspective of a historian of Canada, the borderlands approach
for migration history has another value. On the one hand, as Randy Widdis
shows in chapter 2, it is true that border cities in the United States attracted a
large portion of Canadian migrants in the first half of the twentieth century.
Similarly, in Crossing the 49th Parallel, Bruno Ramirez discusses the prevalence of short-distance migrations between Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit,
Michigan, or towns that have the same name on both sides of the border such
as Sault Sainte Marie and Niagara Falls.28 Ramirez has also shown the attraction of New England for people from the Canadian Maritimes, and this region
could also be viewed as a borderland. On the other hand, a broader spatial
perspective should complement a borderlands approach. Several scholars have
demonstrated much more distant connections that also linked people in Canada to the United States. In chapter 8, Janis Thiessen charts out the entangled
nature of the student movement in the late 1960s through her focus on a number of Mennonite colleges and war resisters in Indiana, Virginia, Ontario, and
British Columbia. In chapter 3, Bruno Ramirez documents the continental
nature of migration from Canada and Mexico to the United States from World
War I until the 1960s. This movement relied on regional border towns, but it
also drew on labor pools well beyond the immediate border zones. In chapter
7, Bryce shows the influence of cities such as Philadelphia and St. Louisboth
well beyond any borderland spaceon German-speaking Lutherans in Ontario.

Introduction

On Comparison
International comparison, like transnationalism and borderlands, challenges
the inward focus on the nation that one can find in U.S. and Canadian historiographies. By looking at two or more cases, it draws attention to themes
that the established (national) historiography has overlooked. Jrgen Kocka
contends that comparison helps to identify questions and to clarify profiles of
single cases and that it helps to make the climate of historical research less
provincial.29 According to Hartmut Kaelble, the comparative method helps
describe, analyze, and typify differences and commonalities, divergences and
convergences.30 The comparative approach challenges historiographic assumptions about uniqueness and enables scholars to test hypotheses and ask
questions that they would likely not have otherwise asked.31 Through comparison, one may call into question older historiographic mainstays such as American exceptionalism or the popular assumption that Canadian multicultural
policies differ greatly from models found in the United States and elsewhere.
By drawing on primary sources or published research on other national contexts, comparison can decrease the exceptionalist tone that develops within national histories or more clearly illustrate the most distinctive features of a topic.
Few historians engage in deeply comparative studies, ones that would draw
from international research and that would ask new questions in a way similar
to the questions that those who do transnational and borderland studies ask.
The writings of Max Weber, Marc Bloch, and Otto Hinze on comparative history in the early twentieth century were some of the earliest attempts to look
beyond the nation.32 Yet it was only after World War II, according to Peter
Burke, that literature, economics, politics, and other disciplines more explicitly
adopted comparative methods. The journal Comparative Studies in Society and
History, founded in 1958, provided a new (English-language) forum for this
approach.33 Writing from a German perspective, Hartmut Kaelble pins the development of comparative history to the rise of social history in the 1960s and
1970s and the efforts to frame German history in a broader European context.34
Comparison has led to fruitful results in several historical studies of migration and ethnicity. Alexander Freund studied the experiences of German
migrants in the mid-twentieth-century North Atlantic region, comparing their
prewar, wartime, and postwar narrative accounts of migration and settlement
in Europe and North America. In comparison to those who stayed in Europe,
the one million German overseas migrants were often driven by individual,
familial, or social conflicts, and their migration was facilitated by kin, organi-

Benjamin Bryce and Alexander Freund

zational, and state networks.35 Royden Loewen has written two comparisons of
Mennonites in the American and Canadian grasslands. Searching for internal
and external factors in cultural change, Loewen tests the relative importance of
government policies, involvement in the market economy, and varying degrees
of urbanization.36 In a second monograph, he examines how people in rural
Manitoba and Kansas responded in distinct ways to technological change, government policies, economic conditions, increased consumption, greater communication, and environmental factors.37 In a study of Italians in New York
City and Buenos Aires, Samuel Baily analyzes how immigrants responded to
the distinct economic, social, political, and cultural structures of these two
cities.38 Through comparison, Baily shows how external factors played an important role in shaping two distinct Italian communities in the Americas. In
his diachronic comparison of Russian German immigrants in 1950s Winnipeg, Canada, and 1970s Bielefeld, Germany, Hans Werner finds that Russian
Germans had imagined their old homeland of Germany in ways that did not
correspond to modern West German society, while Russian Germans in Winnipeg held no preconceived notions of a Canadian homeland and therefore
found integration much easier.39 Other comparisons of ethnic communities
on both sides of the border have yielded richly detailed ethnographies that
demonstrate how locales and space shaped the making of ethnic identities and
politics.40

Entangling Migration History


Migrations to and between the United States and Canada may be fruitfully
understood if they are positioned within a spatial framework that includes
borderlands, transatlantic, and transpacific perspectives. The following eight
chapters borrow from these approaches with the goal of providing a broad
and entangled history of migration. They follow a chronological and regional
approach, and each author speaks to the topic of entangled history in different
ways. Over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, state regulation became increasingly important in shaping migration to and between the
United States and Canada, and this is reflected in the chronological narrative
the chapters tell. The methodological importance of local, regional, national,
and transnational perspectives, however, remains constant.
The first two chapters chart out the relationship between Canada and the
United States, employing in particular comparative and borderland methodologies. In chapter 1, Jos C. Moya surveys migration to different parts of French

Introduction

and British North America from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries from
a hemispheric perspective. He discusses various modes of mobility (free, religious, political exile, penal, indentured, and military), the formation of Atlantic systems of bonded migration, the degree of agency in indentured servitude,
the ethno-national and gender composition of inflows, and intra-European
racism. In chapter 2, Randy Widdis uses a borderlands framework to understand migration between Canada and the United States. He offers a spatial
grammar to consider the elementary principles of the Canadian-American
borderlands. The syntax of this spatial grammar is centered on the related concepts of flows, gateways, hubs, corridors, and networks.
Chapters 3 and 4 take a North American perspective to examine how migration between Mexico, the United States, and Canada coexisted alongside
transatlantic and transpacific movements. In chapter 3, Bruno Ramirez charts
the rise and fall of Canadian and Mexican migration to the United States from
1915 to 1965. Until major reforms in U.S. immigration policy in the 1960s, Canada was the single most important contributor of population and labor in the
United States, followed closely by Mexico. He argues that social spaces were
a key determinant in shaping these transborder population shifts and migration networks. In chapter 4, Grace Pea Delgado focuses on the U.S.-Mexico
border in the early twentieth century in order to show how the regulation of
the southern border of the United States affected how that country controlled
all of its borders. She contends that the experiences of immigration inspectors,
prostitutes, and procurers help illuminate the origins of U.S. federal immigration control through its border policing during the antiwhite slavery movement. Immigration officials and border agents made observable a contested
borderlands landscape where national discursive anxieties about morality,
sexual practice, and sexual self-control clarified what it meant to be a morally
suitable border crosser and eventual citizen of the United States.
In chapters 5 and 6, David Atkinson and Yukari Takai lay out two entangled
histories of the Pacific coast of the United States and Canada. Atkinson examines a series of anti-Asian riots that broke out in 1907 within days of each
other in Bellingham, Washington, and Vancouver, British Columbia. These
events reveal a multiplicity of globally contested borderlands where transnational political, economic, and cultural forces dislocated the narrow confines
of city, state, province, nation, and empire. This broad approach to the 1907
riots reveals that borderlands are not necessarily circumscribed, contiguous,
or even singular spaces. In a similar vein, Takai examines the movement of
laborers between Japan and Hawaii and, after a period ranging from a few days

10

Benjamin Bryce and Alexander Freund

to several years, between Hawaii and continental destinations such as Seattle,


San Francisco, Vancouver, and Victoria between the 1890s and World War I.
Focusing on Japanese diplomats in Honolulu, San Francisco, and Vancouver
and on proprietors and keepers of inns and boarding houses in Honolulu, she
argues that Hawaii emerged as a hub for the transmigration of Japanese in the
face of tightening efforts of the nation-statesbe they Japanese, Canadian, or
Americanto control in- and out-migration.
Chapters 7 and 8 shift the focus away from race on the Pacific coast and to
religion in the Great Lakes and Great Plains regions of Canada and the United
States. Benjamin Bryce examines how various hubs in the United States and
Germany influenced German-speaking Lutherans in Ontario between 1880
and 1930. He argues that regional, national, and transnational connections
shaped the development of many local German-language Lutheran communities in Ontario. In the final chapter, Janis Thiessen analyzes Mennonite underground newspapers produced by students in different parts of the United
States and Canada. Underground newspapers and religious colleges connected
Mennonites on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border and served as spaces in
which they could reimagine their evolving religious identity. Their colleges
and publications bound people together across large regions that transcended
political boundaries.
Combined, these chapters demonstrate several ways that migration bound
the United States and Canada together. Such connections shaped migration
patterns, government policies, ethnic and national identities, constructions of
race, notions of citizenship, and human experience in many parts of these two
countries. These linkages were defined by factors at local, national, and transnational scales, and migration entangled the histories of the United States and
Canada.

Notes
1. Adam McKeown, Global Migration, 18461940, Journal of World History 15, no. 2
(2004): 15589.
2. Dirk Hoerder, Migration in the Atlantic Economies: Regional European Origins and
Worldwide Expansion, in European Migrants: Global and Local Perspectives, ed. Dirk Hoerder and Leslie Page Moch (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1995), 2151; Walter Nugent, Four New-World Migration Targets: Some Comparisons, Amerikastudien/American
Studies 42, no. 3 (1997): 391406.
3. Dirk Hoerder, Changing Paradigms of Migration History: From to America to
World-Wide Systems, Canadian Review of American Studies 24, no. 2 (1994): 10526.

Introduction
4. Seema Sohi writes, for example, that borderlands scholars have made significant contributions to our understandings of U.S. history by challenging the naturalization of national
borders, using racial, ethnic, and gender analyses to uncover the histories of the peoples
living in these spaces and thereby providing counternarratives to triumphalist celebrations
of the frontier. See Seema Sohi, Race, Surveillance, and Indian Anticolonialism in the
Transnational Western U.S.-Canadian Borderlands, Journal of American History 98, no. 2
(2011): 421. Kornel Chang writes that re-orienting the West and the history of the frontier
toward the Pacific Rim allows us to complicate the Atlanticist perspective that dominates
the writing of American history; see Kornel Chang, Pacific Connections: The Making of
the U.S.-Canadian Borderlands (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press,
2012), 3. Benjamin Johnson and Andrew Graybill call for a change to the isolated state of
the two fields [of the U.S. borderlands] (20). They are displeased that historians of both
Mexico and Canada have resisted integrating their history with that of the United States
(1213). See Benjamin Johnson and Andrew Graybill, Introduction: Borders and Their Historians in North America, in Bridging National Borders in North America: Transnational and
Comparative Histories, ed. Benjamin Johnson and Andrew Graybill (Durham, N.C.: Duke
University Press, 2010), 132.
5. Jrgen Kocka, Comparison and Beyond, History and Theory 42, no. 1 (2003): 44.
6. Jrgen Kocka and Heinz-Gerhard Haupt, Comparison and Beyond: Traditions, Scope,
and Perspectives of Comparative History, in Comparative and Transnational History: Central
European Approaches and New Perspectives, ed. Heinz-Gerhard Haupt and Jrgen Kocka
(New York: Berghahn Books, 2009), 20.
7. John Lie, From International Migration to Transnational Diaspora, Contemporary
Sociology 24, no. 4 (1995): 3036; Nina Glick Schiller, Linda Basch, and Christina Blanc-Szanton, eds. Towards a Transnational Perspective on Migration (New York: New York Academy
of Sciences, 1992); Steven Vertovec and Robin Cohen, eds., Migration, Diasporas, and Transnationalism (Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing, 1999); David A. Gerber, Theories
and Lives: Transnationalism and the Conceptualization of International Migrations to the
United States, IMIS-Beitrge 15 (2000): 3153; Donna Gabaccia and Franca Iacovetta, eds.,
Women, Gender, and Transnational Lives: Italian Workers of the World (Toronto: University
of Toronto Press, 2002); Alexander Freund, ed., Beyond the Nation? Immigrants Local Lives
in Transnational Cultures (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2012).
8. Margrit Pernau, Transnationale Geschichte (Gttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2011).
9. Thomas Bender, A Nation among Nations: Americas Place in World History (New York:
Hill and Wang, 2006), 3.
10. Akira Iriye and Pierre-Yves Saunier, Transnational, in The Palgrave Dictionary of
Transnational History, ed. Akira Iriye and Pierre-Yves Saunier (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), 1047.
11. Eiichiro Azuma, Between Two Empires: Race, History, and Transnationalism in Japanese America (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 4.
12. Sebastian Conrad, Globalisation and the Nation in Imperial Germany (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 2010), 380.

11

12

Benjamin Bryce and Alexander Freund


13. Akira Iriye, Global and Transnational History: The Past, Present, and Future (New
York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013); Pernau, Transnationale Geschichte, 3684. Pernau points
to Benedict Andersons Imagined Communities, Eric Hobsbawms The Invention of Tradition,
and Ernest Gellners Nations and Nationalism, all of which were published in 1983, as fundamental markers in the turn to a constructivist understanding of the nation (910).
14. Adam McKeown, Melancholy Order: Asian Migration and the Globalization of Borders
(New York: Columbia University Press, 2008); Marilyn Lake and Henry Reynolds, Drawing the Global Colour Line: White Mens Countries and the International Challenge of Racial
Equality (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008).
15. Benjamin Bryce, Linguistic Ideology and State Power: German and English Education in Ontario, 18801912, Canadian Historical Review 94, no. 2 (2013): 20733; Benjamin
Bryce, Making Ethnic Space: Education, Religion, and the German Language, 18801930,
(PhD diss., York University, 2013).
16. Jeffrey Lesser, Negotiating National Identity: Immigrants, Minorities, and the Struggle
for Ethnicity in Brazil (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1999); Jeffrey Lesser, A Discontented Diaspora: Japanese Brazilians and the Meanings of Ethnic Militancy, 19601980 (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2007); Jan Motte et al., eds., 50 Jahre Bundesrepublik50
Jahre Einwanderung: Nachkriegsgeschichte als Migrationsgeschichte (Munich: Campus, 1999);
Joyce Marie Mushaben, The Changing Faces of Citizenship: Social Integration and Political
Mobilization among Ethnic Minorities in Germany (New York: Berghahn Books, 2009).
17. Ramn Gutirrez and Elliott Young call on U.S. borderlands historians to transnationalize their historical approach and to expand their view to encompass the Americas; see
Gutirrez and Young, Transnationalizing Borderlands History, Western History Quarterly
41, no. 1 (2010): 2653.
18. Jeremy Adelman and Stephen Aron, From Borderlands to Borders: Empires, NationStates, and the Peoples in Between in North American History, American Historical Review
104, no. 3 (1999): 81441; Chang, Pacific Connections; Sohi, Race, Surveillance, and Indian
Anticolonialism.
19. Adelman and Aron, From Borderlands to Borders, 816.
20. Pekka Hmlinen and Samuel Truett, On Borderlands, Journal of American History
98, no. 2 (2011): 338; Adelman and Aron, From Borderlands to Borders.
21. Hmlinen and Truett, On Borderlands, 338.
22. Ibid.
23. Ibid., 351.
24. Gloria Anzalda, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, 3rd ed. (San Francisco:
Aunt Lute Books, 2007), 25.
25. Ibid.
26. Chang, Pacific Connections.
27. Sohi, Race, Surveillance, and Indian Anticolonialism.
28. Bruno Ramirez, Crossing the 49th Parallel: Migration from Canada to the United States,
19001930 (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2001), 109.
29. Kocka, Comparison and Beyond, 39.

Introduction
30. Hartmut Kaelble, Vergleich, in Lexikon Geschichtswissenschaft: Hundert Grundbegriffe, ed. Stefan Jordan (Stuttgart: Reclam, 2002), 3036 (translation by Alexander
Freund).
31. Kocka, Comparison and Beyond, 3940; Kocka and Haupt, Comparison and Beyond, 34.
32. Kaelble, Vergleich, 3036.
33. Peter Burke, History and Social Theory (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1992), 24.
34. Kaelble, Vergleich, 3036.
35. Alexander Freund, Aufbrche nach dem Zusammenbruch: Die deutsche NordamerikaAuswanderung nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg (Goettingen: V&R Unipress, 2004)
36. Royden Loewen, Family, Church, and Market: A Mennonite Community in the Old and
New Worlds, 18501930 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1993), 26768.
37. Royden Loewen, Diaspora in the Countryside: Two Mennonite Communities and MidTwentieth-Century Rural Disjuncture (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2006).
38. Samuel Baily, Immigrants in the Lands of Promise: Italians in Buenos Aires and New
York City, 18701914 (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1999, 17.
39. Hans Werner, Imagined Homes: Soviet German Immigrants in Two Cities (Winnipeg:
University of Manitoba Press, 2007).
40. Jordan Stanger-Ross, Staying Italian: Urban Change and Ethnic Life in Postwar Toronto and Philadelphia (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010); Barbara Lorenzkowski,
Sounds of Ethnicity: Listening to German North America, 18501914 (Winnipeg: University of
Manitoba Press, 2010).

13

1
Canada and the Atlantic World
Migration from a Hemispheric Perspective, 15001800
Jos C. Moya

Over the last two or three decades, global and transnational perspectives have
become almost de rigueur in Canadian migration studies. Both perspectives
have been conceptualized as ways to transcend the nation-state. Transnationalism has also designated a view of migration as pluriform and open-ended
instead of a one-way flow leading to settlement and as an in-between sociocultural space instead of a linear trajectory toward assimilation. Yet perspective
in this ample literature has rarely included one of the common components of
the concept: comparison. Even explicitly titled works such as Alan Simmonss
Immigration and Canada: Global and Transnational Perspectives contain few
comparisons.1 Moreover, those works that actually offer systematic comparison do so with another country, mainly the United States or Australia, and
none of them covers the early history of the country.2
This essay aims to fill this empirical and conceptual vacuum by examining
the colonization of Canada in the context of the broader process of European
overseas expansion and migration during the early modern period. In so doing, it entangles the histories of imperialism and colonization, of French and
British Canada, and of Canada and the rest of the Atlantic World. The first
section of the essay shows the preference of colonizers for southern regions
and explores the reasons for that predilection. The following section examines different types of migration: free/independent, religious, political exile,
convict/penal, indentured, and military. Comparisons with other European
colonies and within Canada undermine entrenched assumptions about the
early European settlement of what became Canada and reveal the importance
of both trans- and intra-Canadian perspectives. After all, in some of the issues
considered, such as the magnitude of bonded labor and female migration,
Canadian regions occupied opposite extremes in the spectrum of the colonial

Migration from a Hemispheric Perspective, 15001800

Americas. The last section of the essay examines the integration of Atlantic
systems of bonded migration, the degree of agency in indentured servitude,
the ethno-national and gender composition of inflows, and Canadas shifting place in the transition to the postcolonial migrations of the nineteenth
and twentieth centuries. Most of the comparisons in the essay will center on
British and French North America, including the Caribbean, because the region formed a relatively connected space of migration. But I will also contrast
Canada with Spanish and Luso-America and, to an extent, to other parts of
the contemporary colonial world in Africa and Asia. These levels in the scale
of comparison will reveal the distinctive characteristics of migration to northern North America and underscore general patterns in early modern colonial
migration.
This synergy in which the local illuminates the global and vice versa can
be detected in the preferences of Canadas early European arrivals for more
southerly regions elsewhere. The Portuguese explored, claimed, and established outposts in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia during the first quarter of
the sixteenth century. But they abandoned the effort in favor of their colonies
in Brazil, Africa, and particularly Asia, where the Estado da India represented
the jewel of the Portuguese Empire during the sixteenth century. Thousands of
Spanish whalers and cod fishers wintered along the St. Lawrence Gulf for much
of the 1500s, but the enterprise could not resist the silvery lure of Mexico and
Peru and withered by the end of the century.3 Indeed, a centuries-old story
which first appeared in a French publication in 1744tells that Spaniards entered the Baie des Chaleurs between Quebec and New Brunswick before the
French but, finding neither gold nor silver, recurrently complained ac nada
(nothing here), an expression that indigenous people repeated to later European arrivals and is the origin of the name of the region.4 The etymology is
questionable and the tale likely apocryphal. But it is telling.
The French established an outpost in the Gasp Peninsula in 1534. But
they also abandoned Canada in favor of Brazil, where in 1555 they founded
France Antarctique, a colony near Rio de Janeiro with 1,000 settlers that the
Portuguese routed twelve years later.5 The French settlement of Canada took
a more permanent form at the beginning of the 1600s with Samuel de Champlains expeditions. Yet by the time of Champlains death in 1635 there were
no more than 150 Frenchmen in Canada. That is one-fourth the number that
founded, in 161215, France Equinoxiale, a second colonial outpost in Brazil, this time, as the name indicates, close to the equator.6 The fact that the
number of French ships sailing to Brazil from 1504 to 1614 surpassed those

15

16

Jos C. Moya

headed for Canada by a factor of ten provides another measure of the relative
importance of the two regions in Frances imperial plans during the sixteenth
century.7
The British showed a similar lack of interest. A century passed between the
English-commissioned explorations of John Cabot in 1497 and their first, and
failed, attempt at settlement in one of the Magdalene Islands in the Gulf of St.
Lawrence in 1597. By the 1660s, when the first permanent outposts appeared in
Newfoundland with a few scores of colonists, there were 22,000 British settlers
in Barbados, a 1423-mile island.8 A comparable number resided in the rest of
the West Indies, which together received two-thirds of all British immigrants
to the Americas during the period. Almost all of the remaining third resided
in Virginia and New England.
European colonial immigration to Canada was not only belated but also
limited. Between 1600 and 1760, some 27,000 French entered Canada. 9 That
is about half the number of Spaniards who arrived in the Indies in a single
decade during the second half of the sixteenth century. Because about twothirds of the immigrants in New France returned home (mostly soldiers and
government officials), the French population of Canada grew mainly through
reproduction, reaching 70,000 by the time the British conquered the colony
in 1760. It has been argued that a great majority of todays ten million French
Canadians can trace their ancestry to about 10,000 original immigrants.10
British immigration was later and more numerous but also relatively limited. The first colony in Canada, Newfoundland, had only 1,416 residents in
1700 and less than 11,000 in 1774.11 Non-English immigration helped augment
the population of the other regions. Official returns from 1767 for what are
today the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island
list 13,374 inhabitants, of whom only 912 were English.12 In the largest inflow of
the period, between thirty and forty thousand loyalists fled the United States
for the Maritime Provinces in the aftermath of the American Revolution, doubling the population of Nova Scotia in one year.13 These inflows helped increase
the population of the colony to 161,000 by the end of the eighteenth century.14
Still, that was only slightly larger than the contemporary population of Mexico
City alone.15
What could explain the belatedness and numerical limits of Canadian colonial migration? Blaming it on the north may sound like simplistic geographic
determinism, the counterpart of nineteenth- and twentieth-century tendencies to impute poverty to the tropics. But one does not have to agree with
the poet Joseph Brodskys claim that geography leaves history few choices to

Migration from a Hemispheric Perspective, 15001800

acknowledge the restraints that climate and ecology place on human habitation, particularly before the nineteenth century, when our capacity to control
indoor temperatures was limited. Contemporaries often blamed the inclement
weather for Canadas failure to attract larger numbers of settlers, and immigrants themselves often referred to it as purgatory, a wretched place, or
civil death at the end of the world.16 Loyalist exiles in Nova Scotia, stunned
by the harsh environment, began to refer to it as Nova Scarcity.17 Even Pierre
Boucher, a settler who in 1664 wrote Histoire vritable et naturelle des murs
et productions du Pays de la Nouvelle France, vulgairement dite le Canada expressly to uplift the reputation of his new country, counted long winters as one
of its four great incommodities, the others being mosquitoes in the summer,
rattlesnakes, and les Iroquois nos Ennemis.18
Latitude also had implications beyond home temperature. Almost all longdistance trade before the nineteenth century was made up of luxury items,
and most of these were in the tropics. In some cases this reflected the wealth
of the realm. Portuguese India became the first El Dorado of European imperialism, supplying cinnamon, fine textiles and woods, precious stones, and
other luxuries in a trade that during the sixteenth and early seventeenth century provided 45 percent of the Portuguese treasurys income.19 In other cases
the plants that produced high-priced commodities with European or international demand grew only or mainly in the tropics. One of the main reasons
the French preferred Brazil over Canada during the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries was the existence of pau brasil, a hard reddish wood used to
make violins, fine furniture, and red dye. It was so valued that the country was
named after it. Three other dyesindigo, cochineal, and fustichad a similar
impact in the colonization of Venezuela, southern Mexico, Barbados, and the
Leeward Islands. Tobacco explains why during the seventeenth century the
number of French engags heading for the West Indies outnumbered those
going to Canada five to one, and English migrants had a similar preference.20
The same plant attracted tens of thousands of Canary Islanders to Cuba, Santo
Domingo, and Venezuela for centuries. If tobacco attracted mostly European
peasants, cacao and particularly sugar cane relied overwhelmingly on African
slavery and ushered the largest transoceanic migration of the timeten million people, or three times the number of Europeans who landed in the Americas before the 1840s.21
Cod fishing and fur trade played a key role in promoting the settlement of
Canada, but compared to these other commodities they produced less wealth
and insufficient labor requirements to either lure free workers or make viable

17

18

Jos C. Moya

the importation of slaves. Neither activity was particularly labor intensive, and
neither required significant immigration and settlement. Much of the labor
force for fishing returned yearly to Europe.22 Amerindians mostly did the actual fur trapping, since the higher-quality beaver pelts were not found in the
coastal areas where most European colonists settled but far north and, later,
west of the St. Lawrence River.23 Overhunting in more accessible regions diminished the stock and pushed the beaver frontier farther away from European settlements. Competition from the beaver hunting grounds in what is
today Michigan and the north of Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio and in particular
from Russia, where the colonization of Siberia during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries opened vast expanses to the fur trade, undermined prices
and commercial stability for Europeans in present-day Canada.24 A merchants
report of 1694 asserted that the foreign trade is practically extinct.25 The trade
recuperated, but the fact that similar assessments had appeared often before
and would continue to appear gives a sense of the insecurity of the sector. Up
to the first quarter of the eighteenth century, the Canadian economy was characterized by brief surges followed by longer periods of downturns, stagnation,
or at best sluggish growth.26 It is telling that Saint-Domingue, half a Caribbean island and one-quarter the size of Newfoundland, produced more wealth,
based on the export of sugar and indigo, than all of Canada and received eight
times as many people.27
The sharpest contrast in terms of free immigration, however, appears not
in comparison with producers of tropical cash crops but in comparison with
producers of precious minerals. The viceroyalties of Peru and New Spain
(Mexico), which produced 80 percent of the worlds silver between 1550 and
1800, attracted so many newcomers that the Spanish Crown had to restrict
emigration. Portugal also had to control the outflow to Brazil in 1720 during the peak of the gold and diamond boom in Minas Gerais. By contrast, all
that Canada produced in terms of precious metals were mocking expressions.
When Jacques Cartier returned to France with iron pyrite and quartz crystals, these minerals became known as fools gold and diamants du Canada,
which became synonymous with something fake.28
Significantly, the Spanish Indies and Brazil were the only two cases in the
history of European imperialism where the challenge for the metropolis was
how to prevent too many subjects from leaving for the colonies. Part of the
explanation for this is that precious metals promoted economic growth and
opportunities not only where they were mined but also along the trade routes.
The gold of Minas Gerais produced an economic golden age throughout coastal

Migration from a Hemispheric Perspective, 15001800

Brazil and waves of Portuguese immigration. Silver transport from Mexico to


Spain turned Havana into the major port in the Americas and led to the development of a precocious service economy; by the eighteenth century it had
turned Cuba into the most urbanized region in the world and a major magnet
for immigrants.29 The export of Peruvian silver through the River Plate in the
second half of the eighteenth century pushed Argentinas gross domestic product and immigration rate above those of Mexico or Peru.30 These pull factors
and the spontaneous currents they attracted explain one of the most distinctive
aspects of European colonization in Ibero-America: the absence of European
indentured servants, penal migration, and other forms of compulsory or semivoluntary movements.31
A different form of free migration was religious colonization. Some took
place in Canada, albeit with limited success. The first English attempt at colonization in the region was actually a company of faithful people, by the word
of God called out and separated from the world, as Brownists referred to their
1597 planned settlement in the Magdalene Islands.32 But Basque and Breton
sailors and their Mikmaq allies soon trounced the English. New France long
served as a refuge for Huguenots (as had France Antarctique in Brazil in the
1550s) but Cardinal Richelieu barred them in 1627 and a larger Jesuit presence
in the colony made the ban increasingly enforceable.33 Sir George Calvert, Lord
Baltimore, founded a Catholic colony in Newfoundland in 1621.34 Apparently
the north did not suit spiritual enterprises, because after a bitter winter in 1628
he petitioned the English king for land on the warmer shores of Virginia.35
In the 1770s, German Moravians established three missions in Labrador that
lasted into the twentieth century.36 But they numbered only a few dozen and
their purpose was to convert the Inuit, not to bring their brethren. Most successful religious colonies emerged in somewhat warmer climates: Lord Baltimores own Catholic colony in Maryland, Puritans in New England, Quakers and Amish Mennonites in Pennsylvania, Calvinists and Huguenots in the
Cape Colony, and various sects in Europe.
Political refugees constituted another type of free, or at least nonbonded,
migration. As with most exile movements, the degree of compulsion for leaving ranged from dissatisfaction with a change of sovereignty in the Americas
to fleeing for ones life. Among those closer to the latter end of the spectrum were the white refugees who fled Saint-Domingue during the Haitian
Revolution for Cuba, Louisiana, and the United States and the loyalists who
left Venezuela and Mexico, the other two cases of particularly violent independence movements, for the Spanish Caribbean. The largest of these

19

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Jos C. Moya

movements, however, was also the least violent: the migration of loyalists
to Canadas Maritime Provinces and Ontario during and after the American
Revolution. Indeed, some historians have argued that many of these loyalists were not particularly loyal and that they acted less as political exiles
than as economic emigrants pondering the material pros and cons of moving north.37 Somewhat ironically, this was the only one of the various exiles
mentioned above to produce a lasting historical memory; a process of memorialization and construction of traditions carried out by descendants over
two centuries.38
Outside Ibero-America, the challenge for European empires was not how to
prevent subjects from leaving but how to cajole them into moving to the colonies, and this involved various types of coerced migration, the most extreme
being the forced transportation of prisoners. Deported convicts entered New
France mainly between 1715 and 1744, numbering about 600. The seriousness
of their crime decreased during the period, contrary to the case of AngloAmerica, where the level of criminality among the transports, as they became
known, increased during the eighteenth century.39 During the last decades,
the prisoners arriving in New France were mainly faux-sauniers, smugglers
convicted of not paying the salt tax. The fact that locals treated these people no
different than engags may reflect the unpopularity of the salt tax in France or
the lack of fastidiousness in a society thirsty for settlers.40 Overall, penal immigration represented less than 3 percent of the total inflow to New France.41
The proportion was lower in British Canada, which received fewer than 200 of
the 50,000 convicts sent to North America between Parliaments passage of the
Transportation Act in 1718 and 1775.42
The contrast with most of the rest of the colonial world is clear. During
the eighteenth century, convicts accounted for 17 percent of all European
migrants to the thirteen British colonies and for 18 percent of those headed
to French Louisiana.43 The number of criminals landing in the West Indies
during the mid-seventeenth century led a resident of Barbados to refer to
the island as the Dunghill wharone England doth cast forth its rubbish.44
Local landowners estimated that by the 1650s they were employing 12,000
prisoners from Cromwells wars against royalists, Irish, and Scots. 45 Australia
received its first cargo of convicts in 1788, and over the next eight decades
160,000 arrived.46 Close to 20,000 British prisoners were sent to Bermuda
and Gibraltar between 1824 and 1875. French Guianas Devils Island became
synonymous with a penal colony after 1852, as did Nouvelle-Caldonie, the
destination of many communards, soon after, and over the next nine decades

Migration from a Hemispheric Perspective, 15001800

they received 103,000 prisoners.47 The Portuguese, the pioneers in this process, sent thousands of convicts, including hardened criminals, to Moroccan garrisons, So Tom, Angola, Mozambique, Goa, Sri Lanka, the Molucca
Islands, Macau, and Maranhao in the Brazilian far north, basically to all the
colonial outposts other than the core of Brazil, where emigration had to be
restricted rather than forced.48 Beginning in the 1400s, Russia settled Siberia
mainly through the exile of convicts (ssylka) or through penal servitude (katorga), which together carried over half-a-million prisoners across the Urals
between 1730 and 1850 alone.49
In this colonial penal spectrum, Canada clearly occupied a low place in
terms of the importance, volume, and proportion of convict transportation.
Below it, there seems to be only a few cases. Penal colonization was insignificant in New England, New York, and Brazil (outside of its northern frontier).50 The Dutch sent few, if any, convicts to their Caribbean possessions.
While the East India Company used convict migration in Batavia, Mauritius,
and the Cape colony, the volume was relatively modest and consisted mostly
of colonial subjects (mainly Javanese sent to South Africa) rather than Dutch
prisoners sent to the colonies.51 Spaniards also transported indigenous convicts for labor in New Spains mines and textile factories, although most of
the work force, recent studies have shown, was made up of free migrants.52
Most Spanish-born convicts in the early modern period were transported to
the Mediterranean galleys, the colonies in North Africa, the mercury mines
of Almaden, and local shipyards.53 The last two activities were connected to
the overseas empire (mercury was critical for silver mining), but the actual
transatlantic transportation of convicts was mostly limited to the two decades following the British occupation of Havana in 176263 and to presidio
labor in that city and in San Juan, Puerto Rico. These laborers accounted for
less than 2,500 prisoners.54
What could explain Canadas low position in the rank of colonial penal emigration? If we examine the various cases a certain pattern emerges.
States pursued three main objectives: to procure labor for colonies where not
enough free migrants were willing to go; to procure settlers for similar places
with a politico-military rather than an economic goal, such as occupying
and defending claimed territory; and to get rid of paupers, criminals, dissidents, or other undesirables. The greater the intensity of and concordance
between the three objectives (as exemplified by Siberia), the larger the movement of convicts would be. Canada shared with all the main destinations its
incapacity to attract large numbers of independent immigrants. But the other

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Jos C. Moya

conditions did not coalesce. The region would have made as good a destination as any other to get rid of unwanted groups, but the timing was wrong.
Before the nineteenth century convicts were not transported en masse to
distant colonies just to get rid of them, as would happen later to a large
degree with French Guiana and New Caledonia. That was too costly before
steamships. Moreover, forced exile involved relatively few people before the
advent of mass politics and large labor movements. As an economic calculus,
the return on convict labor was lower in Canada than in more productive
economies such as those of the American South and the West Indies. And
the politico-military calculus worked in reverse. Penal transportation was
not viable as a defense mechanism precisely because the intensity and recurrence of Anglo-French military conflict in the region made convicts a poor
substitute for soldiers. This explains why soldiers constituted a larger proportion of the colonial population in Canada than in most other contemporary
colonies.55
Transported convicts were usually indentured in the colonies, but the most
common form of indentured migration was voluntary, at least nominally, and,
according to many recent studies, generally also in fact.56 Servants entered
into a contract with someoneusually a ship captainwho paid their passage. Typically the owner of the contract sold it to an employer at destination, although in the case of redemptioners, the immigrants negotiated their
indenture themselves upon arrival. In either case, the servant was bound to
the employer for the debt for an average of five years. He or (more rarely) she
could be sold and bought during that period but was set free after it. Three
out of every four of the 200,000 people who came to North America from
England during the seventeenth century arrived as indentured servants.57 So
did the vast majority of whites who entered the British and French West Indies
before the sugar industry and planters capital turned the islands into African
slave societies toward the end of the seventeenth century.58 During the first
three-quarters of the eighteenth century, the proportion of white immigration
into the thirteen British colonies in North America made up by indentured
servants dropped to 34 percent but that of transported convicts went up to 17
percent.59
How does Canada compare to other colonies regarding the importance
of indentured servitude in the immigrant flow? The scholarly literature on
British Canada does not provide much of an answer. The vast majority of
the hundreds of studies of indentured servitude in British North America
treat that category as if it were synonymous with the thirteen colonies that

Migration from a Hemispheric Perspective, 15001800

became the United States. Histories of British Canada consistently mention


the presence of indentured servants, but none that I have found provides any
specific figures. The most concrete of these stresses the presence of servants
in eighteenth-century Newfoundland.60 The literature on Nova Scotia is more
explicit about the slaves among the estimated 3,000 African Americans that
came with the Loyalist exodus of the 1780s and the 568 Jamaican maroons
who arrived after 1796 than it is about white indentured servants.61 We know
that even freeborn black children were at times bound to white employers
and that in 1784 disbanded soldiers rioted to oust blacks from Shelburne, a
town with a sizeable settlement of black Loyalists.62 We also know that indenture appeared even in fur trading, one of the economic activities most associated with individual freedom in Canadian history. Both the Hudsons Bay
Company (founded in 1670 and thus the oldest commercial corporation in
North America) and the bourgeois, the mostly Anglo companies that came
to dominate the Montreal-based trade after the 1760 British conquest of New
France, employed indentured servants.63
For French Canada the historiography is more abundant but also imprecise and lacking comparative perspective. Historian Gabriel Debien compiled
detailed lists of 833 engags who migrated from 1634 to 1715 and 675 who
migrated from 1714 to 1758.64 These tell us much about the origins and social
profile of the indentured servants. But we cannot know how complete the
lists are or what proportion indentured servants made up of all migration
to New France. Some authors set that proportion at 40 percent.65 Frdric
Mauro has asserted that engags formed half of Montreals population in 1653
but did not provide any data or source.66 Peter Moogk maintained that selffinanced, independent newcomers were so rare in New France that they were
noted in administrative records and in official correspondence.67 Another
historian maintained that only five percent of the total ever came voluntarily,
compared to the English colonies to the south, where half of the immigrants
arrived voluntarily.68
Some historical conditions would seem to support those assertions about
the preponderance of indentured servants in French and British Canada. The
region did not receive as many free religious immigrants as New England and
Pennsylvania or large numbers of African slaves like the U.S. South and the
West Indies, so its dependence on indentured immigrants was greater and longer lasting.69 In the case of New France, much of the settlement occurred during the second half of the seventeenth century, a peak period in transatlantic
indentured migration. The fact that contracts for engags lasted an average of

23

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Jos C. Moya

three years, compared to five in British America, and included some form of
remuneration beyond room and board and a free return passage, could indicate a greater need to attract indentured migrants and that these more favorable terms lured larger numbers of servants.70
Yet a compilation of available comparative data undermines these arguments and much of the assertions and assumptions in the existing scholarly
literature. A group of demographers at the Universit de Montral led by
Hubert Charbonneau, Jacques Lgar, and Bertrand Desjardins have created
an impressive computerized longitudinal record going back to 1608 for the
French Canadian population.71 An examination of the data shows that engags accounted for 18 percent of all arrivals during the seventeenth century.
That is not higher than the figures for the thirteen colonies, as asserted in
the literature; it is actually much lower. Indentured servants accounted for
more than two-thirds of immigrants who went to those colonies in general
during the same century and for 86 percent, 75 percent, and 33 percent of
those headed for Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, respectively.72 Only
Massachusetts, at 12 to 20 percent, and New Netherland, at 10 to 20 percent,
had similarly low rates.73 During the eighteenth century the proportion went
down to 13 percent in French Canada, compared to close to half in the thirteen colonies and between half and two-thirds in Pennsylvania.74 Even if we
exclude soldiers and consider only the French Canadian civilian population,
the figure (32 percent) remains significantly lower than that for the future
United States.75
If we use stock rather than inflow as a measure (see table 1.1), the pattern
holds. Montreal, Quebec, and Trois-Rivires had a smaller proportion of in-

Table 1.1. Indentured servants as a proportion of the white population and slaves
as a proportion of the total population in North American and West Indian
colonies, 16291790 (ranked from highest proportion of servants in white
population to lowest)
Colony (Canadian in bold)

Year

Servants as a Slaves as a %
% of whites of total pop. Source

Page(s)

Newfoundland

1677

71.9

699

Jamaica

1730

52

90

17375

Newfoundland

1775

50.1

17375

Maryland

1637

49

2829

Barbados

1652

44.4

56.2

332

Servants as a Slaves as a %
% of whites of total pop. Source

Colony (Canadian in bold)

Year

Page(s)

Virginia

1625

41.6

1.9

144

Jamaica

1768

33

88.2

335

Maryland

1655

30.9

1.8

3940

Maryland

1665

28.8

3.2

3940

Antigua

1720

19.1

84

21214

Maryland

1680

16.6

4.5

3940

Virginia

1671

15.8

328

Philadelphia

1750

12.3

6.4

17879

Barbados

1684

12.2

70.4

84

St. Christopher

1720

9.3

72.3

21214

Maryland

1707

8.9

13.8

2829

Philadelphia

1685

7.8

12

17879

Trois-Rivires

1762

6.5

6566

Maryland

1755

6.4

27.8

324

Montserrat

1720

5.6

69.1

21214

Montreal

1681

5.4

18

Nevis

1720

5.1

80.9

21214

Quebec

1762

4.2

6566

South Carolina

1708

57.4

10

128

South Carolina

1790

2.9

43

10

128

Massachusetts

1650

2.5

0.2

Rhode Island

1708

0.8

62

Bermuda

1764

0.4

47

17375

Source: 1) Abbot Emerson Smith, Colonists in Bondage: White Servitude and Convict Labor in America,
16071776 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1947); 2) Christopher Tomlins, Reconsidering
Indentured Servitude: European Migration and the Early American Labor Force, 16001775, Labor History
42, no. 1 (2001): 543; 3) Daniel Woodley Prowse, A History of Newfoundland from the English, Colonial, and
Foreign Records (London: MacMillan, 1895); 4) E. B. Greene and Virginia Harrington, American Population
before the Federal Census of 1790 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1932); 5) Eugene I. McCormac, White
Servitude in Maryland: 16341820 (Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins Press, 1904); 6) Louise Dechne, Habitants
and Merchants in Seventeenth-Century Montreal (Montreal/Kingston: McGill-Queenss University Press,
1992); 7) Robert H. Schomburgk, The History of Barbados (London: Longman, 1847); 8) Robert V. Wells, The
Population of the British Colonies in America before 1776: A Survey of Census Data (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton
University Press, 1975); 9) Sharon V. Salinger, To Serve Well and Faithfully: Labor and Indentured Servants in
Pennsylvania, 16821800 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987); 10) Warren B. Smith, White Servitude in Colonial South Carolina (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1961).

26

Jos C. Moya

dentured servants in their population than colonies in the north and south of
the United States and the Caribbean. The only colonies with a lower incidence
of white indentured servants than French Canada were those where plantation
economies had developed from the beginning with black slave labor (South
Carolina and Bermuda) or those where plantation economies did not develop
at any significant level (Massachusetts and Rhode Island).
The relationship between white indenture and black slavery, however, produced different configurations in colonies where the former was the first form
of bonded labor. Scholarly literature emphasizes one pattern: European indenture declined in direct correlation with the increase of African slavery. That
indeed happened in Maryland, Virginia, and the islands of Montserrat and
St. Kitts and Nevis. In a second pattern, however, the two forms of bondage
concurred. Jamaica had the highest proportion of slaves among all the cases
in Table 1.1 (90 percent of the total population) and the second-highest proportion of indentured servants in the white population (52 percent). Antigua
showed a similar correlation. My examination of data from a 1684 census of
Barbados shows that in nine of the eleven parishes on the island, indenture and
slavery coincided instead of being at odds. That is to say, the parishes with the
highest proportion of slaves also had the highest proportion of bound servants
and parishes with the lowest proportion of slaves had the lowest proportion of
servants.76 On the other hand, limited slavery did not always correspond with
limited indenture. Indeed, among the colonies with the lowest levels of black
slavery one can find one of the lowest levels of white indenture (Massachusetts)
and the highest level (Newfoundland).
The extraordinarily high number of indentured servants in Newfoundland
contrasts dramatically not only with French Canada but also with the rest of
British Canada. The only Canadian destination listed in a record of indentured
emigrants leaving from London between 1654 and 1686 is Newfoundland.77 Of
the 2,500 English colonists who founded Halifax in 1749, only 17 percent were
servants. This proportion places Nova Scotia at the low end of the colonial
spectrum in North America, along with New England, New Netherland, and
New France. A British registry of 9,364 emigrants departing between 1773 and
1776 shows no indentured servants among the 797 heading for Canada; all
but 39 people were headed to Nova Scotia. In comparison, 49 percent of the
emigrants headed for Maryland were indentured; 47 percent for Virginia; 44
percent for Pennsylvania; 39 percent for South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida;
and 11 percent for New York. New England was the only other region that did
not receive any indentured servants.78

Migration from a Hemispheric Perspective, 15001800

What could explain the exceptionally high number of indentured servants


in Newfoundland? At the most primary level the answer to the question is
ecological. This rocky and windswept island, scoured of topsoil by glaciation
and encircled by the frigid Labrador Current, offered a poor environment for
family farming and thus for permanent settlement. For more than a century
it was, nominally, the sole English colony in the Americas. But more than a
colony, it was for close to two centuries an outpost of roving fishermen, a region contested by French and Basques from both sides of the Pyrenees. These
conflicts further hindered family settlement. So did the fact that although the
navy officially administered the island, it only developed a rudimentary state
structure by the 1770s.
The fact that economically Newfoundland became, from the late seventeenth century to 1776, more a colony of New England than of England also
helps explain the prevalence of indenture.79 Absentee Boston merchants and
shippers controlled the islands cod-fishing and -salting business, hindering
the formation of a local bourgeoisie and a permanent, class-diversified, and
gender-balanced community. The commander of the island in 1761 blamed the
lack of settlers on the Irish Romish Catholic servants. This most outrageous
Set of People that ever lived sided with the French, robbed and intimidated
the locals, murdered the chief of justice, scared immigrants from the west of
England from coming, drove natives out of the island, and outnumbered Protestants six to one.80 Yet almost a century before (1677), when the Irish had
not yet arrived and almost all residents were English Protestants from County
Devon, the population of Cape Bonavista, the largest settlement in the island,
consisted of 162 housekeepers (free men), 94 wives, 137 sons, 130 daughters, 13 female servants, and 1,327 manservants.81 The latter accounted for 71
percent of all inhabitants and gave Newfoundland the highest rate of indentured servants of any colony in the Americas plus the highest male sex ratio
and the highest proportion of whites living in households with more than ten
persons.82
In a sense, Newfoundland became more of a dependent, monocultural,
colonial enclave than many of the sugar islands of the Caribbean, to which
it exported most of its salted cod. It was an economy controlled by outsiders and dependent on a single export commodity. It depended on imports
for all of its basic needs from or via New England. The biggest export business for Boston merchants was New England rum, a villainous compound
probably worse than the Spanish aguardiente or the worst French brandy
that was also exported to the West Indies and Africa.83 And on the island a

27

28

Jos C. Moya

small comprador elitetellingly called planters despite the fact that they did
not plant anythingdepended on Yankee capitalists and oversaw a mass of
imported and increasingly racialized bound laborers. Altogether, this sounds
like a colder, whiter, less populated, and more demographically masculinized
version of Jamaica, which followed Newfoundland in the proportion of indentured servants. And the similarities between the two islands were mutually reinforced through the New England connection. A traveler in Jamaica
in 1707 noticed the importance of salted fish arriving in Yankee ships for
feeding servants and slaves.84 In Newfoundland, West Indian sugar and rum
played a similar role, with the added element that purchasing rum often indebted servants and elongated their indenture. Bonded labor reproduced
bonded labor.
The case of Newfoundland illustrates some basic points about indentured
servitude, the most important form of European colonial migration to the
New World outside of Ibero-America. One is that, like slavery, this was an
expensive method of transporting labor across the Atlantic at a time when
the trip took from two to three months and cost the equivalent of six months
wages of an English laborer.85 Therefore the importation of bound labor
whether white, black, or, in the nineteenth century, Chinese, Indian, and Javanesetook place in commercialized, export-oriented regions where the
economy was labor intensive enough to require it and profitable enough to afford it, which explains the relatively low levels of indenture in French Canada
or most of British Canada, ingrained assumptions to the contrary. Because
demand encouraged specialization and the latter increased productivity, these
economies were usually monocultural; that is, dependent on one or a few
commodities.
Although geopolitics sometimes played a role, as in New France, the sine
qua non factors for the mass importation of bound labor were ecological, economic, and geographical. The land or the sea had to have commodities with
external demand, as in Newfoundland, or the capacity to produce them, as in
the sugar islands. Given the transportation limits of pre-railroad economies,
they had to be within eighty kilometers or so of navigable waters. So even in
New England, where soils were too thin to support commercial agriculture
and the importation of servants, Puritan landowners used indentured servants
in localities such as the bottom of the Connecticut Valley, where the land was
fertile enough to raise pigs, cattle, wheat, and barley for the West Indian and
Newfoundland markets.86 Clearly the existence of bound labor had more to do

Migration from a Hemispheric Perspective, 15001800

with material viability than with religious ideals and the putative egalitarian
ethos they fomented.
The grievances the English commander of Newfoundland voiced about
Irish criminality exemplify another trait of indenture: conflict, discrimination, and violence were more common when the ethnicities of contractors,
employers, and servants differed. In his 1697 diary, French priest Jean Baudoin devoted dozens of pages to commiserating with the plight of Irish servants whom les anglais ici traitent comme des esclaves (the English here treat
as slaves).87 A century later, the English chief justice of the island collected
impressions from local planters that presented the other side: complaints
about theft, murder, rapes, or disorders of any kind whatsoever, a truculent
and lawless environment where masters beat servants, and servants their
masters.88 In the American South, Irish servants were also discriminated
against and suspected of lack of loyalty and sympathy with the Catholic
French, to the point that they were banned from joining local militias. In
the early eighteenth century, Virginia and Maryland levied duties to restrict
the importation of Irish servants, apparently with limited effect because, as a
local official remarked, like the wheat-fly, [they] showed themselves in spite
of precaution.89
The West Indies experienced similar outbursts of anti-Irish sentiment. In all
of the British Caribbean islands, Irish servants were suspected of pro-French
sympathies and of instigating black revolts.90 Anti-Catholic violence in Nevis
in 1632 forced Irish servants to flee to Montserrat. In 1644, Barbados passed
legislation to prevent the importation of Irish servants, and so did Nevis and
Montserrat later. As in the U.S. South, these laws had limited success as the
Irish became the majority of indentured servants and, in Montserrat, of the
white population.91 In 1673 a Barbadian landowner claimed to speak for his
class when he offered an ethnic rank of labor: Scotchmen and Welshmen we
esteem the best servants, and the Irish the worst, many of them being good
for nothing but mischief.92 Indeed, English, Scots, and Welsh servants came
to form a class of skilled and supervisory labor on most estates while the Irish
were relegated to field gangs, derided by the negroes, and branded with the
Epithet of white slaves, according to a visitor in 1667. The prices Jamaican
planters paid for indentured servants in the 1730s reflected that rank: 18 pounds
for English, Welsh, and Scots, but only 15 for the Irish, whom the governor of
Jamaica described as a lazy, useless sort of people . . . [whose] hearts are not
with us.93 For a long time, planters feared Irish conspiracies and revolts. Some

29

30

Jos C. Moya

were real.94 Irish servants in Montserrat joined French invaders in 1667 and
after the French left, they seized the island for half a year.95 Others just reflected
paranoia. But it would take almost a century of African slavery for the Irish to
be considered a part of the dominant group in the British Caribbean.
Ethnic resentment was most common against the Irish, in part because of
their Catholicism and in part because they emigrated for the longest period
and to the most destinations, but it also affected Germans, who made up the
other major group of non-English servants in North America. They had become unwelcome guests in Pennsylvania, their primary destination, by the
middle of the eighteenth century.96 Around that time Benjamin Franklin complained:
Why should the Palatine Boors be suffered to swarm into our settlements, and by herding together establish their Language and Manners to
the exclusion of ours? Why should Pennsylvania, founded by the English,
become a Colony of Aliens, who will shortly be so numerous as to Germanize us instead of our Anglifying them, and will never adopt our Language or Customs, any more than they can acquire our Complexion?97
As the reference to complexion suggests, this included an element of racialization. This type of anti-German Anglo nativism partly explains the contraction of access to citizenship during the early republican period, when the Naturalization Act of 1798 increased the time of residency required for citizenship
from five to fourteen years.98
A different set of characteristics illustrated by the Newfoundland case is that
despite these types of discrimination and despite omnipresent images of domination, indentured servitude was difficult to control, could be exploited by the
people it was meant to exploit, and required a good degree of accommodation.
Much of servitude in Newfoundland resembled sojourning more than bound
labor. Fishermen were hired at fairs in Devon, in Englands West Country, on
the understanding that they would receive keep, including tobacco and rum,
for service that lasted from spring to autumn, as well as a share of the earnings
from the trip when they returned. That the system lasted generations and that
the participants were co-ethnics in a relatively restricted social space where the
price of breaking trust was high suggests that the understanding was normally
kept. Indeed, most migrations where the cost of the trip was paid by debt labor
were arranged by co-ethnicswhether they were English indentures, Chinese
and Indian coolies, or laborers in the Italian padrone systemand the communities in question were more likely to perceive the arrangements as mutually

Migration from a Hemispheric Perspective, 15001800

beneficial than external authorities and reformers did. From that perspective,
the lender made money, the employer procured needed labor, and young penniless laborers got their chance to move to places with higher wages and greater
opportunities.
The human geography and economy of mainland North America facilitated escape and thus a form of empowerment. The low population density,
dispersed settlement, pervasiveness of frontiers, and cheap and abundant
land in these colonies reduced the efficiency of social control mechanisms.
A businessman in early nineteenth-century Canada argued that indentured
servitude had not worked there because land was too cheap and proposed
that the government set land prices high enough to prevent workers from
abandoning the labor market.99 Employers throughout the mainland colonies complained about how easy it was for servants to run away by just moving into a neighboring colony and suspected that many indentured immigrants used the system to get a free passage to America and never intended
to serve their time to redeem the debt. The lack of phenotypic difference
between the free and indentured population made escaping easier than it
was for slaves, particularly in the British and French North American and
Caribbean colonies, where manumission was rare and less than 3 percent of
blacks were free before 1800.
Furthermore, the endemic shortage of labor in a region with a high ratio
of resources to people empowered servants. As many employers of the indentured noticed, the risk of losing the servant and thus their investment was high
because employers in other colonies or districts could afford to entice servants
with better conditions and wages, since they had not borne the cost of the laborers transatlantic transportation. Local authorities in Newfoundland often
complained that New Englanders inveigle away a great many seamen and servants with promises of great wages.100 Something similar happened between
Upper and Lower Canada, Virginia and North Carolina, and Maryland and
Pennsylvania, where owners lamented that their servants were being lured by
employers in neighboring colonies.101
The ease with which employers could poach servants from those who
had paid for them necessitated a series of responses, and some of them took
the form of positive incentives for the servants to stay. Colonial legislators
made efforts to distinguish indenture from slavery by granting servants rights
as free persons under contract. The lack of private application of negative law
could have the same effect. It has been argued that penal legislation to punish
and control servants was more abundant in Canada than in the rest of British

31

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Jos C. Moya

North America but that enforcement was more sporadic, convictions fewer,
and punishment less harsh.102 The frequency of other positive incentives is
difficult to determine because, as David Galenson notes, within the operation of servitude it was only abuses by either masters or servants that were
monitored by colonial courts, and therefore of which systematic legal records
survive.103 But there is plenty of scattered evidence of servants having access
to land plots to grow cash crops on their own account, accumulating money
and livestock, having their indentured time reduced, and negotiating with
employers. In a sense, the system acquired elements of a free labor market
in order to survive in the challenging milieu of mainland North America.
Nonetheless, by the end of the eighteenth century indentured servitude was
already in decline everywhere with the exception of Germans in Pennsylvania (who were actually redemptioners). In Canada, it barely survived into the
1820s, limited after that to the occasional importation of pauper children as
apprentices.104
Canada also fits into broader Atlantic patterns regarding the role of the
military, gender, and national or ethno-regional origins. As we noticed, military migration played a particularly important role in both French and British Canada. But we find similarly high levels in other contested imperial
borderlands or archipelagos such as those between the Spanish and the Portuguese in the River Plate or in the plurinational Caribbean.105 The militarys
growing presence in Canada during the eighteenth century coincided with
a similar tendency in the rest of North America.106 As elsewhere, soldiers in
Canada, other than officers, resembled indentured immigrants in age, regional provenance, and social background but did not have a debt to pay
and received a sum of money upon discharge. Yet the retention rates differed significantly. Four-fifths of soldiers in New France returned to France,
compared to only half of the engags.107 In British Canada, a comparable
proportion returned to Europe or moved to other American colonies. By
comparison less than two-thirds of the German soldiers in the British Army
in the thirteen colonies (usually called Hessians because the largest contingent came from the region of Hesse) returned home, despite the fact that they
ended up on the losing side of the war.108 The same return rate characterized the 209,000 Spanish soldiers sent to Cuba during the Ten Years War of
18681878, an unsuccessful struggle for independence.109 The higher military
return from Canada likely reflects the lower retention capacity of the region
in general.
Soldiers and indentured laborers had a marked impact on the sex ratios

Migration from a Hemispheric Perspective, 15001800

of the colonial immigration flows. Soldiers were all males and indentured
servants were mostly male. The two highest sex ratios (masculine proportion) among the twenty-three transatlantic crossings listed in table 1.2 belong
to indentured migrations of English to Newfoundland and French to New
France, and the third belongs to Spaniards heading to the Indies during the
conquest period. The military/indentured combination explains the high sex
ratio of all migration to French Canada: soldiers made up 53 percent and
indentured servants 17 percent of immigrants, together accounting for seven
out of ten arrivals. Gabriel Debien maintained that the proportion of families
and women among engags going to French Canada was lower than among
those heading for the West Indies and that return rates were higher, which
one would expect from a more masculine migration.110 The higher rate of
male return explains why women accounted for 12 percent of the immigration but for 20 percent of the French-born population in French Canada. The
filles du roi, young women whose passage was subsidized by the monarcha
scheme that seems to have its only counterpart in the orfs do rei sent by the
Portuguese king to Indiaaccounted for more than half of the female immigrants to French Canada.111
Within the indentured category, however, there were ethno-national differences. French and English servants had the highest masculinity rates, which
partially explains why migration to Newfoundland and French Canada had
the highest sex ratios in the Americas. The Irish indentured servants had a
larger proportion of women and the Germans the highest. African slaves, in
turn, had a larger female presence than all European indentured servants and
many free immigrantssomething that is attributable, it has been argued, to
the decisions of African suppliers rather than the preferences of Euro-American planters.112
The highest proportions of women appeared, however, within free white
immigration. The highest three cases in table 1.2 consist of group colonization
of lands composed mainly of families: islanders from the Azores and Madeira
moving to Brazil, the first Puritan migration to New England, and a recruitment of foreign Protestants by Nova Scotias authorities in the middle of
the eighteenth century. Nova Scotia also received inflows from Scotland and
nearby Yorkshire in northern England that originated in specific regions and
contained the largest proportion of families and women among British emigrants to the New World during the 1770s. These movements, plus the similar
migration of New England farming families, places Nova Scotia among the
regions in the Americas with the highest female immigrant presence, close to

33

Indentured
Indentured

Indentured
All

All (free)
Free

Slaves
Free

Newfoundland

French Canada

Spanish America

Barbados

British America

French Canada

Chesapeake colony

British America

British North America

Barbados

Spanish America

Chesapeake colony

Spanish America

Nova Scotia

British North America

British North America

Caribbean

Nova Scotia

England

France

Spain

England

England

France

England

England

Ireland

Britain (largely Ireland)

Spain

England

Spain

England (Yorkshire)

Germany

Britain

Africa

Scotland

Free

Indentured

Free

All (free)

Indentured

Indentured

Indentured

Indentured

Indentured

All (free, conquistadors)

Type

Destination

Origin

17731776

17011800

17731776

17451831

17731776

16141615

16341681

15601600

16401660

17451773

16541699

1635

16081760

17001775

16271640

14931539

16381715

16701677

Years

60

63

63

67

69

70

71

72

75

76

77

87

88

90

92

94

99

99

% male

40

37

37

33

35

30

29

28

25

24

23

13

13

10

% female

Table 1.2. Sex ratios of transatlantic migrations, 14931800 (ranked from most to least masculine; Canada in bold)

10

11

10

10

Source

206

243

128, 179

164

206

64

102

596601

143

164

25

102

111, 309

25

143

596601

699

Page(s)

Group/family colonization

Nova Scotia

New England

Brazil

Germany/Switzerland

England

Azores & Madeira

Source: 1) Daniel W. Prowse, A History of Newfoundland from the English,


Colonial, and Foreign Records (London: MacMillan, 1895); 2) data on 833
engags listed in Gabriel Debien, Engags pour le Canada au XVIIe sicle
vus de La Rochelle, Revue dhistoire de lAmrique franaise 6, no. 2 (1952):
177233 and Liste des engags pour le Canada au XVIIe sicle, 16341715,
Revue dhistoire de lAmrique franaise 6, no. 3 (1952): 374407; 3) Peter
Boyd-Bowman, Patterns of Spanish Emigration to the Indies until 1600,
Hispanic American Historical Review 56, no. 4 (1976): 580604; 4) Larry
Gragg, Englishmen Transplanted: The English Colonization of Barbados
16271660 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003); 5) David Galenson,
White Servitude in Colonial America: An Economic Analysis (New York:
Cambridge University Press, 1981); 6) Leslie Choquette, Frenchmen into
Peasants: Modernity and Tradition in the Peopling of French Canada (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1997); 7) James Horn, Parts beyond
the Seas: Free Emigration to the Chesapeake in the Seventeenth Century in
To Make America: European Emigration in the Early Modern Period, ed. Ida
Altman and James Horn (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991); 8)
Farley Grubb, Servant Auction Records and Immigration into the Delaware

16701800

16301640

17501752

16631700

15601600

56

57

57

59

60

44

43

43

41

40

14

13

12

11

349

28395

243

596601

Valley, 17451831: The Proportion of Females among Immigrant Servants,


Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 133, no. 2 (1989): 15469;
9) Auke P. Jacobs, Legal and Illegal Emigration from Seville, 15501650,
in To Make America: European Emigration in the Early Modern Period, ed.
Ida Altman and James Horn (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991),
5984; 10) Bernard Bailyn, Voyagers to the West: A Passage in the Peopling
of America on the Eve of the Revolution (New York: Knopf, 1986); 11) David
Eltis and Stanley L. Engerman, Was the Slave Trade Dominated by Men?
Journal of Interdisciplinary History 23, no. 2 (1992): 23757; 12) Winthrop P.
Bell, The Foreign Protestants and the Settlement of Nova Scotia: The History of
a Piece of Arrested British Colonial Policy in the Eighteenth Century (Sackville,
N.B.: Mount Allison University, 1990); 13) Virginia DeJohn Anderson,
Migrants and Motives: Religion and the Settlement of New England,
16301640, New England Quarterly 58, no. 3 (1985): 33983; 14) Jos C.
Moya, La emigracin azoriana y gallega: Una perspectiva comparada, in
Emigracin e Exilio nos Estados Unidos de Amrica: Experiencias de Galicia
e Azores, ed. Alberto Pena (Santiago de Compostela: Consello da Cultura
Galega, forthcoming).

Group/family colonization

Group/family colonization

Slaves

Caribbean

Africa

All (free)

Spanish America

Andalusia (Spain)

36

Jos C. Moya

the opposite side of the spectrum from the sex ratios of Newfoundland and
Quebec. It is possible that Loyalists could have also contributed to the feminization of migration to Nova Scotia because of the important presence of
families. But there are no specific figures, and the Loyalist exodus also included
a large number of soldiers.113
The other type of feminized transoceanic migration before the 1800s took
the form of individualalbeit network-basedmovements to cities rather
than collective colonization and appeared only in southern Spain. Emigration
from coastal Andalusia to the Indies acquired such length, depth, and intensity
and the transatlantic social networks such density and capacity for support that
women could safely emigrate not only as members of a household but also by
themselves. Indeed, during the last four decades of the sixteenth century, the
city and province of Seville sent slightly more women than men across the Atlantic, the only known instance of a female-majority migration to the Americas
before the 1850s.114
In terms of the social origin and the national and religious diversity of
the immigrants, the French Canadian experience resembled that of Spanish
America more than that of British Canada. Approximately four-tenths of the
arrivals to Canada came from towns at a time when 15 percent of Frances
population was urban.115 Similarly, during the sixteenth century, 46 percent
of the arrivals to the Spanish Indies were of urban origin, compared to only
15 percent of Spains population.116 These migrants were also more likely than
their English counterparts to be artisans than peasants, and they transferred
their urban ways across the Atlantic.117 One-fifth of the population of French
Canada lived in towns, and similarly forty-five of the largest fifty cities in the
western hemisphere in the eighteenth century were in Ibero-America.118 Both
of these colonies were less open to outsiders, and thus more homogeneous in
their national and religious composition, than British Canada. Non-French
accounted for 4 percent of the immigrants to French Canada and Protestants
for 2 percent.119 Non-Spaniards accounted for 3 percent of the immigrants to
New Spain, and the only non-Catholics in the colonies tended to be lapsed
Jewish conversos.120 By comparison, in the 1760s, Germans outnumbered the
English in Nova Scotia by two to one, and Catholics outnumbered Protestants
by a wider margin in Newfoundland.
Trends in the ethno-regional origins of immigrants to the Americas, however, tended to follow a similar pattern across all European groups. Although
we usually speak in national terms, in reality migrants originated in a few specific regions. During the first century of colonization, most Spaniards came

Migration from a Hemispheric Perspective, 15001800

from a few provinces in Andalusia, Extremadura, and Castile; most Portuguese


from the Lisbon area; most British from southwestern England; and most
French from the Basque country, Brittany, and Normandy.121 By the eighteenth
century, origins had become more diverse and the pioneer groups had been
replaced by others as the principal source of migrants. In Spanish America, the
newcomers originated increasingly in the non-Castilian periphery: Galicia, the
Basque country, and Catalonia. In Brazil, they came mainly from the northern
regions of Portugal of Minho, Douro, and Tras-os-Montes. In British America,
the Celtic periphery and Germany supplied over four-fifths of the inflow (35
percent Irish, including Scots-Irish, 12 percent Scots, 27 percent Germans). In
French Canada, the Atlantic coast provided the vast majority of the migrants
throughout the entire period. But the pioneering Basque and Breton fishermen
of the sixteenth century, and to a lesser degree the Normans, were surpassed by
arrivals from Poitou-Charentes, and in the case of women, from Paris, due to
the presence of the filles du roi, who were often recruited from the Salptrire,
the citys main orphanage/poor asylum.122
The diversification of regions of origin and the growing immigration toward
the end of the 1700s heralded the mass movements of the next century, when
Canadas place in transatlantic migration would change dramatically. Canada
had been a laggard of colonial migration, following Ibero-America by more
than a century and even behind the rest of North America and the West Indies. But it would become a prime destination in the mass crossings that began
after the Napoleonic Wars. From 1819 to 1837, the colonies that would become
Canada received 371,000 immigrants, more than any other place in the world
other than the United States (with 599,000).123 More European immigrants
landed in Canada in just four years (145,000 from 1829 to 1832) than they did
in the three centuries from 1500 to 1800. As a result the population increased
twelvefold from 1800 to 1841, when it reached 1.5 million, and it then more than
doubled over the next two decades, reaching 3.5 million in 1861, in what surely
was one of the highest, if not the highest, rates of demographic expansion in
the world. During the entire nineteenth century and first three decades of the
twentieth, Canada received over five million European immigrants, the highest
number after the United States and Argentina.124
Yet as in the early modern period, this reflected a general American trend.
The nineteenth century witnessed a great reversal in the western hemisphere
that paralleled the so-called great divergence between the West and the
rest.125 The richest colonies that had received the largest numbers of migrants
before 1800 stagnated or declined, while the peripheral and poorer colonies in

37

38

Jos C. Moya

the hemispheres temperate extremes (Canada, the north of the United States,
Argentina, Uruguay, and southern Brazil) became the richest regions and received the vast majority of newcomers. The reasons for this reversal transcend
the temporal and topical boundaries of this chapter. But the hemispheric dimension of the process underlines the fact that Canadian immigration can
only be understood within an Atlanticand by the twentieth century, global
perspective.

Notes
1. Alan Simmons, Immigration and Canada: Global and Transnational Perspectives (Toronto: Canadian Scholars Press, 2010).
2. For the rare comparison with countries other than the United States and Australia, see
Benjamin Bryce, Making Ethnic Space: Education, Religion, and the German Language in
Argentina and Canada, 18801930 (PhD diss., York University, 2013), an excellent study of
German immigrant sociability in Buenos Aires and Ontario.
3. Harold A. Innis, The Rise and Fall of the Spanish Fishery in Newfoundland (Toronto:
University of Toronto Press, 1962).
4. One of the first published instances of the story that the word Canada originated from
the Spanish expression ac nada appeared in 1744 in a book written by the Jesuit scholar
Pierre-Franois-Xavier de Charlevoix that is often acknowledged as the first history of New
France: Histoire et description gnrale de la nouvelle France, vol. 1 (Paris, 1744), 9.
5. Paul Gaffarel, Histoire du Brsil franais au seizime sicle (Paris: Maisonneuve, 1878),
178239.
6. Philippe Jarnoux, La France quinoxiale: Les dernires vellits de colonisation franaise au Brsil, 16121615, Annales de Bretagne et des pays de lOuest, 98, no. 3 (1991): 27396.
7. Ibid., 28889; Philippe Bonnichon, French Colonization in Brazil, in Encyclopedia of
Latin American History and Culture, vol. 3, 2nd ed., ed. Jay Kinsbruner and Erick D. Langer
(Detroit: Scribners, 2008), 31112. French expeditions to Canada before 1614 included fewer
than forty vessels, although many others came seasonally to fish in the Maritime Provinces.
8. Roger N. Buckley, The British Army in the West Indies: Society and the Military in the
Revolutionary Age (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1998), 43.
9. Mario Boleda, Les Migrations au Canada sous le regime franais (PhD diss., Universit de Montreal, 1983), xxiv, 339; Cole Harris, Reluctant Land: Society, Space, and Environment in Canada before Confederation (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press,
2008), 60.
10. Allan Greer, The People of New France (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997),
12, 1619.
11. Robert V. Wells, The Population of the British Colonies in America before 1776: A Survey
of Census Data (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1975), 47.

Migration from a Hemispheric Perspective, 15001800


12. John Bourinot, Canada under British Rule (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
1909), 51.
13. Neil MacKinnon, This Unfriendly Soil: The Loyalist Experience in Nova Scotia: 1783
1791 (Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 1986), xi.
14. Introduction, in Censuses of Canada, 16651871: Statistics of Canada, vol. 4 (Ottawa:
I. B. Taylor, 1876), http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/98-187-x/4198820-eng.pdf.
15. Mexico City had 137,000 inhabitants in 1803 and 169,000 in 1811. Silvia M. Arrom,
The Women of Mexico City, 17901857 (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1985), 7.
16. Peter N. Moogk, Reluctant Exiles: Emigrants from France in Canada before 1760,
William and Mary Quarterly 46, no. 3 (1989): 463505.
17. MacKinnon, This Unfriendly Soil, 6769.
18. Pierre Boucher, Histoire vritable et naturelle des murs et productions du Pays de la
Nouvelle France, vulgairement dite le Canada (Paris: Florentin Lambert, 1664), 150, 15354.
19. Luiz de Figueiredo Falco, Livro em que se contem toda a fazenda e real patrimonio dos
reinos de Portugal, India, e ilhas adjacentes (1607; repr., Lisbon, 1859), 7.
20. Moogk, Reluctant Exiles, 47677; Larry Gragg, Englishmen Transplanted: The English Colonization of Barbados, 16271660 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003), 88112.
21. Jos C. Moya, Migracin africana y formacin social en las Amricas, 15002000,
Revista de Indias 72, no. 255 (2012): 31945. The association of tobacco with free European
immigration and sugar with African slavery was explored in a classic book by the Cuban
anthropologist Fernando Ortiz, Cuban Counterpoint: Tobacco and Sugar (New York: Knopf,
1947).
22. Harris, Reluctant Land, 34, 52.
23. Harold A. Innis, The Fur Trade in Canada: An Introduction to Canadian Economic
History (1930; repr., Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2001), 3, 35.
24. Raymond H. Fisher, The Russian Fur Trade, 15501700 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1943), 1747; Harris, Reluctant Land, 3839.
25. Innis, The Fur Trade in Canada, 408.
26. Marc Egnal, New World Economies: The Growth of the Thirteen Colonies and Early
Canada (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), 12141.
27. Moya, Migracin africana, 324, 32829, 333.
28. Adam Woog, Jacques Cartier (New York: Chelsea House, 2010), 84.
29. Alejandro de la Fuente, Havana and the Atlantic in the Sixteenth Century (Chapel
Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2008), 13; Jos C. Moya, Cuba: Immigration and
Emigration, in The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration, ed. Immanuel Ness (Oxford:
Wiley-Blackwell, 2013).
30. James Mahoney, Colonialism and Postcolonial Development: Spanish America in Comparative Perspective (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 146.
31. B. H. Slicher van Bath, The Absence of White Contract Labor in Spanish America
during the Colonial Period, in Colonialism and Migration: Indenture Labor before and after
Slavery, ed. P. C. Emer (Dordrecht: Nijhoff, 1986), 1931.

39

40

Jos C. Moya
32. David B. Quinn, The First Pilgrims, William and Mary Quarterly 23, no. 3 (1966):
35990.
33. Joseph Monteyne, Absolute Faith, or France Bringing Representation to the Subjects
of New France, Oxford Art Journal, 20, no. 1 (1997): 1222; Leslie Choquette, Frenchmen
into Peasants: Modernity and Tradition in the Peopling of French Canada (Cambridge, Mass.:
Harvard University Press, 1997), 129150.
34. Luca Codignola, The Coldest Harbour of the Land: Simon Stock and Lord Baltimores
Colony in Newfoundland, 16211649 (Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 1988).
35. Manfred Jonas, The Claiborne-Calvert Controversy: An Episode in the Colonization
of North America, Jahrbuch fr Amerikastudien 11 (1966): 24150.
36. Kerstin Boelkow, Success through Persistence: The Beginning of the Moravian Mission in Labrador, 17715, in Beyond the Nation? Immigrants Local Lives in Transnational
Cultures, ed. Alexander Freund (Toronto: University Press, 2012), 6377.
37. MacKinnon, This Unfriendly Soil, 5557.
38. Norman J. Knowles, Inventing the Loyalists: The Ontario Loyalist Tradition and the
Creation of Usable Pasts (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997).
39. H. Clare Pentland, Labor and Capital in Canada 16501860 (Toronto: Lorimer, 1981),
13; Samuel McKee, Labor in Colonial New York, 16641776 (New York: Columbia University
Press, 1935), 90.
40. mile Salone, La colonisation de la Nouvelle-France: tude sur les origines de la nation
canadienne franaise (Paris: Guilmoto, 1905), 34748.
41. Pentland, Labor and Capital in Canada, 1314.
42. A. Roger Ekirch, Bound for America: The Transportation of British Convicts to the
Colonies, 17181775 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990), 112, 119.
43. Colin Forster, Convicts: Unwilling Migrants from Britain and France, in Coerced
and Free Migration: Global Perspectives, ed. David Eltis (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University
Press, 2002), 25991; Kenneth Morgan, Slavery and Servitude in Colonial North America (New
York: New York University Press, 2001), 8; Peter Moogk, Manons Fellow Exiles: Emigration
from France to North America before 1763, in Europeans on the Move: Studies on European
Migration, 15001800, ed. Nicholas Canny (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), 238.
44. Robert Venables, The Narrative of General Venables (London: Longmans, Green and
Co., 1900), 146.
45. Jill Sheppard, A Historical Sketch of the Poor Whites of Barbados: From Indentured
Servants to Redlegs, Caribbean Studies 14, no. 3 (1974): 7194.
46. Charles Bateson, The Convict Ships, 17871868 (Sydney: Library of Australian History,
2004), 380.
47. Peter Redfield, Space in the Tropics: From Convicts to Rockets in French Guiana (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000).
48. John Russell-Wood, The Portuguese Empire, 14921808: A World on the Move (Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998), 10910, 114, 117; Timothy Coates, Convicts
and Orphans: Forced and State-Sponsored Colonizers in the Portuguese Empire (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2001).

Migration from a Hemispheric Perspective, 15001800


49. W. Bruce Lincoln, The Conquest of a Continent: Siberia and the Russians (Ithaca, N.Y.:
Cornell University Press, 2007), 16466.
50. John Dunmore Lang, Transportation and Colonization (London: A. J. Valpy, 1837),
3738; McKee, Labor in Colonial New York, 9091.
51. Cornelis C. Goslinga, The Dutch in the Caribbean and on the Wild Coast, 15801680
(Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1971), 367; Kerry Ward, Networks of Empire: Forced
Migration in the Dutch East India Company (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009),
71, 147, 26365.
52. Richard Greenleaf, The Obraje in the Late Mexican Colony, The Americas 23, no. 3
(1967): 22750; Dana Velasco Murillo, Urban Indians in a Silver City, Zacatecas, Mexico,
15461806 (PhD diss., University of California, Los Angeles, 2009), 109, 16465, 23334.
53. Ruth Pike, Penal Servitude in Early Modern Spain (Madison: University of Wisconsin
Press, 1983).
54. Ruth Pike, Penal Servitude in the Spanish Empire: Presidio Labor in the Eighteenth
Century, Hispanic American Historical Review 58, no. 1 (1978): 2140.
55. Robert Larin maintains that soldiers accounted for slightly more than half of all immigrants and for 7 percent of the resident population; see Larin, Brve histoire du peuplement
europen en Nouvelle-France (Sillery, Quebec City: Septentrion, 2000), 8182, 87. George T.
Bates presents data that show that 26 percent of the 2,500 immigrants who settled Halifax
and 56 percent of heads of families were soldiers; see Bates, The Great Exodus of 1749, or the
Cornwallis Settlers Who Didnt, Collections of the Nova Scotia Historical Society 38 (1973):
2762. For 1772 census data that indicate that the militia made up 17 percent of the inhabitants, see Thomas C. Haliburton, An Historical and Statistical Account of Nova Scotia, vol. 1
(Halifax, 1829), 250.
56. David Galenson questioned the traditional view of indentured migration as involuntary in his classic study White Servitude in Colonial America: An Economic Analysis (New
York: Cambridge University Press, 1981), 99. Jan Lucassen and Leo Lucassen have also questioned the view of indentured servants as victims or passive cargo: see Migration, Migration History, History: Old Paradigms and New Perspectives (Bern: Lang, 1997), 1213. More
recently, Ran Abramitzky and Fabio Braggion have shown a process of volition and selfselection in the process; see Migration and Human Capital: Self-Selection of Indentured
Servants to the Americas, Journal of Economic History 66, no. 4 (2006): 882905.
57. Morgan, Slavery and Servitude in Colonial North America, 8; Abbot Emerson Smith
estimated that between half and two-thirds of all Europeans who migrated to the British
mainland colonies between 1607 and 1776 came under indenture; see Smith, Colonists in
Bondage: White Servitude and Convict Labor in America, 16071776 (Chapel Hill: University
of North Carolina Press, 1947), 336.
58. Alex Dupuy, French Merchant Capital and Slavery in Saint-Domingue, Latin American Perspectives 12, no. 3 (1985): 77102; Gabriel Debien, Les engags pour les Antilles,
16341715, Revue dhistoire des colonies 38 (1951): 5274, which includes a list of indentured
servants, their place of origin, sex, etc.; John C. Appleby, English Settlement in the Lesser
Antilles during War and Peace, 16031660, in The Lesser Antilles in the Age of European Ex-

41

42

Jos C. Moya
pansion, ed. Robert L. Paquette and Stanley L. Engerman (Gainesville: University of Florida
Press, 1996), 86103.
59. Morgan, Slavery and Servitude in Colonial North America, 44.
60. Jerry Bannister, Law and Labor in Eighteenth-Century Newfoundland, in Masters,
Servants, and Magistrates in Britain and the Empire: 15621955, ed. Douglas Hay and Paul
Craven (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004), 15374.
61. Of the 3,500 or so blacks that entered Nova Scotia in the late 1700s, about 1,800 went
on to settle Sierra Leone. See James W. Walker, The Black Loyalists: The Search for a Promised Land in Nova Scotia and Sierra Leone, 17831870 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press,
1992), 12, 128. Most of the expelled maroons from Jamaica eventually managed to return to
the island. See Jeffrey A. Fortin, Blackened beyond Our Native Hue: Removal, Identity and
the Trelawney Maroons on the Margins of the Atlantic World, 17961800, Citizenship Studies
10, no. 1 (2006): 534.
62. Paul Craven, Canada, 16701935: Symbolic and Instrumental Enforcement in Loyalist
North America in Masters, Servants, and Magistrates in Britain and the Empire: 15621955,
ed. Douglas Hay and Paul Craven (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004),
175218; Sharon Robart-Johnson, Africas Children: A History of Blacks in Yarmouth, Nova
Scotia (Toronto: Dundurn, 2009), 2049; Frances Henry, Forgotten Canadians: The Blacks of
Nova Scotia (Don Mills, Ontario: Longman, 1973), 2628, 16466.
63. Edith Burley, Servants of the Honourable Company: Work, Discipline, and Conflict
in the Hudsons Bay Company, 17701870 (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1997), 6266;
Carolyn Podruchny, Unfair Masters and Rascally Servants? Labor Relations between Bourgeois and Voyageurs in the Montreal Fur Trade, 17701820, Labor/Le Travail 43 (Spring
1999): 4370.
64. The lists of engags were published in Revue dhistoire de lAmrique franaise in the
following issues: 6, no. 2 (1952); 6, no. 3 (1952); 33, no. 4 (1980); 13, nos. 2, 3 (1959) and 4
(1960); and 14, nos. 1, 2, 3 (1960) and 4 (1961).
65. R. Cole Harris and John Warkentin, Canada before Confederation: A Study in Historical Geography (Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 2000), 19.
66. Frdric Mauro, French Indentured Servants for America, 15001800, in Colonialism and Migration: Indentured Labor before and after Slavery, ed. P. C. Emmer (Dordrecht:
Nijhoff, 1988), 83104, esp. 87.
67. Moogk, Reluctant Exiles, 473.
68. J. M. Bumsted, Canadas Diverse Peoples: A Reference Sourcebook (Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO, 2003), 41.
69. Brett Rushforth masterfully excavates the history of African and Amerindian slavery
in French Canada but admits that it is difficult to establish its demographic weight. In both
absolute and relative numbers, he contends, the region continues to appear at the lowest end
of the hemispheric spectrum, together with southern South America. See Rushforth, Bonds
of Alliance: Indigenous and Atlantic Slaveries in New France (Chapel Hill: University of North
Carolina Press, 2012).
70. Choquette, Frenchmen into Peasants, 1011; Greer, The People of New France, 1516.

Migration from a Hemispheric Perspective, 15001800


71. The database, called the Registre de la Population du Qubec Ancien, is based on
700,000 baptism, marriage, and burial records from the beginning of the colony to 1800. It
is available at www.genealogie.umontreal.ca.
72. Galenson, White Servitude in Colonial America, 17; Eugene I. McCormac, White Servitude in Maryland, 16341820 (Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1904), 28;
Warren B. Smith, White Servitude in Colonial South Carolina (Columbia: University of South
Carolina Press, 1961), 49; Wesley F. Craven, White, Red and Black: The Seventeenth-Century
Virginian (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1971), 5; Karl Frederick Geiser, Redemptioners and Indentured Servants in the Colony and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (New
Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1901), 2627.
73. For New England, see Christopher Tomlins, Reconsidering Indentured Servitude:
European Migration and the Early American Labor Force, 16001775, Labor History 42,
no. 1 (2001): 543, esp. 8. My calculations are based on data in Ernst van den Boogaart, The
Servant Migration to New Netherland, 16241666, in Colonialism and Migration: Indenture
Labor before and after Slavery, ed. P. C. Emer (Dordrecht: Nijhoff, 1986), 5581. McKee maintains that there were few indentured servants in that colony but concedes that it is difficult to
come up with an estimate; see McKee, Labor in Colonial New York, 9394.
74. Geiser, Redemptioners and Indentured Servants, 4041.
75. Calculated from data on arrivals in Hubert Charbonneau, Bertrand Desjardins,
Jacques Lgar, and Hubert Denis, The Population of the St. Lawrence Valley, 16081760,
in A Population History of North America, ed. Michael R. Haines and Richard H. Steckel
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 99141.
76. Calculated from census data in Robert H. Schomburgk, The History of Barbados (London: Longman, 1847), 84.
77. Smith, Colonists in Bondage, 309.
78. Computed from raw data in Bernard Bailyn, Voyagers to the West: A Passage in the
Peopling of America on the Eve of the Revolution (New York: Knopf, 1986), 21213.
79. On the economic connections of Newfoundland to New England and the Caribbean,
see Bernard Bailyn, The New England Merchants in the Seventeenth Century (Cambridge,
Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1955), 7679, 13031; and John J. McCusker and Russell R.
Menard, The Economy of British North America, 16071789 (Chapel Hill: University of North
Carolina Press, 1991), 78, 87, 99, 11115.
80. Griffith Williams, An Account of the Island of Newfoundland, with the Nature of Its
Trade, and Method of Carrying on the Fishery (London, 1761), 910.
81. Peter E. Pope maintains that significant Irish immigration began only after 1713 and
reached high levels only during the 1760s and after; see Pope, Fish into Wine: The Newfoundland Plantation in the Seventeenth Century (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press,
2004), 236. The population numbers for 1677 come from a census list transcribed in Daniel
W. Prowse, A History of Newfoundland from the English, Colonial, and Foreign Records (London: Eyre and Spottiswode, 1895), 699.
82. Wells, The Population of the British Colonies in America before 1776, 272, 330.
83. Prowse, A History of Newfoundland, 198.

43

44

Jos C. Moya
84. Hans Sloane, A Voyage to the Islands Madera, Barbados, Nieves, S. Christophers and
Jamaica (London, 1707).
85. Calculated from data on the cost of travel and English wages in David W. Galenson,
The Rise and Fall of Indentured Servitude in the Americas: An Economic Analysis, Journal
of Economic History 44, no. 1 (1984): 126.
86. Daniel Vickers, The Northern Colonies: Economy and Society, 16001775, in The
Cambridge Economic History of the United States, ed. Stanley L. Engerman and Robert E.
Gallman (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 20948.
87. Abb Jean Baudoin, journal entry for January 25, 1697, in Alan F. Williams, Father
Baudoins War: DIbervilles Campaigns in Acadia and Newfoundland, 16961697 (St. Johns:
University of Newfoundland, 1987), 184.
88. John Reeves, History of the Government of the Island of Newfoundland (London, 1793),
42, 84.
89. McCormac, White Servitude in Maryland, 3031.
90. Gragg, Englishmen Transplanted, 86, 159, 18283
91. Donald H. Akenson, If the Irish Ran the World: Montserrat, 16301730 (Montreal and
Buffalo: McGill-Queens University Press, 1997), 64, 189, 201.
92. Hilary Beckles, A riotous and unruly lot: Irish Indentured Servants and Freemen in
the English West Indies, 16441713, William and Mary Quarterly 47, no. 4 (1990): 511.
93. Ibid., 521.
94. For servant revolts in Barbados, see Hilary Beckles, White Servitude and Black Slavery
in Barbados, 16271715 (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1989), 98114.
95. Akenson, If the Irish Ran the World, 56.
96. Geiser, Redemptioners and Indentured Servants, 39.
97. Leonard W. Labaree, ed., The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, vol. 4 (New Haven: Yale
University Press, 1959), 234.
98. The mid-Atlantic colonies, nonetheless, have long enjoyed a reputation for tolerance,
and although some of this borders local boosterism, serious historical research does show
high levels of convivial pluralism compared to most other colonies in the Americas. See,
for example, Michael W. Zuckerman, Friends and Neighbors: Group Life in Americas First
Plural Society (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1982); and Patricia U. Bonomi, Under
the Cope of Heaven: Religion, Society, and Politics in Colonial America (New York: Oxford
University Press, 2003), 7285, 230.
99. Edward Gibbon Wakefield, A View of the Art of Colonization, with Present Reference
to the British Empire; In Letters between a Statesman and a Colonist (1849; repr., Kitchener,
Ontario: Batoche, 2001), 9698.
100. Reeves, History of the Government of the Island of Newfoundland, 37. A 1682 report by
a captain of the Royal Navy also remarked on the common complaint that New Englanders
spirited away servants from Newfoundland. See Prowse, A History of Newfoundland, 199.
101. Norman MacDonald, Canada, 17631841: Immigration and Settlement (London:
Longmans, 1939), 168; John S. Bassett, Slavery and Servitude in the Colony of North Carolina
(Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1896), 79.

Migration from a Hemispheric Perspective, 15001800


102. Craven, Canada, 16701935, 175.
103. Galenson, The Rise and Fall of Indentured Servitude in the Americas, 9.
104. Pentland, Labor and Capital in Canada, 9.
105. Buckley, The British Army in the West Indies, 86.
106. Christon I. Archer, To Serve the King: Military Recruitment in Late Colonial Mexico, Hispanic American Historical Review 55, no. 2 (1975): 22650; Douglas E. Leach, The
New Imperial Economy: The British Army and the American Frontier (New York: MacMillan,
1973); and Rodney Atwood, The Hessians: Mercenaries from Hessen-Kassel in the American
Revolution (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980).
107. Dechne, Habitants and Merchants, 34, 41.
108. Francis V. Greene, The Revolutionary War and the Military Policy of the United States
(New York: Scribners, 1911), 29.
109. Moya, Cuba: Immigration and Emigration.
110. Gabriel Debien, Engags pour le Canada au XVIIe sicle vus de La Rochelle, Revue
dhistoire de lAmrique franaise 6, no. 2 (1952): 200201.
111. Silvio Dumas, Les Filles du roi en Nouvelle-France: tude historique avec repertoire
biographique (Quebec: La Socit Historique de Qubec, 1972), 3560.
112. G. U. Nwokeji, African Conceptions of Gender and the Slave Trade, William and
Mary Quarterly 58, no. 1 (2001): 4768.
113. MacKinnon, This Unfriendly Soil, 2021, 37, 54, 76.
114. Jos C. Moya, The Iberian Atlantic, 14922010, in Theorising the Ibero-American
Atlantic, ed. Harald Braun and Lisa Vollendorf (Leiden: Brill, 2013), 51-74.
115. Charbonneau et al., The Population of the St. Lawrence Valley, 109. Moogk maintains that over half of the immigrants to French Canada came from towns; see Manons
Fellow Exiles, 244. Dechne puts the proportion at 35 percent; see Habitants and Merchants,
4546. French migration to the Caribbean was even more urban than to Canada according
to Gabriel Debien; see Engags pour le Canada au XVIIe sicle, 208.
116. Computed from data in Peter Boyd-Bowman, Patterns of Spanish Emigration to the
Indies until 1600, Hispanic American Historical Review 56, no. 4 (1976): 580604; and Santiago Sobrequs, Historia social y econmica de Espaa y Amrica (Barcelona: Teide, 1957),
41718.
117. Choquette, Frenchmen into Peasants, 309.
118. Egnal, New World Economies, 131; Jos C. Moya, A Continent of Immigrants: Postcolonial Shifts in the Western Hemisphere, Hispanic American Historical Review 86, no. 1
(2006): 128.
119. Charbonneau et al., The Population of the St. Lawrence Valley, 110; Marc-Andr
Bdard, Les protestants en Nouvelle-France, cahiers dhistoire no. 31 (Quebec: Socit historique de Quebc, 1978).
120. Charles Nunn, Foreign Immigrants in Early Bourbon Mexico, 17001760 (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1979.
121. Ren Blanger, Les Basques dans lestuaire du Saint-Laurent, 15351635 (Montreal:
Presses de lUniversit du Qubc, 1971); Joseph LeHuenen, The Role of the Basque, Breton

45

46

Jos C. Moya
and Norman Cod Fishermen in the Discovery of North America from the 16th to the end of
the 18th Century, Arctic 37, no. 4 (1984): 52027. Mark Kurlansky argues that Basque fishermen were in the Gulf of St. Lawrence before 1492; see Kurlansky, Cod: A Biography of the Fish
that Changed the World (New York: Walker, 1998), 1929.
122. Hubert Charbonneau, Andr Guillemette, Jacques Lgar, Bertrand Desjardins, Yves
Landry, et Franois Nault, eds., Naissance dune population. Les Franais tablis au Canada
au XVIIe sicle (Paris/Montreal: Institut National dEtudes Demographiques/Presses de
lUniversit de Montral, 1987), 45, 226.
123. Calculated from data in Bourinot, Canada under British Rule, 156, 190; and Sharon
Turner, The Sacred History of the World, Vol. 3 (London: Longman, 1839), 5862.
124. Jos C. Moya, Cousins and Strangers: Spanish Immigrants in Buenos Aires, 18501930
(Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998), 46.
125. Moya, A Continent of Immigrants: Postcolonial Shifts in the Western Hemisphere;
Kenneth Pomeranz, The Great Divergence: Europe, China, and the Making of the Modern
World Economy (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2000).

2
A Spatial Grammar of Migration in the Canadian-American
Borderlands at the Turn of the Twentieth Century
Randy William Widdis

In a 2011 article, Pekka Hmlinen and Samuel Truett claimed that by challenging state-centered teleologies, borderlands history gives us a new way to
navigate the past.1 Their argument complements the call for histories that are
less centered on the nation-state2 and geographies that avoid what John Agnew
has termed the territorial trap.3 These insights have influenced my research,
which uses transnational and borderland optics to understand the changing
nature of Canadian-American relations over time. In this effort, I use a concept
I call a spatial grammar to examine the Canadian-American borderlands. This
chapter elaborates on this concept and has three specific goals: 1) to present a
brief discussion of the borderlands approach; 2) to explain this spatial grammar with reference to key perspectives that influenced its conceptual development; and 3) to interweave this conceptual framework with some empirical
findings on cross-border migration in order to demonstrate its usefulness for
our understanding of the historical geography of Canadian-American borderlands.

Borders, Borderlands, and the Historical Geographies of Borderlands


Two ideas about borders and borderlands are particularly relevant to this
discussion.4 First, while borderlands are primarily a territorial concept, the
temporal factor is fundamentally important in defining their role as a place.
Borderland histories diverged over time as groups of people responded differently to changing environments around them and to the people and places
they interacted with across the border. Like borders, borderlands also must
be situated in their temporal and geographical contexts in order to investigate the relations between territory, identity, and sovereignty. As borderlands

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Randy William Widdis

change, so does their capacity to reterritorialize and rescale place and identity.
Borderlands can expand to become significant regions and narrow to become
not much more than lines, depending on particular historical circumstances.
Global shifts in imperial power, technological revolutions, social transformations, and national and continental expansion all play an important role. In the
end, both agency and structure influence the evolution of borderlands.
Second, the Canadian-American borderlands are not a singular homogeneous region but are rather a heterogeneous zone composed of several borderland regions5 that share functional similarities resulting from cross-border interaction but nevertheless retain distinct identities arising from local settings.6
Further, these borderlands are organic; they evolved over time to become different kinds of places. In other words, Canadian-American borderland regions
have developed along both similar and different historical-geographical axes.
While borderland historical geographies provide essential insights into the
borderlands of today, historical and geographical research can benefit from
the study of contemporary borders and borderlands because researchers engaged in the latter have been generally more successful in conceptualizing and
theorizing borders and borderlands than those engaged in the former.7 Three
approaches and concepts in particularpostmodernism, space-time compression, and the deterritorialization/reterritorialization paradox of globalizationserve as foundations upon which I build the syntax of my spatial grammar framework. This grammar can provide insights into the historical analysis
of the Canadian-American border regions and contribute more broadly to the
comparative and transnational approaches to migration history taken in this
volume.

A Spatial Grammar and Its Syntax


According to Victor Konrad and Heather Nicol, much of the work in borderlands, particularly in the Canada-United States context, has benefited from a
postmodern point of view: Some postmodernists have advanced the conceptualization and the polemics beyond the early theorizing about the Canada-US
borderlands, but in doing so they have accomplished what we were not able
to do in the 1980s, namely to sustain a conceptual and theoretical debate.8
Ironically, this argument runs counter to the postmodernist contention that
globalization threatens the particularity of places, borders, and territoriality.
Many argue that postmodernisms emphasis on hybridity makes the notion of
boundaries obsolete, an idea that leads to the conclusion that the nation-state

A Spatial Grammar of Migration in the Canadian-American Borderlands

has become irrelevant as a unit of analysis.9 Postmodernists also question any


representation of history and cultural identities and challenge the traditional
belief that it is possible to establish the truth about the past. One might well ask
what postmodernism can offer to any historical study of borderland evolution
and transnational relations.
While postmodernists see history as an artificial construction and question
historians claims to historical truth, postmodernism does not necessarily point
to the disappearance of history, only to more complicated ways of understanding the past.10 History is essential to postmodernism because postmodernism
seeks to understand itself as a historical condition through theoretical means.
While postmodernists talk about the end of the nation-state and a borderless
world, their emphasis on culture and identity has paradoxically stimulated a
rethinking of borders, borderlands, and transnationalism. Postmodernists argue that conventional concepts such as center, periphery, and hierarchy should
be abandoned, instead supporting concepts such as flows, nodes, and networks
that serve as useful tools to help us see, think, and speak about borderland processes and landscapes. In addition, the postmodern suspicion of the metanarrative has reinforced an approach to borders and borderlands that is sensitive
to regional and local differences and the idea that borderland identities are
multilayered and responsive to scale.
Finally, a postmodern perspective lends itself to a view of the borderland
as a liminal geographical space/historical time, a place of ambiguity and indeterminacy that is constantly in a state of evolution. Such an outlook does not
necessarily have to limit itself to the view that the nation-state is declining in its
ability to shape identity and have an impact on peoples lives. Throughout modern history, as Lyotard points out, nation-states have reoriented themselves to
meet the needs of capitalism, and borders and borderlands continue to play an
important role in this regard.11 In particular, the postmodern lens raises questions about the functions of borders in terms of ordering, othering, and interactions.12 Its emphasis on difference and case studies also implies that separate
practices and experiences of bordering exist. Thus, while there is a fundamental
dissonance between postmodernism and the reality of borders, postmodernism offers some perspectives and emphasizes certain concepts that inform our
historical understanding of how migration and other flows that shape borderlands (e.g., trade, investment, communication) evolve over space and time.
Geographers use time-space compression, a term David Harvey coined,13
when considering how societies have used transportation and communication technologies to reduce distance and facilitate interaction among places.14

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Randy William Widdis

Harvey argues that the process of annihilation of space through time . . . has
always lain at the center of capitalisms dynamic.15 While geographers understand that space- and time-adjusting technologies have existed for centuries,
they also recognize that the nature, impact, and pace of such developments
have rapidly accelerated during the transition to modernity and postmodernity. Carried to an extreme extent, this concept has been used by those who argue for the end of history,16 the end of geography,17 the death of distance,18
the borderless world,19 a flat world,20 the vanishing of distance,21 and the
spaces of flows to replace the spaces of places.22
Yet space still matters. Technology may reduce distance but it does not place
us all in one location. There are many kinds of spaces just as there are multiple
distances, and they all differ according to scale. Because differences exist in
space, space cannot be annihilated by time. In fact, one could argue that while
time has been compressed, space has been extended, at least for those who live
in circumstances in which it is more likely that they can take advantage of such
technologies. Technology has created a space paradox: it has reduced distance,
thus shrinking space, and expanded the scope of interaction, thus extending
space. Processes of time-space compression and space extension have reconfigured nations, regions, communities, and individuals, but the nature of such
transformations has varied because they have occurred in different settings.23
Globalization has not produced a homogeneous plain, an isotropic surface,
or even a flat world. Uneven geography ensures that such differentiation exists even in the face of economic, cultural, and social mobilities that reshape
but do not eliminate territories, and by association, borders.
Before the major technological transformations of the industrial revolution,
transport technology was limited to harnessing animal power for land transport and wind power for maritime transport. This meant that human movement and trade for the most part were local in scope. As a result of limited
transportation, communications between human communities were restricted;
few had the opportunity to see or hear beyond their own village or town. At
the turn of the nineteenth century, certain flows and networks, some of which
had been in place for centuries for both aboriginal and non-aboriginal peoples,
crossed the newly created political borders that separated the United States
from the remaining British North American colonies. Nevertheless, life for
most people was circumscribed by the shared spatial and temporal context of
the local. In general, then, people, at least those of European descent, lived on
farms or in villages and small towns, working the land and relying upon the
local community to provide for them. Those who did emigrate usually moved

A Spatial Grammar of Migration in the Canadian-American Borderlands

within well-defined streams to nearby places with which they were familiar
either through visits or through the reports of family and friends. Indeed, it
was more likely at this time that certain indigenous groups, especially those
involved in pursuing buffalo and participating in the fur trade, were the most
mobile people on the North American continent. At this point, a nonnative
borderland zone did exist, but the territory was largely characterized by a limited degree of interaction between people, businesses, and communities that
were geographically proximate.
Industrialization developed vehicles of communication and transportation that triggered a shift in the capture of space-time relationships, expanding the experience of and thinking about space and time and increasing the
size and reconfiguring the shape of the borderland in spite of any impediments (e.g., immigration or tariff policies) that might have hindered interactions taking place across the border. During the nineteenth century, turnpike
roads, followed by canals, steamboats, and railroads, along with the telegraph,
not only reduced time-space and extended space among communities and regions within Canada and the United States, they also operated to develop and
strengthen connections within the borderlands. This increased the capacity of
people, businesses, and communities to orient themselves with other people
and places beyond the local, the regional, and even the national. For example,
during the middle of the nineteenth century, a significant volume of U.S. commercial lake traffic for cargo and passengers, including migrants, from Rochester and Oswego crossed Lake Ontario to ports in Upper Canada such as Port
Hope and Cobourg or sailed to Lewiston, Queenston, or Niagara-on-the-Lake
on the Niagara River. Other boats headed to ports on the upper Great Lakes
through the Welland Canal, entering Lake Ontario at Port Dalhousie and Lake
Erie at Port Colborne. They sailed to Kingston on their way down the St. Lawrence River to Quebec and onward to the Atlantic Ocean.
Space and time were further unbounded during the early years of the twentieth century, when the automobile, the airplane, the telephone, the radio, and
other inventions accelerated human interaction, which further entangled the
multiple Canada-United States borderlands. Despite restrictive tariffs and
other barriers to integration and efforts taken by Canadians to develop and
strengthen national east-west links, the border became even more porous as
the wave of transportation and communication revolutions promoted an accelerated cross-border interaction. Much of this traffic took place in an asymmetrical frame where, with a few notable exceptions, labor moved south from
Canada to the United States and investment moved north. Borderland cores

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Randy William Widdis

expanded beyond their initial restriction to proximate places while borderland


peripheries diminished in extent. That is to say, borderlands expanded from
spaces immediately on the border to include large regions such as southern
Ontario, western New Brunswick, western New York, and most of Michigan,
to name just a few examples. Yet paradoxically, the integrative forces of investment, trade, migration, and communication that combined to reshape and further establish a functional borderland were increasingly drawn toward other
places beyond that of these transnational regions.
The opening up of vast spaces beyond the local, the regional, and the national made possible during the late twentieth century through new information and communication technologies such as television, satellites, personal
computers, and the Internet have created what Barney Warf calls a postmodern time-space compression and what Fredric Jameson terms a postmodern
hyperspace.24 The mobilities created by these new technologies have reconfigured the borderlands, diversifying and accelerating the circulation of peoples,
goods, investment, and information and creating, at least at one level, an even
more integrated entity. And yet at the same time, these technologies and the
deterritorialization of flows of goods and capital that resulted from the opening
up of countries to global firms, markets, and flows have further compressed
time-space and extended space so that cross-border connections, once circumscribed by distance and oriented more toward the borderlands, now have expanded well beyond the border. The radically changing time-spaces of postmodernity now make it much easier for individuals, businesses, and communities
to interact simultaneously in different places. Furthermore, the spatialities and
temporalities produced by new technologies and open borders now coexist at
all scales, meaning that flows and networks, both digital and nondigital, can
connect people, firms, and communities anywhere in the world, be it within
or outside borderland regions. And so what we see currently in the CanadianAmerican borderland zone is the paradox of deterritorialization and reterritorialization that both disintegrates and integrates the constituent borderland
regions.

The Spatial Grammar of Cross-Border Migration:


The Canadian-American Borderlands
My understanding of postmodernism, time-space compression/extension, and
de/re-territorialization together with Jody Berlands argument that networks of
exchange and flows of people, capital, information, and goods fashion border-

A Spatial Grammar of Migration in the Canadian-American Borderlands

land spaces and are, in part, determined by them form the basis for construction of the spatial grammar of borderlands.25 Flows, gateways, hubs, corridors,
and networks and their variable arrangements through time and over space
comprise the syntax that lies at the foundation of the concept.
My research views borderlands as hybrid spaces of flows that are always
changing and responding to multiple influences. The complexity of borderland
evolution can be better understood through an exploration of multiple routes
of people, goods, and capital through space and time. Because flows occur in
both space and time, they lend themselves to historical geographical investigation. Flows have both volume and direction, and because they often illustrate
asymmetrical relations, they have the potential to reveal much about cores and
peripheries. Flows have the power to shape and weaken boundaries and to
form and alter borderlands.
Identifying those corridors that serve as the main spatial paths of movement
across borders is essential to our understanding of borderlands as functional
entities that transcend boundaries. They can be viewed as the vertebrae of borderlands, linking major hubs across the border and connecting tributary areas
on one side with core areas on the other.26 Hubs are dominant distribution
centers from which major transportation routes radiate to their hinterlands.
Gateways are specific nodes, often situated at the margins of their regions,
that promote the continuity of circulation within corridors. Gateways, hubs,
and corridors articulate the spatial structures of cross-border regional flows of
people, goods, ideas, and capital. They are temporally and spatially dynamic,
contingent on such factors as technological developments (e.g., transportation advances) and economic context (e.g., trade agreements), and are seen as
integrators of space that bind communities on both sides of the boundary into
interrelated international regions. Corridors, hubs, and gateways are hierarchical: some are primary and more are designated as secondary.27 Their relative
positions within the hierarchy change over time, particularly as new international agreements arise to facilitate or impede cross-border flows.
The discussion of flows is better understood when they are viewed as regional and local networks of economic, political, and cultural power that traverse specific nodes, link cores and peripheries, concentrate within specific
corridors, and, as Haraway argues, congregate in certain regions and not others.28 One can view borderlands as arterial systems pulsating with the circulation of persons, goods, money, and ideas and as networks connecting a series
of corridors and core and periphery nodes where decisions are made, policies
are applied, transactions are negotiated, and goods are exchanged.

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Randy William Widdis

Nevertheless, borderlands are not a single system. They consist of several


systems that are interlocked in various ways and are complicated by numerous
subsystems. These systems have varying spatial extents, are open, and are subject to economic and political forces that create imbalance. They span varying
geographical scales and embody different kinds of flows. Closely associated
with the concept of network is the notion of circuit, an idea that stimulates
thinking about the directions, dynamics, and intensities of movements within
and between different networks.
The social practice of migration, the economic systems of trade and investment, and the transmission of communication figure in the life histories of
people living in the borderlands and in the evolution of the borderlands themselves. I have been able to interweave data with my concept of spatial grammar
and its constituent syntax to achieve a more geographically and historically
sensitive understanding of many of these processes. I will focus here on migration.
Flows of people over the last two centuries have linked communities on both
sides of the Canada-United States border, but such movements have varied
among the regions that make up the borderland zone. Prior to the American
Revolution, areas of mixing existed between different groups, aboriginal and
non-aboriginal, that were present in the frontiers and colonial borderlands established by the imperial European powers operating in North America. While
many of the flows and networks created before the Treaty of Paris (1783) disappeared or at least weakened with the demarcation of the international border
and the transformation of colonial borderlands into bordered lands, others
continued to develop and resonate despite the rapid and significant changes
that took place throughout the nineteenth century.29 In addition, a whole set of
new mobilities further ensured that the newly created international borderland
zone continued to evolve as a space of encounter. Emerging familial, economic,
political, and cultural processes counteractedto different degreesvarious
policies and forces that restricted cross-border flows. Resource exploitation
and settlement followed by increasing trade transcended the new boundary
and at the same time eradicated established indigenous borderlands that had
evolved over time.
Despite the significant influx of Loyalists and Late Loyalists into British
North America at the end of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, it
can be argued that until the middle to late nineteenth century, the international
border played little role in most peoples daily lives on both sides. At midcentury, British North America was still to a significant extent an archipelago

A Spatial Grammar of Migration in the Canadian-American Borderlands

of islands that were predominantly rural and resource-based and were seeking
means by which to negotiate a changing relationship with the mother country
and latch on to the powerful juggernaut of modernity that was transforming
the globe. But soon a number of developments extended the spatial reach of
flows and generated a dynamic that quickly transformed the Canadian-American borderland zone. The rapid expansion of the economy in the United States
lured hundreds of thousands of Canadians south of the border, although most
of this exodus did not occur until later in the nineteenth century.
This movement was a response to a number of political, economic, technological, and cultural factors. Until 1867, Upper and Lower Canada, Nova
Scotia, and New Brunswick were colonies of the United Kingdom. Despite
their achievement of greater autonomy in governance over time, they were
nevertheless subject to the political decisions of a government based in Europe
and dedicated more to maintaining the fortunes of the mother country and
the empire than to sustaining the growth of any one part of the whole. British
North America benefited from the Corn Laws, which allowed wheat and other
imports from the colonies to enter Britain free from duties that were applied to
imports from noncolonial sources. But in the context of an increased antipathy
toward the costs of imperialism and arguments in favor of free trade put forth
by the Manchester School of Economics, the British government decided to
repeal the Corn Laws in 1846 and encourage self-government in the colonies,
a development that placed Canadian farmers in direct competition with their
more technically advanced American counterparts. Many of those who could
not compete looked favorably upon the prospect of crossing the line to take up
wage-paying positions in rapidly growing American cities.
Other macro-level conditions that helped shape migration patterns in the
late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were already set in place by the
1860s: the decreasing availability of land and an increased labor supply at a
time of declining jobs and wages, changing systems of agricultural production and marketing, and high rates of natural increase in some parts of British
North America that resulted in increasingly unfavorable population-to-land
ratios. The core of the rapidly expanding American industrial economy was
already in geographical proximity to the centers of Canadian population. The
continuing development of a rail network both to and across the international
border further reduced the hurdles of distance and facilitated emigration.
In 1870, almost one-sixth of all Canadian-born people lived in the United
States. And despite some significant differences in terms of assimilative experiences and loyalty to their respective cultural groups, both Francophone

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Randy William Widdis

and Anglophone Canadian migrants found their experiences mediated for the
most part through the family; chain migration and kin networks played important roles in promoting cross-border regional movements.30
Except for the original Loyalist migrations at the end of the eighteenth century, the migration of Late Loyalists just a few years later, and the significant
number of people attracted by the robust economy of the 1850s, few Americans
moved to British North America. Thus, Canadian migration proved to be more
important in linking specific communities on both sides of the border and
in shaping the evolution of transnational regions. Because these migrations
both south and north were essentially within the borderlands rather than over
long distances, family networks, ethnic and religious affiliations, and business
connections remained sustainable. The very act of migration largely within
borderland regions was defined and given shape by social and geographical
proximity and served as a mechanism for reconnecting a sense of community
among those who participated in such movement. A notable example of this is
the transnational community of Madawaska on the upper St. John River, which
was home to a close-knit Francophone population that came to this region
from various parts of New Brunswick and Quebec.
As personal mobility increased, transportation networks expanded, markets developed, and investment accelerated toward the end of the nineteenth
century, American-Canadian borderlands became regions of opportunity.
More and more, spaces and places on both sides of the international boundary
overlapped and both communities and individuals expanded their perspectives beyond the local. American and Canadian industry became increasingly
interdependent, but in an asymmetrical fashion. While Canada did develop a
domestic manufacturing sector, it functioned primarily in the larger continental system as a supplier of valued staples, while U.S. industries provided technology and finished goods. Capitalism created unprecedented flows of people
seeking work in borderland cities, mostly on the American side, and increased
mobility afforded by improvements in transportation and higher wages led to a
greater number of choices about where to shop and seek recreation. These new
modern mobilities reduced the geographical distance and the psychological
hurdle imposed by the concept of the border. As a result, cross-border traffic
increased and the nature of the borderland was transformed.
Perhaps more than any other flow, it was the movement of people that
played the most important role in bringing about the connections between
communities and the development of cross-border regions during this particular time. Migration back and forth between Canada and the United States

A Spatial Grammar of Migration in the Canadian-American Borderlands

occurred during a time when both capital and labor moved more freely across
national boundaries in many parts of the globe. Migration fluctuated as the
result of changing local economies in Canada and in response to boom and
bust cycles in the U.S. economy. The fact that the core of the rapidly expanding U.S. industrial economy was located close to areas where large numbers of
wage-seeking Canadians lived further stimulated this migration.
Migration during this period was generally over short distances and from
rural to urban areas, regardless of place of origin, although urban origins were
more pronounced among Anglo-Canadians than among French Canadians.
While improvements in transportation reduced the importance of distance
as a factor in migration decisions, most Canadians from eastern and central
Canada chose to move to nearby border states, where job opportunities in
growing industrial cities awaited them. In 1880, Canadians, primarily from
Ontario, were 23 percent of the foreign-born population in Detroit, 14 percent
in Rochester, 12 percent in Buffalo, 12 percent in Syracuse, and 6 percent in
Chicago.31 Canadians from the Maritimes, the majority of whom moved to
the New England states, constituted 22 percent of the foreign-born population
of Boston in 1900.32 Qubcois also largely migrated to New England, where
the economic and social costs of movement were minimized because of the
short distances involved and because they could establish themselves in petits
Canadas that closely resembled the geographic and social patterns of Quebec.
Specific connections existed between particular Canadian and American communities that were consistent with patterns of chain migration based on kith
and kin. Moving from the country to the city, let alone across an international
boundary, did not fully uproot many Canadians living in borderland spaces
from their communities of origin, and it did not alter their dependence on
family and friends for support. While emigration slowed after the turn of the
century in the face of increased urban-related opportunities in central Canada
and the agricultural boom on the Prairies, Canadians continued to move south
in significant numbers along well-worn paths until the onset of the Great Depression.
As the nineteenth century drew to a close, the influx of immigrants from the
United States to Canada accelerated greatly. Although many were born in Europe and spent only a limited time in the United States, a significant number of
American-born people also came, primarily to the areas of agricultural settlement in the West, where free, 160-acre farms were offered under homestead
policy, and secondarily to central Canada, where the opportunities associated
with branch plant industrialization were a considerable attraction. As the sup-

57

58

Randy William Widdis

ply of land decreased and the price of land increased in the United States, more
and more American farmers looked north. Many who settled in the West came
from nearby states, such as North Dakota and Minnesota, where people were
already familiar with homesteading conditions in the area. While most of this
group were native-born Americans, a sizable number were earlier immigrants
from Europe and returning Canadians. The peak years of migration from the
United States into Canada were 1910 to 1914, when 605,845 immigrants registered with border officials.33
In separate monographs Bruno Ramirez and I have used the Soundex Index to Canadian Border Entries to the United States through the St. Albans,
Vermont, District, 18951924 to trace the movement of people born in Canada
and abroad from Canada into the United States at the turn of the twentieth
century. This record misses the period of greatest Canadian out-migration (the
1880s) and is arranged alphabetically and not geographically, thus making it
difficult to trace migrants from specific Canadian origins to particular American destinations. It contains useful information about each immigrant, such
as age, country of birth, last place of residence, occupation, and destination.
The border-crossing records of the Canadian Department of the Interior are
organized by province and by port of entry from west to east and cover for the
most part those who arrived by train, thus missing many who traveled across
the border by road or foot. Unfortunately, this source also misses for the most
part the peak years of northward migration from the United States (19001911).
Yet like its American counterpart, this record provides useful geographic information on individual migrants.34
With the assistance of a few maps and statistics, I now present some evidence of the spatial grammar of cross-border migration from the early twentieth century.35 Over 72 percent of the migrants in the combined border-crossing samples were born in Canada. The majority hailed from Ontario, followed
by Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. Approximately 24 percent of the
migrants were born outside North America, the majority from the British Isles
and Russia, and 3.6 percent consisted of Americans returning to their land of
birth. Almost half were born in the Great Lakes borderland region. This region takes on even greater importance when considering last residences before
migration, as most of the immigrants from other countries and a number of
Canadian-born people from other parts of the country last lived in Ontario.
A remarkable 45.5 percent of the combined migration sample crossed
through four border points that I classify as first-order migration gateways:
Detroit (20.1 percent), Port Huron (10.9 percent), Niagara Falls (7.8 percent),

A Spatial Grammar of Migration in the Canadian-American Borderlands

and Buffalo (6.7 percent). Detroit was by far the most important entrance to
the United States, not just for migrants from southwestern Ontario but also
for those from other parts of Canada (see Map 2.1). It served as a portal for
migrants journeying to Michigan destinations, the most important being Detroit itself, and locations elsewhere in the Midwest and farther west. Nearby
Port Huron served much the same function as Detroit. Canada-based migrants
traveling across the border via the Grand Trunk passed through this city on
their way to other Michigan centers and to communities further west such as
Chicago.36
Map 2.1 shows the flow of people from Ontario to the United States through
Detroit. Both Buffalo (Map 2.2) and Niagara Falls were gateways in the Great
Lakes transportation/investment/migration corridor, connecting central
southern Ontario, the Niagara Peninsula, the Niagara Frontier, and the Mohawk Valley. This channel of movement connecting two proximate areas with
relatively large populations was facilitated by a well-established cross-border
transportation infrastructure. Kin and kith networks influenced the location
decisions of all nativity groups involved in the movement south. Over 50 percent of the migrants were joining relatives, and close to 20 percent were joining
friends.
Port Huron was a second-order gateway. I define this as a port in which customs officials registered 100 to 200 sample migrants. Other examples included
centers that served as the primary entrances in less-populated borderland
regions (Vanceboro, Saint John, Yarmouth, Montreal, Newport, Winnipeg,
Portal, and Vancouver). Like their first-order counterparts, these centers were
generally well connected with points south by railroads.
Map 2.2 depicts migration through Buffalo, New York. Cities such as this
one were third-order gateways. They are distinguished by a sample range of 50
to 99 migrants and included a wide range of centers, from regional metropolises far removed from the border (Halifax) to smaller remote communities
located on the border distant from any population base (Sweetgrass, Eastport)
to traditional secondary crossing points for less-populated hinterlands (Sault
Sainte Marie, Ogdensburg, St. Albans) and two British Columbia centers located in the shadow of Vancouver (Victoria and Sumas). Fourth-order (10 to 49
migrants) and fifth-order (1 to 9 migrants) gateways also included a wide range
of centers, ranging from very remote centers in the west (e.g., Neche, International Falls, Northgate, Oroville) to communities located along the border in
the longer settled east but in remote areas with small hinterlands (e.g., Fort
Kent, Fort Covington, Rouses Point, Clayton) to major cities located distant

59

Map 2.1. Great Lakes borderland region: Canadian-born migrants entering the United States at Detroit, Michigan, 18951915.
Created by the author from the Soundex Index to Canadian Border Entries.

Map 2.2. Great Lakes borderland region: Canadian-born migrants entering the United States at Buffalo, New York, 18951915.
Created by the author from the Soundex Index to Canadian Border Entries.

62

Randy William Widdis

from the border but still within the borderland states (e.g., Chicago, New York
City).
Most Canadian-based migrants, particularly those in the eastern and central parts of the country, continued on well-worn corridors to nearby American destinations in their respective international borderlands, although some
were attracted to more distant localities, especially California. The major destination states were Michigan, Massachusetts, and New York; Michigan and
New York primarily attracted Great Lakes borderland region migrants. New
York was the major destination for eastern Ontarians and a minor destination
for Quebec migrants, while Maritimers traveled in large part to Massachusetts
and Maine, which again attests to the contained nature of borderland regions
in questions of migration. Maritimers went where their skills could be put
to work but typically not far from the Maine border, except for a considerable number who were attracted to the industrial and commercial opportunities in Boston and surrounding communities. Migrants from Prince Edward
Island showed a tendency to settle in agricultural regions, while those from
New Brunswick were more likely to locate in forestry regions near the border.
Migrants from all parts of the Maritimes took up shipbuilding or carpentry in
Massachusetts.
Quebec migrants who preferred to live in rural areas and work as farmhands or in lumber camps tended to move short distances to northern New
England and northern New York, while those seeking urban-industrial opportunities moved greater distances to the industrializing cities of southern New
England. The latter stream increased in importance as the textile industry in
Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and southern New Hampshire became one of the
most dynamic labor markets in the United States. While the vast majority of
migrants from the eastern borderland regions were Canadian born, many leaving western Canada were foreign born, returning to the United States where
most of them, American- and European-born alike, had previously resided.
Unlike in the other borderlands, the majority (69 percent) of Canadian-resident migrants in the Plains and Prairies immigrated to American destinations outside this borderland region, reflecting the growing urbanization and
industrialization of North American society and the consequent attraction of
larger U.S. centers. A small but significant minority traveled to rural locations
in the Midwest, the southern Great Plains, and the Far West, presumably to
continue farming. In the northern part of the American Great Plains, Minnesota was the major destination state, although many settled in urban centers
in the more humid eastern part of the state, particularly in the twin cities of

A Spatial Grammar of Migration in the Canadian-American Borderlands

St. Paul-Minneapolis. Those entering at North Dakota points were more likely
to stay within that state, although a few returned to the places where they had
lived prior to coming to Canada. Yet the majority of these migrants likewise
moved outside the borderland region. Over 82 percent of the migrants crossing
at Sweetgrass, Montana, the vast majority of whom had last lived in Alberta,
took up residence in Montana, where most continued to work in agriculture
as ranchers, farmers, and farm laborers. The small number of Canadian-born
migrants from British Columbia moved primarily to nearby Washington and
secondarily to Oregon and California.
Table 2.1 demonstrates that a basic continuity of well-worn corridors, gateways that were established and reinforced by rail transportation infrastructure
that had been built earlier in the nineteenth century, and traditional crossborder community connections marked the spatial configuration of Canadian
migration to the United States during this period. Rail connections were crucial in establishing cross-border corridors, including, among others, the Grand
Trunk and Great Western Railways in southwestern Ontario; the New Westminster Southern Railway and the Fairhaven and Southern Railroad (both
purchased by the American-based Great Northern) along the Pacific coast; the
Canadian Pacificcontrolled Soo Line Railroad, which connected Prairie centers with Minneapolis and Chicago; the European and North American and
Canadian Pacific short lines, which linked Maritime centers with Vanceboro;
and the Central Vermont Railway (purchased by the Canadian-owned Grand
Trunk), which linked Montreal with New York City and Boston. Population
was funneled through gateway border cities such as Detroit, Buffalo, Niagara
Falls, and Sault Ste. Marie because they sat at strategic geographic locations
where railways minimized transportation costs.
While Detroit was the major portal for Canadian migration to the United
States, it also served as the terminus for what might be termed as the southwestern Ontario corridor, which connected a number of Canadian communities with the Michigan metropolis. Distance decay within this migration corridor is evident, although Ottawa certainly stands out as an exception to the
general pattern. On the west coast, a significant percentage of sample migrants
who had last resided in Vancouver and Victoria relocated to Seattle. Strong
connections also existed between Niagara communities such as Hamilton and
Buffalo, the two most important steel-making centers of the Great Lakes borderland region. Elsewhere, significant percentages of sample migrants from
Prairie communities moved to Chicago and Minneapolis and from Nova
Scotia communities to Boston, and small but notable migrations connected

63

Table 2.1. Top twenty-five Canadian-American connections as measured


by percentage of migrants from last places of residence in Canada residing
in particular American centers
Canadian place

American center

Percentage

Windsor, ON

Detroit, MI

76.8

Chatham, ON

Detroit, MI

56.5

Ottawa, ON

Detroit, MI

44.5

Vancouver, BC

Seattle, WA

43.6

Victoria, BC

Seattle, WA

40.7

Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Sault Ste. Marie, MI

40.0

London, ON

Detroit, MI

35.7

St. Catharines, ON

Buffalo, NY

34.6

Brantford, ON

Detroit, MI

31.1

Hamilton, ON

Detroit, MI

27.9

Hamilton, ON

Buffalo, NY

25.0

Halifax, NS

Boston, MA

22.2

St. Catharines, ON

Niagara Falls, NY

19.2

Toronto, ON

Detroit, MI

18.3

Sydney, NS

Boston, MA

16.7

Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Detroit, MI

16.0

Montreal, PQ

New York, NY

15.5

Winnipeg, MB

Chicago, IL

15.2

Regina, SK

Chicago, IL

14.3

Brantford, ON

Buffalo, NY

13.8

Edmonton, AB

Spokane, WA

13.3

Edmonton, AB

Detroit, MI

13.3

Toronto, ON

Buffalo, NY

13.0

Winnipeg, MB

Minneapolis, MN

12.4

Calgary, AB

Spokane, WA

10.7

Source: Random sample of 3,000 migrants taken from the Soundex Index to Canadian Border Entries to
the United States through the St. Albans, Vermont, District, 18951924, Records of the Immigration and
Naturalization Service, 18911957, RG 85, National Archives and Records Administration.
Note: Sample N includes only Canadian places with twenty or more sample migrants.

A Spatial Grammar of Migration in the Canadian-American Borderlands

Montreal with New York City and Alberta centers with Spokane, Washington.
Specific migratory flows connecting provinces, states, and particular communities on both sides of the border served to reinforce the traditional character
of each borderland region.
Much of the American flow into Canada during the early years of the twentieth century was directed toward the newly opened Prairie provinces, although
there was a significant movement into southern Ontario cities and northern
Ontario mining communities as well. And as was the case for Canadian migration to the United States, this northward flow took place primarily in the largescale borderland regions. The migration fields funneling into western Canada
via the selected border-crossing points were wider than those for Ontario border communities, although significant numbers of American-based migrants
bound for western Canada entered the country in the east, presumably to catch
the transcontinental Canadian Pacific Railway westward.
Map 2.3 depicts migration from the United States into Canada through Emerson, Manitoba. The migration field funneling through Emerson was more
widespread than those of North Portal (Map 2.4) or Coutts (Map 2.5). Only 47
percent had last resided in the northern Plains states (Minnesota = 35 percent,
North Dakota = 11 percent, Montana = 1 percent), and most of those from Minnesota did not originate in the western plains grasslands. Unlike the Coutts
and North Portal samples, those who crossed at Emerson dispersed widely
throughout the Prairie provinces (Saskatchewan = 39 percent, Manitoba = 35
percent, Alberta = 23 percent), although a significant percentage moved to
Winnipeg, the largest city in the region.
Just over 54 percent of the North Portal sample came from the northern
plains region of the United States: 38 percent had last resided in North Dakota, 15 percent in Minnesota, and less than 1 percent in Montana. The Coutts
migrants most likely came from the northern Plains states. This connection
between Alberta and western Montana and to a lesser extent Colorado, Wyoming, and Idaho may be conceptualized in terms of a Rocky Mountain corridor, which served as a conduit of people and capital flows in both directions.
American migration to Ontario was substantial in the early twentieth century as people moved in response to opportunities associated with branchplant industrialization. Not surprisingly, the overwhelming majority of people entering Canada at Windsor were born in Michigan (63.6 percent; 33.8
percent from Detroit alone) and, to a lesser extent, Ohio (14.0 percent), but
only 62.2 percent of this group settled in Ontario (Map 2.6). Of this group,

65

Map 2.3. Prairie borderland region: Migration into Canadian Prairie provinces through Emerson, Manitoba, 19081919
(N = 500). Created by the author from Canadian Border Crossing Records.

Map 2.4. Prairie borderland region: Migration into Canadian Prairie provinces through North Portal, Saskatchewan,
19081919 (N = 500). Created by the author from Canadian Border Crossing Records.

Map 2.5. Prairie borderland region: Migration into Canadian Prairie provinces through Coutts, Alberta, 19081919 (N = 500).
Created by the author from Canadian Border Crossing Records.

Map 2.6. Great Lakes borderland region: American-born migrants entering Canada at Windsor, Ontario, 19081919. Created
by the author from Canadian Border Crossing Records.

70

Randy William Widdis

18.8 percent moved to Windsor and another 7.4 percent took up residence in
Toronto. Another third moved on to the Prairie provinces.
Most of the American-born who crossed at Niagara Falls were from New
York (48.4 percent; 13.5 percent and 7.3 percent from Buffalo and Niagara Falls,
respectively) and Pennsylvania (19.4 percent) and settled in Ontario, particularly in the Golden Horseshoe region: 22.8 percent in Toronto, 10.5 percent in
Hamilton, 8.9 percent in Niagara Falls, Ontario, 5.0 percent in St. Catharines,
4.7 percent in Brantford, and 3.9 percent in Welland. Minnesota (50.8 percent)
and Wisconsin (12.8 percent) were the most important states of origin for those
crossing at Fort Frances in northwestern Ontario. Duluth (12.8 percent) and
International Falls (7.5 percent) stood out as the most important birthplaces
for this group. Yet only 36 percent of the Fort Frances sample stayed in Ontario,
particularly the northwestern part of the province (18.3 percent in Fort Frances
alone), while 63 percent moved on to the Prairie provinces, a destination that
proved especially attractive to those intending to farm.
International migration greatly diminished during the Depression and World
War II. While the two largest groups of immigrants to Canada at the turn of
the twentieth century were from Great Britain and the United States, during
the 1910s and 1920s, the number born in other European countries began to
grow. This trend increased even more after World War II, when successive
Canadian governments adhered to the conviction that demographic growth
was the key to the countrys future and pursued a more open immigration
policy. As a result, immigrants from other European countries and then increasingly from Southeast Asia and the Caribbean began to arrive. Despite a
significant increase in the number of Americans coming to Canada during the
Vietnam War, the relative position of the United States in terms of the top ten
countries of immigrant origins dropped from third in 1981 to eighth in 2001.
In fact, former residents of the United States did not even make the list of the
ten largest immigrant groups in Canada in 2006.37 A change in the destination
of American immigrants to Canada also took place. Whereas many of the immigrants from the United States earlier in the twentieth century settled in the
rural Canadian west, those who followed increasingly moved to the largest cities, at first to centers in southern Ontario but more over time to growing cities
in Alberta and British Columbia.
On the other hand, successive governments in the United States were less
enthusiastic about increasing immigration rates immediately following the
war. These policies began to change in 1965, when the United States amended
its policies with the Immigration and Nationality Act, which opened its doors

A Spatial Grammar of Migration in the Canadian-American Borderlands

to skilled foreign workers. Canada was especially susceptible to this brain


drain and provided a significant stream of highly qualified labor to American
centers. But at the same time, the Immigration and Nationality Act restricted
the number of visas for the whole of the western hemisphere to 120,000, meaning that skilled Canadian workers competed in a relatively small pool with
other capable immigrants.38 Coinciding with these changes was a marked decrease of emigration from Europe and Canada and a sharp increase from Latin
America and Asia to the United States. The number of persons migrating from
Canada to the United States decreased from roughly 433,000 during the 1960s
to 195,000 during the 1990s.39 As John Helliwell points out, this significant
decrease was consistent with a long-term trend: Measured as a share of the
Canadian population in the same year, the number of Canadian born living in
the United States has fallen from more than 16 percent in 1910 and 12 percent
in 1930 to 7 percent in 1950, 5 percent in 1960, 3.8 percent in 1970, 3.4 percent
in 1980, and less than 2 percent in the late 1990s.40
A change also occurred in direction of migration. While the majority of
Canadian-based migrants settled in adjacent borderland states in the late
nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the lure of more distant locations,
especially in the southern and far western regions of the United States, became stronger over time. This was particularly true for professional and retired
Canadians. While the top ten states in terms of Canadian-born residents (N =
715,364) in 1880 were Michigan (148,848, 20.8 percent of the total Canadians
in the United States), Massachusetts (119,129, 16.7 percent), New York (84,075,
11.8 percent), Maine (37,097, 5.2 percent), Illinois (34,008, 4.8 percent), Minnesota (29,520, 4.1 percent), Wisconsin (28,928, 4.0 percent), New Hampshire
(27,132, 3.8 percent), Vermont (24,620, 3.44 percent), and Iowa (21,054, 2.9
percent), the top ten states for Canadian-born residents (N = 820,771) in 2000
were California (141,181 or 17.2 percent of the total of Canadians in the United
States), Florida (99,139, 12.1 percent), New York (54,876, 6.7 percent), Michigan
(49,515, 6.0 percent), Washington (47,568, 5.8 percent), Massachusetts (40,247,
4.9 percent), Texas (36,802, 4.5 percent), Arizona (26,323, 3.2 percent), Illinois
(19,098, 2.3 percent), and Connecticut (19,083, 2.3 percent).41 Migration fields,
trade, investment, and communication spheres have expanded greatly during the postwar period. This spatial extension has weakened to some extent
the traditional borderlands connecting Canada and the United States. As the
distance and direction and the flows, corridors, and networks of migration
have changed, so has its spatial grammar. At another level, however, it might
be argued that developments in transportation technology have ensured that

71

72

Randy William Widdis

circulationfor example, temporary movements to shop, visit, and do businessnow plays a more important role than migration in the defining the
nature of the Canadian-American borderlands.

Conclusion
This chapter has demonstrated that a spatial grammar composed of a syntax
of flows, corridors, gateways, hubs, and networks and based on the precepts
of postmodernism, time-space compression, and the de/re-territorialization
paradox provides a constructive basis for work on borderlands. The borderland lies at the intersection of numerous scalesthe local, the regional, the
national, and the global. Transnationalism and the kinds of relationships it embodies change over time and space, and the borderlands concept is sensitive to
this dynamism. While transnational histories acknowledge the importance of
states, they focus attention on the flows and networks of peoples, goods, ideas,
capital, and institutions that transcend politically defined spaces. Such flows
and networks and the resulting corridors, hubs, and gateways they produce are
constantly transforming as both internal and external circumstances change.
This spatial grammar, as illustrated here in the specific context of migration,
serves as a useful framework for understanding this ongoing evolution.

Notes
1. Pekka Hmlinen and Samuel Truett, On Borderlands, Journal of American History
98, no. 2 (2011): 361.
2. See, for example: Ian Tyrell, American Exceptionalism in an Age of International History, American History Review 96, no. 4 (1991): 103155; David Thelen, The Nation and
Beyond: Transnational Perspectives on United States History, Journal of American History
86, no. 3 (1995): 96575; Thomas Bender, ed., Rethinking American History in a Global Age
(Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002); Shelley Fischer Fishkin, Crossroads of Cultures: The Transnational Turn in American StudiesPresidential Address to the American
Studies Association, November 12, 2004, American Quarterly 57, no. 1 (2005): 1757; Marcus
Grser, World History in a Nation-State: The Transnational Disposition in Historical Writing in the United States, Journal of American History 95, no. 4 (2009): 103852.
3. This trap involves three assumptions: The first assumption, and the one that is most
fundamental theoretically, is the reification of state territorial spaces as fixed units of secure sovereign space. The second is the division of the domestic from the foreign. The third
geographical assumption is of the territorial state as existing prior to and as a container of
society. John Agnew, The Territorial Trap: The Geographical Assumptions of International
Relations Theory, Review of International Political Economy 1, no. 1 (1994): 7677.

A Spatial Grammar of Migration in the Canadian-American Borderlands


4. For more on borderlands, see Randy Widdis, Borders, Borderlands and Canadian
Identity: A Canadian Perspective, International Journal of Canadian Studies 15, no. 1 (1997):
4966; Randy Widdis, With Scarcely a Ripple: Anglo-Canadian Migration into the United
States and Western Canada, 18801920 (Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 1998);
Randy Widdis, The Historical Geography of the Canadian-American Borderlands, 1784
1989: Conceptual and Methodological Challenges, in Convergence and Divergence in North
America: Canada and the United States, ed. Karl Froschauer, Nadine Fabbi, and Susan Pell
(Burnaby: Centre for Canadian Studies, Simon Fraser University, 2006), 1933; Randy Widdis, Crossing an Intellectual and Geographical Border: The Importance of Migration in
Shaping the Canadian-American Borderlands at the Turn of the Twentieth Century, Social
Science History 34, no. 4 (2010): 44597.
5. Based on the arguments of Lauren McKinsey and Victor Konrad and economic evidence on cross-border relationships, the following groups of provinces and states are associated with these international regions: Atlantic: Newfoundland after 1949, Nova Scotia,
Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut; St. Lawrence: Quebec, Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire,
New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut; Great Lakes: Ontario, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio,
Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota; Plains and Prairies: Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana; Pacific Northwest: British Columbia,
Alberta, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon; Yukon-Alaska. See Lauren McKinsey and
Victor Konrad, Borderland Reflections: The United States and Canada (Orono: CanadianAmerican Center, University of Maine, 1989); Policy Research Initiative, The Emergence of
Cross-Border Regions Interim Report (Ottawa: Government of Canada, November 2005).
6. Oscar Martinez, Border People: Life and Society in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands (Tucson:
University of Arizona Press, 1994), xviii.
7. See, for example: Graeme Wynn, Peeping through the Cracks: Seeking Connections,
Comparisons, and Understanding in Unstable Space, in New England and the Maritime
Provinces: Connections and Comparisons, ed. Stephen Hornsby and John Reid (Montreal:
McGill-Queens University Press, 2005), 295313; and Viktor Konrad and Heather Nicol,
Beyond Walls: Re-Inventing the Canada-United States Borderlands (Abingdon, UK: Ashgate,
2008).
8. Konrad and Nicol, Beyond Walls, 92.
9. Claudia Sadowski-Smith, Introduction: Border Studies, Diaspora, and Theories of
Globalization, in Globalization on the Line: Culture, Capital, and Citizenship at U.S. Borders,
ed. Claudia Sadowski-Smith (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002), 127.
10. Arif Dirlik, Postmodernitys Histories: The Past as Legacy and Project (Lanham, Md.,
Rowman and Littlefield, 2000).
11. Jean-Franois Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984), 56.
12. This message is conveyed in a number of theoretical pieces on borderlands, including
David Newman, On Borders and Power: A Theoretical Framework, Journal of Borderland
Studies 18, no. 1 (2003): 1324; David Newman, Barriers or Bridges?: On Borders, Fences and

73

74

Randy William Widdis


Walls, Tikkun Magazine 18, no. 6 (2003): 5458; Henk van Houtum and Ton van Naerssen,
Bordering, Ordering and Othering, Tijdschrift voor Economtsche en Social1e Geografie 93,
no. 2 (2002): 12536.
13. David Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity: An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural
Change (Oxford: Blackwell, 1989).
14. Barney Warf, Time-Space Compression: Historical Geographies (New York: Routledge,
2008).
15. Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity, 293.
16. Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man (New York: Avon Books,
1992).
17. Richard OBrien, Global Financial Integration: The End of Geography (London: Royal
Institute of International Affairs, 1992).
18. Frances Cairncross, The Death of Distance: How the Communications Revolution Will
Change Our Lives (Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1997).
19. Kenichi Ohmae, The Borderless World (New York: Harper, 1995).
20. Thomas Friedman, The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century (New
York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005).
21. Robert Reich, The Future of Success: Work and Life in the New Economy (London: William Heinemann, 2001).
22. Manuel Castells, The Rise of the Network Society (Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Publishers,
1996); Manuel Castells, The Power of Identity (Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Publishers, 1997);
Manuel Castells, End of Millennium (Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Publishers, 1998).
23. For example, shorter geographical distances combined with more dense transportation and communication networks have played a major role in producing a different borderland region within the Great Lakes basin than that which exists in the plains and prairies.
24. Warf, Time-Space Compression; Fredric Jameson, The Cultural Turn (London: Verso,
1998).
25. Jody Berland, North of Empire: Essays on the Cultural Technologies of Space (Durham,
N.C.: Duke University Press, 2009).
26. Jean-Paul Rodrigue, Freight, Gateways, and Mega-Urban Regions: The Logistical
Integration of the Bostwash Corridor, Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie 95,
no. 2 (2004): 149.
27. Victor Konrad and Heather Nicol, Boundaries and Corridors: Rethinking the Canada-United States Borderlands in the Post 9/11 Era, Canadian-American Public Policy 60
(2004): 159.
28. Donna Haraway, Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature (New York:
Routledge, 1991).
29. Jeremy Adelman and Stephen Aron, From Borderlands to Borders: Empires, NationStates, and the Peoples in between in North American History, American Historical Review
104, no. 3 (1999): 81441.
30. Widdis, With Scarcely a Ripple; Bruno Ramirez, Crossing the 49th Parallel: Migration
from Canada to the United States, 19001930 (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2001).

A Spatial Grammar of Migration in the Canadian-American Borderlands


My focus here is on Anglophone and Francophone migrants who made up the overwhelming component of the Canadian population and consequently, the Canadian migrant population. People of various Anglo-Celtic ethnicities are included in the Anglophone group.
31. U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of the Census, Statistics of the Population of
the United States at the Tenth Census (June 1, 1880), Vol. 1 (Washington: U.S. Government
Printing Office, 1882).
32. Census Reports, Twelfth Census of the United States Taken in the Year 1900: Population,
Vol. 1, Part 1 (Washington: United States Census Office, 1901).
33. W. Smith, A Study in Canadian Immigration (Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1920), 114.
34. See Ramirez, Crossing the 49th Parallel; Widdis, With Scarcely a Ripple. Sources: 1)
National Archives and Research Administration, Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 18911957, RG 85, Soundex Index to Canadian Border Entries to the United
States through the St. Albans, Vermont, District, 18951924, microfilm M1461. These 400
rolls of microfilm are housed in various archives and libraries including College Park, Maryland, and the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. They include Soundex cards that
abstract the original manifests and give detailed information pertaining to border crossings. From the Soundex Index, I amassed two random samples of 3,000 and 1,000 migrants,
respectively, from across Canada, stratified by country of birth and age (over 15), and one
random sample of 1,000 Anglo-Canadian-born. The data presented in these samples enable
us to identify, compare, and contrast regional flows, corridors, and gateways of cross-border
migrations in different borderland regions during a period when there were few, if any, restrictions on cross-border movement. 2) Government of Canada, Department of the Interior,
Lists of Arrivals from the United States, 19081918, RG 76, Library and Archives Canada,
Ottawa. Before 1908, immigrants could freely cross from the United States into Canada, and
there are no files for those who did so. Lists of arrivals from the United States from 1908 to
1918 are filed by date and border crossing. From January 1919 to the end of 1924, individual
forms were used to record the arrival of immigrants from the United States. In 1925, officials once again collected arrival lists by border crossing. Of these, only the lists for 192535
are indexed. From the Department of the Interior records, I have collected nine random
samples of 500 migrants entering Canada at White Rock, British Columbia; Coutts, Alberta;
North Portal, Saskatchewan; Emerson, Manitoba; Fort Frances, Windsor, and Niagara Falls,
Ontario; Megantic, Quebec; and St. Stephen, New Brunswick; one random sample of 400
people entering Canada at St. John, Quebec; and one random sample of 100 migrants entering Canada at Yarmouth, Nova Scotia (N = 5,000).
35. Much of this discussion comes from Widdis, Crossing an Intellectual and Geographical Border.
36. A special thanks to Kim Turchenek for helping with these maps.
37. Tina Chui, Kelly Tran, and Hlne Maheux, Social and Aboriginal Statistics Division
of Statistics Canada, 2006 Census: Immigration in Canada: A Portrait of the Foreign-Born
Population, 2006 Census: Data Tables, Figures and Maps, (Ottawa: Ministry of Industry, Statistics Canada, 2007), Table 1, Top 10 Country of Birth of Recent Immigrants, 1981 to 2006.
38. Center for Immigration Studies, Three Decades of Mass Immigration: The Legacy

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Randy William Widdis


of the 1965 Immigration Act, September 1995, http://www.cis.org/1965ImmigrationActMassImmigration, accessed August 26, 2014.
39. Jack Jedwab, Flows across the Canada-US Border and the Desired Proximity of Canadians to the United States, Canadian Issues 34 (Spring 2009): 34.
40. John Helliwell, Checking the Brain Drain: Evidence and Implications, Policy Options
20, no. 7 (1999): 7.
41. U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of the Census, Statistics of the Population of
the United States at the Tenth Census (June 1, 1880); B. Cooper and E. Greico, The Foreign
Born from Canada in the United States (Washington, D.C.: Migration Policy Institute, 2004).

3
Mexicans, Canadians, and the Reconfiguration
of Continental Migrations, 19151965
Bruno Ramirez

During the first half of the 1960s and before major reforms in U.S. immigration
policy opened the gates to immigrants originating from virtually the entire
globe, Canada was the single most important contributor of population and
labor to the U.S. economy and society, followed closely by Mexico. Immigrants
admitted to the United States from these two neighboring countries nearly
equaled the number of those coming from Europe and surpassed all the contingents combined arriving from other world sources. And yet on the eve of
World War I, immigration to the United States from Canada and Mexico constituted a mere 8 percent of the total inflows that otherwise originated largely
in Europe. In the ensuing decades, Canada became cumulatively the single
most important donor country, with Mexico ranking third, after Germany.
A major reconfiguration in the international circuits of labor and population occurred from 1915 to 1965, as intra-continental migration became a major
factor in the growth of the U.S. economy and society and in the relations among
these three North American countries. Part of the answer is found in the impact of the restrictionist measures the U.S. government enforced, the most
consequential being the national quota laws passed in 1921 and 1924, which
specifically targeted countries and nationalities from Southern and Eastern
Europe in an attempt to drastically reduce the inflow of populations that were
considered to be unassimilable. On the other hand, northwestern European
countries, which were given generous quotas, continued to send migrants to
the United States even though in some years people from these countries did
not use the entirety of the quotas allotted to them. Equally consequential was
the decision to exempt countries in the western hemisphere from quota regulations in the 1920s altogetheran exemption that applied to all the countries
in the Americas (including the Caribbean), though, as we shall see, Canada

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and Mexico became the two countries that sent the overwhelming majority of
migrants.1 Unfortunately, the extent to which this reconfiguration heightened
the circulation of labor and people across borders and the ways in which it
entangled the socio-economy of the three North American countries have not
received the attention they deserve in national historiographies.
This essay seeks to fill the historiographical gap by discussing the major
features of this historic reconfiguration. It does so by analyzing some key
dimensions of the two cross-border movements, such as their occupational
and demographic composition and their legal status in the face of exclusionary immigration policies. As the essay will demonstrate, these dimensions
acquire added meaning when placed against the backdrop of specific economic and political conjunctures occurring in the United States during that
50-year period. Equally important, the essay will bring to the fore the central
role cross-border social networks played among both Mexican and Canadian
migrants. In many ways, these networks functioned as the primary social
mechanisms through which the entanglement of the three North American
socio-economies occurred. While a comparative dimension is inherent in my
analysis owing to the variety of historical actors involved, the essay seeks to
go beyond a formal comparative framework by showing how the three countries contributed to the reconfiguration of continental migrations during this
period.

Through Expansion and Depression


The 8 percent figure cited above about North American migration before World
War I conceals important differences in the transborder migratory profiles of
Canada and Mexico. Mass migration from Canada dated back to the preCivil
War decades, reaching a peak in the 1880s and continuing uninterruptedly well
into the twentieth century. By the eve of World War I, migrating to the United
States had become an established tradition in numerous districtsboth rural
and urbanthroughout much of the dominion.2
Mass migration from Mexico, on the other hand, was a more recent development, progressing during the early years of the twentieth century and
accelerating significantly as a result of the political upheaval and economic
hardships brought about after the beginning of the Mexican Revolution in
1910.3 This northward migration gained an additional boost when the acute
labor shortages caused by the U.S. intervention in World War I led authorities
to recruit large numbers of Mexicans as temporary contract laborers. Although

Mexicans, Canadians, and the Reconfiguration of Continental Migrations

this was a major exception to the long-fought and sacrosanct immigration provision banning alien contract labor, labor-hungry employers and U.S. authorities resorted to this method of mass recruitment even if the majority of the
recruits were illiterate (thus contravening the 1917 literacy provision of immigration laws). Moreover, the war experience broughtin many cases for the
first timetens of thousands of campesinos (peasants) into contact with U.S.
labor markets, a development that soon translated into a massive circulation of
information throughout much of rural Mexico about the work opportunities
available in the United States. The prosperity that marked the postwar years
did little to decrease the appetite of American capital for Mexican laborers.
Increasingly aware of their partial or total dependence on a Mexican seasonal
work force, U.S. growers, along with railroad and construction companies,
clamored for continued access to cheap labor south of the border. The U.S.
Labor Department met them more than halfway by extending the wartime
contract labor waiver to March 1921.4 But while the temporary contract met
U.S. employers immediate needs for workers, it proved to be generator of illegality, as the U.S. commissioner of immigration lamented. In effect, out of
72,862 Mexicans brought to the United States from 1917 to 1921 under that
arrangementmost of whom were placed on farms, at railroad worksites, and
in food-processing plantsnearly one third abandoned their contracts, or, in
the words of the commissioners report, deserted their employment and disappeared.5
Despite the important role Mexican migrants were playing in the U.S. economy, attempts to submit them to annual quota restrictions did not subside. Not
surprisingly, organized labor was on the forefront of the restriction campaigns,
arguing that the inferior working conditions imposed on Mexican migrants
would depress the wages of American workers and have negative reverberations throughout the economy. They were joined by the numerous nativist lobbies who feared that an invasion by the largely mestizo Mexican population
would pose an even more serious threat to the racial makeup of the United
States than would Southern and Eastern Europeans.6
These arguments, however, could be effectively countered by employers
who pointed to the difficultyif not the impossibilityof finding American
workers who were willing to accept the low wages and the harsh working conditions that prevailed in what, a few years later, researcher Carey McWilliams
called factories in the field.7 A California representative of agribusiness spoke
for many of his fellow lobbyists when he told a congressional inquiry that we
have gone east, west, and north, and south and he [the Mexican] is the only

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manpower available.8 Others countered the fears of invasion by arguing that


the immigration admission requirements (literacy, head taxes, or visa requirements) would filter out potential overflows of undesirable Mexican rural proletarians. Equally important for calming down fears of an impending invasion
was the sojourning pattern many Mexican laborers practiced, which was as
much induced by the seasonal nature of agribusiness, railroad, and construction work as it was by many Mexicans own desire to head back to their villages
and families once the work season had ended and the migrants target income
had been reached. In some important ways, this latter pattern was not unlike
the behavior of large numbers of Southern and Eastern European unskilled
migrants during the decades preceding World War I. It is safe to say that in
many U.S. non-agricultural seasonal labor marketscertainly in the Southwest and increasingly in midwestern statesMexican migrants were filling the
void left by previous European sojourners.9
During the ensuing years, as Congress debated whether to impose restrictive quotas on countries in the western hemisphere, U.S. labor-hungry
employers and Mexican campesinos found their own ways of meeting their
mutual needs. In his pioneering fieldwork on Mexican cross-border migration during the 1920s and on various borderland localities, anthropologist
Manuel Gamio and his research team documented in great detail the intense activity that developed in virtually all U.S. and Mexican border towns.10
These locations became continental recruiting centers that enabled the needs
of U.S. employers and those of Mexican laborers to converge and translate
into migrations that radiated throughout the Southwest and beyond. U.S.
employers, in fact, established their own informal system of contract labor
by signing newcomers and transporting them to the various worksites. This
system, however, rested on an elaborate network of middlemen operating on
both sides of the border. Mexican facilitators (known as coyotes) helped prospective immigrants secure the necessary documents (personal identification, visas, etc.) and, when necessary, provided them with forged ones. Mexicans who passed successfully through the immigration inspection were then
met by employers agents (enganchistas) on the U.S. side, who signed them
up for contract labor. But because a large number of Mexicans were unable to
pass the literacy test U.S. immigration agents administered or were unwilling
to go through the red tape and legal cost immigration entailed, coyotes soon
became synonymous with smugglers. As Gamios report put it, The smugglers, or coyotes, who manage the illegal crossing of the immigrants, work
as individuals but also in gangs. They know their ground thoroughly, and the

Mexicans, Canadians, and the Reconfiguration of Continental Migrations

habits of both American and Mexican authorities, and sometimes they even
have an arrangement with some district official; therefore they are generally
successful in taking their human cargo over.11
Considering the annual amount of migrants involved (whether they were
successful or were debarred) and the cross-border recruiting mechanisms and
personnel needed for their operation, most Mexican border towns and lesser
known border localities became the terrain for an informal migration industry.12 By the 1920s, the U.S. Border Patrol had been operating for a few years
along both the northern and southern boundaries, but as Kelly Lytle Hernandez shows, the 25,570 Mexican nationals who were arrested and returned to
Mexico from 1925 to 1929 represented a small fraction of the total crossborder illegal entries that occurred during those years.13
But if these various paths to illegal entry marked much of the migration
scenario in the Southwest, one should not underestimate the significant number of Mexicans who availed themselves of the non-quota status of their country and who had the necessary qualifications for admission. Throughout the
1920s they made up one of the largest migration movements into the United
States, their numbers fluctuating annually from a low of 19,551 in 1922 to a
high of 67,721 in 1927. Though they were largely farm workers, there was also
a small but significant contingent of skilled workers (carpenters, machinists,
and seamstresses being the most frequent occupations) and a tiny minority of
professionals (such as engineers, musicians, and teachers).14
The Depression-stricken 1930s put a virtual end to Mexican migration, giving way to induced repatriation and deportations.15 Still, the variety of channels through which Mexicans could gain access to U.S. wages and through
which U.S. employers could draw from the immense labor pool south of their
border (government-sanctioned labor contracts, individual legal entries, informal recruitment by employers, and illegal entries) all showed their viability, and these channels reappeared and become consolidated during and after
World War II.
The scenario that emerged at the northern border was significantly different, yet it was an equally important part of the reconfiguration of continental
migration. Although during the immigration debates of the 1920s some eugenics-minded restrictionists ranked Canadians below the Anglo-Saxon group of
nations as evidence that they too should be subjected to quota limitations,
U.S. employers and immigration authorities from Maine to Washington state
completely undermined these ideas.16
In the conventional historical narratives in both the United States and

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Canada, more often than not Canadian out-migrants bring to mind the large
French Canadian rural family that abandons one of many of Quebecs underdeveloped counties to settle in one of many textile mill towns from Maine
to Connecticut. Recent research has revealed, however, that for every French
Canadian who crossed the border in search of work and a new life, two AngloCanadians did likewise as part of a population movement that originated from
all Canadian provinces and touched all U.S. border states: a movement that
made Canada by far the leading donor country in the western hemisphere
throughout the nineteenth century.17
Furthermore, as the twentieth century progressed, Canadas role proved to
be indispensable, certainly for many states and transborder regions along the
northern belt of the United States, many of which were part of the countrys
industrial heartland. In critical conjunctures, when international conflicts or
political choices interrupted or drastically reduced European immigration,
Canada played an important compensatory role as a supplier of labor and
population. For instance, when in the years 1915 to 1918 transatlantic population flows were severely reduced by World War I, Canada (a country with a
population of less than 9 million) supplied 31 percent of all immigrants admitted to the United States.18 During the following decadeone marked by rapid
economic growth and immigration restrictionCanada became the second
largest donor country after Germany, a position it maintained in the following
decades.
Equally significant was the occupational composition of the labor force
Canada sent south of the border. The social profile of Canadian immigrant
workersas it emerged from a massive U.S. Senate inquiry (19071910)
placed them at the top of the overall immigrant industrial workforce in terms
of schooling, proficiency in English, skill composition, and pre-migration
work experience, especially in the manufacturing sectors.19 Subsequent analyses of cross-border records have shown that during the first three decades of
the century, nearly 20 percent of the male adult out-migrating component belonged to such occupations as businessmen, professionals, supervisors, and
miscellaneous white-collar professions; others were students. An even larger
proportion included skilled production workers and independent craftsmen.
Even more significant was the occupational composition among women; as
many as 48 percent belonged to occupational groups such as professionals and
supervisors, nurses, miscellaneous white-collar workers, and students.20 These
were among the main factors that favored the rapid integration of these outmigrants into local labor markets and facilitated their adjustment to and incor-

Mexicans, Canadians, and the Reconfiguration of Continental Migrations

poration into U.S. society.21 These factors characterized transborder migrations


until the eve of the Great Depression.
Thus, by the time a new world conflict broke out in the late 1930s, rapidly
pushing the United States into a wartime economy, the role that Canadians
and Mexicans had already played in the reconfiguration of continental migrations was firmly established. It may be summarized as follows: In the political, economic, and cultural conjuncture marking the interwar years, one that
led the United States to drastically reorient its approach to immigration and
incorporation, Canada and Mexico came to play a key compensatory role at
both a quantitative and qualitative level. In addition to the magnitude of the
population and labor the U.S. economy could tap from the two neighboring
societies, Canadas and Mexicos work forces filled widely diverse yet essential
needs in the U.S. economy and in particular responded to specific exigencies of
regional and sectorial labor markets. Canadian immigrants represented the entire spectrum of industrial occupations, and, particularly in the case of AngloCanadians, these migrants took up white-collar occupations in the increasingly important tertiary sectors of the economy. On the other hand, Mexico
sent a workforce that overwhelmingly worked in southwestern agribusiness,
along with a significant portion in sectors such as road construction, railway
repairs, mining, and food processing.
A measure of the systemic character these two flows had in a continental
framework may also be inferred from the fact that among all sending countries,
Mexico and Canada were the only ones whose out-migrants were exclusively
destined for the United Stateswhich raises the issue of geographic proximity
as a key factor favoring those transborder population flows. Obviously, physical proximity enabled Mexican and Canadian prospective migrants to respond
more readily to the fluctuations in the local and sectorial U.S. economy, helping
them decide when and where to migrate. But this proximity also enhanced the
formation and consolidation of transborder networks and migrants reliance
on them. These networks constituted the social mechanisms through which
much of the continental reconfiguration occurred.

Migration Fields and Transborder Networks


If geographical proximity and employment opportunities help explain Mexicans and Canadians choice of their destinations, these factors must be assessed in conjunction with a third factor, namely the presence of kin and fellow villagers who provided newcomers with the support necessary to facilitate

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their migration and their insertion in the new social and economic environment. In many ways, this choice was enhanced by the previous existence of
well-delineated migration fields.
Some historical geographers have long used the notion of migration fields
to identify spatial patterns and thus offer explanations for population movements that linked places of departure and places of destination. While for some
a migration field is the area from which a destination place draws its migrants,22 for others it denotes the geographical distribution of migrants as
seen from the parish or commune under investigation, which produces at the
same time a feed-back process of historical continuity.23 The historical geographer who first applied this perspective to the study of Canadian migration to
the United States, James P. Allen, focused on the population movements from
a number of counties in southeastern Quebec to several industrial towns in
southern Maine. By reconstituting a number of migration streams that were
part of that regional population movement over a period of twenty to thirty
years, he was able to observe a pattern of chain migration operating between
those two regions.24
As we know, chain migration, the essential pattern characterizing migration networks, has become central to the historical analyses of migration
movements in various international contexts and time frames.25 More recently, by using cross-border records of Canadian entries into the United
States, some historians and geographers have been able to cast more light
on the role such chains played within the wider transborder migration from
Canada to the United States. The analysis of these data has revealed that from
1906 to 1930, two out of three Anglo-Canadian migrants and three out of four
French Canadian migrants chose a U.S. destination where a spouse, kin, or
friends resided already.26 Thus, for instance, when in 1921 George Marion decided to leave his Quebec parish for the city of Fall River, Massachusetts, he
moved through a migration field that had long become consolidated by the
back-and-forth traveling of others from his parish and by a constant flow of
information crossing that space. In Fall River he was received by his paternal
grandparents, joining at the same time a stream that through the years had
brought hundreds of previous migrants from his parish to that industrial
city.27
The analysis of individual trajectories drawn from the border-crossing data
has also enabled us to gain a rare longitudinal view on the migration experience of U.S.-bound Canadians by enabling us to identify those migrants who
had already had one or more previous sojourns in the United States. Edward

Mexicans, Canadians, and the Reconfiguration of Continental Migrations

Bulstrode, for instance, a 24-year-old machinist from Walkerton, Ontario, migrated in June 1911 to Detroit, the city where he had lived from 1900 to 1903
and where he had an uncle.28 Illustrations of Canadian and American locations linked by the ongoing migration of men, women, and children could be
multiplied many times. They help us see this southward population flow as one
endowed with a degree of spatial rationality that resulted from the migrants
knowledge of their destinationsmore specifically, a knowledge that resulted
from information that reached prospective Canadian migrants from siblings,
relatives, and friends who were working and living in the envisaged destination
and, in some cases, derived from having previously lived and worked in a given
U.S. location.
We cannot determine with the same degree of precision the extent to which
such networks operated among Mexicans migrating to the United States or
their precise spatial articulation across the border. This is largely due to the
fact that the significant number of illegal entries render those migrants invisible in the official immigration records, and their transborder migratory
trajectories are impossible to reconstitute except through personal accounts
(whether offered freely to researchers or obtained by authorities in the case of
apprehended migrants).
When the Mexican immigrant Bonifacio Ortega told Gamios research
team that we help one another, we fellow-countrymen, he did not make the
distinction between legally admitted immigrants and illegal ones. However,
he stressed that the fellow migrants he referred to came almost all from the
same town or from nearby farms.29 A native of the state of Jalisco, Ortega had
traveled approximately 1,700 kilometers north to the border town of Nogales,
Sonora, with a group of fellow villagers, and from there they had crossed the
border into Nogales, Arizona, and headed to Los Angeles, where friends lived.
Once there, a woman from Ortegas home district took them in as boarders,
and, as he proudly recounted, three days after we had arrived, we had all found
work.30 This illustration allows us to observe one link in a web of personto-person relations that stretched from rural Mexico to southern California.
Webs of this kind were common among Mexican migrants, translating into a
sort of collective human resource that could make the difference between a
successful migration project and an unsuccessful one. Equally important, they
engendered a social geography whose contours shifted constantly because of
the mostly seasonal nature of the work performed, which kept them constantly
on the move. This latter aspect emerges clearly from most of the seventy-six life
stories the Gamio team collected during the late 1920s. These social networks

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and social spaces played a fundamental role in the growing continental system
of migration from 1915 to 1965.
Among legally admitted Mexican migrants, there is sufficient documentary
evidence to suggest that a significant number moved through such networks.
The annual reports of the U.S. commissioner of immigration recorded the
number of those who entered the United States who were intending to join a
relative, a friend, or none of the two. In 1919, for instance, 32.8 percent of all
admitted Mexicans declared that they were going to join a relative or a friend.
The proportion of these assisted moves rises progressively during the 1920s:
to 35 percent in 1922 and to 48.9 percent in 1929. The assistance could also
entail that a relative would pay the travel costs. The annual reports of the U.S.
commissioner of immigration covering the 1920s show in fact that the passage
of a significant minority, fluctuating around 30 percent of the admitted Mexican immigrants, was paid by family or relatives.31
The picture that emerges in both the northern and the southern borderlands, then, is of two migration movements in which considerable numbers of
people moved within specific family and kinship networks. These networks,
besides linking places of departure and places of destination, reproduced
themselves in time due to the effect of both subsequent migrations and births
and marriages. Thus, if migration fields help us delineate the geographic space
within which significant numbers of Canadians and Mexicans moved, it was
the kinship and village-based relationships that provided the vital link that
gave social and cultural content to the pattern of chain migration.
Despite the differing characteristics of the two movements, as underscored
above, these data invite us to look beyond the mere economic dynamics of
migration and appreciate their quality of social process based on personal loyalty, solidarity, and willingness to share a promising experience with less fortunate townspeople, be they siblings, relatives, or friends. If approached from
this perspective, one particular similarity between the Canadian and Mexican
movements should not appear surprising: despite the significant differences in
their occupational backgrounds and in the types of labor markets they sought
out in the United States, both movements received comparable support from
the network of social relations that had been built by generations of migrants
and that gave rise to social and cultural cross-border spaces that need to be
examined in parallel with the mere physical space through which they moved.
As previously mentioned, the Great Depression put a virtual end to these
migratory flows from both the northern and southern borders of the United
States, engendering instead a massive reverse population movement to Can-

Mexicans, Canadians, and the Reconfiguration of Continental Migrations

ada and Mexico. In the former case, except for a minority of departures that
took place under government programs, the majority of the departures were
voluntary repatriations. These included a significant proportion of U.S.-born
children of Canadians. The Mexican reverse movement also involved a substantial amount of repatriations that were initiated and organized by both
charity groups and public authorities. More numerous, however, were the departures that occurred under the threat of deportation involving both immigrants and their U.S.-born childrena threat made effective by the several
deportation campaigns undertaken in various southwestern states.32 These
campaigns clearly reflected the racialized subcategory into which white America cast Mexican immigrants; Mae Ngai and other historians have analyzed
this issue.33 But did these developments, denoting mostly autonomous choices
on the one hand and de facto expulsions on the other, undermine the role migration networks had played in previous years? As far as the Canadian case is
concerned, part of the answer is suggested by data provided by that countrys
1941 federal census. It shows that the former Canadian immigrants (and their
U.S.-born children) who left the United States returned, in general, to their
provinces of origin; rates ranged from 92 percent among Quebec-born immigrants to 83 percent among returnees born in Nova Scotia.34 Although we do
not know the exact localities to which they returned, it is safe to assume that
most of them sought a way out of the precarious conditions brought about by
the Great Depression by moving to their former counties and parishes, where
they could rely on the support provided by family, relatives, or friends. These
transborder networks could thus fulfill their support role not merely in times
of economic expansion and mass migration to the United States but also in
times of crisis, when the dramatic worsening of working and living conditions
led many Canadians to confront the uncertainties of life in a more familiar
communal environment.
Returning to a village or town of origin and relying on networks of family
and friends must have been even more predominant strategies among Mexicans, considering the circumstances of their forced departure from the United
States. Although the research at a micro-historical scale on the socioeconomic
universe of Canadian and Mexican returnees is sparse, the available knowledge
suggests that preexisting transborder networks continued to be mobilized in
times of crisis, providing both the material and the spatial frameworks through
which both the returnees and their relatives and friends in the United States
continued to pursue their transnational lives. The end of the Depression and
the resumption of mass migration reactivated these networks as Canadians

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and Mexicans saw again the possibility of improving their conditions on the
other side of the border.

World War II and After: The Consolidation of Continental Migrations


The Depression decade and, in part, World War II can be viewed as a parenthesis in both the intra-continental and the transatlantic migrations discussed
thus far. As the war came to an end, in fact, many people asked how America would resume its role as a harbinger and land of refuge. The war, more
than any previous conflict, shattered national borders and uprooted millions
of people.
How wide the gate should be left open and who should be let in became the
central issues that engaged political and social actors in the country throughout the late 1940s and up until a formal decision was taken in the 1952 Immigration and Naturalization Act.35 The act reaffirmed the national quota
principle for countries of the eastern hemisphere, thus continuing to restrict
immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe. The new immigration policy
was the result of the convergence of two factors: the reemergence of the xenophobic sentiment that had first triumphed in what John Higham has called
the tribal 1920s and the international tensions engendered by the outbreak
of the Cold War, when the United States threw its economic, military, and
diplomatic weight in a number of directions to contain the perceived threat
of international communism and prevent its influence at home. The Immigration and Naturalization Act was just one protectionist measure among others passed in those years in response to fears of potential racial and cultural
contamination and ideological infiltration.36
While legislators re-sanctioned the nonquota status of countries in the western hemisphere, little mention was made of two major sources of immigrant
population and labor: Canada and Mexico. Yet as the national debate on a
variety of immigration-related issues raged, the multi-track formula that had
been applied to Mexico was being extended into peacetime. Canadians started
to cross the border in ever-increasing numbers, soon making the two neighboring countries two of the three most important contributors of population
and labor to the United States.
Availing themselves of Mexicos nonquota status, 54,000 Mexicans were admitted during the 1940s. The number of newcomers surged throughout the
1950s to a cumulative total of 293,000, a trend that continued well into the
1960s.37 Although the new movement primarily originated in rural Mexico, it

Mexicans, Canadians, and the Reconfiguration of Continental Migrations

brought to the United States a contingent of workers that was larger than the
pre-1930 immigration. These workers were skilled and semi-skilled, and they
were better schooled than earlier emigrants from Mexico. Moreover, the proliferation of barrios in southwestern cities and (increasingly) in northern and
midwestern states drew many of the new immigrants to manufacturing and
service jobs, thus further contributing to the growth of a Mexican and Mexican
American urban population and translating into a terrain for incipient social
movements.38
Meanwhile, the contract labor formula (officially renamed the Bracero Program) that had been initiated in 1942 under war-induced labor shortages was
extended to 1947. It was then reactivated under Public Law 78 and passed by
Congress in 1951. During the years it remained in force (until 1964), the program was responsible for injecting into the U.S. economy close to five million
Mexican workers,39 a figure that exceeded the total number of European immigrants (in all age groups and categories combined) admitted to the United
States during those same years. No precise figures exist for the number of
Mexicans working and living illegally in the United States at the time, given
the character of the phenomenon. Estimates, for instance, for the years 1948
to 1952 ranged from a low of 70,000 to a high of 1.5 million.40 When the three
major groups of Mexican migrants (legally admitted, braceros, and undocumented) were combined, they constituted the largest army of single-nationality
migrant labor in the history of twentieth-century U.S. capitalism and one that
was destined to grow in the years to come.
The labor and cultural dynamics that marked those southwestern agrarian
regions during the interwar era reemerged with added force and complexity in
the aftermath of World War II. The opinion expressed some decades earlier by
eminent historian George Bancroft, let the Mexicans in for just as long as we
need them, reflects the attitudes toward Mexicans that again became prevalent
during the 1950s.41 Then, even more than during the 1920s, the agro-industrial
economy of the Southwest had to grapple with chronic labor shortages, and its
leaders were determined to tap the enormous labor reservoir that lay south of
the border, as were employers in a variety of manufacturing and tertiary sectors, either with the help of the federal government or, if necessary, by resorting
to illegal recruitment.
And obviously, one must add to this equation the main historical agent: the
hundreds of thousands Mexicans, mainly rural campesinos, who sought access
to wages beyond their nation-state and who were willing to pursue one of the
several channels at their disposallegal or illegalin order to reach that goal.

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In so doing, many resorted to practices that had become established traditions


in those vast transborder regions.
Beneath this particular historical relationship between capital and labor,
development and underdevelopment, Americans and Mexicans, lies the undeniable fact that Mexicans were needed economically. Yet from a cultural,
racialized, and civic viewpoint, they were deemed undesirable. This apparent
contradiction is at the heart of the complex economic and human relationships that shaped those transborder regions (which increasingly was extending
deeper into the United States and Mexico) for much of the Cold War era. It
is this particular dialectical relation between necessity and undesirability
that gave the Bracero Program its raison dtre and turned it into a critical economic, cultural, and political instrument.
Hence, in assessing the programs historical significance, our attention must
be placed not merely on the enormous mass of workforce it moved annually
across those transborder regions and from one socio-economy to the other
but also on the other important function it fulfilled: that of recruiting millions
of Mexicans, the majority of whom did not qualify for legal admission to the
United States. On a short-term basis, in the face of potential widespread illegal
entries, the Bracero Program was also meant to serve as a safety valve that
would benefit both the United States and Mexico. It allowed U.S. authorities
to channel masses of potential illegal entrants through orderly government
recruitment and supervision. At the same time, the Mexican government could
stress the programs beneficial role in transforming millions of campesinos
from potential runaways into armies of workers acting in partnership with
the worlds most powerful democracy and subsequently bring them back to
their communities as agents of modernity.42
As several studies have demonstrated, there is little doubt that throughout its life, the Bracero Program met both of those goals despite the frequent
tensions between the two governments and the many controversies that surrounded it and eventually led to its termination in 1964. There is little doubt
that what kept the program alive for all those years were the economic benefits
to growers and other employers, particularly because of the wage and working
conditions they could impose.43 In addition, the program led to the indirect
result of depressing wage levels in contiguous labor markets and in much of
the agricultural sectors in the region.
What I would like to emphasize is that in its function as regulator of massive cross-border shifts of labor for over twenty years, the Bracero Program
became a key institutional mechanism in the reconfiguration of continental

Mexicans, Canadians, and the Reconfiguration of Continental Migrations

migrations. And even its dysfunctions acquire a systemic character that must
be added to the equation. In fact, despite the involvement of government agencies, the program did not prove to be as airtight as its promoters and administrators would have wished, leaving room for alternative and illegal practices,
both among growers and employers in general and among Mexican migrants,
much like during the contract-labor program that was enforced during World
War I. Thanks to the recent contributions of a number of historians, we now
have a fuller understanding of the programs side effect as generator of illegality.44 Despite the vast hunting and deportation campaigns U.S. authorities carried out throughout this period, illegal entries, illegal work, and illegal survival
surged throughout the region, feeding what economists would later call an
underground economy, making those practices a systemic part of continental
migration dynamics even beyond the national-quotas era.
One may thus conclude that the supposedly orderly back-and-forth transfer
of braceros had little impact on the existing cross-border migration networks.
In fact, it is safe to say that the resilience of these networks served as encouragement for braceros bent on jumping their labor contracts and pursuing an
illegal existence with the help of fellow countrymen and women. The many
mid-century localized labor flows that relied for the most part on networks
tied to workers particular sending regions, villages, small towns, or cities, as
historian Marc Rodriguez observed among Tejanos, reproduced themselves
in other regions of the Southwest and beyond. They were at the base of what
Rodriguez calls a translocal labor world into which migrants also incorporated a variety of social service agencies and organizations founded for the
benefit of migrants by resident nonmigrants.45 While this binational capitalist program found a way of extracting phenomenal quantities of surplus value
from Mexican proletarians during its 20-year existence, these transnational
spaces of solidarity also provided a terrain for resistance and the possibility
of pursuing an autonomous life as workers took their destinies in their own
hands.
Equally significant and revelatory of a continuing reconfiguration of continental migrations was the postwar scenario that unfolded in the northern
transborder regions. No sooner had Canadian authorities lifted wartime regulations that discouraged workers from leaving the country then thousands
of Canadians rushed to U.S. consulates to seek visas. In the last six months of
1945, it was reported that as many as 8,767 visas had been approved and many
more were pending.46 By the end of 1946, over 21,000 other Canadians had
moved to the United States. A major new wave of cross-border migration had

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begun, one that would make Canada the leading donor country after Germany until new U.S. immigration regulations in 1965 revoked the nonquota
status conferred on countries in the western hemisphere. In many cases Canadians migrated by reactivating cross-border kin and friendship networks
that had been kept alive even through the years of Depression and war. Two
out of three migrants contained in the 19461952 border entry sample that
I have analyzed moved to a U.S. location where they had a family member,
a relative, or a friend. In other cases, their move was based on the benefits
their education and skills could bring them in a rapidly changing postwar
American economy.47
The analysis of this sample reveals also that the new migration movement
reproduced most of the patterns that marked the pre-1930 era. It was again a
pan-Canadian movement; all provinces contributed their share of migrants,
who predominantly moved to neighboring states or within their continental
subregion. Moreover, from a demographic standpoint, the movement contained an equal proportion of men and women, more than half of whom were
in their prime working age (20 to 39 years old). Children and teenagers made
up the second-largest age group, denoting again the centrality of family migration within the movement. Particularly striking was the occupational composition of the movement, both for its variety and for its degree of compatibility
with the industrial and technological transformations that marked the postwar U.S. socio-economy. In fact, unlike most other migration movements to
the United States, which were marked by sharp occupational, gender, or age
overrepresentation, Canadian migrants were strikingly representative of an advanced industrial society, thus revealing quite plainly the evolving relationship
between the two economies. From both a demographic and an occupational
standpoint, it was as if an entire and highly varied layer of population had detached itself from Canadian society and moved south of the border. Canadian
migrants, in fact, belonged to the entire spectrum of the occupational structure
of both Canada and the United States and originated from all major sectors of
the economy. Although farmer, laborer, and domestic were frequently declared
occupations, they represented less than one-fifth of the active Canadian work
force that entered the United Sates from 1946 to 1952. The remaining occupations originated from sectors that ranged from manufacturing to transportation, from administration to sales, and included health workers, technicians,
and professionals from a variety of fields.
It is important to stress the pull the United States exerted on the many
Canadians coming from the tertiary sectors, for it indicates the high degree

Mexicans, Canadians, and the Reconfiguration of Continental Migrations

of compatibility between the economic, technological, and institutional environments of the two neighboring countries. This was especially the case
for the Anglo-Canadian contingent, and it was compounded by their English-language proficiency, which made it much easier for them to transfer
their skills and their work experience to the U.S. work environment. B. R., a
29-year-old native of Breslau, Ontario, may illustrate one of the most important occupational groups migrating south: registered nurses. She entered the
United States through Rouses Point, New York, in February 1948 and headed
to New York City, where a job was waiting for her.48 Like B. R., many Canadian registered nurses sought better work opportunities across the border as a
response to the high demand for their services and as a result of the similarity
in training programs in the two countries and their previous work experience
in Canada. This was also the case for the newer occupations such as radio
engineer or X-ray technician that had come about with recent technological
changes in the two countries.
In this context, the sizeable proportion of students who were part of this
cross-border population flow constituted another important feature of Canadian migration and of the close institutional and cultural relations between
the two societies. Whether Canadians were simply moving south with their
families or as young adults studying in U.S. universities, they were a barometer of the increasingly strong presence of Canadian scientists and scholars
in American industry and higher learning throughout the second half of the
century.
Though it cannot be corroborated by nominative border-entry records,
during the ensuing years the preponderance of Canadians coming from the
tertiary sector of the economy, especially the strong presence of technical and
professional personnel, became one of the most distinctive characteristics of
this migration. A study covering the years 1955 to 1968 found that among Canadians migrating to the United States, those who had a university degree were
proportionately twice as numerous when compared to the national average in
Canada (12.6 per cent as against 6.5 per cent). It also revealed that the trend
intensified with the years, as those who migrated from 1960 to 1964 had higher
levels of education than those who migrated between 1950 and 1954.49 Another
study found that 29.8 percent of all Canadians who had graduated in science or
engineering from 1957 to 1961 had moved to the United States. It also showed
that by the early 1960s, Canada had become the leading provider of immigrant
scientific and engineering talent for the United States, followed by the United
Kingdom and Germany.50

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Conclusion
The termination of the Bracero Program in 1964 and the reforms in the immigration system the U.S. Congress passed in 1965 represent major turning
points in continental and world immigration history. They brought a partial
end to the fifty-year process of continental migration and initiated a new reconfiguration as the United States opened its doors to populations originating
from around the world. Although this new reconfiguration falls beyond the
scope of this chapter, this conclusion points to some of its short-term effects.51
The new measures scrapped the national quota regulations that had been applied to European countries and, more important for our discussion, abolished
the preferential status of countries in the western hemisphere by imposing an
annual cap of 120,000 for the entire region. Prospective Canadian and Mexican migrants who had been admitted at an average annual rate of 48,700 and
45,600, respectively, during the previous four years now had to compete with
candidates from the whole of Latin America and the Caribbean for the 120,000
slots allowed annually. Not surprisingly, the yearly Canadian flow declined,
and in 1972 only 18,592 people were admitted; in 1975, only 11,275 Canadians
were admitted to the United States, a new postwar low.
Yet by favoring the principle of family reunification, the new measures exempted from that numerical cap various categories of family members of permanent alien residents and U.S. citizens. Those measures would have a significant impact on subsequent patterns of Canadian and Mexican migrations. The
decline of Canadian immigration after 1965 contrasts sharply with the steady
inflow of Mexicans. In 1972, 64,040 Mexicans were admitted to the United
States through legal channels, and that number surged to 92,367 in 1978. To be
sure, the decline in Canadian migration rests on several factors other than the
annual caps the new U.S. immigration policy imposed. Some of the key factors
are the expansion of Canadas higher education system and the growth of the
Canadian economy in the 1960s and 1970s. These resulted in unprecedented
employment opportunities in Canada and in a growing reliance on immigrant
labor. In fact, Canada surpassed the United States as an immigrant-receiving
country (as a proportion of the countries total populations). Consequently,
Canadian migration to the United States became more selective and a promising option primarily for skilled and educated candidates seeking more rewarding jobs and careers south of the border. By then, the migration networks
that in a previous era had been conveyors of cross-border migrations had become virtually obsolete. On the other hand, for many hard-pressed Mexican

Mexicans, Canadians, and the Reconfiguration of Continental Migrations

campesinos and urban proletarians, the United States continued to be viewed


as the best option for economic survival and betterment. And for those who
qualified, the family reunification provisions of the new law enabled them to
mobilize kin and family relations, thus constantly multiplying the number of
new admissible migrants. Consequently, family-based migration chains proliferated, linking new migrants, both legal and undocumented, not only to locations in the U.S. Southwest but also to much of urban America. A new social
geography was well under way, one that would reshape much of the continental
landscape.

Notes
1. In the Caribbean, racial prejudice led to the exclusion of the majority of Blacks from the
quota-free category. See Roger Daniels, Guarding the Golden Door: American Immigration
Policy and Immigrants since 1882 (New York: Hill and Wang, 2004), 52.
2. Bruno Ramirez with Yves Otis, Crossing the 49th Parallel: Migration from Canada to
the United States, 19001930 (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2001); Randy William
Widdis, With Scarcely a Ripple: Anglo-Canadian Migration into the United States and Western
Canada, 18801920 (Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 1998).
3. It should be pointed out that following the U.S. annexation of Texas in 1845 and the ensuing war of conquest resulting in the cession of the northern third of Mexico to the United
States, the estimated 100,000 Mexicans residing in those regions and their progeny became
a permanent component of the countrys citizenry.
4. Lawrence A. Cardoso, Mexican Emigration to the United States, 18971931 (Tucson:
University of Arizona Press, 1980), 47.
5. U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Immigration, Annual Report of the Commissioner
General of Immigration for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 1921 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1921), 7.
6. See Harvey Levenstein, The AFL and Mexican Immigration in the 1920s: An Experiment in Labor Diplomacy, Hispanic American Historical Review 48, no. 2 (1968): 20619.
7. Carey McWilliams, Factories in the Field (Santa Barbara, Calif.: Peregrine Press, 1971).
8. Quoted in Kelly Lytle Hernandez, Mexican Immigration to the United States, OAH
Magazine of History 23, no. 4 (October 2009): 25.
9. Among the several studies of European sojourners, see in particular Mark Wyman,
Round-Trip to America: The Immigrants Return to Europe, 18801930 (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell
University Press, 1993).
10. Manuel Gamio, Mexican Immigration to the United States (New York: Arno Press,
1930). See also the companion volume, Manuel Gamio, ed., The Life Story of the Mexican
Immigrant: Autobiographical Documents (New York: Dover, 1971).
11. Gamio, Mexican Immigration, 206.
12. For the notion of migration industry I have drawn primarily from Robert Harneys

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Bruno Ramirez
analysis of the complex system of padrone recruitment of Italian migrant laborers. See Robert
Harney, The Commerce of Migration, Canadian Ethnic Studies 9, no. 1 (1977): 4253.
13. Kelly Lytle Hernandez, Migra! A History of the U.S. Border Patrol (Berkeley: University
of California Press, 2010), 89.
14. Based on my calculations from data reported in U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of
Immigration, Annual Report of the Commissioner General of Immigration for the years 1920
to 1930.
15. See, among others, Francisco Balderrama and Raymond Rodriguez, Decade of Betrayal: Mexican Repatriation in the 1930s (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press,
1995).
16. James J. Davis, An American Immigration Policy, American Federationist 31, no. 4
(1924): 29092. In these eugenicist-inspired classifications, no distinction was made between
Anglo-Canadians and French Canadians. The attempt to subject Canada to quota restrictions is discussed in more detail in Ramirez, Crossing the 49th Parallel, 5257.
17. The standard immigration history synthesis, written from a new social history perspective, refers to French Canadians while entirely ignoring Anglo-Canadians. See John
Bodnar, The Transplanted: A History of Immigrants in Urban America (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1985). Anglo-Canadians are also missing in a more recent sourcebook
(meant to update the Harvard Encyclopaedia of American Ethnic Groups), Elliott R. Barkan,
ed., A Nation of Peoples: A Sourcebook on Americas Multicultural Heritage (Westport, Conn.:
Greenwood Press, 1999).
18. Ramirez, Crossing the 49th Parallel, 50; Bruno Ramirez, La Grande migration
transatlantique: le point sur les recherches, e-crini 3 (2012), http://www.crini.univ-nantes.
fr/35354114/0/fiche___pagelibre/&RH=1332493528973.
19. U.S. Senate, Reports of the Immigration Commission, Vol. 9 (Washington, D.C., 1911),
290291.
20. Data compiled by the author from Soundex Index to Canadian Border Entries through
Saint Alban, Vermont, District, Record Group M1461 and M1463, U.S. Immigration and
Naturalization Services, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.
For a thorough historical contextualization of this out-migrating workforce, see Ramirez,
Crossing the 49th Parallel, 67137.
21. For a rare historical attempt to measure and analyze the extent of the incorporation
of both English and French Canadians in a major U.S. industrial city, see Oliver Zunz, The
Changing Face of Inequality: Urbanization, Industrial Development, and Immigrants in Detroit, 18801920 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000).
22. Lawrence A. Brown, John Odland, and Reginald Golledge, Migration, Functional
Distance, and the Urban Hierarchy, Economic Geography 46, no. 3 (1970): 474.
23. Torsten Hgerstrand, Migration and Area, in Migration in Sweden: A Symposium
(Lund, Sweden: Lund University Press, 1957), 29.
24. James P. Allen, Migrations Fields of French Canadian Immigrants to Southern
Maine, Geographical Review 62, no. 3 (1972): 36683.
25. See the pioneering study by John and Latrice MacDonald, Chain Migration, Ethnic

Mexicans, Canadians, and the Reconfiguration of Continental Migrations


Neighbourhood Formation, and Social Networks, Milbank Memorial Fund Quarterly 42,
no. 1 (1964): 8297. See also Jon Gjerde, Chain Migration from the West Coast of Norway,
in A Century of European Migrations, 18301930, ed. Rudolph Vecoli and Suzanne Sinke
(Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1991), 15881; June G. Alexander, Moving into and out
of Pittsburgh: Ongoing Chain Migration, in A Century of European Migrations, 18301930,
ed. Rudolph Vecoli and Suzanne Sinke (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1991), 200220;
Bruno Ramirez, Les premiers Italiens de Montral: Lorigine de la Petite Italie du Qubec (Montreal: Boral, 1984); and Franc Sturino, Forging the Chain: Italian Migration to North America,
18801930 (Toronto: Multicultural Historical Society of Ontario, 1990).
26. See Ramirez, Crossing the 49th Parallel, 131. For comparable data-based results, see
Randy William Widdis, Crossing an Intellectual and Geographic Border: The Importance
of Migration in Shaping the Canadian-American Borderlands at the Turn of the Twentieth
Century, Social Science History 34, no. 4 (2010): 469.
27. Interview with George Marion, Projet dHistoire Orale, Collection Ramirez-Rouillard, Dpartement dhistoire, Universit de Montral.
28. Edward Bulstrode, Soundex Index to Canadian Border Entries, U.S. Immigration
and Naturalization Services, RG M1461, reel 35.
29. Gamio, The Life Story of the Mexican Immigrant, 14.
30. Ibid., 26.
31. Based on my calculations from data reported in U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of
Immigration, Annual Report of the Commissioner General of Immigration for the years 1919
to 1930.
32. On repatriation and deportations, see Balderrama and Rodriguez, Decade of Betrayal;
Abraham Hoffman, Unwanted Mexican Americans in the Great Depression: Repatriation Pressures, 19291939 (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1974); and D. H. Dinwoodie, Deportation: The Immigration Service and the Chicano Labor Movement in the 1930s, New
Mexico Historical Review 52 (July 1977): 193206.
33. Mae M. Ngai, Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America.
(Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2004), especially 127166.
34. Computed by David D. Harvey; see his Americans in Canada: Migration and Settlement since 1840 (Lewiston, N.Y.: E. Mellen Press, 1991), 365. For a broader contextualization
of these data, see Bruno Ramirez, Through the Northern Borderlands: Canada-U.S.A. Migrations in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, in Migrants and Migration in Modern
North America: Cross-Border Lives, Labor Markets, and Politics, ed. Dirk Hoerder and Nora
Faires (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2011), esp. 9293.
35. For a thorough historical account of the political confrontations around the immigration issue in the postwar period, see Robert A. Divine, American Immigration Policy (New
Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1957).
36. The Immigration and Naturalization Act must, in fact, be seen as part of the same
political-psychic matrix that produced the Internal Security Act (1950), which was aimed at
alleged subversives of all shades of red and pink and helped catapult Senator Joseph McCarthy
and his witch-hunting drives to the forefront of the national scene. See Richard Polenberg,

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Bruno Ramirez
One Nation Divisible: Class, Race, and Ethnicity in the United States since 1938 (New York:
Viking Press, 1980), esp. 87126.
37. U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1999 Statistical Yearbook of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2002).
38. See, for instance, Marc Rodriguezs study of Chicago, Migrants and Citizens: Mexican
American Migrant Workers and the War on Poverty in an American City, in Repositioning North American Migration History: New Directions in Modern Continental Migration,
Citizenship, and Community, ed. Marc Rodriguez (Rochester, N.Y.: University of Rochester
Press, 2004), 32851.
39. Richard Craig, The Bracero Program: Interest Groups and Foreign Policy (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1971), 3744.
40. Deborah Cohen, Caught in the Middle: The Mexican States Relationship with the
United States and Its Own Citizen-Workers, 19421954, Journal of American Ethnic History
20 (Spring 2001): 11032.
41. Hubert Howe Bancroft, Retrospection: Political and Personal (New York: Bancroft,
1912), 345.
42. Cohen, Caught in the Middle, 11516. For a study of the Bracero Program from a
perspective that focuses on the disruption of families and the role of women, see Ana E. Rosas, Flexible Families: Bracero Families Lives across Cultures, Communities, and Countries,
19421964 (PhD diss., University of Southern California, 2006).
43. Particularly after 1954, when the U.S. government succeeded in imposing changes
to the agreement, resulting in a reduction of Mexicos ability to manage recruitment and
co-manage the program. See Cohen, Caught in the Middle, 119; and Mae Ngai, Braceros,
Wetbacks, and the National Boundaries of Class, in Repositioning North American Migration History: New Directions in Modern Continental Migration, Citizenship, and Community,
ed. Marc Rodriguez (Rochester, N.Y.: University of Rochester Press, 2004), 226.
44. In my view, the most thorough and convincing analysis of the Bracero Program as the
generator of illegal cross-border migration is provided in Mae Ngai, Braceros, Wetbacks,
and the National Boundaries of Class.
45. Rodriguez, Migrants and Citizens, 33031
46. Canada: External Affairs: Southward Trek, Time Magazine, April 1, 1946, http://
content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,792697,00.html, accessed August 18, 2012.
47. Computed from a representative sample drawn from the Soundex Index to Canadian Border Entries. The Canadian data discussed in the following paragraphs are based on
this sample. For a detailed discussion of this source, see Ramirez, Crossing the 49th Parallel,
18992.
48. Soundex Index to Canadian Border Entries, reel 2083, case no. 583083.
49. T. J. Samuel, The Migration of Canadian-Born between Canada and the United States
(Ottawa: Department of Manpower and Immigration, Research Branch, 1969).
50. H. G. Grubel and A. D. Scott, The Immigration of Scientists and Engineers to the
United States, Journal of Political Economy, 74, no. 4 (1966): 36878.

Mexicans, Canadians, and the Reconfiguration of Continental Migrations


51. For detailed analyses of these reforms and their impact on post-1960 cross-border
migration of Canadians and Mexicans, see Bruno Ramirez, Migrations of Canadians and
Canadian Americans, 1940 to the Present, in Immigrants in American History: Arrival, Adaptation, and Integration, ed. Elliott Barkan (Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO, 2013), 793804;
and Daniels, Guarding the Golden Door, 17581.

99

4
Sexual Self
Morals Policing and the Expansion of the U.S. Immigration
Bureau at Americas Early Twentieth-Century Borders

Grace Pea Delgado

Aurelia Lizurriaga, a 17-year-old Sonoran native, believed herself to be a lady.


At various times, she lived with her mother in both Nogales, Arizona, and Nogales, Sonora, where they cleaned the houses of middling and wealthy Americans and where they lived poor, but dignified lives. Lizurriaga was the elder of
two daughters who did not share a father. Her mother affirmed that everyone
knew that her older daughter was a good girl, although she herself possessed
a reputation as a notorious prostitute. In July 1913, as her Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization file indicated, Aurelia was detained by U.S. immigration officials almost immediately after crossing into the United States at the
Arizona line despite a history of unfettered legal entries north. Lizurriaga was
on a date with an American soldier, during which she and her companion went
to the moving pictures and then on a stroll to various places along the border,
including behind a foundry in Nogales, Arizona. Lizurriagaas her testimony
later detailedwas ostensibly bending down to take a sip of water when immigration inspector James P. Lawlor approached her. The immigration inspector
contradicted Lizurriagas story by claiming that she instead was engaging in
a sexual act with her date and, as his duties bound him to do, he nervously
separated the two. Lawlor, accusing the Sonoran native of prostituting herself
both to her date and another soldier who had earlier been in their company,
proceeded to arrest Lizurriaga on the deportable charge of entering the United
States for immoral purposes.1
What Lizurriaga did not know at the time of her arrest was that Lawlor had
begun to follow the Sonoran native immediately after she had crossed without official inspection at the Arizona line. Instead of immediately arresting

Morals Policing at Americas Early Twentieth-Century Borders

Lizurriaga on the charge of illegal entry, which would seem to be his primary
duty, Lawlor chose to follow her from the point of her crossing into the United
States. Lawlor eschewed the usual duties incumbent on immigration inspectors
operating at the boundaryscrutinizing cross-border permits, looking out for
smugglers of unauthorized immigrants and goods, and guarding against the
potential entry of anarchistsin favor of leaving his post to track Lizurriagas
activities in the border town on the suspicion that she was unlawfully in the
United States. Lawlors assumptions about Lizurriaga and the power he had
to act on them set in motion a series of events based on Lawlors perception
of Lizurriaga as an immigrant alien and prostitute and therefore immoral and
deportable. Most telling about Lizurriagas experience was that at her deportation hearing, Lawlor was not made to explain his immediate assumptions or
his claim that a sexual encounter or monetary exchange had occurred, claims
the Sonoran native adamantly denied.
Lawlors actions were by no means extraordinary in comparison to similar
practices of other immigration inspectors who policed the U.S. borders against
morally suspect individuals. By 1903, ten years before Lizurriagas arrest in Nogales, Arizona, the sexual policing project at both the southern and northern
U.S. borders was well under way. The U.S. government pressed Lawlor and
several other immigration agents into service at the U.S.-Mexico border in
response to recent national zealotry that fueled what came to be known as
the antiwhite slavery movement. Based on largely unfounded stories that socalled merchants in human flesh lured unsuspecting women and girls into a
life of sexual slavery, the movement propelled social reformers to enlist the U.S.
Bureau of Immigration as the first line of defense against the importation of
prostitutes at American ports of entry on both land and sea.2 The placement of
the bureau at the forefront of national antiwhite slavery efforts began in the
first few years of the twentieth century, and gradually the scope of its power
broadened considerably. Beginning in 1907, subsequent revisions to the immigration law reflected the ever-widening power of the bureau and its increasingly stringent efforts to sharpen the parameters of national belonging on the
basis of sexual and gender exclusions.
This chapter contends that the activities of prostitutes, procurers, and immigration officials at the U.S.-Mexico border illuminate both the policing and
the bureaucratic origins of U.S. federal immigration control. At U.S. borders,
the practice of prostitution had long given a livelihood to both American-born
and immigrant women who had resided legally in the United States for at least
three years, but as a result of the antiwhite slavery movement and the sub-

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102 Grace Pea Delgado

sequent convergence of immigration and moral purity laws, this livelihood


became a perilous terrain for foreign-born women crossing into the United
States. Although this chapter focuses on women of Mexican descent and the
sexual policing at the southern border of the United States, it is important
to note that enforcing antiwhite slavery laws was a North American project
that prompted the most significant bureaucratic expansion of the Bureau of
Immigration since its establishment in 1891.3 A variety of practices to govern
immigrant womens bodies, including deporting immigrant women convicted
of practicing prostitution in the United States from its northern and southern
borders, formed a regime of immigration control that gave wide force to the
meaning of whiteness, middle-class respectability, and citizenship in North
America. When prostitutes and procurers crossed into the United States to ply
their trade and when immigration inspectors attempted to prevent them from
doing so, they made observable a contested borderlands landscape where national and international anxieties about sexual practice and sexual self-control
clarified what it meant to be a morally suitable border crosser. To institute a
regime of morals policing, the Bureau of Immigration pressed agents into service at the U.S.-Canada and U.S.-Mexico borders and propelled social reformers to construct the Canadian and Mexican borders as the first lines of defense
against the importation of sexual and gender nonconformists.4
At the northern and southern borders of the United States, the national
effort to eradicate white slave traffic was made more complicated by myriad
factors that distinguished border crossings originating in Mexico and Canada
from those originating elsewhere. The relative ease of traversing north from
Mexico and south from Canada, the protection or peril posed by ones citizenship, and existing migration and prostitution networks stood in contrast
to the experiences of other immigrants who entered the United States from
its easternmost border at Ellis Island and the ports of New Orleans and San
Francisco (later Angel Island). Once they landed, many immigrants remained
in the United States permanently or for long periods of time, while others went
back to their native lands shortly after arrival. On the other hand, cross-border
movements of both Mexican and Canadian nationals persisted until the mid1920s, preserving a sense of social fluidity between North American nations,
despite the presence of an emergent U.S. immigration bureaucracy designed
to exclude and deport. Chinese migrants from Canada and Mexico originally
felt the scrutiny of state surveillance by the U.S. immigration regime. After the
passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act in the United States in 1882 and the Chinese Immigration Act in Canada in 1885, Chinese laborers were barred from

Morals Policing at Americas Early Twentieth-Century Borders 103

admission and the crossings of Chinese merchants were highly scrutinized


by immigration officials at these countries borders. In large part, however,
these people sustained meaningful transnational lives by crossing illegally or
by drawing largely on the testimony of their neighbors and diplomatic officials
who corroborated claims of Mexican and Canadian social belonging, citizenship, or nationality.5
The Immigration Act of 1903 sent a strong restrictionist message to unwanted foreigners while directing immigration officials to exclude prostitutes,
a development that had been foreshadowed by the passage of the Page Act in
1875. Sponsored by California state representative Horace F. Page, the bill was
the first federal immigration law that made importing women for prostitution, particularly those from Asia, a felony. One legacy of the Page Act paired
immigration control with the control of morality, a relationship that was significantly strengthened with the passage of the Immigration Act of 1903 and
the enactment of the Immigration Act of February 20, 1907.6 Of particular importance to the latter was Article 3, which prohibited alien women and girls
from engaging in prostitution for three years after arriving in the United States.
This time-based proviso had been initially established and enforced by the 1902
International Agreement for the Suppression of the White Slave Traffic, a treaty
signed by Brazil, Canada, Spain, the United Kingdom, France, and Italy. But it
was not until 1905, at the urging of American antiwhite slavery activists, that
the United States adhered to some of the treatys protocols by designating the
Bureau of Immigration as the principal agency for detecting and scrutinizing alleged prostitutes and, whenever such trade was suspected, denying these
women entry into the country. In 1908, the United States affirmed its interest
in suppressing white slavery through the International Agreement for the Suppression of the White Slave Traffic.7 To guard against the further development
of red-light districts, the act provided for ongoing surveillance of suspected
prostitutes, who faced deportation if they were foreign born. Moreover, the act
stipulated that anyone who kept, maintained, controlled, supported, or harbored prostitutes faced felony charges and, if convicted, could be imprisoned
up to five years and fined up to $5,000. Article 3, legislators believed, would
protect the United States from the importation of both prostitutes and foreignborn women and girls who had been forcibly brought into the country for that
purpose.8
Considering the intersection between immigration law and moral purity
legislation, this chapter identifies the U.S.-Mexico border as an important geography for sex trafficking at the beginning of the twentieth century. There,

104 Grace Pea Delgado

decisions about legal entry into the United States were predicated on the Victorian-era belief that women were pillars of sexual piety and purity. For Victorians, sex roles and sexuality were one and the same qualities, a concept that
drew heavily on evolutionists construction of a highly defined dyadic model
of the sexes. Women were considered sedentary and passive agents, individuals who stored and conserved energy for biological reproduction. Men, on the
other hand, pursued fertilization, expending active energy in this quest while
womens fragility and abstinence placed her above any blame in occurrences of
sexual indiscretion. Unrestrained sexuality on the part of women, such as the
practice of prostitution, put to the test the belief in male sexual agency while
it threatened female moral authority.9 At its foundation, antiwhite slavery
activism called attention to the coercion of women and girlsby trickery, seduction, or intimidationinto practicing prostitution. Reformers organized
themselves into national and local vigilance committees to quash this trade.10
Antiwhite slavery advocates concerned themselves primarily with the victimization of white and Asian women and young girls, mostly in San Francisco,
New York, Pittsburgh, and Chicago. The rhetoric of the activists lent itself to
lurid, sensationalistic stories: a young girl could be bought for as little as $15
and subsequently sold for between $200 and $600.11 White slavery, activists
contended, pulled in girls and women from Asia and Europe. The leaders of
these international enterprises were known as pimps, procurers, or macks,
and they were thought to be mostly Russian Jews or French.
The convergence of federal immigration control and moral control created
an intricate and contested borderlands landscape marked by an expanded immigration bureaucracy whose administrative architecture became simultaneously a source of knowledge about and a wellspring of control of prostitutes
and procurers. Special immigration inspector Marcus Braun was the head of
a group of U.S. agents who traveled domestically and internationally to investigate white slavery. Braun frequently traveled to Mexico, Canada, Europe,
and Asia Minor in hopes of preventing the immigration of undesirables,
especially prostitutes from France and Austria-Hungary. In his post in New
York City, Braun was equally indefatigable. His work took him to such cities as
Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Chicago, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle,
and Denver. His zealous correspondence suggested that he would fervently
and aggressively pursue white slavers throughout the United States. His commitment reflected, on the one hand, an official concerned with enforcing immigration law and, on the other, the impassioned urgency of a moral purity
advocate. Braun pulled no punches about what he deemed to be his greatest

Morals Policing at Americas Early Twentieth-Century Borders 105

moral obligation as the nations chief immigration inspector: What is the clandestine importation of a few hundred Chinese or Japanese, or a gang of men
under contract to perform certain labor . . . in comparison to the importation
of Daughters of Eve, the sex of Mother, Wife, Daughter, Sister for the purpose
of Prostitution? Why to me, it seems to be absolutely insignificant.12 In Brauns
view, unfree labor, whether Chinese or Japanese prostitutes or so-called coolies, could not compare with the virtue of white women and girls. In keeping
with the expanded power of the 1907 Immigration Act, Braun vigorously advocated prosecuting individuals who brought alien women into the country
to work as prostitutes. Procurers, he warned, imported two types of women:
the [w]eak, frail, thoughtless . . . fallen from the pathway of honor and virtue
and the innocent, inexperienced lured by false, deceitful lying promises for
a brighter future. Brauns investigation convinced him that a network of white
slave traffic operated in the United States and that his office stood as the guardian against the proliferation of this ghoulish trade. Braun, knowingly or not,
served as a linchpin in bringing together immigration laws and the antiwhite
slavery movement. He believed that White Slave Traffic in its relations to the
Immigration Laws . . . [is] no longer a surmise or a suspicion, no longer a matter of hearsay, but a matter of fact. White slave traffic flourished, he averred,
adding that we can put our finger on the ulcerous spot . . . through which
dealings in rotten, corrupt human flesh are made.13
To further buttress the regime of immigration and sexual control, immigration agents, with the assistance of both international leaders and U.S. consular
representatives, produced capacious reports about the sources of white slave
traffic in Spain, Italy, Sweden, Russia, France, Mexico, Canada, Hungary, Austria, Belgium, Bermuda, Portugal, Holland, Germany, Denmark, and Brazil.
Such reports detailed the ethnic and religious characteristics of women likely
to emigrate and work as prostitutes in the United States. In return for their
cooperation, immigration authorities in each country received information
about women deported to their homeland in violation of white slavery and
immigration laws.14 Russian officials in Odessa, for example, received information about prostitutes originating from their city, a place described as a large
center catering for the low tastes of immorality, while photographs of prostitutes, their last residence, the brothels in which they worked, and a description
and photograph of the procurer who was responsible for [their] entry upon
a life of prostitution were shared with Russian officials in St. Petersburg.15 To
further broaden the scope of surveillance internationally, Kate Waller Barrett,
the president of the National Council of Women (19111916), was appointed as

106 Grace Pea Delgado

temporary special agent for the Bureau of Immigration in 1914. Wallers duties included assisting the bureau in proceeding against immoral women
abroad and furnishing information about every known case involving the
entry of immoral women, pimps, or procurers entering the United States from
her designated foreign post.16 Also, and perhaps more reasonably, the bureau
assigned a matron to each U.S. immigration port of entry, including those in
Quebec City and Montreal, to help ease the transition of prostitutes awaiting
a deportation hearing or deportees anticipating return transportation to their
homeland.17 In total, fourteen women who met the qualifications of character,
temperament, and experience were hired under the title of junior matron
to buttress the bureaus self-styled fresh approach to dealing with women who
were incarcerated for violating white slavery and immigration laws.18 In reality,
the United States appropriated this custody strategy from Canadas Dominion
Immigration and Colonization Department, which gave matrons the responsibility for handling cases of women and girls who were excluded or expelled
for practicing prostitution.19
The Bureau of Immigrations expansion of power animates Michel Foucaults concept of the instrumentality of state sexual control. The purpose of
the machinery of state power was not to suppress aberrant sexual practice, argues Foucault, but rather to create and direct standards of sexual and biological
normality. In this particular context, the instruments of modern state power
the bureaucratic machinery of immigration control and morals policinggave
sexual normality, in the words of Foucault, an analytical, visible, and permanent reality: it was implanted in bodies, slipped in beneath modes of conduct,
made into a principle of . . . intelligibility.20 Within the bureau, techniques
of sexual control included probing domestic and international landscapes for
potential nonconformists in moral matters, producing and critiquing reports
about the sexual threat from within and outside the United States, and appointing female agents and immigration matrons to manage incarcerated prostitutes, who at times brought their children with them. Prostitutes subversive
and illegal crossings at the southern and northern borders of the United States
became key topics of discussion that produced a moral discourse that sexualized and officially scrutinized womens bodies. This discourse produced laws
that excluded those who were determined to be prostitutes from the American
body politic.21
By the time the Bureau of Immigration expanded and began to enforce anti
white slavery laws, commercial sex networks were firmly established along the
U.S.-Mexico border. The activities of Mexican American and European Ameri-

Morals Policing at Americas Early Twentieth-Century Borders 107

can procuresses and pimps, whether intentionally and not, shaped the lives of
prostitutes, especially those linked by familial relations. These networks, and
the family connections within them, came to be defined by resiliency, flexibility, and mutual assistance. In the early part of the century, for example, Patricia
Ortega worked as a prostitute, first for Mexican procurer Antonio Belsito in
his saloons in Metcalf, Arizona, then independently in El Paso, Texas. Her
residential history in the United States and the fact that she was not married to
a Mexican husband meant that there were no impediments to U.S. citizenship
for her. Her relative, Mexican native Consuela Ortega, faced a greater challenge. Authorities deported Consuela from the port of El Paso as a prostitute
in 1908. Under such circumstances, she would have been effectively stranded:
anticipating work in the United States as a prostitute but debarred because she
had not met the three-year residency requirement. An investigation, though,
later revealed that Patricia gave Consuela money to purchase her fare to Santa
Rosalita, Mexico, where she took up residence. The two women corresponded
regularly, elaborating on the frustrations and small joys that reinforced their
common bond as two women practicing prostitution, albeit on different sides
of the border.22 Networks of commercial sex were durable, and they proved
difficult to disrupt even as (alleged) prostitutes became targets of national surveillance.
In the context of this morals policing project, cross-border distinctions were
critical for the ultimate safety and status of Mexican women who entered the
United States. This was true whether Mexican women had actually practiced
prostitution in Mexico, had come to the United States and then began working as a prostitute, or had crossed the border as the concubine of a U.S. citizen. For each, the possible punishment was being deported to Mexico. At the
U.S.-Mexico border, national dictates to eradicate the flow of white slave traffic conflicted with uneasy alliances between prostitutes and their procurers,
local arrangements between procuresses and constables, and the practices of
enforcing loitering laws and regulating prostitution that might be subject to
interpretation and, occasionally, graft.
As a result, myriad strategies emerged to stem the flow of white slavery,
ranging from deportation and exclusion to extensive investigation and court
trials. Although the surveillance of alleged prostitutes crossing from Mexico
was geographically extensive, Braun and others underestimated the incidence
and impact of so-called white slavery traffic. Disparate legal approaches to
prostitution in Mexico and the United States and the proximity of the two
countries created a distinctive social milieu in these borderlands. The U.S.-

108 Grace Pea Delgado

Mexico border, easily traversed, made El Paso and the territories of Arizona
and New Mexico particularly desirable destinations for pimps because of the
potential for quick financial gain that crossing into the United States could
bring. The territories were also desirable for women who might have worked
as prostitutes in Mexico, where prostitution was legal. Red-light districts drew
women looking for better lodging, nicer clothing, and higher wages. In addition, the machinations of prostitution aligned with the fluidity of cross-border
travel and with social mores that had defined the region for decades. That the
public frequently misconstrued prostitution as white slavery underscored both
the difficulty of defining the nature of sex crimes and the complexity of determining a womans citizenship status when attempting to prosecute violations
of immigration law at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Although the borderlands made the task of enforcing white slavery laws
more difficult, Frank Stone possessed the ability to steer through some of its
more daunting challenges. Combining prudent discernment and aggressive
prosecution, Stone, who had a reputation as an excellent criminal investigator
in the immigration service, was particularly deliberate in his pursuit of white
slavery procurers and prostitutes.23 Although Stone was committed to quashing the white slave trade, he was by no means nave about the task before him.
He acknowledged considerable frustration about the entrenched web of corruption he faced in Laredo and other border towns during his investigations
throughout 1909. Commenting on the difficulty immigration agents operating
in south Texas faced, he grimly observed, They can count on no cooperation
from the City, County officials, including the Police Department, as nearly
all of these people are hostile to the Immigration Service and the laws under
which they work. He added that such laws were often at odds with the officials
own interests.24
Stone set his sights on Mariana Pineda, a second-generation Mexican
American madam, and Ruby Brown, who not only worked in Pinedas brothel
but also served as her most trusted procuress. The longtime Laredo residents
wove a network of acquaintances, business relationships, and friendships
from their mutual financial interests in commercial sex in south Texas. Pineda
tasked Brown with one of the brothels most pressing demands, finding prostitutes in nearby Nuevo Laredo and escorting them across the border to work in
her bordello. Well versed in local intrigues, Brown knew everyones business.
More importantly, she knew when circumstances warranted discretion and
when they warranted disclosure. As both a prostitute and a procuress, Brown
drew on her numerous contacts in both cities, including those within law en-

Morals Policing at Americas Early Twentieth-Century Borders 109

forcement. Stone recognized Brown as a valuable resource in his investigation.25 Without disclosing his identity, the immigration inspector struck up a
conversation with Brown, who provided Stone with considerable information
about Pinedas methods for bringing Mexican girls and women across the border. Pineda would arrange for would-be prostitutes to travel to Nuevo Laredo,
Coahuila, just across the border from Laredo, Texas. There, she would wait for
them and bring them back to Pinedas brothel. In response to this information,
Stone issued a warrant for Browns arrest for bringing alien women into the
United States as prostitutes, in violation of immigration law and white slavery
law. He also attempted to locate and arrest two prostitutes, Hortensia Moz
and Esperanza Ballesteros, whom he had previously identified as capable of
providing strong evidence against Pineda. While out on bail, the crafty Brown
managed to contact Hortensia Moz before Stone could question the prostitute. However, Stone managed to arrest Esperanza Ballesteros before Brown
could get to her and direct her responses. Ballesteros confirmed that Brown
had brought her into the United States approximately two months earlier, expressly to practice prostitution. While Brown may have been garrulous in her
disclosures when she was among friends and acquaintances, she refused to be
a witness against her employer. Her statement that she could not afford to testify against Pineda suggested that the consequenceswhether to her financial
or her physical well-beingwere sufficiently grim to warrant official silence.
With no witnesses, Stone could make no case against Pineda. Brown, therefore,
was soon released from custody.26
The immigration inspector was thorough, but he was also practical in his vision of quashing white slave traffic. Stone suggested that in the future, any alien
woman found to be in violation of immigration policy be given the option of
returning to her country voluntarily, provided she leave as soon as she could
gather her belongings. During his conversations in Laredo, he had learned that
the majority of prostitutes had been in the United States for fewer than three
years. Moreover, the few women who had been residents for more than three
years had often crossed the border on several occasions during that time. If
the bureau was willing to extend such flexibility and allow the women to leave
on their own terms, reasoned Stone, it could achieve its ends efficiently while
avoiding the expense of trial, prosecution, and deportation.
The social urgency about enforcing white slavery laws gave rise to the use
of deportation as a primary tool for controlling prostitution at the Arizona
and Texas borders with Mexico. Whereas some agents employed deportation
as a secondary means of border control, Charles Connell, who operated out

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of the Tucson office, deported alien prostitutes whenever possible. Born in


Mount Vernon, Iowa, and educated on the East Coast, Connell had arrived
in Arizona Territory during its pioneering days. By the time of his appointment as Tucsons immigration inspector in late 1903, he was no stranger to the
borderlands social landscape. In 1880, at the age of twenty-one, Connell had
administered the first census of Apache Indians at the San Carlos Reservation.
Considered a leading authority on the tribe, Connell served as a diplomatic
agent to the Apache on behalf of the federal government. During the SpanishAmerican War in 1898, he continued his government duties as a Secret Service
agent along the U.S.-Mexico border. From this experience, Connell reportedly
carried a mental map of the U.S. border between El Paso and San Diego and
knew every trail, road, pass, canyon, mountain, and water hole.27 His experience as an Indian agent, a wartime officer, and an immigration official proved
quite useful in his duties for the federal government as an inspector of white
slave traffic. Connell was nothing if not single-minded in his task when his duties as an immigration inspector expanded to include antiwhite slavery vigilance. Until the end of his tenure as a white slave inspector in December 1909,
Connell visited no fewer than fifty-nine brothels throughout the territories of
Arizona and New Mexico.28 Prostitution occupied a legal middle ground: it
was neither socially encouraged nor explicitly criminalized. Connell described
the New Mexico Territory ordinance under which prostitutes paid a monthly
vagrancy fee of $5 and submitted themselves to regular medical examinations: This ordinance, while not exactly a license does not prohibit a female
from practicing prostitution, he contended. But it is understood, in a general
way that they are to be fined monthly.29 Connells reports on brothels typically
detailed the address of the establishment (or, in the absence of a specific address, the street location). They also included the number of cribs as well as the
number of inmates (prostitutes) and the nationalities of both prostitutes and
proprietors. In one report, Connell wrote, The Cottage composed of fifteen
cribs, is conducted by Prosper Berdona, an Italian, and is located on the corner of East Jackson & 7th Street. These cribs are occupied by colored women,
Russian Jewesses, American and French women.30 In assessing the presence
of any women who might be in violation of Article 3 of the 1907 Immigration
Act, Connell concluded, An investigation of the inmates of this place does
not disclose any alien women who might be subject to deportation. Of The
Three B Saloon in Metcalf, Arizona, Connell observed, This place is owned
and controlled by Thos. Bianes and Rafael Valdz, Mexicans. There are several
cribs attached to this saloon which are occupied by Mexican women. Inves-

Morals Policing at Americas Early Twentieth-Century Borders

tigation failed to prove that any of the inmates have been out of the United
States within three years. It should be noted that a man, a woman, or both
(sometimes a married couple) might operate a brothel. During a midsummer
investigation, Connell detailed brothels in Morenci, Arizona, including one
run by Lee Stien, alias Jew Kid; no street or number.31 Stien, a noted procurer
and pimp, owned a saloon and an annex that housed several prostitutes. His
enterprise benefited from the particular expertise of Aurelia Cantuga, a notorious procuress. In addition to a more general description of her height and
age, Connell took specific pains to make note of her two gold teeth. Cantuga
frequently made trips to El Paso and Jurez, Mexico, to transport women for
Stiens operation. Connell reported that border agents in El Paso had been
instructed to intercept Cantuga on her return trips from Jurez in the hope of
finding her in possession of would-be prostitutes from Mexico.
In his determination to quell the trafficking of immigrant women, Connell
expanded his investigations beyond U.S. borders. Without any federal authority, he traveled to five major border towns in Sonora and Chihuahua in the
spring of 1909 in pursuit of information about women who might later work as
prostitutes in New Mexico, Arizona, or Texas. Connell was aware of the intricacies operating at the U.S.-Mexico border. It is important to note that during
his travels he acted as a private citizen. He had no authority to arrest or detain
anyone on any grounds. In addition, prostitution in Mexico was both legal and
formally regulated.32 Connells vigorous pursuits in northern Mexico gave credence to the fear among antiwhite slavery activists that the border served as
a gateway that could and should be closed to the decadence lurking just south
of the United States. Connell surveyed the red-light districts of Cananea, Agua
Prieta, Naco, Nogales, and Jurez.33 But unlike his monitoring of U.S. brothels,
Connell compiled a list of individual prostitutes by location and, if applicable,
their previous instances of deportation. Upon his return to the United States,
he submitted a report to Daniel Keefe, commissioner general of immigration,
entitled List of Prostitutes in Foreign Contiguous Territory. The list, which
contained the names of 219 prostitutes working in Mexico, consisted of Japanese, Chinese, German, Spanish, and French surnames. Connells list included
women who worked in more than one city. Cananea-Nogales was an especially
common pairing; nineteen women worked in both locations. The mining town
of Cananea was easily the most popular; 112 prostitutes were working there.34
This was hardly unexpected, given its location on the Arizona-Sonora border.
Keeping in mind that all of these women were engaged in a legal business and
might well never enter the United Stateswhere they would be deportable

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Connells preemptive surveillance effectively disregarded the other half of the


alleged white slavery equation: the pimps and procurers who transported these
women into the United States.
Under the complex set of factors in these borderlandsand with the very
real risk of deportationproving American citizenship took on particular importance, as the 1908 case of Rosa Tijerina demonstrated. Tijerina, according to her own account, was born in Brownsville, Texas, where she lived until
the age of 18. At that time, she married Abrn Moz, a Mexican man, and
made her home with him in Matamoras, Tamaulipas, Mexico, just three miles
from her hometown in the United States. Together, Tijerina and Moz had
five children. Tijerina stated at her immigration status hearing that the eldest
and youngest had been born in Mexico, while the three middle children were
born in Texas. By way of explanation, she noted that her husband had deserted
from the Mexican army, at which point the couple had moved from Mexico
to Brownsville and had had three more children. After he was reinstated as a
Mexican citizen, they returned to Mexico, where their fifth child was born.
After fifteen years of marriage, Tijerina decided to leave Moz and return to
the United States, where she supported her family as a prostitute. It was unclear whether Tijerina made any claims of support on her estranged husband,
although if she had, the weakness of American and Mexican coverture laws
would have made collecting assistance from him virtually impossible.
Tijerina quickly came to the attention of immigration officials in south
Texas. Under investigation as a possible alienwho was therefore deportable
under Article 3 of the 1907 Immigration ActTijerina asserted that her U.S.
citizenship protected her from expulsion. Investigators, however, claimed that
she had forfeited her citizenship because she had married a Mexican national
and had lived fifteen years in Mexico. Transcripts of the immigration hearing
revealed conflicting reports about Tijerinas claims of citizenship. If she was
a U.S. citizen, she at most would be charged a vagrancy fee for practicing
prostitution. On the other hand, a legal determination that she was a Mexican
citizen would make it a foregone conclusion that she would be deported. Such
a decree could stem from either of two findings: that Tijerina was actually born
in Mexico, contrary to her claim that she had been born in the United States, or
that she had forfeited her U.S. citizenship by marrying a Mexican. Testifying on
behalf of Tijerina, Frank Cortz, a customs officer in Brownsville, swore under
oath that she had in fact been born in Texas, as she had claimed. Brownsville
county clerk Joseph Webb was also called to the witness stand to support Tijerinas assertion. He stated that he had known her family since 1870, during

Morals Policing at Americas Early Twentieth-Century Borders

which time they had lived on the ranch at San Pedro. When he was questioned,
he offered, I am more inclined to believe that she was born on [the U.S.] side,
adding that he had been given to understand this from others as well. When
asked if he were willing to swear positively that this alien had been born
in the United States, Webb demurred, No, not positively, only to the best of
my knowledge and belief.35 Three other witnesses all acknowledged that they
knew Tijerina well, but none would swear that she had been born in the United
States.36
In retrospect, Cortz was the only person approximating an advocate for
Rosa Tijerina. Even her own lawyer, J. T. Caales, a recently elected Texas
state representative and protg of the Cameron County political machine,
declined to make a statement on her behalf, even though he was her relative.
He stated, If she is a prostitute, and has violated the law, she should suffer the
consequences, and I do not care to do anything in the case. The poignancy of
Tijerinas predicament was perhaps best captured by her simple response to
the query of what she did for a livelihood: Just struggle along.37 The proceedings were unclear about the legal parameters that would determine the loss of
U.S. citizenship. If, as Tijerina claimed, she had been born in Texas, had she
forfeited her U.S. citizenship by marrying a noncitizen? Had her move across
the international boundary nullified her U.S. citizenship? Until 1922, when the
Cable Act guaranteed independent female citizenship to women who married
aliens eligible to naturalization, women such as Tijerina who married a foreign man assumed the citizenship of their husband.38 When Tijerina married
her Mexican-born husband, she in effect lost her U.S. citizenship. Perhaps her
length of stay in Matamoras, Mexico, was a decisive factor; perhaps it was the
fact that two of her five children had been born in Mexico and that all five
lived there at the time of her hearing. The deciding reason was never identified
in the immigration transcripts. What was clear, though, was that Immigrant
Inspector in Charge Fred Lawton ruled Tijerina to be an alien prostitute, a
subject of Mexico, and to have entered the United States in violation of the
[Immigration] Act of February 20, 1907. Lawton concluded, It is therefore
recommended to the Honorable Secretary of Commerce and Labor that the
said alien be deported to Mexico, as provided in sections 20, 21, and 35 of the
Act of February 20, 1907.39 No record exists to reveal what happened to Tijerina after her deportation.
The moral policing regime affected women who had not worked as prostitutes in Mexico; they, too, faced the risk of deportation. In 1908, Mara Hernndez was just eighteen when a Japanese-Mexican boy approached her in her

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hometown of Jurez, at the behest of Henry Chuta Kitamura, a Japanese national who had been in the United States for ten years and currently lived in
Gallup, New Mexico. Through the boy, Kitamura asked Hernndez to come
live with him in what amounted to concubinage. In exchange, Hernndez later
testified, Kitamura would buy [her] good clothes, and treat [her] right. If she
stayed with him for three months, he would take her to Zacatecas, Mexico, to
see her mother. Kitamura paid for Hernndezs travel expenses, first to Jurez
and then to El Paso. He also paid her for sex, an act that effectively rendered her
a concubine in the eyes of U.S. immigration officials. Enticements such as Kitamuras could easily turn into peril. Women from Mexico faced considerable
vulnerability. Their status as noncitizens and their possible employ as prostitutes, taken together, made them deportable subjects. In Hernndezs case,
U.S. officials investigated her for practicing prostitution and for entering the
country without official inspection. Shortly after testifying, she was deported.
Kitamura, it should be noted, did not escape punishment. The U.S. assistant
attorney general for the state of Texas indicted him for bringing Hernndez
into the United States for immoral purposes, and it was recommended that
should he be convicted, he serve out that sentence in an American prison first
and then be deported to Japan.40
Approximately ten years before the Immigration Act of 1917 instituted comprehensive border controls to regulate the entry of Mexicansa head tax, a
literacy test, and personal investigationsimmigration law and moral purity
laws worked in mutually reinforcing ways to produce a system of border control on the basis of sexual exclusions. The U.S. federal government, through its
immigration machinery at the southern and northern borders, its stations in
Canada and the Gulf of Mexico, and maritime offices at Angel Island and Ellis
Island, became centers where immigrant women were deported. Immigration
agents, through the expanded power of the U.S. federal state at its land and
maritime borders, wielded sole authority as the arbiter of legal admission. In
exercising this power, these agents sought to control sexualities that challenged
prevailing notions of female morality. Enforcement efforts ranged from the
heavy-handed, such as the arrest and deportation of as many prostitutes as
possible, to the subtle, such as targeting one or two procuresses in the hope of
shutting down a socially undesired enterprise.
Immigration agents such as Frank Stone, Charles Connell, and James Lawlor enforced this spectrum of early border control, while women such as Aurelia Lizurriaga, Rosa Tijerina, Mariana Pineda, and Ruby Brown were left to
navigate a complicated political landscape in the hope of supporting them-

Morals Policing at Americas Early Twentieth-Century Borders

selves and their families. Social reformers may have known the hard choices
these women made, but when reformers shaped moral purity legislation and
coupled it with immigration restriction, they obscured their propensity for
benevolent action on behalf of poor women. The women Ruby Brown procured on her jaunts to Nuevo Laredo were not abducted, but their choice to
cross the border was probably made begrudgingly. Rosa Tijerina was not taken
into the United States against her will, but the imperative to provide for five
children certainly limited the range of choices available to her. When Aurelia
Lizurriaga crossed the border of her own volition she may well have feared or
anticipated that her Mexicanness would trigger suspicions not only about her
citizenship but also about her morality. These women did not make a claim to
honor. Instead, they demanded to cross the line and to continue their way of
life despite unprecedented U.S. federal surveillance that policed them just as
much on their appearance as on their inner essence.

Notes
1. Application for Warrant of Arrest under Sections 20 and 21 of the Act of February 20,
1907, August 20, 1913, and Warrant Hearing, Immigration Service, Mexican Border District,
August 25, 1913, file no. 1528/50, folder 53678/156-53678/164, 13, Subject and Policy Files,
18931957, Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 17872004, RG 85, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C. (hereafter INS).
2. For early laws and congressional deliberations that link the Bureau of Immigration to
enforcement of white slavery laws, see Suppression of the White Slave Traffic: Message from
the President of the United States, Transmitting in Further Response to Senate Resolution
No. 86, of December 7, 1909, Information Concerning the Repression of the Trade in White
Women, 61st Cong., 2nd Sess., S. Doc. no. 214, January 31, 1910, 5 (hereafter Suppression
of the White Slave Traffic); An Act to Regulate the Immigration of Aliens into the United
States, March 3, 1903, 57th Congress, 2nd Session, Chapter 1013, Statutes at Large of the United
States of America, Passed at the Second Session of the Fifty-Seventh Congress, 19021903, vol.
24 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1903), 121322; International Agreement
for the Repression of the Trade in White Women, March 1, 1905, Treaty Series 4096 (hereafter
International Agreement), in Senate Reports (Public), 61st Congress, 2nd session, 19091910,
vol. 3 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1910), 14.
3. At its founding in 1891, the Bureau of Immigration was under the jurisdiction of the Department of Labor. In 1903, the bureau was supervised by the newly expanded Department of
Labor and Commerce and became known as the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization.
In 1913, when the Department of Labor and Commerce was restructured as the Department
of Labor, the bureau was divided into two separate bureaus, the Bureau of Immigration and
the Bureau of Naturalization.

115

116

Grace Pea Delgado


4. For primary sources about Canada, see Record Group 13, Department of Justice, Canada, A2, volumes 162, 166, 169, 217, 260, and 263, National Archives of Canada, Ottawa. For
an astute discussion of white slavery in Canada, see Cecily Devereux, The Maiden Tribute
and the Rise of the White Slave in the Nineteenth Century: The Making of an Imperial Construct, Victorian Review 26, no. 2 (2000): 123; Marilyn Barber, Hearing Womens Voices:
Female Migration to Canada in the Early Twentieth Century, Oral History 33, no. 1 (2005):
6878.
5. For a more thorough discussion of the transnational lives of Chinese and Mexican borderlanders, see Grace Pea Delgado, Neighbors by Nature: Relationships, Border Crossings,
and Transnational Communities in the Chinese Exclusion Era, Pacific Historical Review 80
(August 2011): 40129; and Grace Pea Delgado, At Exclusions Southern Gate: Changing
Categories of Race and Class among Chinese Fronterizos, in Continental Crossroads: Remapping U.S.-Mexico Borderlands History, ed. Samuel Truett and Elliott Young (Durham, N.C.:
Duke University Press, 2004), 183208.
6. An Act Supplementary to the Acts in Relation to Immigration, March 3, 1875, 43rd
Congress, 2nd session, Chapter 141, Statutes at Large of the United States, from December,
1873, to March, 1875, vol. 18, part 3 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1875),
47778; An Act to Regulate the Immigration of Aliens into the United States, February 20,
1907, 59th Congress, 2nd session, Chapter 1134, Statutes at Large of the United States, from
December, 1905, to March, 1907, vol. 24 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office,
1907), 898911.
7. Suppression of the White Slave Traffic: Message from the President of the United
States, with Accompanying Letters, in Response to Senate Resolution No. 86, of December
7, 1909, S. Doc. 214, pt. 2 (1906). For the 1904 agreement, see International Agreement for
the Suppression of the White Slave Traffic, 18 May 1904, 35 Stat. 1979, L.N.T.S. 83, http://
www1.umn.edu/humanrts/instree/whiteslavetraffic1904.html. The United States acceded to
but did not ratify the treaty.
8. Regulating the Immigration of Aliens into the United States, 59th Cong., 2nd Sess., House
Report 59-7607 (1907).
9. Deborah Lutz, Pleasure Bound: Victorian Sex Rebels and the New Eroticism (New York:
Norton, 2011), 1113; and David J. Langum, Crossing over the Line: Legislating Morality and
the Mann Act (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007), 3839.
10. For early interactions between vigilance groups and the Bureau of Immigration, see
Oscar S. Straus to O. Edward Janney, December 27, 1900, 15, folder 51777/30, White Slave
Traffic, San Antonio and Other Texas, 19091910, Subject and Policy Files, 18931957, INS;
and First Annual Report, The National Vigilance Committee for the Self-Guarding of Unprotected Girls and Women and the Suppression of the White Slave Traffic, October 1, 1907,
17, Inspector Marcus Braun Report on Immigration Matters, 1907, Subject and Policy Files,
18931957, INS.
11. For examples of white slave narratives, see Ernest A. Bell, War on the White Slave
Trade: A Book Designed to Awaken the Sleeping and Protect the Innocent (Chicago: Charles
C. Thompson Co., 1909); and Clifford Griffith Roe, The Great War on White Slavery (New

Morals Policing at Americas Early Twentieth-Century Borders


York: n.p., 1911). On the connection between low wages and prostitution, see Low Wages
and Vice, New York Times, December 2, 1900, 20; and Theodore Bingham, The Girl that
Disappears: The Real Facts about the Social ProblemThe Extent of the White-Slave Traffic,
Hamptons Magazine 25 (November 1910): 55973. For recent scholarship on white slavery,
see Brian Donovan, White Slave Crusades: Race, Gender, and Anti-Vice Activism, 18871917
(Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2006); Jeanne D. Petit, The Men and Women We Want:
Gender, Race, and the Progressive-Era Literacy Test Debate (Rochester, N.Y.: University of
Rochester Press, 2010); and David Langum, Crossing over the Line: Legislating Morality and
the Mann Act (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994).
12. Reports of Immigration Inspector Marcus Braun on Conditions for Emigration to U.S.
from Hungary and Other Countries of Europe and Asia Minor, 59th Cong., 1st Sess., H.R. Doc.
384 (1906), 14; Papers of the State Department Regarding the Case of Immigration Inspector
Marcus Braun While in Austria-Hungary, 59th Cong., 1st Sess., H. R. Doc. No. 482 (1906),
16; and Brauns Report of September 29, 2, folder Continue 1-A, 52484/1-A, Marcus Brauns
U.S. Detail, White Slave Traffic, 1908, INS.
13. Marcus Braun to Daniel Keefe, September 29, 1908, 23, Marcus Brauns U.S. Detail,
White Slave Traffic, 1908, INS.
14. Fifteen separate white slave reports discuss the relationship between U.S. immigration
authorities and European and Canadian immigration officials for the period 19021933. See
Series A, Subject Correspondence Files, Part 5, Prostitution and White Slavery, 19021933,
INS. Other files referencing Mexico and Canada are found in the various reports by Marcus
Braun, including Negotiating with Mexico on Immigration, 19061908, Series A, Correspondence Files, Part 2, Mexican Immigration, 19061930, INS.
15. John H. Grant, Consul, Odessa, Russia, to Daniel Keefe, White Slave Traffic, Odessa
Russia, February 3, 1913, folder 52483/12, White Slave Traffic Russia, INS; Daniel Keefe to
Department of Police, St. Petersburg, Russia, March 19, 1909, p. 2 5177/197C, White Slave
Traffic Russia, INS.
16. Anthony Caminetti, Commissioner General, Immigration, to Kate Waller Barrett,
November 1914, folder Continuance of 53210-47-A, Prostitution and White Slavery Immigration Investigations, Repression of Prostitution of Kate Waller Barrett & International Council
of Women, INS.
17. John H. Clark, Commissioner of the Dominion Canadian Immigration Service, to
Anthony Caminetti, Commissioner-General of Immigration, October 20, 1914, Repression
of Prostitution of Kate Waller Barrett & International Council of Women, INS.
18. Check-List of Immigration Districts, October 12, 1914, Repression of Prostitution of
Kate Waller Barrett & International Council of Women, INS; and Alfred Hampton, Galveston Inspector-in-Charge, to Anthony Caminetti, Commissioner-General Immigration, October 26, 1914, Repression of Prostitution of Kate Waller Barrett & International Council of
Women, INS.
19. John H. Clark, Commissioner of the Dominion Canadian Immigration Service to
Caminetti, Commissioner-General of Immigration, October 10, 1914, Repression of Prostitution of Kate Waller Barrett & International Council of Women, INS.

117

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Grace Pea Delgado


20. Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality, vol. 1 (New York: Vintage, 1990), 153.
21. Martha Gardner, The Qualities of a Citizen: Women, Immigration, and Citizenship,
18701965 (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2005); Eithne Luibhid, Entry Denied:
Controlling Sexuality at the Border (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2002). On
the development of the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and the sweeping power of its policies
in determining national belonging, see Erika Lee and Judy Yung, Angel Island: Immigrant
Gateway to America (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010); and Anna Pegler-Gordon,
In Sight of America: Photography and the Development of U.S. Immigration Policy (Berkeley:
University of California Press, 2009).
22. Charles T. Connell to Thos. M. Fisher, Jr., June 14, 1909, 1, folder Continue C, 52484/23,
White Slave Traffic, New Mexico and Arizona, 19091910, INS.
23. Marcus Braun to Daniel Keefe, April 19, 1909, 1, folder Continue 1-A, 52484/1-A,
Marcus Brauns U.S. Detail, White Slave Traffic, INS.
24. Frank Stone to Daniel Keefe, June 25, 1909, 14, folder Continue 1-A, 52484/1-A, Marcus Brauns U.S. Detail, White Slave Traffic, INS
25. Frank Stone to Daniel J. Keefe, June 25, 1909, folder Continue 8-A, 52484-8-A, White
Slave Traffic, San Antonio and Other Texas, 19091910, INS.
26. Frank Stone to Daniel Keefe, June 25, 1909, pp. 211, folder Continue 8-A, 52484/8-A,
White Slave Traffic, San Antonio and Other Texas, 19091910, INS.
27. Excerpt from McClintocks History of Arizona, Connell Family Scrapbook, folder 11,
box 2, Charles T. Connell Papers, 19051934, Arizona Historical Society, Tucson. For more
information about Connell, see Apache Fighter to Quit Duties, Los Angeles Times, January
27, 1931, A10; Charles T. Connell Recalls First Arizona Indian Census, Arizona Republic,
April 12, 1934, 6; Connell Quits U.S. Post? Why Hes Only 70!, Los Angeles Examiner, December 26, 1928, 1; and Capt. C. T. Connell, Taker of First Apache Census, Quits U.S. Service, The Gazette and Republican, March 15, 1931, 1. Also see Charles T. Connell Biographical
File, Arizona Historical Society.
28. Charles T. Connell to F. W. Berkshire, November 2, 1909, 1, October 21, 1909, June 15,
1909, June 3, 1909, and April 20, 1909, all in folder 52484/23, White Slave Traffic, New Mexico
and Arizona, INS.
29. Charles T. Connell to Daniel Keefe, June 15, 1909, 2, folder 52484/23, White Slave
Traffic, New Mexico and Arizona, INS. See also Charles T. Connell to Daniel Keefe, April 14,
1909, 2, in same folder.
30. Charles T. Connell to Daniel Keefe, October 13, 1909, folder Continue B, 52484/23,
White Slave Traffic, New Mexico and Arizona, INS.
31. Charles T. Connell to Daniel Keefe, June 3, 1909, 1, 3, folder Continue A, 52484/23,
White Slave Traffic, New Mexico and Arizona, INS.
32. At the turn of the twentieth century, Mexicos prostitution laws were still regulated
by the reglamento (statute) imposed under French rule (18621866). See Ricardo Franco
Guzmn, El rgimen jurdico de la prostitucin en Mxico, Revista de la Facultad de
Derecho en Mxico 32 (enero/junio 1972): 86108; and Katherine Elaine Bliss, Compromised

Morals Policing at Americas Early Twentieth-Century Borders


Positions: Prostitution, Public Health, and Gender Politics in Revolutionary Mexico City (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2002), 2.
33. Charles T. Connell to Daniel Keefe, May 14, 1909, 1, folder 52484/23, White Slave Traffic, New Mexico and Arizona, INS.
34. Charles T. Connell to Daniel Keefe, December 26, 1909, 13; and District of Arizona
and New Mexico, List of Prostitutes in Foreign Contiguous Territories, 13, both in Continue C, folder 52484/23, White Slave Traffic, New Mexico and Arizona, INS.
35. F. W. Berkshire to Daniel Keefe, March 1, 1908; and F. W. Berkshire to Daniel Keefe,
March 2, 1908, both in folder 51777/56, White Slave Traffic, San Antonio and Other Texas,
19091910, INS.
36. Supplemental Hearing in the Matter of Rosa Tijerina, February 27, 1908, 2, folder
51777/56, White Slave Traffic, San Antonio and Other Texas, 19091910, INS.
37. Ibid., 3.
38. Candice Lewis Bredbenner, A Nationality of Her Own: Women, Marriage, and the
Law of Citizenship (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998), 1617 and Gardner, The
Qualities of a Citizen, 12324.
39. In the Matter of Rosa Tijerina, February 25, 1908, 4; and Supplemental Hearing in the
Matter of Rosa Tijerina, February 27, 1908, 2, both in folder 51777/56, White Slave Traffic,
San Antonio and Other Texas, 19091910, INS.
40. Exhibit C, F. W. Berkshire to Daniel Keefe, March 23, 1909, 1, folder 51777/56; Testimony of Maria Hernndez, November 10, 1908, 12, folder Maria Hernndez, 52241/2; and
Luther C. Steward to Daniel Keefe, November 13, 1908, 1, folder Maria Hernndez, 52241/2,
all in White Slave Traffic, San Antonio and Other Texas, 19091910, INS.

119

5
Out of One Borderland, Many
The 1907 Anti-Asian Riots and the Spatial Dimensions of Race
and Migration in the Canadian-U.S. Pacific Borderlands

David C. Atkinson

In September 1907, persistent white anxieties about Asian migrants in the U.S.Canadian Pacific borderlands erupted in violence. That month, anti-Asian
riots broke out within days of each other in Bellingham, Washington, and
Vancouver, British Columbia. The causes and consequences of these outbursts
were deeply entangled, despite the fact that the violence unfolded on different
neighborhood streets, in different cities, and in different countries. Nationally
bounded narratives that isolate the causes and consequences of the riots in local politics on either side of the border elide the broader transnational currents
that spawned and sustained anti-Asian mobilization across North America
and the British Empire. When viewed through this wider lens, these disturbances appear as only the latest outburst in a long-standing transpacificand
transatlanticstruggle over white economic, racial, and political supremacy in
the North American West and beyond.1 Moreover, when they are unmoored
from their ostensibly local roots, the 1907 riots reveal a multiplicity of entwined
and globally contested borderlands in which transnational political, economic,
and cultural forces dislocated the narrow confines of city, state, province, nation, and empire. This broader transnational framework reveals the multiple
overlapping scales upon which the history of the 1907 riots transpired, and the
U.S.-Canadian Pacific border region emerges as at once a local, national, regional, imperial, and global borderland when analyzed through these multiple
spatial registers.
This essay argues that borderlands are not necessarily circumscribed, contiguous, or even singular spaces. States and nations are not hermetic social,
political, and economic systems, and neither are borderlands. Borders do not

The 1907 Anti-Asian Riots and the Spatial Dimensions of Race and Migration

contain or constrain the myriad dynamics that redound within their immediate purview any more than the states they putatively encircle. They are at once
local, national, and transnational spaces, and the 1907 riots allow us to discern
the intersecting spatial dimensions of the North American Pacific borderlands.
The implications of the exchanges and contests that occur in these regions
often resonate far beyond the ostensibly conterminous spaces they encompass. As Thomas Bender argues in his work on globalizing American history,
transnational history demands that historians explore interactions between
social units of varying scales. Our histories are not experienced solely on one
scale, spatially or temporally, he contends, and we would do better to imagine
a spectrum of social scales, both larger and smaller than the nation, and not
excluding the nation.2
Borderlands histories would benefit from a similarly scaled analytical
framework. As Pekka Hmlinen and Samuel Truett have argued, borderlands scholars have gravitated to tales of economic exchange, cultural mixing, and political contestation at the edges of empires, nations, and world
systems. Hmlinen and Truett nevertheless remain uncertain that scholars
have grasped the full scope and complexity of borderlands and the multiple
exchanges and interactions that transpire within, across, and around them.
All too often, in their view, the scholarship retreats into familiar territories,
narratives, and binaries that inadvertently reinforce rather than disrupt the
state- and nation-centered histories they purport to challenge.3
One way to subvert these traditional narratives is to reconsider our conceptions of space in the Canadian-U.S. Pacific borderlands. Echoing corresponding research in the Pacific Southwest, a growing literature reveals a
multiplicity of fluid, multifaceted, and resolutely transnational spaces along
the Canadian-U.S. border, within which complex local, national, regional,
imperial, and global dramas unfolded.4 Indeed, the Canadian-U.S. Pacific
region has been a vigorously contested space ever since European explorers
began to impose their physical, political, cultural, and economic boundaries
in the eighteenth century. But the 1907 riots illustrate that this region constituted not one borderland but many. Tracing the repercussions of the riots
beyond the boundaries of Bellingham and Vancouver uncovers the growing
reverberations of anti-Asian sentiment, revealing not one but five intersecting borderlands, resounding from the local to the national to the regional to
the imperial and finally to the global.5 To borrow once more from Benders
conceptualization of scales, We must think of them not as inert points on a
scalar axis, but as social worlds interacting with one another and thus pro-

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122 David C. Atkinson

viding multiple contexts for lives, institutions, and ideas.6 Again, the same
can be said of the multiple borderlands outlined in this essay: each one illuminates the different contexts and the diverse ways the politics of Asian
mobility, restriction, and resistance resonated locally, nationally, regionally,
imperially, and globally.
Both Bellingham and Vancouver represented local urban borderlands in
which white laborers sought to uphold imagined racial, economic, and political boundaries against the perceived incursions of Asian immigrants. They
sparred with their cities authorities, with their employers, and with Japanese,
Chinese, and South Asian migrants over jobs, access to urban spaces, and the
constantly shifting racial frontiers of their particular localities. As Asian immigrants established homes, opened businesses, and entered local agricultural
and industrial workforces, embittered white laborers continually resisted their
presence and sought to delineate and restrict their access to the cities physical,
social, economic, and political spaces. The riots represented the most visceral
manifestation of white labors attempt to police their cities real and imagined
borders and Asian migrants efforts to resist those boundaries. In this respect,
Bellingham and Vancouver constituted municipal borderlands in which Asian
and European migrants contested social, political, and economic space, microcosms of the larger struggles unfolding across North Americas west coast,
across the Pacific, and across the British Empire.
Bellingham and Vancouver also represented borderlands of the broader national polities to which they belonged. Since anti-Asian hostility was mostly
a feature of western politics in both Canada and the United States, intense
friction characterized the North American experience as local, provincial, and
state politicians; newspaper editors; academics; workers; and labor leaders inveighed against perceived federal intransigence on both sides of the border.
The riots that wrenched both cities also demonstrated their perpetrators resistance to national authority and their insensitivity toward their respective federal governments national and international interests. Both Bellingham and
Vancouver were, in effect, restive subnational borderlands that seethed against
the apparent indifference of federal authorities in Ottawa and Washington,
D.C., toward their inhabitants contorted racial priorities
The 1907 riots further expose a thirdand perhaps more recognizableintersecting borderland on the Canadian-American Pacific frontier. Bellingham
and Vancouvers most active white residents were physically and emotionally
connected by the South Asian, Chinese, and Japanese migrants whose mere
presence and mobility fostered profound racial and economic angst on both

The 1907 Anti-Asian Riots and the Spatial Dimensions of Race and Migration 123

sides of the 49th parallel. White activists and their allies clearly understood that
they belonged to a wider transborder community throughout which Canadian
and American anti-Asian campaigners corresponded, traveled, agitated, and
empathized with one another. Their zealous outbursts were emblematic of
broader white working-class antipathy and resentment about Asian immigration across the American and Canadian West. White agitators in Washington
and British Columbianot to mention Oregon and Californiastubbornly
and relentlessly rejected calls for moderation as they pursued their fervent racial fantasies. In this respect, the 1907 riots reveal a transnational borderland
that stretched from Victoria, British Columbia, to northern California and
eventually to the Mexico-U.S. border.7
The 1907 riots also provoked friction within and across the British Empire
as imperial authorities in the United Kingdom, India, and Ottawa fought to
mitigate the potentially destabilizing racial antipathies of Asian immigrations
white opponents in British Columbia. The racial and economic antagonisms
that manifested in the Vancouver riots in the far western reaches of Britains
North American empire were symptomatic of larger trends throughout the
British West. In this respect, British Columbia represents an imperial borderland, one that connects the Canadian West with Australia, New Zealand, and
even South Africa. Anti-Asian sentiment permeated the British colonies of
settlement during the early twentieth century, and it constantly threatened to
undermine the fragile ties that bound the British Empire together.
Finally, Vancouver and Bellingham were global borderlands. Indeed, they
had been sites of global interaction and conflict since the first European settlers arrived. The same colonizing process that dispossessed and dislocated
indigenous cultures in the U.S. northwest wrought its violence upon British
Columbias First Nations communities. The same processes of nation, state,
and empire formation that lacerated lives south of the 49th parallel disrupted
lives to the north. Similarly unstable identity politics characterized the lives
of many astride both boundaries, and similarly wrenching global economic
processes integrated and disintegrated the lives of those to the borders north
as well as to the south. The 1907 riots represented yet another manifestation
of these long-standing global processes that fostered diplomatic tensions between the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, and the United States. Never
simply a matter of domestic policy, concerns about Japanese, South Asian,
and Chinese immigration in the Northwest borderlands further fostered
global tensions both across the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans and across the
Canadian-U.S. border. By mapping the overlapping resonances of the 1907

124 David C. Atkinson

riots across five interrelated but distinct contexts, we can better illuminate
the complex and myriad borderlands that constituted this particular U.S.Canadian transborder space.

The 1907 Bellingham and Vancouver Riots


Hostility toward Asian migrants in both the United States and Canada manifested itself in the mid-nineteenth-century gold rushes and during the construction of the transcontinental railroads. In both California and British Columbia (and in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa), white laborers and
politicians projected vulgar racial and economic anxieties onto Asian immigrants as economic competition intensified. Increasingly agitated white workers condemned Asians as racially inferior parasites who deprived the white
working man of his living wage. Small numbers of South Asian immigrants
began to arrive in the United States from British Columbia in the late nineteenth century. The implications of this numerically small migration became
abundantly clear in Bellingham on September 4, 1907. The towns white laborers had articulated their feelings the previous month, informing local mill
owners that the continued employment of South Asian labor would not be
tolerated after the upcoming Labor Day. In celebration of this holiday, Bellinghams white workers demonstrated their resolve by parading 1,000 strong
through the town. Isolated assaults on South Asian workers followed, and several South Asian boarding houses were attacked.8 Two days later, Bellinghams
South Asian residentspredominately Sikhs from Punjab working in Bellinghams lumber millswere subjected to five hours of violence and intimidation at the hands of some 500 whites intent on [escorting] them to the city
limits with orders to keep going.9 That evening, the white mob swept through
Bellinghams boarding houses and mills, forcibly marching dozens of terrified South Asians to the citys jail, where 202 huddled for the night under the
mayors protection.10
The following morning, despite assurances of protection from the mayor,
the majority of Bellinghams Sikh residents chose to leave their homes and
workplaces. The mayor was perhaps motivated by concerns for Bellinghams
mill owners, who were actually ambivalent about the evenings events. While
they generally agreed that Hindu labor was vastly inferior to white labor,
they nevertheless complained that the citys transient white mill workers were
unreliable and were concerned only with obtaining whiskey money.11 Apparently, some mill owners felt that cheap, efficient, and ostensibly pliant South

The 1907 Anti-Asian Riots and the Spatial Dimensions of Race and Migration 125

Asian labor was preferable to white labor; from the perspective of the owners,
the wage demands and calls for improved conditions of white labor showed
disregard for the economic exigencies of local capitalists and industrialists.
Exiled from Bellingham, some South Asian laborers struck for the perceived
safety of Seattle, carrying all the belongings they could collect. Many more
preferred the dubious comfort of British Columbia, which at least offered the
protection of the British Crown. The bitter mob of turbaned Asiatics that
boarded the afternoon train to Vancouver was dispatched to the sound of
jeering and the cries of good and dont come back that followed the train.12
Bellinghams few remaining South Asian residents followed over the coming
days. In addition to Seattle and British Columbia, some of Bellinghams exiled
South Asians headed south to California, where they found employment on
the Western Pacific Railway.13
The coming weeks saw smaller but no less frightening attacks on South
Asian immigrants across Washington and Oregon. In scenes reminiscent of
the Bellingham riot just weeks before (and again despite the mayors assurances), over forty Sikh residents of Everett, Washington, were placed under
protection in the city jail on the night of November 2 after warnings of an impending outbreak of violence. The hundreds of white laborers who reportedly
assembled that evening attacked South Asian boarding houses, since they were
now denied the opportunity to commit violence against their inhabitants.14
Once again, most of Everetts South Asian residents chose to leave town rather
than face further harassment and violence. The Everett Daily Herald made the
citys case against South Asian immigration plainly and proudly in the attacks
aftermath:
The truth of the matter is that the whole story is told when it is said that
this is a white mans country. We feel that we cant assimilate the Hindus, and we dont wish to try. . . . Race prejudice is as old as the world, and
were there no economic considerations, it would be a most potent argument against the coming of the Hindu; the two together make a strong
case. Everett does not wish the Hindus, but it wants no violence in getting
rid of them.15
A similar and related drama unfolded just three days later across the border
in Vancouver, British Columbia. In the face of a supposedly mounting Asian
threat, over 700 white Vancouverites assembled to protest Asian immigration
on the evening of September 7, 1907.16 The demonstration, which was conceived in August, was designed to coincide with the rumored visit to Seattle of

126 David C. Atkinson

Ishii Kikujiro, director of the Japanese foreign ministrys Bureau of Commerce.


He abruptly changed his plans upon hearing of Vancouvers proposed protest.
The movement gained extra momentum in September, however, with the rumored approach of 700 Sikh exiles from the United States, displaced by the
violence in Washington and Oregon.17 Those frightened and banished British
subjects might have expected kinder treatment from their imperial compatriots in Vancouver, but that was not the case. The protest gained extra potency
from rumors describing approaching vessels filled with Japanese, South Asian,
and Chinese immigrants. According to Vancouvers Daily Province, the event
represented a bumper anti-brownie parade.18
As the crowd marched toward Vancouvers city hall, the number of protestors
swelled to some 8,000, motivated by their opposition to nonwhite immigration
and determined to stand for a White Canada. As the evening progressed, the
protestors thronged around city hall, where an international panel of speakers
railed against the evils of Asian immigration. Local agitators included representatives from across the political spectrum, such as C. M. Woodworth of the
Vancouver Conservative Association, Harry Cowan of the Vancouver Trades
and Labor Council, members of the Asiatic Exclusion League, and local clergymen. The leading members of the U.S. anti-Asian movement were also present,
including A. E. Fowler, secretary of Seattles Asiatic Exclusion League; and the
American Federation of Labors W. A. Young. One particularly well-received
speaker, J. E. Wilson, had recently arrived in British Columbia from New Zealand. He regaled the crowd with tales of Australasias unwavering commitment
to anti-Asian immigration policies.19 There followed a night of violence during
which Japanese and Chinese homes and businesses were attacked by mobs
inflamed by the evenings meeting.
The many petitions that Canadian prime minister Wilfrid Laurier received
from British Columbians before and after the riot left him in no doubt as to the
prevailing sentiment in the province. The Rossland Miners Union, for example,
insisted that Asiatic immigration is an unmixed evil, detrimental alike to the
country and the people, as it would in time reduce the bulk of the white population to the low plane of Asiatics. It was preferable, they resolved, to have a
portion of our great natural resources lie fallow, a heritage for the Caucasians
of the future, than to have them developed by Asiatic labor and a plague spot
planted in our midst.20 The Greenwood Miners Union was similarly adamant
that the federal government recognize the necessity of retaining Canada as a
White mans Country with a white mans standard of living, by preventing the
entrance or importation of Asiatic laborers.21

The 1907 Anti-Asian Riots and the Spatial Dimensions of Race and Migration

Both Bellingham and Vancouver constituted sites upon which local, national, regional, imperial, and global processes of racism, migration, capitalism, and politics coalesced in September 1907. The implications of the riots
reverberated throughout the region and the world, illuminating the complex
and interrelated entanglement of these two cities far beyond their specific localities. Connected through the movement of people and ideas, Bellingham
and Vancouver were also connected to their respective federal capitals, to the
British imperial capital in London, and to Peking and Tokyo through the global
politics of race and migration.

Overlapping Borderlands
The politics surrounding the 1907 riots resonated unevenly from the local to the
global, enmeshing the Pacific coast of the United States and Canada in a larger
struggle against Asian migration. The implications of anti-Asian violenceand
Asian immigration restriction more broadlywere not confined to the streets
and towns upon which white mobs enacted their vague racial fantasies, and the
struggle between white labor and Asian migrants highlights the complex interplay of transnational politics in, around, and beyond the Canadian-U.S. Pacific
borderland. Towns such as Bellingham constituted local borderlands in which
anxious whites contested the rights of Asian migrants to access both public and
private spaces. But what happened in places like Bellingham and Vancouver
had repercussions in Ottawa; Washington, D.C.; London; Tokyo; Beijing; and
Calcutta. Tracing these consequences reveals the contours of five deeply entangled borderlands that emanate outward from the Pacific Northwest.
On the most local scale, many white residents in Bellingham, Everett, Vancouver, and numerous other cities across the region sought to enforce racial,
economic, and political borders against the perceived intrusions of Asian
immigrants. They drew their boundaries around the South Asian boarding
houses of Bellingham and the Chinese districts of Vancouver in an effort to
impose racial borders around their personal lives, their jobs, their neighborhoods, and their city. The marauding white mob in Bellingham literally corralled South Asian immigrants in the towns jail, confining and enclosing the
ostensible threat South Asian migrants posed. Taking for granted the futility of
assimilation and the insatiability of Asian immigrants, white leaders believed
that without strict boundaries, South Asian, Japanese, or Chinese migrants
would invariably flood their towns and homes. As the Victoria Daily Colonist
observed, even before the Vancouver violence:

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128 David C. Atkinson

First one occupation and then another will pass into the hands of the
Chinaman; the flood of money flowing out of the country to China will
increase; Chinese Joss houses [temples] will arise in a hundred towns;
Chinese children will throng our schools, and the English-speaking people will be driven to find homes elsewhere. There is no use in mincing
matters, while discussing this subject. If we throw down the barriers, we
will be driven out of our own country.22
The same sentiments animated discussions throughout the North American
west whenever the subject of Asian immigration arose. Even as indignant
whites attempted to impose their boundaries around the regions migrant enclaves, their victims drew their own borders as local white authorities proved
incapable of defending them or unwilling to do so. As the New York Times reported on September 10, 1907, in the aftermath of the attacks, Vancouvers Japanese and Chinese residents armed themselves in order to protect their homes
and livelihoods: The Asiatic quarters filled with armed Orientals, ready to
resist any further aggression, and possibly meditating reprisals in kind. The
Times surmised that Vancouver is rapidly becoming the storm center of the
Asiatic question on the Pacific Coast.23 But it was not just Vancouver: in
Bellingham, Everett, and other cities and towns across the Pacific Northwest,
whites drew boundaries around their homes, businesses, and schools, just as
they did around Asian immigrant communities. The racial and economic borders of local spaces were constantly contested in the streets, union meetings,
town hall meetings, and countless economic and social and interactions.
The riots also reveal the national scale upon which this history unfolded.
The North American experience with Asian immigration on both sides of the
border was characterized by similar domestic tensions, and in this respect
British Columbia, California, Washington, and Oregon represented national
borderlands in which federal prerogatives were challenged and shaped by provincial and state interests. In both the United States and Canada, local attempts
to restrict Asian immigrants led to constitutional disputes over immigration
control. Legislators in British Columbia and California had long engaged in a
sustained campaign designed to impress their commitment to Asian restriction upon federal authorities in Ottawa and Washington. Provincial and state
lawmakers eschewed federal and constitutional boundaries and instead introduced numerous explicitly anti-Asian restrictions in the late nineteenth and
early twentieth centuries. White advocates of restriction in both British Columbia and California felt that their respective federal governments failed to

The 1907 Anti-Asian Riots and the Spatial Dimensions of Race and Migration 129

grasp the sincerity of their economic and racial apprehensions. Their periodic
tantrums were designed to impress the gravity of their concerns upon Washington and Ottawa.
Federal authorities in the United States often resented the implication that
they should simply yield to the racial paroxysms of their western constituents.
Theodore Roosevelts secretary of state during the 1906 San Francisco schools
crisis, Elihu Root, captured the federal governments irritation at these tactics
when he remarked that the Government of the United States can not and will
not submit to being forced into an unjust quarrel and subjected to national
humiliation and disaster by the action of a few ignorant, narrowminded [sic],
and prejudiced men who wish to monopolize for themselves the labor market
of San Francisco.24 Federal authorities in Ottawa, however, were more circumspect. While Root berated Californians for their peevishness, the Canadian
prime minister stressed that it must not be forgotten that amongst the people
on [the] Pacific Coast there are strong racial prejudices which though greatly
to be regretted . . . have to be taken into consideration by all those who desire
to cultivate best relations between Canada and [the] Orient.25 Despite these
diverse federal responses, it is clear that west coasts of Canada and the United
States effectively constituted national borderlands when it came to the question of Asian immigration restriction. Opponents of Asian migration strained
against the sanctions and interests articulated in their respective national capitals and vigorously contested federal power.
Yet another scale intersected with the local and national. The Pacific Northwest was a regionally contested borderland in which anti-Asian campaigners
vied with Asian immigrants and their respective governments, often without
regard for the geopolitical boundary imposed along the 49th parallel. The west
coasts of British Columbia and the United States were therefore deeply entangled by virtue of their shared border, which drew the two regions into both
collusion and conflict.
The Bellingham riots and similar disturbances across Washington and Oregon were triggered by fears that South Asian immigrants would enter the
United States from British Columbia. In the absence of explicit restrictions
on the Canadian or American side, those deemed physically healthy found it
relatively easy to enter the United States. Almost 1,000 South Asians entered
the United States from 1903 to 1906, 600 in the latter year alone.26 This growing trickle compelled the American consul in Vancouver, L. Edwin Dudley, to
warn his superiors of a potential deluge. In November, 1906, Dudley encouraged the state department to consider that there are at least three hundred and

130 David C. Atkinson

fifty millions of these people, laboring for very small wages, who can easily be
induced to cross the Pacific. He warned Washington that there is every indication that there will be an enormous influx of these people upon the Pacific
Coast within a very short time, unless it is checked, either by the Canadian or
American governments. Once in Canada, he protested, they could easily enter the United States.27 Dudley echoed a common refrain often heard around
the Pacifics white fringes: the seemingly innocuous cluster of Asian immigrants apparently represented the vanguard of a teeming horde. The British
consul in San Francisco, C. W. Bennett, also campaigned to stem the growing
South Asian presence in California. In late 1906 he reported that increasing
numbers of South Asian immigrants were arriving from British Columbia.
Bennett urged the British ambassador to Washington, James Bryce, to prevent
further immigration from Canada. Otherwise he feared that Californians will
certainly urge an extension of the [Chinese] Exclusion Acts so as to operate
against British East Indians.28 This would invariably draw Britain into this
burgeoning global drama and foster tensions with the United States.
It was not only South Asian migrants who demonstrated the CanadianU.S. Pacific borders fluidity. Both British and Canadian officials suspected
American influence in the Vancouver riots. After receiving a full report of
the Bellingham riots from the British consul in Portland, Bryce remained
concerned about the extent to which the anti-oriental agitation on the
Pacific Coast from California to British Columbia is coordinated and controlled. Evidence from Bellingham, he felt, strongly suggests control and a
pre-conceived plan.29 Laurier was also concerned about the possible transnational links between the Washington and Vancouver riots. The Canadian
prime minister dispatched British Columbian barrister T. R. E. McInnes to
Vancouver in order to ascertain if his suspicion was correct. According to
McInnes, American agitators hoped to foster violence between Japanese immigrants and white British Columbians. He foresaw a danger that the Americans to their own obvious advantage may egg on and secretly increase the antiJapanese feeling now becoming rampant in the province until that feeling
reach[es] a stage where the British Columbians forget they are British and
look upon their interests as identical with those of California, Oregon, and
Washington.30
As these episodes suggest, British Columbia also represented an imperial
borderland. The 1907 riots provoked friction within the British Empire as imperial authorities in Great Britain, India, and Ottawa fought to mitigate the
potentially destabilizing racial antipathies of white opponents of Asian im-

The 1907 Anti-Asian Riots and the Spatial Dimensions of Race and Migration

migration in the province. Wilfrid Laurier was well aware that Canada could
not simply accede to British Columbian prejudice by implementing a federal
ban on South Asian, Japanese, or Chinese immigration. Despite Canadas dominion status, the British government maintained jurisdiction over imperial
and foreign policy across the empire and would not countenance such explicit
insults to nonwhite imperial subjects. Indeed, since 1897, the British government had encouraged its colonial offspring to surreptitiously prohibit Asian
immigration via a literacy test that was modeled on a similar test in the South
African colony of Natal.
The Canadian government nevertheless rejected the Natal formula and instead announced on January 8, 1908, that all prospective immigrants had to
travel to Canada by continuous journey from their place of birth or citizenship. In addition, all immigrants were required to purchase direct tickets at
their point of origin. In the absence of direct steamship passage from India to
Canada, the order-in-council represented a de facto ban on South Asian immigration. Moreover, the order bolstered the newly imposed restrictions against
Japanese laborers who might travel to British Columbia by way of Hawaii,
thereby circumventing the 1908 Gentlemans Agreement between Japan and
Canada that placed limits on direct Japanese labor emigration to Canada. The
Indian viceroy, the Earl of Minto, tacitly accepted the Canadian ruse in early
1908. Lauriers government had cleverly avoided enacting explicit restrictions
against Britains South Asian subjects, thus satisfying the British and Indian
governments.31 This order-in-council was eventually enshrined in new Canadian immigration legislation in 1910.32
Once settled on continuous journey, the Canadian government sent Deputy Minister of Labor William Lyon Mackenzie King to London in early March
1908. King was tasked with securing British support for Canadas new restrictions. Based upon his interviews with imperial officials and members of parliament, King concluded that Canadas desire to restrict immigration from the
Orient is regarded as natural. Moreover, King declared that Canada should
remain a white mans country is believed to be not only desirable for economic
and social reasons, but highly necessary on political and national grounds.
With regard to South Asian immigration, King concluded that the native
of India is not a person suited to this country. The climate, the South Asian
immigrants inability to assimilate with Canadas predominately European
population, and labor competition rendered them unsuitable immigrants, he
claimed. It was therefore in the South Asian immigrants best interests that they
be discouraged and ultimately prevented from making the journey to Canada.

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132 David C. Atkinson

This was a humanitarian policy, King argued, entirely in accord with Great
Britains stewardship of the Indian subcontinent and its subjects.33
Finally, the Pacific Northwest was a global borderland. The 1907 riots fostered diplomatic tensions between the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, and
the United States. Among British officials in North America, James Bryce was
especially attuned to the international implications of the September riots and
keenly sensitive to the potentially embarrassing consequences. The plight of
South Asians in the northwestern United States necessarily drew the attention
of British officials. Throughout the two months of violence, however, Bryce
was reluctant to lodge a formal diplomatic protest with the state department.
Reporting from his summer embassy in New Hampshire, Bryce was satisfied
that local authorities had acted to quell the disturbances. Instead, he sent a
semi-official note to Second Assistant Secretary of State Alvey Adee to inquire
whether the federal government would intervene to bolster local efforts and
protect British subjects in Washington State if necessary.34 Bryce received a
response directly from Secretary of State Elihu Root, who assured the British
ambassador that reports of violence had been exaggerated and that no further measures were necessary. After all, as Bellinghams mayor had informed
Root, most of the towns South Asian residents had already fled.35 Cognizant
of the diplomatic and imperial complications fostered by anti-Asian agitation
in the western United States, the India Office offered to promulgate a public
announcement in India that would euphemistically indicate that industrial
conditions in the United States are unfavorable to British Indian immigrants.
The Foreign Office concurred, hinting that it might be advisable to simply stop
issuing passports for South Asians to travel to the United States.36
There were many reasons for Bryces reluctance to further press the state
department, even though many of North Americas Sikhs were veterans of the
British Army. The New York Times trenchantly identified one of the most important reasons on September 7, 1907. If the British government registered a
formal grievance with the American government, it was likely to find itself
embarrassed . . . because of the ever-present danger of similar attacks upon
East Indians, who are numerous in British Columbia. It would set an uncomfortable precedent, the paper suggested, if they in turn are called upon to pay
damages for injuries to persons and property sustained by the Hindus . . . at
the hands of British colonists.37 Bryce fully appreciated this dilemma.
Violence against Japanese immigrants in Vancouver also strained CanadianBritish-Japanese relations. Japans consul general in Vancouver, Nosse Tatsu
goro, immediately registered his governments disappointment. He blamed

The 1907 Anti-Asian Riots and the Spatial Dimensions of Race and Migration

the violence on persistently inflammatory remarks in the British Columbian


legislature and the Canadian press in general. In particular, Nosse expressed
regret that while things are getting tranquil down at San Francisco . . . the epidemic has taken possession of British Columbia, and that epidemic is freely
taken up for the political purpose without thinking how dangerous it would
be . . . from the international point of view. The consul demanded Ottawas
immediate intervention and requested prompt action to protect Japanese lives
and property in Vancouver. The Chinese charg daffaires in London lodged a
similar complaint at the Foreign Office.38
On Lauriers recommendation, the Canadian Privy Council dispatched the
minister of labor to Japan in response to the Vancouver disturbance. Rodolphe
Lemieux arrived in Tokyo on November 15, 1907. His goal was to secure a
Gentlemans Agreement with Japan, just like the Roosevelt administration was
attempting to do. For his meetings at the Japanese Foreign Office, Lemieux was
accompanied by Claude MacDonald (the British ambassador in Japan) and
Joseph Pope (Canadas undersecretary of state for external affairs). Hayashi
and Baron Chida, his vice-minister, represented Japan, along with Ishii Kikujiro, director of the Foreign Ministrys Bureau of Commerce. The British
government was content to allow the Canadian representatives a relatively free
hand in their discussions with the Japanese government. MacDonald, who was
representing the Foreign Office, had been instructed to support the Canadian
proposals, which he felt were appropriate and likely to receive Japans acceptance.39
Negotiations continued for over a month, and finally on December 23, 1907,
the Japanese government offered to voluntarily restrict emigration to Canada.
Hayashi was unwilling to officially relinquish the rights of Japanese immigrants to reside and work in Canada, rights that were guaranteed by the latters
accession to the Anglo-Japanese Treaty of Commerce and Navigation in 1906.
Nevertheless, the foreign minister proclaimed that it is not the intention of
the Imperial Government to insist upon the complete enjoyment of those
rights, especially when that would involve disregard of special conditions
which may prevail in Canada from time to time. Acting in this spirit, Hayashi
announced, and having particular regard to circumstances of recent occurrences in British Columbia, the Imperial Government have decided to take
efficient means to restrict emigration to Canada.40 Under the terms of Japans
proposal, legally resident Japanese immigrants and their wives and children
would be allowed free entry into Canada. Domestic servants and farm laborers
with contracts that explicitly contracted their service to other Japanese would

133

134 David C. Atkinson

also be allowed to enter the dominion. Laborers with legitimate employment


contracts that had been approved by the Canadian government were similarly
free to leave Japan. Hayashi intimated that their numbers would not exceed
400 per year. Finally, merchants, tourists, and students would be exempt from
the agreements restrictions.41 Following a protracted debate in Ottawa, Laurier
and his ministers acceded to the Gentlemans Agreement on January 14, 1908.42
Diplomatic notes confirming the arrangement were exchanged six days later.
President Theodore Roosevelt initiated the most surprising diplomatic
initiative following the North American riots. The third assistant secretary
of state, Frances Huntington Wilson, was among the first to advocate closer
cooperation between the United States and the United Kingdom with regard
to Japanese immigration. In early October 1907, Wilson proposed that Root
broach the subject with Bryce at your earliest convenience, lest we should
miss profiting by the present very delicate position in which Canada has
placed the British Government.43 A month later, in the midst of the U.S.
negotiations with Japan in late 1907, Roosevelt also suggested that the state
department remind Japan that their staunchest ally, England, is in precisely
the same position; that her colonies British Columbia, New Zealand, and the
Australian commonwealth take precisely the same position as our Pacific
Coast States take; that it is an economic question.44 Roosevelt underplayed
colonial and American racism, but his intent was clear. Moreover, during
Lemieuxs negotiations with the Japanese Foreign Office in December 1907,
the American ambassador in Tokyo reportedly approached his British counterpart with a view to make a common case . . . stating that he was well aware
that the United States could not get better terms than Canada, in view of the
alliance existing between Great Britain and Japan. The British government
nevertheless declined this American appeal to unite in support of exclusion.45
From MacDonalds perspective, it would have had the worst effect with the
Japanese if anything like joint action had been taken by England, Canada, and
America.46 Roosevelt was not convinced, and on two separate occasions he
encouraged Canadian Member of Parliament and Deputy Minister of Labor
Mackenzie King to foster Anglo-American cooperation vis--vis Japanese immigration. The American president reportedly expected his own countrys
Gentlemans Agreement to fail and astonishingly warned that Japanese immigration might compel the western United States and British Columbia to
secede from their respective countries and form an independent union. Despite Roosevelts hyperbole, the British government demurred. From Great
Britains perspective, the Anglo-Japanese Alliance was simply too important.

The 1907 Anti-Asian Riots and the Spatial Dimensions of Race and Migration 135

Thus, diplomatic and imperial considerations ultimately precluded overt participation in Roosevelts proposed anti-Japanese coalition.47

Conclusion
Viewing borderlands as multidimensional spaces provides a richer perspective on the racial, economic, imperial, and international politics engendered
by those who live, work, travel, exert authority, and subvert authority through,
in, and around them. This framework offers a portrait of the complexities that
abound in such spaces while still recognizing the broader historical processes
that conditioned their inhabitants lives. As this episode demonstrates, borders,
states, and empires very often exerted enormous pressures on those who lived
in British Columbia and Washington. It also illuminates the intercultural and
intracultural conflict and opposition posed by those who challenged those borders, states, and empires.
The white nativists who lashed out against the perceived menace of Asian
immigration were fulminating against transnational processes that seemed
beyond their control, from global capital and labor flows to the exigencies of
British, American, and Japanese imperialism and diplomacy. Although they
clothed themselves in the ideological paraphernalia of manifest destiny, providence, and empireand preferred to see themselves as settlers instead of immigrantswhite nativists were nevertheless engaged in the same process of global
migration and economic opportunism that brought their Asian antagonists to
North Americas Pacific coast.48 Asian migrants and their white tormentors
were ultimately entangled in the same global processes in the northwestern Pacific borderlands, processes that transcended the Canadian-American border,
the Rocky Mountains, and even the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Unable to prevent these broader global currents from impinging upon their livesand apparently unwilling to recognize the commonalities of their shared experience
with Asian migrantswhite opponents of Asian immigration instead chose
to draw borders around their homes, businesses, cities, states, and nations. As
white laborers delineated local spaces against the perceived invasion of nonwhite immigrants, they also entangled their cities and towns in burgeoning
national, regional, imperial, and global political debates. As the repercussions
of the 1907 riots so eloquently reveal, the Pacific Northwest was not simply a
static, contained, and localized borderland. It was many borderlands, each one
connected through migration, labor, empire, and commerce to the centers of
Pacific and Atlantic power.

136 David C. Atkinson

Notes
1. There is a large and growing literature on Asian immigration to North America. For
Canada, see Ken Adachi, The Enemy That Never Was (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart,
1976); W. Peter Ward, White Canada Forever: Popular Attitudes and Public Policy toward
Orientals in British Columbia (Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 1978); Kay J. Anderson, Vancouvers Chinatown: Racial Discourse in Canada, 18751980 (Montreal: McGillQueens University Press, 1991); Patricia Roy, A White Mans Province: British Columbia Politicians and Chinese and Japanese Immigrations, 18581914 (Vancouver: University of British
Columbia Press, 1989); Patricia Roy, The Oriental Question: Consolidating a White Mans
Province, 191441 (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2003); James Morton, In
the Sea of Sterile Mountains: The Chinese in British Columbia (Vancouver: J. J. Douglas Ltd.,
1974). For the United States, see Erika Lee, At Americas Gates: Chinese Immigration during
the Exclusion Era, 18821943 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003); Alexander Saxton, The Indispensable Enemy: Labor and the Anti-Chinese Movement in California
(Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995); Andrew Gyory, Closing the Gate: Race, Politics, and the Chinese Exclusion Act (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998);
Roger Daniels, Asian America: Chinese and Japanese in the United States since 1850 (Seattle:
University of Washington Press, 1988); Ronald Takaki, Strangers from a Different Shore: A
History of Asian Americans, rev. ed. (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1998); Madeline Yuanyin Hsu, Dreaming of Gold, Dreaming of Home: Transnationalism and Migration between the
United States and South China, 18821943 (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2000).
2. Thomas Bender, Historians, the Nation, and the Plenitude of Narratives, in Rethinking American History in a Global Age, ed. Thomas Bender (Berkeley: University of California
Press, 2002), 8.
3. Pekka Hmlinen and Samuel Truett, On Borderlands, Journal of American History
98, no. 2 (2011): 338.
4. Kornel Changs work is most instructive for this chapter, since he expertly unravels the
multiple scales across which the history of this region unfolded. This chapter builds upon
Changs work by situating the U.S.-Canadian borderlands as a place intersected not only by
multiple scales but also by multiple borderlands. See Kornel Chang, Pacific Connections: The
Making of the U.S.-Canadian Borderlands (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012).
See also Sterling Evans, ed., The Borderlands of the American and Canadian Wests: Essays
on the Regional History of the Forty-Ninth Parallel (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press,
2006); Susan Wiley Hardwick, The Ties that Bind: Transnational Migrant Networks at the
Canadian-U.S. Borderland, American Review of Canadian Studies 35, no. 4 (2005): 66782;
Randy William Widdis, Crossing an Intellectual and Geographic Border: The Importance
of Migration in Shaping the Canadian-American Borderlands at the Turn of the Twentieth
Century, Social Science History 34, no. 4 (2010): 44597; and Seema Sohi, Race, Surveillance, and Indian Anticolonialism in the Transnational Western U.S.-Canadian Borderlands, Journal of American History 98, no. 2 (2011): 42036.
5. For the broader contours of efforts to restrict Asian immigration across both the Pacific

The 1907 Anti-Asian Riots and the Spatial Dimensions of Race and Migration
and the Atlantic, see Marilyn Lake and Henry Reynolds, Drawing the Global Colour Line:
White Mens Countries and the International Challenge of Racial Equality (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008); and Adam McKeown, Melancholy Order: Asian Migration and
the Globalization of Borders (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008).
6. Bender, Historians, the Nation, and the Plenitude of Narratives, 8.
7. Though these issues are beyond the scope of this article, they resonated throughout
the western hemisphere and were not merely a function of North American politics; see
Erika Lee, The Yellow Peril in the United States and Peru: A Transnational History of Japanese Exclusion, 1920sWorld War Two, in Transnational Crossroads: Remapping the Americas and the Pacific, ed. Camilla Fojas and Rudy Guevera (Lincoln: University of Nebraska
Press, 2012). For a detailed discussion of the Japanese Diaspora in Brazil, see Jeffrey Lesser,
ed., Searching for Home Abroad: Japanese Brazilians and Transnationalism (Durham, N.C.:
Duke University Press, 2003). For Japanese experiences in Peru, see Ayumi Takenaka, The
Japanese in Peru: History of Immigration, Settlement, and Racialization, Latin American
Perspectives 31, no. 3 (2004): 7798. For a broader study of Japanese immigrants across the
western hemisphere, see Lane Ryo Hirabayashi, Akemi Kikumura-Yano, and James A. Hirabayashi, eds., New Worlds, New Lives: Globalization and People of Japanese Descent in the
Americas and from Latin America in Japan (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2002).
8. Joan M. Jensen, Passage from India: Asian Indian Immigrants in North America (New
Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1988), 45.
9. Mob Drives Out Hindus, New York Times, September 6, 1907, 1.
10. Report re Attack on Hindus at Bellingham, September 9, 1907, FO 371/360, Foreign
Office: Political Departments: General Correspondence from 19061966, United States, 1907,
no. 30029, The National Archives (hereafter TNA), Public Record Office (hereafter PRO),
Kew, London.
11. Millmen Will Fight for Rights, Bellingham Herald, September 5, 1907, 13.
12. Ibid.; Scared Hindus in Hurry to Go, Bellingham Herald, September 5, 1907.
13. Jensen, Passage from India, 30.
14. Mob Scares Everett Hindus, Everett Daily Herald, November 4, 1907, FO 371/360,
no. 38792, TNA, PRO.
15. Leader, Everett Daily Herald, November 4, 1907, FO 371/360, no. 38792, TNA, PRO.
This feeling was apparently widespread. According to the British vice-consul in Seattle, the
mayor of Everett was unable to deputize anyone in town, since no one was willing to defend
the towns South Asian residents. James Laidlaw to Sir Edward Grey, November 8, 1907, FO
371/360, no. 38882, TNA, PRO.
16. Adachi, The Enemy That Never Was, 63.
17. Ibid., 7273. Anticipating their arrival, the British governor-general in Canada, Earl
Grey, warned Sir Wilfrid Laurier that preparations were necessary to accommodate these
refugees. Thankfully for Laurier and Grey, the 400 exiles from Bellingham reportedly
crossed the border on September 15, after the violence in Vancouver had subsided. Earl Grey
to the Earl of Elgin, September 24, 1907, FO 371/274, Foreign Office: Political Departments:
General Correspondence from 19061966, Japan, 1907, no. 34263, TNA, PRO.

137

138 David C. Atkinson


18. Jensen, Passage from India, 6365.
19. Ward, White Canada Forever, 68. The situation intensified when the Monteagle arrived
four days later, carrying over 900 South Asian passengers, 114 Japanese, and 149 Chinese.
The Japanese passengers disembarked at Victoria when Vancouver authorities were unable
to guarantee their safety. As British subjects, however, the 914 South Asians were eventually
allowed to land. See Japanese Consul General to the Governor General, September 8, 1907,
RG 25, vol. 1003, 11213, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa (hereafter LAC); Mayor of
Vancouver to Laurier, September 14, 1907, Papers of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, MG 26G, vol. 477,
microfilm reel C852, frame 129142, LAC; and Jensen, Passage from India, 67.
20. Rossland Miners Union to Laurier, undated, Papers of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, MG 26G,
vol. 441, microfilm reel C841, frame 117578, LAC.
21. Ibid., vol. 476, microfilm reel C851, frame 128730.
22. Oriental Immigration, Victoria Daily Colonist, March 12, 1907, 4.
23. Japanese Arm at Vancouver, New York Times, September 10, 1907, 1. Retaliation
from Chinese and Japanese residents was a very real possibility throughout the violence.
According to Timothy Stanley, the limited amount of violence against Chinese residents
in Vancouver suggests that it was as if there was an invisible line that [rioters] knew they
could not cross without facing immediate and possibly deadly retaliation. Timothy Stanley,
Contesting White Supremacy: School Segregation, Anti-Racism, and the Making of Chinese
Canadians (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2011), 125.
24. Confidential Memorandum for Secretary Metcalf Regarding the Exclusion of Japanese Children from the Public Schools and the Boycotting of Japanese Restaurants in San
Francisco, October 27, 1906, Case 1797/13, National Archives and Records Administration
(NARA), College Park, RG 59,Numerical and minor files of the Department of State, 19061910, RG 59, M862, Reel 189.
25. Sir Wilfrid Laurier to Sir Claude MacDonald, October 11, 1907, FO 371/274, no. 35138,
TNA, PRO.
26. Jensen, Passage from India, 15.
27. L. Edwin Dudley to the Assistant Secretary of State, November 22, 1906, Case 2376,
Numerical and Minor Files of the Department of State, 19061910, RG 59, M862, Reel 238,
Case Nos. 23722386, NARA. Canada had yet to impose any restrictions on South Asian
immigration.
28. William Courtney Bennett to Sir Henry Mortimer Durand, December 3, 1906, FO
371/160, Foreign Office: Political Departments: General Correspondence from 19061966,
United States, 1906, no. 43045, TNA, PRO.
29. James Bryce to Sir Edward Grey, September 21, 1907, FO 371/360, Foreign Office:
Political Departments: General Correspondence from 19061966, United States, 1907, no.
30029, TNA, PRO.
30. Mr. McInnes to Mr. Oliver, October 2, 1907, FO 371/274, Foreign Office: Political Departments: General Correspondence from 19061966, Japan, 1907, no. 39250, 8, TNA, PRO.
31. Governor General to His Majestys Consul, Honolulu, to Governor General of Hong
Kong, and to Viceroy of India, January 13, 1908, RG 25, vol. 1003, 200, LAC. The vast majority

The 1907 Anti-Asian Riots and the Spatial Dimensions of Race and Migration 139
of South Asian immigrants arrived in Canada via Hong Kong; see Norman Buchignan and
Doreen M. Indra, with Ram Srivastava, Continuous Journey: A Social History of South Asians
in Canada (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Ltd., 1985), 23. For the Earl of Mintos response,
see Viceroy of India to the Governor General, January 25, 1908, RG 25, vol. 1003, 21011, LAC.
32. Hawkins, Critical Years in Immigration, 17.
33. Report by W. L. King on Mission to England to Confer with the British Authorities on
the Subject of Immigration to Canada from the Orient and Immigration from India in Particular, May 4, 1908, RG 25, vol. 1004, 710, LAC. King also authored the Canadian governments official report on the riots, documenting the damage wrought upon Japanese homes
and businesses. Report of W. L. Mackenzie King, C. M. G., Commissioner, Appointed to Inquire
into the Losses and Damages Sustained by the Japanese Population in the City of Vancouver
in the Province of British Columbia, on the Occasion of Riots in that City in September, 1907
(Ottawa: Kings Printer, 1908).
34. James Bryce to Alvey Adee, September 12, 1907, FO 371/274, no. 32090, TNA, PRO.
35. Elihu Root to James Bryce, September 24, 1907, Case 8497, RG 59, M862, Reel 612,
NARA.
36. Under Secretary of State, India Office, to Under Secretary of State, Foreign Office, February 7, 1908, and Under Secretary of State, Foreign Office, to Under Secretary of State, India
Office, February 25, 1908, FO 371/565, Foreign Office: Political Departments: General Correspondence from 19061966, United States, 1908, no. 4453, TNA, PRO. The United States
finally prohibited South Asian immigration in 1917, when the country created a barred
Asiatic zone that stretched from Afghanistan to the Pacific, excepting Japan and the Philippines. Ngai, Impossible Subjects, 37.
37. Bryce Sure to Act on Hindu Expulsion, New York Times, September 7, 1907, 2.
38. Japanese Consul General to the Governor General, September 8, 1907; Secretary of
State for the Colonies to the Governor General, September 11, 1907, RG 25, vol. 1003, 10910,
LAC.
39. MacDonald to Sir Edward Grey, November 15, 1907, FO 371/274, Foreign Office: Political Departments: General Correspondence from 19061966, Japan, 1907, no. 37718, TNA,
PRO. At the same time, the Canadian government also dispatched the deputy minister of
labor (and future prime minister), William Lyon Mackenzie King, to British Columbia to
investigate the methods by which Asian immigrants were induced to make the journey to
Canada. Extract from a Report of the Committee of the Privy Council, November 5, 1907,
RG 25, vol. 1003, 126, LAC. John Price points out that after the Laurier government attempted
to promote Japanese-Canadian trade and diplomatic relations before 1907, the riots finally
hardened its commitment to immigration control. John Price, Orienting Canada: Race, Empire, and the Transpacific (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2011), 20.
40. Ibid., 20.
41. Ibid., 2122. Hayashi also imposed prohibitive registration fees on Japanese emigration companies.
42. Governor General to His Majestys Ambassador at Tokio, January 14, 1908. LAC, RG
25, Volume 1003, 148, 201.

140 David C. Atkinson


43. Frances Huntington Wilson to Elihu Root, October 12, 1907, Case 2542/170174, RG
59, M862, Reel 254, Case Nos. 2542/1002542/325, TNA.
44. Theodore Roosevelt to Elihu Root, November 19, 1907, Case 2542/175, RG 59, M862,
Reel 254, Case Nos. 2542/1002542/325, TNA.
45. Lemieux Report, January 12, 1908, RG 25, vol. 727, file 83, Part 1a, 19, LAC.
46. Sir C. MacDonald to Foreign Office, March 11, 1908, FO 371/473, 386, TNA, PRO.
47. William Lyon Mackenzie King report on meeting with President Roosevelt, undated,
FO 371/471, Foreign Office: Political Departments: General Correspondence from 1906
1966, Japan, 1908, [no file number], 2/217, TNA, PRO.
48. For a discussion of the distinction between settler and immigrant, see James Belich,
Replenishing the Earth: The Settler Revolution and the Rise of the Anglo-World, 17831939
(New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), 14576.

6
Bridging the Pacific
Diplomacy and the Control of Japanese
Transmigration via Hawaii, 18901910
Yukari Takai

In July 1907, the Daily Province, Vancouvers local newspaper, reported the
arrival from Hawaii of over 1,000 Japanese on board the British steamship Kumeric. The reports sensationalized the landing of 1,177 and 1,190 little brown
men on two separate ships in the second half of July, describing them as covering the deck of the steam from stem to stern like a swarm of ants. The ships
brought a record-breaking number of Japanese migrants from Honolulu to
Vancouver, British Columbia. Many of these workers would later make their
way to the United States. The paper carried several striking black-and-white
photographs of Japanese migrants. One of the photos showed the entire body
of the 6,232-ton vessel. Two other photos presented Japanese passengers on
board, mostly young men. Yet another depicted a Japanese woman in a kimono
posing on the deck. This provocative coverage of the Japanese arrivals showed
but the tip of the iceberg of large- and small-scale movements of issei (firstgeneration Japanese) laborers via Hawaii to the west coast of North America.
The step migration, or what one may call transmigration,1 of Japanese workers
began to shape the Pacific world and the Canada-U.S. borderlands in the 1890s.
This human movement was propelled further by the annexation of Hawaii in
1898, which made the islands part of U.S. territory and allowed immigrants on
the islands to move to the continental United States.
The migration of Hawaiian Japanese posed a direct threat to the sense of
stability of race relations on the Pacific coast of the United States and Canada,
and it shook the sense of equilibrium in labor market conditions on the Hawaiian Islands. In addition, it heightened tensions in the international relations
between Japan, Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom.2 However,
the oft-examined questions of white settlers racism and xenophobia within the

142 Yukari Takai

confines of Vancouver, Victoria, or U.S. cities and towns on the North American west coast are not the focus of this study. Instead, this chapter sheds light
on tens of thousands of tenk imin (Japanese transmigrants), as they were described by Japanese diplomats and in the immigrant press, who left their island
nation in the 1890s and the 1900s bound for Hawaii and after a period ranging
from a few days to several years left again for Seattle, San Francisco, and, increasingly after 1907, for Vancouver or Victoria.3 I argue that Hawaii emerged
as a crucial nodal point for Japanese transmigrants, a space that connected
their island nation to the North American west and to the Pacific borderlands
of the United States and Canada. The annexation of Hawaii further transformed the islands into an ocean-bound borderland of the U.S. empire that was
firmly connected to the Canadian and U.S. coasts. The growing importance of
Hawaii as a borderland becomes apparent when one looks at the multiple human links that intensified among Japanese migrant workers, their families and
friends, and government officials, be they American, Canadian or Japanese,
despite (or perhaps because of) the rising tension of racialized and class-based
exclusion and discrimination.
Two hitherto little-studied groups of Japanese were central to the transmigration of issei laborers from Japan to Hawaii and to the Pacific coasts of
Canada and the United States. First, Japanese diplomats in Honolulu, San
Francisco, and Vancouver struggled to enforce Japanese emigration laws and
regulations, often in vain, in an attempt to control the frequent transmigration of Japanese. Second, proprietors and keepers of Japanese-owned inns,
hotels, and boarding houses in Honolulu played crucial roles in promoting
Japanese transmigration in the face of increasingly tight state control by Japan,
the United States, and Canada. I emphasize the importance of these two groups
and the tensions that flared between them.4 In this chapter, I take a closer look
at the first group, Japanese diplomats in Honolulu and elsewhere who strove
to halt the transmigration of Japans imperial subjects. These diplomats would
likely have been surprised to be portrayed in this way, but their role can be
viewed as that of middlemen, albeit as a restricting force, whose attempts persistently failed, at least until 1907, when President Roosevelts executive order
banned the transmigration of Japanese.5

From Japan to Hawaii and to the Continent


Sugar had been at the heart of the islands economic and political power since
the mid-1840s. The American Civil War (18601865), the Treaty of Reciproc-

Diplomacy and the Control of Japanese Transmigration via Hawaii, 18901910 143

ity between Hawaii and the United States (1876), and the U.S. annexation of
Hawaii (1898) all boosted sugar culture on the islands and heightened the
place of Hawaiian sugar in global markets, including the United States and,
after annexation, in U.S. domestic markets. The growth of the Hawaiian sugar
industry was marked by a rapid and sustained upward swing in the number
of planters, cane acreage, and the amount of sugar exported.6 Honolulu-based
merchants called the Big Five, many of whom were descendants of missionaries from the northeastern United States, formed an island oligarchy, and together, they controlled 75 percent of all sugar production in Hawaii in 1910
and 96 percent in 1933.
Hawaiis King sugar7 was always dependent on foreign labor. With an
ample supply of capital within the islands and the ever-hungry market in the
continental United States and, to a lesser extent, Australia, New Zealand, and
British Columbia, what the Hawaiian sugar planters needed most was a ready
supply of cheap laborers.8 Pacific Islanders and a greater number of Chinese
were the first non-Hawaiians to be brought to the islands to work on the sugar
plantations in the first half of the nineteenth century. In the mid-1860s, backed
by the Big Five, sugar planters convinced the Hawaiian king to send a series
of envoys to Japan to press the Tokugawa shogunate to allow its subjects to
leave for Hawaii as labor migrants. Japanese laborers were a preferred group
because of their perceived racial resemblance to Hawaiians who, the king believed, would help increase, through assimilation and intermarriage, the demographic weight and political power of the native population against the foreign white populations. In 1884, the Japanese imperial government approved
contract labor migration to Hawaiian sugar plantations. The following year, the
first contingent of 945 government-contracted immigrants arrived in Hawaii.
They made up a form of indentured labor that was sanctioned by the Japanese
government and Hawaiian plantation owners.
Kanyaku imin, or government-sponsored migrants, were bound to work
for three years on the islands sugar plantations. In 1888, the first arrivals of
government-sponsored migrants completed the terms of their contracts.9 As
they became free, these laborers had three choices: they could stay in Hawaii,
return to Japan, or move on to the continental United States. Initially, a small
number of Japanese laborers left for the continent. In 1896, two years after
the end of the kanyaku imin system and the beginning of the new regime of
emigration under which private emigration companies assumed control of the
business, only 3 percent (or 877 out of 29,131) of government-sponsored immigrant workers in Hawaii left for the continental United States. By 1902 the

144 Yukari Takai

number of Japanese departures from Hawaii had begun to shoot up. In 1902,
1,381 men and women departed the islands and by 1906, more than 10,000
Hawaiian-Japanese laborers left the islands annually for the continent. At the
height of this human movement, from 1902 to 1907, almost 40,000 Japanese
left for the mainland. In 1906 alone, the peak year of Japanese migration from
Hawaii to the continental United States, over 17,000 Japanese laborers left the
Hawaiian Islands for the continent.10
The significant increase of departures among Hawaiian Japanese was partly
a response to labor demand in specific industries such as railroad maintenance,
orchards, and mining on the mainland, demand that was heightened by the
Japanese governments ban on labor immigration to the continental United
States and Canada in August 1900. Moreover, the annexation of Hawaii to
the United States extended this migration from the islands to the continental
United States. While annexation was a mixed blessing for Asians in Hawaii, it
benefited 17,000 Japanese laborers, like their Chinese counterparts, who until then had worked under contracts that allowed the planters to treat them
in ways somewhat comparable to slavery.11 They became so-called free workers after the annexation because the U.S. Alien Contract Labor Law of 1885
(Foran Act) banned the use of contract laborers. Most importantly, after the
annexation, Japanese who had been admitted to Hawaii were free to move
to the continent because such a move was now a matter of relocation within
U.S. boundaries. This meant that migrants seeking to move to the continental
United States no longer needed a new visa and they were not required to undergo a medical examination in quarantine.
While the Japanese benefited from the U.S. annexation of the islands, the
same act ended the immigration of Chinese laborers because the Chinese Exclusion Law of 1882 now applied to Hawaii.12 Plantation owners, in search of
workers as replacements for Chinese laborers, convinced the Hawaiian government to turn to immigration from Japan. It was in light of this labor shortage
that the island government struck a well-organized scheme of labor migration with the Japanese government in the mid-1880s.13
Japanese labor migration to Hawaii was part of a larger phenomenon that
included workers from Korea, the Philippines, Portugal, Morocco, and Russia,
all of whom provided much-needed labor on Hawaiian sugar plantations.14 In
cane fields and sugar mills, they were assigned different tasks and were paid
under differential wage scales based on race, nationality, and gender. In such
ways, their work and their very presence in Hawaii shored up the system of
exploitation in the sugar economy until multinational strikes in 1920 began to

Diplomacy and the Control of Japanese Transmigration via Hawaii, 18901910 145

shake the hold of the racial hierarchical system. In the following decade, the
ascendance of Cuban sugar in the U.S. market further accelerated the downfall
of the Hawaiian sugar industry.
In the first decade of the twentieth century, the number of Japanese migrants in transit in Hawaii and short-term Japanese residents on the islands increased sharply.15 Figures vary, but according to the Japanese government, the
proportion of transients (without defining the length of their stay in Honolulu
and elsewhere in Hawaii) was estimated at 25 to 50 percent of new arrivals in
1905.16 The consul general in Honolulu, Sait Miki, was reluctant to recognize
this increase at first, stating that a great majority of tenk imin (Japanese
migrants who left for the North American destinations after various lengths of
stay in Hawaii) had in effect lived and worked on the islands for two to three
years and that only a minority were recent arrivals to the islands.17 His reluctance perhaps reflected his unwillingness to acknowledge, at least publicly, the
incapacity of his office and, by extension, the Japanese Ministry of Foreign
Affairs in Tokyo to control the onward migration of Japanese laborers to the
continental United States and Canada. Indeed, the tens of thousands of Japanese men and women who passed through Hawaii for continental destinations
violated the regulations of the imperial government of Japan, which had issued
passports only for Hawaii.
In 1906, the change was undeniable. In February of that year, among the
almost 500 Japanese who disembarked at Honolulu, only fifteen were reported
to have proceeded to the sugar plantations on the various islands of Hawaii.
All others, estimated at 480 individuals, chose to stay in Honolulu for a while
before boarding a transpacific steamer for continental destinations. Among the
new arrivals, some looked for jobs as domestic servants for white or Japanese
families in the city and others simply stayed in Honolulu with their relatives or
friends or at Japanese hotels while they prepared for their next journey to San
Francisco, Seattle, Vancouver, or Victoria. Many Japanese who had accepted
work on plantations quit their jobs as soon as they had saved enough money
for travel across the Pacific from Hawaii to North America.18 The Honolulu
consul rightly expected a further increase in the number of Japanese departures through Honolulu in the following months, considering that February
was only the beginning of a high season for labor demand for agricultural
work on the west coast of the North American mainland.19 During the twelve
months from January to December 1907, the number of departures shot up. As
a result, Japanese net immigration to Hawaii plunged to a little over 1,600, one
of the lowest levels since this migration began.20

146 Yukari Takai

Hawaii underwent a radical transformation between 1890 and 1907. It


ceased to be the primary destination of Japanese laborers and instead it became
a temporary stopover for a longer transpacific voyage to North America. As
Kornel Chang argues, the intricate link between transpacific and cross-border
migrations proved to be a lifeline for expanding industries in the U.S. Pacific
Northwest and the Canadian West. The movement also buttressed Hawaiis
place in the interlocking labor markets of the expanding U.S. territory at the
turn of the twentieth century.21 For Japanese on the move, Hawaii was important in two ways: first, it represented an in-between space that linked Japan to
the continental United States and Canada; second, after 1898 it was a clearly
marked U.S. territory, which made up what one may call an ocean-bound borderland of the U.S. empire. In this way, the spatial transformation shaping Japanese migration to, through, and from Hawaii in the late 1890s and the 1900s
turned the Pacific islands into an intersection of multiple currents of Japanese
migration. Hawaii emerged as a crucial hub on the Pacific connecting the villages and towns of issei laborers in Japan not only to the United States but also
across the Canada-U.S. border and to an outpost of the British Empire in North
America.

Entangled Diplomacy and the Rise of Immigration Control


Japanese transmigration via Hawaii rang alarm bells among Japanese diplomats abroad and in their home country. In late December 1906, the acting secretary of the Honolulu general consulate, Matsubara Kazuo, alerted Tokyo that
nearly all recent Japanese arrivals at the port of Honolulu had left Japan with
the intention of going to the continental United States. As soon as they landed,
many would leave for their final destinations on the mainland. Others, having
agreed to work on the plantations, would travel to a sugar field not too far from
the city of Honolulu to earn enough money to pay for a steamship ticket to the
continent. Furthermore, Matsubara wrote, since many new arrivals were of
the age of conscription, Hawaii provided a convenient escape from mandatory military service in their home country. In all cases, Matsubara concluded,
Japanese migrants were using the Hawaiian Islands as a steppingstone to their
final destination in North America.22
Japanese diplomats blamed hotelkeepers in Honolulu and San Francisco
for what they saw as the vicious pattern of Japanese migration. Few recent
arrivals decided on their own to move to the continent, diplomats suspected.
Instead, they believed that together with recruiters of Japanese laborers in Ja-

Diplomacy and the Control of Japanese Transmigration via Hawaii, 18901910 147

pan and labor agents sent by contractors in the continental United States, the
proprietors of the Japanese hotels in Honolulu were encouraging the traveling
mania,23 or tenk netsu, among the Japanese in Hawaii. Recruiters and hotel
owners were paid a commission for each migrant bound for the continental
United States or Canada. According to the Honolulu consul, labor recruiters
from the mainland or trusted agents on the islands wandered from [one]
plantation to another on each island touting the high wages on the mainland and enticing single men, who were greedy but without much savings,
to leave the islands for the continent. These recruiters targeted debt-ridden
Japanese workers who had lost money in gambling and found it difficult to
stay on the islands.24
In March 1907, Japanese migration to the mainland United States via Hawaii
came to a sudden end, at least officially, largely as a result of the mounting
racial discontent, which raged particularly strong in California, Oregon, and
Washington. In this year, President Roosevelts Executive Order 589 banned
the admission of Japanese (and other foreigners) to the United States via
Hawaii, Mexico, or Canada. Roosevelts intention was to quell the diplomatic
conflicts over the issue of the segregation of Japanese, Chinese, and Korean
pupils in oriental schools in San Francisco.25 Even more importantly, in 1907
and 1908, the Gentlemens Agreement between the United States and Japan
made labor migration to the continental United States illegal, sealing further
this type of migration. After this point, only a trickle of Japanese people succeeded at entering the United States directly from Japan, and those who did
came as immediate family members, returnees, or non-immigrants, that is,
students and businessmen, among others, rather than as labor migrants.
One cannot overemphasize the resemblances in U.S. and Canadian laws
and regulations that sought to exclude Japanese labor migration. In 1908, just
a few months after the establishment of the United States-Japan Gentlemens
Agreement, Canada signed its version of the Gentlemens Agreement with Japan, which set an annual quota of 400 Japanese labor migrants. In the same
year, the Canadian government announced the continuous journey regulation.26 The continuous journey regulation banned the entry of immigrants to
Canada who had not arrived directly from their country of birth or citizenship. These changes suggest that Canada made common cause with the United
States and communicated with policy makers in that country.27 Like the U.S.
executive order that stopped the transmigration of Japanese to the continental
United States, the Canadian clause put an end to Japanese transmigration from
Hawaii to Vancouver or Victoria.28 These diplomatic negotiations and bilateral

148 Yukari Takai

agreements highlight one way that Japanese migration entangled the migration
histories of Canada and the United States.
What underpinned the parallel development of exclusionary regimes on
both sides of the border was the fear of the yellow peril and the increasing xenophobia throughout white settler societies, such as the United States, Canada,
Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.29 Compared to its two northern
neighbors, Mexico was late in developing anti-Asian legislation, although it
was certainly not immune to the spread of strong anti-Asian feelings.30 In the
spring and early fall of 1907, violent expressions of white racism erupted along
the Pacific coast of Canada and the United States. In San Francisco, Bellingham, and Vancouver, white residents began to target Asian workers, merchants,
fishermen, and settlers. Emboldened by these expressions of public sentiment,
local politicians pushed for stepped-up regimes of immigration control and
exclusion in both countries.31 Fear of Asian migrants drew Canada and the
United States closer through their enforcement of legal measures against all
those perceived as dangerous foreigners.
The new regime of immigration control instituted by the United States and,
eleven months later, by Canada enraged Hawaiian Japanese whose mobility
was sacrificed for the sake of the rising Japanese Empire. They understood
that Japan had acquiesced to the pressure from the U.S. and Canadian governments and had prioritized maintaining friendly relations with the United
States, Canada, and the United Kingdom over attending to the welfare of individual migrants on the islands. The priority the Meiji state placed on avoiding
any national disgrace from exclusionary laws similar to those that China, a
less powerful country, had suffered in the Pacific world came at the cost of the
protection of the rights of subjects abroad.
However, Japanese migrants were far from being simply objects of state control. Issei laborers quickly learned to adapt to the U.S. bans and devised new
entry routes into the United States. These workers had learned from hotelkeepers, steamship crews, or friends and family members that once they landed in
Canada, it was an easy matter for them to cross the land border to the south
on foot, by train, or by boat.32 Thus, from 1907 until late in 1908, when the Canadian route was closed by Canadas restrictive agreement with Japan, laborers
who deserted the plantations on the Hawaiian Islands migrated to Vancouver
and Victoria instead of San Francisco and Seattle. The departure from Hawaii
of seasoned Japanese laborers and their newly arrived countrymen exacerbated
the labor shortage on plantations. As more Japanese arrived on the Canadian
Pacific coast, the racial climate also deteriorated. The heightened racial tension

Diplomacy and the Control of Japanese Transmigration via Hawaii, 18901910 149

burst into riots in Vancouver in September 1907, when whites raged against the
citys Chinese and Japanese inhabitants.

Seeking Sovereign Control: Japanese Diplomats Respond


A number of factors propelled Japanese migration from Hawaii to North
America. This included the promise of higher wages, abundant jobs, and the
Japanese governments emigration policies, which distinguished Hawaii from
the continental United States and Canada. Destinations along the Pacific coast
such as San Francisco, Seattle, and, increasingly after March 1907, Vancouver
and Victoria were attractive gateway cities for Hawaiian-bound Japanese and
those already living and working on the islands because the North American
mainland offered higher wages than the sugarcane wages that sugar planters
and mill owners offered to workers in Hawaii. In addition, immigrant workers were told that jobs were more abundant and diverse on the mainland. In
1902, a Hawaiian plantation worker earned sixty-two U.S. cents a day, while a
railroad construction worker in Montana or Nevada was paid up to one dollar and fifty cents per day, two and a half times more than the Hawaiian sugar
workers average earnings. In 1908, the daily wage of a sugar plantation worker
in Hawaii rose to an average of sixty-eight cents, while his compatriot working on a strawberry, onion, or celery field in California earned one dollar and
sixty cents, or 2.4 times more.33 That is why Komoto Nobuji, seventeen years
old and from Hiroshima Prefecture, left Hawaii for Seattle. He had come to
Hawaii in April 1904 and worked in the sugar cane fields at Ewa on Oahu Island. He left for San Francisco in 1905 and later moved on to Seattle. Another
Hiroshima emigrant, Nishimoto Otoichi, tended the sugar fields in Maui ten
hours a day, six days a week, without resting even for one hour. Yet he was paid
only sixteen dollars per month. In addition, he was charged seven dollars for
meals and other fees for bathing and haircuts. Eventually, Nishimoto, too, left
the island for Seattle. Had he stayed on Maui, he later recounted, he would only
have fallen deeper into debt.34
Behind the huge wage differentials was a strong demand for workers throughout the North American west. By far the highest was the demand for field hands
in orchards and vegetable and vine fields that had emerged as Americas factories in the field35 along the Pacific coast, inland, and in the southwestern
states. Mountain states such as Montana, Nevada, and Utah and the Canadian
provinces of British Columbia and Alberta also needed workers as section
hands to maintain the Northern Pacific, Great Northern, and Canadian Pacific

150 Yukari Takai

railroad lines. The implementation of the U.S. Chinese Exclusion Act and its
series of amendments and Canadian head taxes that either stopped or slowed
the first wave of inexpensive labor from Asia exacerbated this labor shortage.
On a smaller scale, sawmills in Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia;
coal and copper mines in Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, and British Columbia;
salmon canneries in Alaska, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia; and
the fishing industry in British Columbia and Washington all needed the labor
Japanese workers could supply.36 The labor shortage across the North American west led to a series of wage hikes in these industrial and agricultural sectors
that proved highly attractive to Japanese plantation workers in Hawaii.
Another important factor enticing Japanese migrants was the distinct emigration policies that Tokyo imposed on migrants bound for Hawaii on the one
hand and migrants bound for the continental United States and Canada on
the other. In June 1902, Tokyo lifted its two-year ban on labor migration to the
continental United States and Canada, allowing Japanese citizens, including
laborers who had previously lived in the United States, to return to that country.37 At the same time, the Japanese imperial government banned the issuance
of passports to emigrants except for a small number of former residents, wives,
and family members of U.S. residents. This made it impossible for the majority to obtain passports to travel to the continental United States or Canada.
Consequently, many turned to illegal means. Some falsely posed as students
or businessmen, two categories that were exempted from the ban. Many others chose to leave Japan for Hawaii. The differential emigration policies of the
Japanese government stemmed partly from its apprehension of and willingness
to accommodate the plantation owners demand for cheap and efficient labor
from Japan. It also reflected Japanese policy makers desire to use Hawaii as
an outlet for what they saw as the problem of the countrys overpopulation,
despite the racism and racialized hierarchies that stratified the islands labor
market.38 As a result, labor migration to Hawaii remained strong. Approximately 127,000 Japanese laborers left for Hawaii from 1894 to 1908 whereas
only 30,000 left directly for the continental United States.39
The legal regimes of in-and out-migration changed once again in 1907 and
1908, when both the United States and Canada implemented racially discriminatory immigration laws. However, as discussed earlier, a time gap between
the U.S. and Canadian regulations (that is, the issuance of President Roosevelts
Executive Order in 1907 and the U.S.-Japan Gentlemens Agreement in late
1907 and early 1908 on the one hand, and Canadas stipulation of the continuous journey clause in late 1908 on the other hand) left a temporary loophole.

Diplomacy and the Control of Japanese Transmigration via Hawaii, 18901910

The pace at which the recent arrivals were deserting the Hawaiian Islands
deeply troubled Japanese diplomats, for they were concerned that the continuation of Hawaiian Japanese migration to the mainland would aggravate
anti-Japanese sentiment on the west coast, especially in the months leading
up to state and municipal elections in the fall of 1902. Perhaps no one felt a
greater urgency to stop this human current than Honolulu consular general
Sait and interim consular secretary Matsubara. They saw first-hand the consequences of the massive departure of seasoned and recent Japanese arrivals
from Oahu, Kauai, and other outer islands for the labor market on the continent. However, diplomats on the west coast of the continent and in Honolulu
did not agree about strategies for slowing down, if not halting completely,
the problem of transmigration. San Francisco consul-general Ueno Kisabur
pressed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tokyo to heighten measures across
the board to ban any such migration.40 He pleaded repeatedly with Minister
Komura Jutar to disallow the transmigration of Hawaiian Japanese laborers
to San Francisco. However, this request meant little to the Tokyo office or the
Hawaiian consulate, for neither had much control over the departure of Japanese from Hawaii.41 Ultimately, he urged Tokyo to completely ban Japanese
emigration, including to Hawaii, at least until the issue became less controversial.42
Sait saw that Japanese transmigration from the Hawaiian Islands was propelled by the shortage of labor in the orchards and railroads on the mainland.43 He blamed the Japanese government for imposing a temporary ban on
migration from Japan to the continental United States and Canada in August
1900 while still allowing migration to Hawaii. In his view, differential policies
such as this only served to intensify the labor shortage on the continent. His
proposed solution, therefore, not only diverged from the solutions his counterparts on the continent were urging but also marked a clear break from the
imperial governments history of exit control, which had been characterized
by restriction and prohibition. Sait asked that the ban on continental migration be lifted and that a far greater number be allowed to go to the continental
United States. In this way, Sait reasoned, they would fill the labor demand on
the mainland and thereby put an end to continental employers need for Japanese laborers from Hawaii.44 However, Tokyo did not heed Saits reasoning or
solution. Instead, it advised local authorities of the leading prefectures of origin
of Japanese immigrants, including premiers of the prefectures and directors of
the prefectural police, to make the criteria of selection for issuing passports
more stringent and to apply them with greater caution so that authorities could

151

152 Yukari Takai

flag and subsequently reject requests from would-be transmigrants to the continental United States and Canada.45
In an effort to slow the tide of migration out of Hawaii, Sait also addressed
immigrant workers directly. He told them that continental destinations were
not as advantageous an option as the much-touted wage differentials suggested. According to the statistics he presented, an orchard worker in California worked on average 210 days a year, which amounted to just 17.5 days
per month. In contrast, a plantation laborer in Hawaii worked all year round,
which made their yearly earnings on par with those of their compatriots in
California. Moreover, a departing laborer from Hawaii had to pay thirty dollars for steamship transportation and five dollars for brokerage fees.46 All
things considered, the Japanese consul openly doubted the advantages of work
incentives on the continent and opposed the act of transmigration. However,
such dissuasion bore little fruit, and ship after ship of issei laborers continued
to leave the islands.47
Sait and his consulate staff also strove to discourage Japanese hotel proprietors, whom they saw as key culprits in the issue, from further inciting outward
migration from the Hawaiian Islands. In spring 1903, Sait convened a meeting with the Japanese Hotel Association in Honolulu and strongly encouraged
hotel proprietors to help stop the Japanese migration out of the islands.48 He
called on them to refrain from the practices of selling steamship tickets to outbound migrant laborers and helping them find jobs on the continent. After
the meeting, according to the consular report, all Japanese hotel owners officially consented to the consuls requests. Yet this attempt, like many others,
also failed; after that meeting recent arrivals to Honolulu avoided staying at
Japanese hotels. Instead, following the advice from Japanese inns, they went to
work outside Honolulu or found work in or around the city while waiting for
the next ship to leave for the continent. In some instances, Japanese arrivals
would even board sailboats that would smuggle them to an outer island, from
where they would begin a steamship voyage to North America.
Ultimately, all the attempts of the Japanese diplomats were ineffective. This
was because once Japanese migrants reached Hawaii, they left the jurisdiction of their native country, and the Japanese government could not contain
the migration of its subjects.49 As Mackenzie King, then the Canadian deputy
minister of labor and later the longest serving prime minister, observed, the
transpacific passage of Japanese migrants from Hawaii to the North American continent defied the administrative power of their home government. The

Diplomacy and the Control of Japanese Transmigration via Hawaii, 18901910 153

desire of the Japanese imperial government to exercise exit control over its
citizens worked as long as these people remained in Japanese territory. But the
idea that the Japanese government could control issei migration from Hawaii
to North America simply proved to be delusional.
By the fall of 1906, Sait had to admit that migration fever had reached such
a level among Hawaiian Japanese that any further attempts by the consulate
to quell the tide would fail. He hoped that one-third of new arrivals from Japan would take up employment on plantations, but even this hope was overly
optimistic.50 As he saw it, the reasons Japanese were leaving Hawaii were the
insatiable demand for labor of continental employers, the higher wages they
offered, and the indispensable help Japanese hotels in Honolulu provided in
securing passage to continental destinations.51 Seeing the ineffectiveness of his
efforts, Sait concluded that Japanese immigrant laborers should be allowed
to leave for the destinations where they were welcome. Canada and Mexico
were among such destinations, according to him, but not the United States after
the imposition of Roosevelts executive order in 1907. Ultimately, he predicted
Canada and Mexico were unlikely to become preferred destinations for Japanese workers, and consequently there was little reason for the Japanese government to be concerned about white nativist fears about an imminent invasion.
However, a growing number of Japanese transmigrants sought entry into the
United States from Canada or Mexico, proving Saits optimism to be erroneous.
Plantation owners sought remedies for the problem of labor shortages by
turning to the importation of a greater number of workers from Puerto Rico,
Morocco, Korea, and Portugal.52 Yet these attempts were only a temporary
solution, for many among the newly hired became transients themselves,
just like the Japanese whom they were hired to replace. Chinese workers
would have offered another solution to the labor shortage problem, but the
U.S. Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 made it illegal for Hawaiian planters to
import Chinese laborers after the annexation of Hawaii in 1898. The only
exception were Portuguese, many from Madeira, who appeared to show a
greater interest in permanent settlement in Hawaii. This is not surprising
when one considers that many were hired as lunas, or plantation overseers,
who roamed the sugar fields on horseback with a whip in hand and yelled at,
beat, or simply fired Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Korean, and Puerto Rican
field workers at the first sight of what the lunas considered laziness. Moreover, as white workers who occupied higher echelons of the plantation hierarchy, they were granted a far more trusted status, were paid higher wages,

154 Yukari Takai

and received housing that was far more comfortable than the shacks and
camps where Japanese and other workers lived.53
In an effort to promote the hiring of Japanese on plantations, Japanese diplomats distinguished three factors that offset the advantages offered by laborers from Portugal and other countries. First, it was more expensive to import
Portuguese workers because of the distance they had to travel. Second, planters
were required to pay Portuguese workers higher wages compared to Japanese
workers. Third, many Japanese elites had racist and pejorative views of Puerto
Rican, Korean, and Moroccan workers, casting them as dull, lazy and inefficient54 workers who lacked a good reputation. The Japanese consulate corps
concluded that Japanese workers remained the best option for Hawaiian planters. Thus, something had to be done to keep them on the islands.
Deeply disturbed by the lack of control that his office and the Foreign Ministry in Tokyo were able to exert, the Honolulu consul publicly denounced the
immigrant inns and hotels in the city as the main culprits of the evil practice
of Japanese transmigration to the North American continent.55 The sense of
urgency that the labor problem provoked among the sugar planters and their
observation of how effective Hawaiian hotelkeepers had become in recruiting
Japanese workers for work on the continent paralleled a growing sense of powerlessness and irritation on the part of the Honolulu consul. Sait predicted
with a grain of irony that it would not be long before the Japanese Hotel Keepers Association in Honolulu would set up a branch office in Japan in order to
engage in direct recruitment of Japanese farmers from Japan for the plantations
in Hawaii. The Honolulu consul generals prediction was a great exaggeration,
even considering the hotelkeepers capacity, their various connections, and the
profit generated by their activities to recruit issei laborers to the islands first
and then ship them to the continent. However, Sait clearly overstated when
he concluded that Japanese migration to Hawaii would become the sole enterprise of the Honolulu Japanese Hotel Keepers Association.56

Conclusion
This chapter highlights the context in which Hawaii emerged as an important nodal point for Japanese migration across the Pacific and across the Canada-U.S. border at the turn of the twentieth century. Underlying the Japanese
transmigration were new regimes of immigration and emigration control at a
time when growing networks of global capitalism and heightened imperialism
magnified the strong demand for labor and the effect of differential wages on

Diplomacy and the Control of Japanese Transmigration via Hawaii, 18901910 155

the Hawaiian Islands and in continental destinations. Japanese transmigration


also hinged on the often-conflicting interests of Japanese migrants, diplomats,
and hoteliers and innkeepers. Surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, the Japanese
men and women who migrated to Hawaii transformed the Pacific islands into
an ocean-bound borderland that connected Japanese villages and cities to the
expanding U.S. empire, a western outpost of the British Empire (Canada), and
the U.S.-Canadian borderlands.
The transpacific and translocal perspectives engaged in this chapter also
elucidate the multiple human links that emerged from the movement of issei workers from Hawaii to the continental United States and Canada. These
perspectives shed light on Japanese immigrants interactions with state regulators such as diplomats, immigration inspectors, and Japanese hoteliers and
innkeepers. Importantly, the United States and Canada were not alone in seeking to limit the transpacific mobility of Japanese laborers from Hawaii to the
continent through state regulation, and the Japanese government also struggled to harness the mobility of its imperial subjects and direct them to specific
geographic destinations. Yet the efforts of Japanese diplomats in Honolulu,
San Francisco, Seattle, and Vancouver to control the movement of Japanese
labor migrants out of the Hawaiian Islands ultimately failed because it meant
exercising sovereign power well beyond the jurisdiction of their imperial government. The letters, telegraphs, and reports the diplomats produced, just like
the contracts and recruitment efforts of innkeepers, demonstrate how deeply
transmigration connected Japan to continental North America and how intricately it entangled Hawaii in a Pacific world within which people (Japanese
and other immigrants), ideas (Asian exclusion), products (sugar), and capital
moved in many directions.
Finally, Japanese transmigration by way of Hawaii sheds light on the halfa-century-old criticism of the American-centred view of migration, as historian Frank Thistlethwaite once called it, and the myth of the immigration
paradigm that historian Donna Gabaccia critically identifies.57 A close look
at Japanese transmigration offers a lens for understanding the tension among
the agency of migrants, the role of intermediaries, and the influence of state
regulators. Furthermore, it highlights the intersection of diplomacy and emigration/immigration policies. Japanese laborers such as Komoto Nobuji and
Nishimoto Otoichi were among millions of men and women on the move who
crossed borders in the Pacific and the Atlantic Worlds and across the Americas. The extent and frequency of the transnational mobility of these migrants
and the networks of knowledge and contacts they wove attests to the extent to

156 Yukari Takai

which migrants and middlemen were capable of entangling and complicating


the otherwise neatly defined map of North America and the Pacific World that
state officials strove to draw.

Notes
1. Historian Bruno Ramirez uses the term remigrants to describe European migrants
who moved several times in different directions before reaching a final destination. Bruno
Ramirez, Crossing the 49th Parallel: Migration from Canada to the United States, 19001930
(Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2001), 140. However, the term remigrants can also
connote return, and thus it can be confused with return migration. Anthropologists Linda
Basch, Nina Schiller, and Cristina Blanc use the term transmigrants to convey the sense of
multiple relations that encompass borders, be they geographic, cultural, or political. Transmigration, according to their usage, can consist of one or multiple moves. Basch, Schiller,
and Blanc, Nations Unbound: Transnational Projects, Postcolonial Predicaments, and Deterritorialized Nation-States (Langhorne, Pa.: Gordon and Breach, 1994). In this chapter, I use
the term migration (migrants) or transmigration (transmigrants) interchangeably, similar to
the way Bruno Ramirez refers to European remigration and remigrants, to convey the sense
that these people did not necessarily move from point A in one country to point B in another
country and stay there permanently. Rather, many moved more than once in multiple directions. As a result, the itineraries of the Japanese I am studying extend from Japan to Hawaii
to the continental United States to Canada and sometimes beyond.
2. See David Atkinson, Out of One Borderland, Many: The 1907 Anti-Asian Riots and the
Spatial Dimensions of Race and Migration in the Canadian-U.S. Pacific Borderlands, in this
volume; and Patricia Roy, A White Mans Province: British Columbia Politicians and Chinese
and Japanese Immigrants, 18581914 (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1989).
3. Japanese migrants also went to California, Washington state, and British Columbia, but
the overwhelming proportion of transmigrants were bound for Hawaii.
4. Among early exceptions to the general tendency to obliterate the roles of middlemen
of migration, see Alan T. Moriyama, Immingaisha: Japanese Emigration Companies and
Hawaii, 18941908 (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1985); and Yuji Ichioka, The Issei:
The World of the First Generation Japanese Immigrants, 18851924 (New York: Free Press,
1988). For more recent studies, see Michiko Midge Ayukawa, Hiroshima Immigrants in
Canada, 18911941 (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2008), 1222; Yukari
Takai, Asian Migrants, Exclusionary Laws, and Transborder Migration in North America,
18801940, OAH Magazine of History 23 (October 2009): 3542; Yukari Takai, Navigating Transpacific Passages: Steamship Companies, State Regulators, and Transshipment of
Japanese in the Early-Twentieth-Century Pacific Northwest, Journal of American Ethnic
History 30, no. 3 (2011): 734; Lisa Rose Mar, Brokering Belonging: Chinese in Canadas
Exclusion Era, 18851945 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010); and Kornel S. Chang,
Pacific Connections: The Making of the U.S.-Canadian Borderlands (Berkeley: University of
California Press, 2012).

Diplomacy and the Control of Japanese Transmigration via Hawaii, 18901910


5. Eiichiro Azuma asserts that the Japanese and American national hegemonies helped
shape perceptions and social practices in the daily lives of Japanese immigrants. My study
extends his assertion to an analysis of the migration processes of Japanese migrants and the
multiple layers of human ties and institutional networks that complicated, strengthened, or
challenged the power and boundaries of nation-states. Azuma, Between Two Empires: Race,
History, and Transnationalism in Japanese America (New York: Oxford University Press,
2005), 5. See also Sucheng Chan, European and Asian Immigration into the United States
in Comparative Perspective, 1820s to 1920, in Immigration Reconsidered: History, Sociology,
and Politics, ed. Virginia Yans-McLaughlin (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990), 37
75; Erika Lee, Hemispheric Orientalism and the 1907 Pacific Coast Race Riots, Amerasia
Journal 33 no. 2 (2007): 1947; and Erika Lee, Orientalisms in the Americas: A Hemispheric
Approach to Asian American History, Journal of Asian American Studies 8, no. 3 (2005):
23556.
6. Gary Y. Okihiro, Pineapple Culture: A History of the Tropical and Temperate Zones
(Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009), 11316.
7. Merze Tate, The Myth of Hawaiis Swing toward Australasia and Canada, Pacific Historical Review 33, no. 3 (1964): 27393; Okihiro, Pineapple Culture, 11718.
8. Hilary Conroy, The Japanese Frontier in Hawaii, 18681898 (Los Angeles: University of
California Press, 1953), 1617.
9. Hiroshima ken, ed., Hiroshimaken Ijyshi. Tsshi hen (Tokyo: Dai-ichi hki shyppan,
19911993), 135; Kimura Kenji, Kindai nihon imin shi ni okeru kokka to minsh: Imin hogohka no hokubei hondo tenk wo chshinni, Rekishigaku kenky 582 (July 1988): 2332.
10. Available statistics do not show how many of these 40,000 were freshly from Japan and
how many were seasoned Japanese laborers in Hawaii. According to records of the Japanese
ministry of foreign affairs, in the period June 1901 to December 1906, 67,790 Japanese arrived
in Hawaii and 62,750 Japanese left the Hawaiian Islands (either to return to Japan or to go
to the continental United States); Gaimush (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan), Nihon
gaik bunsho: Meiji-40 (1907) vol. 40, pt. 3 (Tokyo: Nihon kokusai reng kykai, 1961), 712.
Statistics also vary: according to U.S. records, about 38,000 laborers migrated in the period
1902 to 1907. Japanese statistics indicate that 31,720 left for the continental United States in
the period from 1902 to 1906. Sait Miki to Komura Jutar, June 22, 1905, and January 24,
1907, microfilm reel 12, Japanese America Research Project (hereafter JARP), Japanese Foreign Ministry Archival Documents, University of California Los Angeles, cited in Ichioka,
Issei, 5152, 6465. See also Kimura, Kindai nihon, 28; Gaimush, Hawai imin beikoku
tok kinshi ikken (On the prohibition on U.S.-bound immigration of Hawaiian immigrants),
3-8-2-168, Diplomatic Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (hereafter DAJ),
Tokyo; Irie Toroji, Hjin kaigai hattenshi (Tokyo: Hara Shobo, 1981), 44850; Hiroshima ken,
Hiroshimaken Ijyshi, 135.
11. Gary Y. Okihiro, Cane Fires: The Anti-Japanese Movement in Hawaii, 18651945 (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1991), 36.
12. The annexation did not create the labor shortage; rather, it exacerbated this longexisting issue as a growing number of Chinese workers shunned the plantations for better

157

158 Yukari Takai


conditions and higher-paying jobs in rice cultivation and other occupations, such as shopkeeping in Honolulu or elsewhere. In 1882, only 5,000 of the 13,500 Chinese on the islands
were working on sugar plantations. From 1882 to 1892, the proportion of Chinese sugar cane
workers dropped from about half of the industrys labor force, or 5,037 individuals, to 12 percent, or 2,617 individuals. Conroy, The Japanese Frontier in Hawaii, 5455; Romanzo Adams,
The Japanese in Hawaii: A Statistical Study Bearing on the Future Number and Voting Strength
and on the Economic and Social Character of the Hawaiian Japanese (New York: National
Committee on American Japanese Relations, 1924), 1415; Andrew W. Lind, Hawaiis People
(Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1967), 75, cited in Okihiro, Cane Fires, 23.
13. Conroy, The Japanese Frontier in Hawaii, 56, 6263
14. Okihiro, Cane Fires, 1518.
15. Kimura, Kindai nihon, 26; Gaimush, Hawai imin beikoku tok kinshi ikken, DAJ.
16. April 26 and September 21 1905, and May 1902July 1913, Gaimush, Hawai imin
beikoku tok kinshi ikken, DAJ; Kimura, Kindai nihon, 28.
17. Sait Miki to Chinda Sutemi, April 2, 1903, Gaimush, Hawai imin beikoku tok kinshi ikken, DAJ.
18. Sait Miki to Hayashi Kaoru, September 20, 1906, in Gaimush, Nihon gaik bunsho
(1906), 295, 296; Sait Miki to Hayashi Kaoru, February 16, 1907, in Hawai ni okeru imin
kankei zassan (Records on emigration to Hawaii), vol. 3, 3-8-2-41, DAJ; Matsubara Kazuo to
Hayashi Kaoru, May 22, 1906, in Gaimush, Nihon gaik bunsho (1906), 31617. The proportion of tenk imin reported by consul officials in Honolulu varied largely. Matsubara Kazuo,
acting director to the Japanese consulate general in Honolulu, wrote in February 1906 that
among new Japanese arrivals to Honolulu, a quarter would stay in Hawaii less than a month
before they remigrated to the continent. Matsubara Kazuo to Kat Takaaki, in February 12,
1906, in Gaimush, Nihon gaik bunsho (1906), 311. Three and half months later, Matsubara
stated in his letter to the minister of foreign affairs that only about 10 percent of new arrivals
to Honolulu had accepted employment offers from the Hawaiian Sugar Plantation Association; Matsubara Kazuo to Hayashi Kaoru, Minister of Foreign Affairs, May 22, 1906, in Nihon
gaik bunsho (1906), 31617.
19. Matsubara Kazuo to Kat Takaaki, February 12, 1906, in Gaimush, Nihon gaik bunsho (1906), 308.
20. Sait Miki to Hayashi Kaoru, September 20, 1906, and December 13, 1906, in Gaimush, Nihon gaik bunsho (1906), 29596 and 308, respectively; August 6, 1907, in Gaimush, Nihon gaik bunsho (1907), 3031. A total of 17,187 Japanese arrived in Hawaii in
1907. Twelve thousand, two hundred and twenty-seven left Hawaii for the continental
United States and 3,250 returned to Japan. In total, 15,477 Japanese left the islands, leaving
the increase of only 1,610 Japanese individuals in Hawaii in this wave of migration. These
figures do not reflect the numbers of births and deaths.
21. Chang, Pacific Connections, 77.
22. Matsubara Kazuo to Kat Takaaki, February 22, 1906, in Gaimush, Nihon gaik bunsho(1906), 311; Sait Miki to Hayashi Kaoru, December 22, 1906, in Gaimush, Nihon gaik
bunsho (1906), 309; Sait Miki to Hayashi Kaoru, February 16, 1907, Hawai ni okeru imin

Diplomacy and the Control of Japanese Transmigration via Hawaii, 18901910 159
kankei zassan, DAJ; Yuji Ichioka, Japanese Immigrant Labor Contractors and the Northern
Pacific and the Great Northern Railroad Companies, 18981907, Labor History 21, no. 3
(1980): 32550, esp., 32728.
23. Ronald Takaki, Plantation Life and Labor in Hawaii, 1835-1920 (Honolulu: University
of Hawaii Press, 1983), 140.
24. Sait Miki to Chinda Sutemi, April 2, 1903, in Gaimush, Nihon gaik bunsho (1903),
55659.
25. The citys board of education established the order to send all Japanese and Korean
students to be enrolled with Chinese pupils at segregated schools in 1906.
26. Ninette Kelley and Michael Trebilcock, The Making of the Mosaic: A History of Canadian Immigration Policy, 2nd ed. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2010), 14849.
27. John Price, Orienting Canada: Race, Empire, and the Transpacific (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2011), 21.
28. The arrival of the SS Kumeric in Vancouver in the summer of 1907, just two months
before the Vancouver riot, was only one of many such arrivals of Japanese laborers from
Hawaii. From January to October 1907, as many as 8,000 Japanese landed in Vancouver and
Victoria. Over half were from Hawaii and many were on their way to the United States. Canada, Royal Commission, Report of W. L. Mackenzie King, C.M.G. Commissioner Appointed to
Enquire into the Methods by Which Oriental Laborers Have Been Induced to Come to Canada
(Ottawa: Printed by S. E. Dawson, 1908), 911, 41.
29. Erika Lee, The Yellow Peril and Asian Exclusion in the Americas, Pacific Historical
Review 76, no. 4 (2007): 53757; Lee, Hemispheric Orientalism and the 1907 Pacific Coast
Race Riots, 1947; Takai, Navigating Transpacific Passages, 1517.
30. Sinophobic hatred and violence against Chinese were particularly strong in revolutionary Mexico, and anti-Chinese laws gained prominence in Mexico in the 1920s. See
Grace Pea Delgado, Making the Chinese Mexican: Global Migration, Localism and Exclusion in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2012),
104129.
31. Lee, Hemispheric Orientalism and the 1907 Pacific Coast Race Riots; Atkinson Out
of One Borderland, Many, this volume.
32. Yukari Takai, These Japanese Continuously Violated the Alien-Contract Labor
Laws: The Gendered Paths of Laborers, Farmers, and Housewives from Japan Traversing
the Canada-U.S. Border in the Early Twentieth Century, Histoire sociale/Social History 40,
no. 80 (2007): 298322.
33. Hiroshima ken, Hiroshimaken ijyshi, 132. See also Gaimush, Bureau of Trade,
Beikoku imin chsa iinkai hkokusho, vol. 11 (1913; repr., Tokyo: Dai-ichi hki shyppan,
19911993), 7; Gaimush Tssh kyoku, Imin chsa hkoku, vol. 11 (Tokyo: Gaimush Tssh
kyoku, 1913), 42, 61, 7075; Kimura, Kindai nihon, 29. The exchange rate for 100 yen was
$49.85 in 1902 and $49.50 in 1908; See Kimura, Kindai nihon, 29. See also Ichioka, Issei, 65.
34. Kazuo It, Hokubei hyakunenzakura (Tokyo: PMC Shppan, 1984), 4548; Kazuo
It, Issei: A History of Japanese Immigrants in North America (Seattle: Japanese Community
Service, 1973), 2123.

160 Yukari Takai


35. Carey McWilliams, Factories in the Field: The Story of Migrant Farm Labor in California (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1939).
36. U.S. Immigration Commission, Immigrants in Industries, Part 25, Japanese and Other
Immigrant Races in the Pacific Coast and Rocky Mountain States (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1911) 23, 33.
37. Ichioka, Japanese Immigrant Labor Contractors, 32728.
38. Approximately 30,000 Japanese laborers traveled to the Hawaiian Islands from 1885 to
1900, and 120,000 more did so from 1900 to 1907. In contrast, only a little over 5,100 Japanese
laborers went to the continental United States from 1900 to 1907. See Ichioka, Japanese Immigrant Labor Contractors, 32728.
39. Ichioka, Issei, 52; Azuma, Between Two Empires, 29. The figure in Azumas study is calculated based on the number of passports issued to Japanese traveling to the two destinations
from 1895 to 1908. Kokusai Kyryoku Jigydan, Kaigai ij tkei (Tokyo: Kokusai Kyryoku
Jigydan, 1994), 127.
40. Ueno Kisabur to Komura Jutar, June 5, 1902, Gaimush, Hawai imin beikoku tok
kinshi ikken, DAJ.
41. Ichioka, Issei, 67; Ueno Kisabur to Komura Jutar, June 5, 1902, reel 12, JARP.
42. Ueno Kishisabur to Komura Jutar, April 3, 1905, in Gaimush, Nihon gaik bunsho
(1905), 31011.
43. Sait Miki to Chinda Sutemi, April 2, 1903, Gaimush, Hawai imin beikoku tok
kinshi ikken, DAJ.
44. Ibid.
45. Sugiura to Premier of the Hygo Prefecture Hattori, July 18, 1902, Gaimush, Hawai imin beikoku tok kinshi ikken, DAJ; Matsubara Kazuo to Kat Takaaki, February 12,
1906, in Gaimush, Nihon gaik bunsho (1906), 311; Ishii Kikujir to Premiers of Prefectures
Kanagawa, Kchi, Okayama, Fukuoka, Shiga, Mie, Ehime, Shizuoka, and Shimane, March
12, 1906, in Gaimush, Nihon gaik bunsho (1906), 31314.
46. Sait Miki to Komura Jutar, May 23 and 28, 1902, in Gaimush, Nihon gaik bunsho
(1902), 836, 839. Each departing Japanese laborer would pay $5 to a recruiter, and employers would also pay the labor recruiting headquarters in San Francisco $5 for each worker
who landed at the port of San Francisco. See Sait Miki to Chinda Sutemi, April 2, 1903,
Gaimush, Hawai imin beikoku tok kinshi ikken, DAJ; and Morita Sakae, Hawai nihonjin
hattenshi (Waipafu: Shineikan, 1915), 151.
47. The Honolulu consulate planned to distribute 3,000 copies of a notice among Japanese immigrant workers in Hawaii that underlined the negative financial consequences
and moral problems of transmigration. A copy of this advice was sent to Tokyo. The consul
general also attempted to dissuade transmigrants from leaving for the continent on the eve
of their departure for the West Coast. See Okabe Sabur to Komura Jutar, March 16, 1903,
Gaimush, Hawai imin beikoku tok kinshi ikken, DAJ.
48. Sait Miki to Chinda Sutemi, April 2, 1903, Gaimush, Hawai imin beikoku tok
kinshi ikken, DAJ.
49. Canada, Royal Commission, Report of W. L. Mackenzie King, 41.

Diplomacy and the Control of Japanese Transmigration via Hawaii, 18901910


50. Sait Miki to Hayashi Kaoru, November 6, 1906, in Gaimush, Nihon gaik bunsho
(1906), 3034; Sait Miki to Hayashi Kaoru, February 16, 1907, Hawai imin zassan, DAJ.
51. Sait Miki to Hayashi Kaoru, August 6, 1907, Appendix, in Gaimush, Nihon gaik
bunsho (1907), 705.
52. Sait Miki to Hayashi Kaoru, October 12, 1906, in Gaimush, Nihon gaik bunsho
(1906), 299300.
53. Ibid.
54. Sait Miki to Hayashi Kaoru, February 16, 1907, Hawai ni okeru imin kankei zassan,
DAJ.
55. Matsubara Kazuo to Hayashi Kaoru, May 22, 1906, and November 6, 1906, in Gaimush, Nihon gaik bunsho (1906), 31617 and 3034, respectively.
56. Sait Miki to Hayashi Kaoru, September 20, 1906, in Gaimush, Nihon gaik bunsho
(1906), 29596.
57. Frank Thistlethwaite, Migration from Europe Overseas in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, in A Century of European Migrations, 18301930, ed. Rudolph J. Vecoli and
Suzanne M. Sinke (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1991), 1757; Donna Gabaccia, Is
Everywhere Nowhere? Nomads, Nations, and the Immigrant Paradigm of United States History, Journal of American History 86, no. 3 (1999): 111534.

161

7
Entangled Communities
German Lutherans in Ontario and North America, 18801930

Benjamin Bryce

In 1886, Emil Hoffmann emigrated from Kropp, Germany, to Wellesley, Ontario. The 24-year-old Lutheran pastor quickly became a dominant figure in the
Canada Synod, a German-language religious body that served as an umbrella
organization for approximately seventy Lutheran congregations in Ontario.
From 1902 to 1920, he served as the synods president.1 In 1911, Thiel College in
Greenville, Pennsylvania, bestowed upon him an honorary degree of doctor of
divinity.2 Early in his career in Ontario, he became a member of the German
Home Mission Board of the U.S.-based General Council, and in 1913 he became the president of the board, making him a key figure in North American
Lutheranism.3 He came to Ontario because of the institutional connections
established in the 1880s between the Canada Synod, the General Council, and
a seminary in Germany. He met and corresponded with representatives of German Lutheran religious bodies in the United States on a regular basis over his
four decades as a pastor, a synodical president, and a leader of a loosely defined
ethno-religious community in Ontario. German-speaking Lutherans such as
Hoffmann interacted with people in many parts of Canada and the United
States through their involvement in the Ontario-wide synod, their support of
missionary activities in major American cities and the province of Manitoba,
their financial contributions to Lutheran seminaries in the United States and
Germany, and their collaboration with Lutheran bodies in the United States in
charitable projects.
This chapter argues that regional, national, and transnational connections
shaped many local German-language Lutheran communities in Ontario. It
analyzes the spread of organized Lutheranism, the importance of the German
language for many leaders of this denomination, and the connections that

German Lutherans in Ontario and North America, 18801930 163

bound Lutheran congregations in Ontario to the United States and Germany.


It focuses on two Lutheran bodies, the Canada Synod and the Canada District,
which were the two largest German-language institutions in Canada from 1880
to 1930. Both were part of two competing organizations in the United States,
the General Council and the Missouri Synod. The chapter charts the evolution
of a theologically mainstream Protestant denomination and the ways that institutional networks connected people in towns and cities across a large area.
Both the size of this network and movements through it had a profound impact
on the nature of the German-language religious institutions that developed in
individual congregations in Ontario from 1880 to 1930. They were constructed
and redefined in ongoing processes that crossed in and out of Canadas political
boundaries, and this had a significant impact on the German-speaking communities that organized around them.
The U.S.-based General Council and Missouri Synod were parallel religious
bodies that did not coordinate their activities. Despite the common label of
Lutheran, they followed two distinct theological lines that had emerged in
the United States in the first half of the nineteenth century. Any single congregation belonged to only one of these two competing religious bodies. Within
the hierarchy of the General Council, there were synods, which were relatively
autonomous regional bodies that cooperated within an overarching organization. In contrast to the General Council, the Missouri Synod was the highest
body within its own structure. Below the Missouri Synod, there were districts.
The synods of the General Council and the districts of the Missouri Synod
were comprised of individual congregations. By joining a synod or district,
however, a congregation agreed to participate in the common goals of the
people of other congregations.
Lutheran congregations in Ontario did not spring up organically from
within the local German-speaking population but rather emerged as the result
of the concerted effort of missionary pastors who belonged to religious bodies in the United States. The Pittsburgh Synod was the first to seek to expand
Lutheranism in Ontario, and in the 1850s its pastors founded a number of
congregations there.4 In 1861, these Ontario congregations amicably left the
Pittsburgh Synod and formed the Canada Synod, but this did not mark the end
of the cross-border relationships between people in small towns in Ontario
and larger organizations in the United States. In 1867, the Canada Synod was
a founding member of the General Council along with the Pittsburgh Synod,
the New York Ministerium, and the Pennsylvania Ministerium.5 The council
was one of four Lutheran church bodies in the United States that slowly devel-

164 Benjamin Bryce

oped into two North American Lutheran Churches.6 In 1880, delegates from
Pittsburgh continued to attend the Canada Synods annual meetings.7 As late
as 1882, the president of the Canada Synod, Fr. Veit, described Pittsburgh as
the mother synod (Muttersynode).8 The Missouri Synod also began missionary
work in Ontario in the mid-nineteenth century, and in 1879, the congregations
founded by its pastors formed the Canada District of the Missouri Synod.9
The spread of districts was the standard practice for the Missouri Synod as it
expanded across the United States and into the Canadian Prairies. By 1914, in
stark contrast to the General Councils regional concentration on the northeastern United States, the Missouri Synod had twenty-two synodical districts
in the Americas (one as far south as Argentina) and missions in Europe, Asia,
and Australia.10
The missionary work of the Pittsburgh and Missouri Synods in the midnineteenth century followed ethnic lines. The members of the newly founded
congregations were German speakers and generally they were either lapsed
Lutherans or Lutherans without a place of worship. In this early period, unlike
other Protestant churches in North America, two key criteria defined this Lutheran missionary work: missionary subjects generally had to come from some
degree of Lutheran tradition and they had to be German-speaking. By 1900,
as many German-language congregations became bilingual or as they became
officially English-speaking congregations, the latter criterion became less important.11 However, the ethnic focus of this missionary work continued. The
growth of Canada Synod and the Canada District from 1880 to 1930 outpaced
the increase of German speakers in the province. Both the Canada Synod and
the Canada District expanded rapidly until the turn of the twentieth century,
and then their growth leveled off. Combined, these two competing bodies in
Ontario represented eighty-one Lutheran congregations in 1880 and 153 in
1930.12 The Canada Synod had almost 7,000 members in 1880 and 26,000 in
1930, and the Canada District had approximately 2,000 communicants in 1879
and 8,000 in 1929.13

A North American Space


After forming the Canada Synod and the Canada District, Lutheran congregations in Ontario remained connected to organizations in Pittsburgh, St. Louis,
Philadelphia, and New York. Their periodicals shared information about congregations on both sides of the border and were sold in both Canada and the
United States. Pastors moved between communities in different synods, even

German Lutherans in Ontario and North America, 18801930 165

if they happened to be in another country. In addition, Ontario congregations


supported seminaries and immigrant settlement homes in U.S. cities.
The Ontario-based synod served as a filter between local congregations and
larger church structures in the United States, and in this system provincial
boundaries complemented a larger transnational structure. From 1901 to 1909,
fourteen English-language congregations left the Canada Synod and joined
the English-language Synod of New York and New England, which was also a
member of the General Council.14 In 1909, these English-language congregations left the American synod and formed the Synod of Central Canada, which
became a constituent member of the U.S.-based General Council. In 1917, the
two Ontario synods began working toward a merger, which they completed in
1925.15
There are many other tangible examples of the transnational nature of this
religious institution. The German-language Canada Synod sent delegates to
the annual meetings of the General Council in the United States. After 1910, the
Canada Synod and other synods abandoned their individual publications and
produced together a German-language Lutheran periodical in Philadelphia,
the Deutsche Lutheraner. This publication and its successor, the Lutherischer
Herold, were distributed in the homes of German-speaking Lutherans in Ontario until 1943.16
The ties between Ontario and St. Louis also remained strong after 1879,
when the Ontario congregations belonging to the Missouri Synod founded
the Canada District. The Ontario congregations continued to participate in the
Missouri Synods missionary work to German speakers in the United States and
the Canadian Prairies, and they ran homes for recent immigrants in the United
States. Ideas also circulated between Ontario and St. Louis. The Ontario-based
Lutherisches Volksblatt had a large circulation in the United States.17 This periodical regularly carried out theological attacks on the teachings of the Canada
Synod and those of other member bodies of the General Council, such as the
New York and Pennsylvania Ministeria.18 The Volksblatt and the Canada District emphasized different versions of Lutheranism, and they placed different
weight on Martin Luthers ideas and had different interpretations of foundational texts such as the Augsburg Confession and the Book of Concord.19 In
promoting its theology and its own version of what the Lutheran denomination should be, the Volksblatt and the Canada Districts leaders drew thousands of German speakers in Ontario into a North American debate. As they
advanced their theological views, pastors in Ontario specifically and repeatedly
discussed Lutherans in the United States. Moreover, in making this theologi-

166 Benjamin Bryce

cal argument, the Canada Districts pastors blended followers denominational


identity with their ethnic heritage.

Seminaries
The training and circulation of pastors provides a clear example of the transnational nature of these two competing religious organizations in Ontario.
Through the movement of a small group of men, we can observe the circulation of ideas about theology, language use, and congregants German heritage.
The arrival of a new pastor in any given locality required the active request
of a congregations lay leadership and the financial contributions of parishioners. In many ways, this circulation brings to light the involvement of a
large group of people in activities that transcended the boundaries of their
local congregation. The circulation of pastors beyond Canadas borders was
not specifically a Lutheran phenomenon in this period; similar examples of
religious leaders trained in Europe can be found among Anglicans, Methodists, and Catholics.20
The Canada Synod drew most of its pastors from seminaries in Germany,
and this movement was facilitated by the U.S.-based General Council. A small
portion also came from the United States. Before 1911, when the Canada Synod
co-founded Waterloo Lutheran Seminary with the English-language Synod of
Central Canada, some Canadian-born pastors were trained at the seminaries
of other synods in the United States. In the 1880s and 1890s, the Canada Synod
sent young German-speaking men from Ontario to a seminary in Philadelphia for their training.21 The synod gave these men, often the sons of pastors
in Ontario who had immigrated from Germany, small scholarships, and upon
completing their studies these men returned to Ontario to be ordained by the
Canada Synod and begin working as pastors.22 Similarly, the congregations of
the Canada District of the Missouri Synod drew their pastors from a seminary
in St. Louis.23
In addition to the seminary in Philadelphia, the Canada Synod relied on
a seminary in Kropp, Germany, located approximately 120 kilometers north
of Hamburg. It was the main source of pastors for the synod throughout this
period. The main activity of this seminary, which existed from 1882 to 1931, was
training Lutheran pastors for service in North America.24 John Schmieder, a
pastor in Kitchener, Ontario, estimated in 1927 that the Kropp seminary had
trained more than 500 pastors to work in the United States and Canada.25 In
1883, the General Councils German Mission Committeean organization the

German Lutherans in Ontario and North America, 18801930 167

leaders of the Canada Synod described as part of a larger German spirit within
the Councilentered into an agreement with Kropps director, Johannes
Paulsen. After that, the synods directors commonly described the Kropp
seminary as our institution.26 In 1886, the Canada Synods official organ, the
Kirchen-Blatt, reported that although the General Council had colleges and
seminaries in the northeastern United States, these are either completely English or almost completely. In the future, only a few German pastors can and
will develop from them and serve our German congregations. And even if it
were two or threehow would that help? It is necessary that we have a German
seminary in Kropp.27 According to J. J. Kndig, as of 1886 all of the pastors
in the Canada Synod had come from Germany.28 The way these pastors came
to Canada, however, was through the institutional connections the Pittsburgh
Synod and the Pennsylvania Ministerium had with Germany.
The Canada Synod had a strong interest in supporting the German language, and its leaders were concerned about the growing use of English by
younger, Canadian-born Lutherans. A factor in the retention of German at the
local level was surely that many of the pastors leading these congregations had
come to Ontario through a transnational network that linked small communities in Ontario to Germany (via the United States). The continued use of German in many Lutheran congregations into the 1920s, despite clear indications
of a language shift to English in many other public domains such as education, newspapers, and business, was linked to the ongoing process that bound
Lutheran churches to a larger German-language network.29 Similar flows of
German-trained pastors were not found in the Catholic Church and in several
other denominations to which German speakers belonged.30
In 1886, the General Council gave the seminary in Kropp $9,000 for the
construction of a new building.31 An editor of the Ontario Kirchen-Blatt supported this substantial amount of funding and argued that should German
missionary work, German morals, German worship, and true Lutheranism
not be crippled, then we need a German seminary.32 It added that too few
young men from the congregations in the Great Lakes region were available to
be trained as German pastors.33 J. J. Kndig added that all seventy students
at the Kropp seminary in 1886 were German (rather than bilingual Americans
or Canadians), and that they would all become German Lutheran pastors, and
for this reason congregations throughout the General Council needed to raise
money.34 He concluded, We need capable workers from Germany, who not
only can speak German in a jam but who have a German heart and who are
enthusiastic about German missionary work.35 Kndig feared that Canadian-

168 Benjamin Bryce

born German speakers were linguistically capable when necessary but that
they did not actively seek to carry out German-language missionary work and
promote linguistic interests alongside religious ones.
In 1886, Kropp had fifty-three students, and twenty new students were to
join later that year. In 1885, the seminary sent eight pastors to North America:
one to Ontario, two to the Pennsylvania Ministerium, three to the New York
Ministerium, one to the Pittsburgh Synod, and one to Texas. In 1886, the Kropp
seminary sent three more pastors to North America, one of whom was Emil
Hoffmann.36 The arrival of new pastors from Kropp continued over the next
four decades.37 In 1909, the Kirchen-Blatt wrote that our Canada Synod has
relied almost exclusively on Kropp over the past 20 years in order to fill vacancies. In the future the synod will continue to look to Kropp.38 In June 1914,
Emil Hoffmann wrote in his annual report that Kropp owes a good part of its
existence to our synod,39 thereby emphasizing the importance of the Canada
Synod within the larger German-language activities of the General Council.
By 1908, five bodies within the General Council were concerned about the
changing linguistic character of their congregations. At the First General Conference of German Pastors of the General Council, representatives from the
Canada Synod, the Manitoba Synod, the New York Ministerium, the Pennsylvania Ministerium, and the Pittsburgh Synod met to discuss the creation
of a German-language seminary in North America. Attendees resolved that
it would be better to train pastors from the United States and Canada than to
recruit in Germany, which was a notable change from Kndigs 1886 views.
However, the men who attended this conference also decided that the lack of
capable young men in North America, according to the criteria defined by the
church leadership, required the synods to draw more from the seminary in
Kropp.40
In 1909, the General Council strengthened its relationship with the directors of the Kropp seminary, and the two organizations made a new agreement
to govern the seminary. Emil Hoffmann represented the Canada Synod in
these negotiations with American and German representatives.41 The pastors
who published the Kirchen-Blatt described the Canada Synod as one of the
most German in the Council, and they wrote that the synod was therefore
particularly interested in the relationship with Kropp.42 The General Council
was given the power to approve or reject all instructors working at the Kropp
seminary, and the seminary agreed to teach the doctrinal principles of the
General Council. Finally, the pastors established a concrete rule that required
all candidates in Kropp to spend an additional year studying at the theological

German Lutherans in Ontario and North America, 18801930 169

seminary in Philadelphia. In return, the council pledged to support the seminary with $4,000 annually.43 Throughout this period, the money sent to Kropp
came from the constituent bodies of the General Council such as the Canada
Synod.44
From 1909 to 1911, the Canada Synod and the newly founded English-language Synod of Central Canada worked together to found Waterloo Lutheran
Seminary. This local and regional decision would be affected by the synods
relationship with other synods in the United States. Emil Hoffmann, who at
the time was the president of the Canada Synod, noted that the directors of
the General Council felt that adding a seminary to the collective group should
receive the approval of the other member synods.45 As a result, the official decision was delayed until 1911 in order that the General Council could give its approval. Other synods could, after all, use this seminary, and a new seminary in
Ontario would affect the older one in Philadelphia. When Waterloo Lutheran
Seminary was founded, the two governing synods in Ontario decided that two
men in Canada and two in the United States should first approve its charter
and constitution: the president of the Canada Synod, the president the Synod
of Central Canada, the president of the German Home Mission Board, and the
president of the General Council. This procedural fact reflects the intimate ties
between Ontario and the United States and the importance of North American
structures in shaping institutions at the local level.46
During and after World War I, the relationship the Canada Synod had with
Kropp via the General Council was weakened but did not end. It continued
to send a small subsidy to the seminary.47 In 1918, the synod was unable to
transfer money to Germany, but it earmarked just over $700 for Kropp.48 After the war, the Canada Synods support tapered off. In 1925, it sent $350, but
in 1926 its contribution had been reduced to just $25.49 In 1930, the Canada
Synod did not provide any money to Kropp at all, but in that year three new
pastoral candidates from Germany came to Ontario.50 The Kropp seminary
closed in 1931 as a result of its shrinking relationship with church bodies in the
United States and Canada. Over a 50-year period, the connections between the
Canada Synod, the General Council, and the Kropp seminary brought one or
two pastors trained in Germany to Ontario each year.

The Inner Mission and Charities


Throughout this period, local congregations and the two Ontario-wide Lutheran bodies engaged in missionary work to integrate people with loose af-

170 Benjamin Bryce

filiations with the Lutheran denomination into their local congregations. The
inner mission had a distinctly ethnic and linguistic outlook, and the use of
a direct translation from the German term (innere Mission) reveals an idea
specific to German speakers in North America. Often called the interior mission or home mission in other denominations, the inner mission was inward looking. The ultimate goal of this missionary work was not to spread
Lutheranism so much as to preserve it and to draw together a group defined
by its heritage and lineage. The Lutheran leadership of Ontario infused its missionary work with ideas of language and lineage, targeting almost exclusively
German-speaking, non-practicing Lutherans. This group consisted of German speakers with some connection to a Lutheran tradition, but to simply call
them Lutherans would be to impose on them a homogenizing view of faith
and ethno-religious identity. The laypeople and pastors involved in the inner
mission sought to improve church attendance and support a web of Lutheran
charities.
Many aspects of the inner mission underscore the influence of transnational
structures on German ethnicity in the province. The leaders of the congregations of the Canada Synod slowly expanded their institutional network into
Ontario cities, northern Ontario, and Manitoba, and the people these leaders
wanted to incorporate into organized Lutheranism were defined by their ethnic and denominational background. In the Canada Synods records during
the three decades before World War I, inner missionary work in places such
as Toronto, northern Ontario, and Manitoba was aimed at fellow believers
(Glaubensgenossen). However, since these believers did not have any organized religion and were the target of the synods missionary activities, the
concept of Glaubensgenossen was complicated. Pastors had a clear preference
for offering services in German, and missionary or itinerant pastors typically
founded German-language congregations. The linguistic abilities and heritage
of fellow believers motivated this missionary work, and these ethnic markers
definedfor the pastorswho should be Lutheran. Missionaries and those
in southern Ontario who financially supported them believed that inaction
would risk that German speakers who were unconnected to organized Lutheranism would be lost to another denomination.
The cities of Toronto and Hamilton attracted a significant portion of the
Canada Synods missionary activities. In 1892, E. M. Genzmer, a pastor from
the main Toronto congregation, began missionary work in an industrial area
in the western part of the city. He reported to the synods leaders at the annual
meeting, however, that the expected arrival of many German fellow believers

German Lutherans in Ontario and North America, 18801930

[in this neighborhood] has not taken place.51 He decided to temporarily abandon the West Toronto Mission, but he hoped that new German immigrants
would join his downtown congregation.52 In 1900, pastors J. F. Bruch and P.
W. Mller began efforts to found English-language Lutheran congregations in
larger Canadian cities as a way to engage with a new generation of Canadianborn Lutherans and welcome new Lutheran immigrants who were not German
speakers.53 This led to the creation of the English-language St. Pauls congregation in Toronto in 1906, led by Mller.54
The Canada District of the Missouri Synod also took a special interest in
Toronto and Hamilton. It faced off against the two congregations of the Canada
Synod, which had been founded in 1851 and 1858 and were noticeably larger.55
In 1903, W. Weinbach reported that missionary activities in Hamilton had not
been particularly successful. He lamented that whereas in the past weekly services alternated between English and German, in recent months, people had
requested that only English services be held.56 By 1908, a full-fledged Englishlanguage congregation had been founded in Hamilton while those who worked
in German were struggling.57 The districts missionary work in Toronto began
in 1902, but the two pastors there also struggled to gain a foothold. They ministered in both German and English to gain more members.58 By 1910, the district had succeeded in founding a bilingual congregation, St. Johns Evangelical
Lutheran.59 In 1911, the editors of the Canada Districts monthly periodical, the
Lutherisches Volksblatt, described Toronto as the new field of work for the district, and they spoke of the importance of succeeding in this project.60 In 1911,
W. C. Boese happily reported in the Volksblatt that the Canada District would
help the small congregation in Toronto finance the construction of a church.61
As a result, a small part of the contributions from every congregation in the
province was funneled to this project for the sake of expanding the network of
German-language Lutheranism and making inroads in Toronto.
German immigration to northern Ontario encouraged the synods leaders to expand the inner mission to a larger area. This decision in many ways
emerged as the result of the broader religious context in Ontario. Lutherans in
southern Ontario were aware that Presbyterians, Methodists, Anglicans, and
Catholics were also carrying out missionary work in these regions. In 1910,
the head itinerant pastor, M. Hamm, reported that the main reason to expand
the synods activities in the region was that it is the holy duty of our synod to
carry out the work of the Lord in New Ontario so that our brothers of stock and
faith [Stammes- und Glaubensgenossen], our sons and daughters, do not fall
into the hands of sects.62 The term Stammesgenossen cast German ethnicity

171

172 Benjamin Bryce

in racialized terms. Moreover, the belief that people with a common language
and denomination needed to preserve a degree of unity suggests that Lutheran
leaders in Ontario saw a certain permanence to their ethnicity.
As German immigration increased from 1880 to 1914, Manitoba also became an important site of inner missionary work for the Canada Synod and the
Canada District. A network extended northward in Ontario and then northwest toward Manitoba. The Canada Synod began the Winnipeg Mission in
1890. The pastor there was one of the synods seven missionary pastors; the
others were in western Ontario, northern Ontario, and Quebec.63 The average
German Lutheran in southern Ontario was connected to the Winnipeg Mission through the small financial contributions that other congregations sent
to the synod. The synods weekly publication, the Kirchen-Blatt, also reported
regularly on the progressive growth of organized German-language religion
in Manitoba, and this circulation of information bound Ontario to a larger
German-language discursive space.64
In 1891, the Canada Synod turned over the administration of the northwest mission to the General Council because of rising costs.65 The transfer
of control from Ontario to the overarching General Council reveals as much
about the Canada Synods relationship with a larger German-speaking world
in the United States as it does about the connections between German speakers
in Manitoba and Ontario. In 1899, the Winnipeg Mission developed into the
autonomous Manitoba Synod, which then became a member of the General
Council. The Ontario-based Kirchen-Blatt continued to report on the missionary work there, and the Canada Synod remained an important participant in
this project.66 The Canada Synod and the German Home Mission Board of the
General Council continued to support the new Manitoba Synod.67 By 1902, the
new synod had 13 pastors, 60 congregations, and 5,833 congregants.68 A spatial analysis helps explain the nature of this expansion. Missionaries from the
nearby Pittsburgh Synod founded the Canada Synod in the mid-nineteenth
century. As the new synod stabilized in the 1880s and 1890s, it began its own
missionary activities, spreading northward and westward, finally founding an
autonomous synod in Manitoba.
The Canada District of the Missouri Synod also began missionary activities in Manitoba in the 1890s. The Lutherisches Volksblatt regularly informed
Lutherans in southern Ontario about the missionary efforts they were supporting.69 The periodical often contrasted these activities with the missionary work
carried out in Alberta by an itinerant Missouri Synod pastor from Montana.70
By 1915, while the spread of the inner mission in Manitoba was still a promi-

German Lutherans in Ontario and North America, 18801930

nent part of the news in the Lutherisches Volksblatt, the congregations there
had come under the charge of the Minnesota District and out of the hands of
the Canada District.71 The multiple sites of cross-border connections further
highlight the North American nature of these German-language institutions
in Ontario and the Canadian Prairies.72
From 1880 to 1930, a web of Lutheran charities tied the Ontario congregations of the Canada Synod and Canada District to key locations in the United
States. Both the General Council and the Missouri Synod founded homes to
help recently arrived immigrants in New York City. Throughout this period,
the pages of the Canada Synods Kirchen-Blatt and the Canada Districts Lutherisches Volksblatt included advertisements for a home in New York City, and
they informed German speakers in Ontario about the homes existence and
the services they offered. In so doing, they spread information well beyond the
American metropolis about how working-class German migrants could seek
shelter in this German-speaking, Christian place. Ontario congregations also
donated money to these homes in New York, which targeted mainly workingclass German speakers and recent German immigrants. Through these small
donations, German speakers in Ontario actively participated in a North American network of institutions.
The leaders of the General Council described the home as a site for the
protection and well-being of immigrants and emigrants.73 The Kirchen-Blatt
informed its readership in Ontario that the home offers room and board to
immigrants and emigrants at the lowest prices as well as free services necessary for world travel. The home arranges steamer tickets in the cheapest and
most honest manner as well.74 In the 1890s and after the turn of the century,
advertisements for the German Lutheran Immigrant Home in New York were
among a select group of announcements in the Kirchen-Blatt.75 Supporting
this home financially, discursively, and symbolically seemed to be of prime
importance for the leaders of the Canada Synod, and in so doing the pastors
and laypeople established a transnational institutional network that went well
beyond theological agreement within the General Council.
The immigrant home was part of the larger inner mission run by the German Mission Committee of the General Council, the group that established
relations with the Kropp seminary and that was separate from the Englishlanguage Mission Committee. Delegates from the Canada Synod who attended
the annual meetings of the General Council in the United States reported in
1882 that one thing in particular that should be gratifying for every German
Lutheran: in the General Council, a German spirit has begun to advance and

173

174

Benjamin Bryce

it will care for the stream of German Lutheran immigrants so that they are
not lost to our church.76 A year later, church leaders proposed that every congregation in the General Council have an annual collection to support inner
missionary work aimed at new immigrants in New York.77 A flow of funds
streamed out of Ontario and to a much larger hub in the United States.
In 1912, the Canada Synod began to run its own home for recent immigrants in Montreal. Although immigrants could disembark in Quebec City,
Saint John, and Halifax, the synods leaders reasoned that these people continued the journey westward by a train that would necessarily pass through Montreal.78 Dr. Klaehn, the pastor in charge, reported in 1929 that in the past two
decades, approximately 95,000 Lutheran immigrants had landed in Canada,
15,445 of whom had come in that year.79 Klaehn awaited the arrival of 304 ships
and trains, and he made 438 visits to hospitals in Montreal to invite workingclass, Lutheran migrants to use the services of the immigrant home rather than
engage in the supposedly morally problematic behavior of the city or use the
social welfare services offered by other denominations in the city.
The Missouri Synod engaged in activities similar to those of the General Council. It ran an emigrant mission and a Lutheran Pilgrim House in
New York City, which focused specifically on German immigrants, and the
synods leaders often discussed their interest in the ebb and flow of German
migration through New York.80 Although the home also took in Lutherans
from other countries and linguistic backgrounds, its German-language annual reports explicitly announced the goal of providing lodging mainly to
Germans.81 Like the Kirchen-Blatt, the Volksblatt included advertisements on
a regular basis, thereby informing German speakers in Ontario about the
services the home offered to immigrants and emigrants.82 It also reminded
its readers that the home in New York required the support of the Canada
District.83 The Lutherisches Volksblatt told readers that if the Pilgrim House
were to continue, every congregation in the whole Missouri Synod should
have an annual collection.84 These relationships and ideas reveal both the
network behind one institution in New York City and the importance that
the Missouri Synod, the Canada District, and the Lutherisches Volksblatt gave
to social welfare activities that were informed by ideas of religion, language,
ethnicity, and morality.
The inner missionary work of the Canada Synod and the Canada District
illustrates how practicing Lutherans across Ontario interacted with people
in nearby and distant communities. At the same time, however, Lutherans
engaged in missionary and social reform activities with the context of their

German Lutherans in Ontario and North America, 18801930

surrounding society very much in mind. Concerned about people joining


another denomination and following a pattern laid out by Anglicans, Presbyterians, Methodists, or Catholics, Lutherans played a role in carving out
a space for linguistic and denominational pluralism in Ontario and North
America.

Conclusion
This chapter has argued that regional, national, and transnational connections
shaped many local German-language Lutheran communities in Ontario. From
1880 to 1930, an institutional network bound people across the province into
two regional religious bodies, the competing Canada Synod and the Canada
District. These organizations in turn created networks that extended to Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Philadelphia, and New York, integrating practicing Lutherans
in Ontario into an institutional structure based in the United States. The movement of pastors from Germany via the General Council to Ontario and the
support congregations in the province offered at several homes for recent arrivals in the United States are two examples of the transnational networks that
influenced local congregations, the Canada Synod, and the Canada District.
German Lutheranism in Ontario was tied to a single but evolving German
North America, and the German-language institutions of the province were
bound to the linguistic behavior of people who lived in another national
context. The intersection of local, regional, national, and transnational scales
illustrates how German-speaking Lutherans engaged in a dialogue with interlocutors scattered across a large network. German speakers in Ontario
did not create Lutheran congregations on their own. Rather, these churches
emerged in great part because of the efforts of German Lutherans in the United
States. Moreover, ongoing cross-border interaction reconstituted the nature of
German-language Lutheranism over time and influenced the communities
that organized around it.

Notes
Authors note: This chapter is based on Benjamin Bryce, Entangled Communities: Religion and Ethnicity in Ontario and North America, 18801930, Journal of the Canadian
Historical Association 23, no. 1 (2012): 189226. I wish to thank the journal for the permission
to publish a revised version of that article.
1. Verhandlungen der 42sten Jahres-Versammlung der Evangelisch-Lutherischen Synode
von Canada, 1902 (Walkerton: Ontario Glocke Office, 1902), 2; Verhandlungen der 64sten

175

176 Benjamin Bryce


Jahresversammlung der Evangelisch-Lutherischen Synode von Canada, 1926 (N.p.: n.p.,
1926), 44.
2. Hoffmann, Emil, 5.0.6, Pastors: Biographical Material, Eastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada fonds, Wilfrid Laurier University Archives, Waterloo,
Ontario.
3. Ibid.
4. Jubilums-Bchlein: Festschrift zur Feier des 50-jhrigen Jubilums der evang.-luther.
Synode von Canada (1911), 4454. A small number of pastors from the New York Ministerium came to Ontario starting in the 1790s; see John Webster Grant, A Profusion of Spires:
Religion in Nineteenth-Century Ontario (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1988), 39.
5. Jubilums-Bchlein, 4445.
6. The four church bodies were the General Council, the General Synod, the General
Synod of the South, and the Missouri Synod.
7. Verhandlungen der zwanzigsten Jahres-Versammlung der Evangelisch-Lutherischen Synode von Canada, 1880 (Berlin: Gedruckt bei Rittinger und Motz, Berliner Journal Office,
1880), 3.
8. Verhandlungen der zweiundzwanzigsten Jahres-Versammlung der Evangelisch-Lutherischen Synode von Canada (Listowel, Ont.: Dr. Al. Sommers Privat-Officin, 1882), 8.
9. Frank Malinsky, Grace and Blessing: A History of the Ontario District of the Lutheran
ChurchMissouri Synod (1954), 1723.
10. Unsere Synode, Lutherisches Volksblatt, November 19, 1914, 4; Jakob Riffel, Die Rulanddeutschen insbesondere die Wolgadeutschen am La Plata (Argentinien, Uruguay und
Paraguay): Festschrift zum 50-jhrigen Jubilum ihrer Einwanderung (18781928) (Buenos
Aires: Imprenta Mercur), 77.
11. Practicing Lutherans and their pastoral leaders may have become more open to English as the result of generational changes and the arrival of Lutheran immigrants to Ontario
from Scandinavia and the Baltics.
12. Benjamin Bryce, Making Ethnic Space: Education, Religion, and the German Language, 18801930 (PhD diss., York University, 2013), 4546.
13. Verhandlungen der zwanzigsten Jahres-Versammlung der Evangelisch-Lutherischen
Synode von Canada, 1880 (Berlin: Rittinger und Motz, 1880), 39; Verhandlungen der 68sten
Jahresversammlung der Evangelisch Lutherischen Synode von Canada, 1930, 8384; Malinsky,
Grace and Blessing, 30.
14. Jubilums-Bchlein, 816.
15. Verhandlungen der 55sten Jahres-Versammlung der Evangelisch-Lutherischen Synode
von Canada, 1917, 71; Verhandlungen der 56sten Jahres-Versammlung der Evangelisch-Lutherischen Synode von Canada, 1918, 38; Verhandlungen der 63sten Jahresversammlungen der
Evangelisch-Lutherischen Synode von Canada, 1925, 46.
16. Deutsche Lutheraner was published from 1910 to 1922 and then was replaced by the
Lutherischer Herold, which was published from 1922 to 1943.
17. The paper regularly published the names of all readers who renewed their subscriptions.

German Lutherans in Ontario and North America, 18801930


18. For more on this, see, for example, Erwiderung auf Pastor Hoffmanns Artikel: Lutherisch oder nicht? Lutherisches Volksblatt, March 1, 1889 and May 1, 1889; Aus Hamburg,
Lutherisches Volksblatt, July 19, 1894; and Erklrung, Lutherisches Volksblatt, January 21, 1897.
19. Unser doppeltes Jubilum am 23. Juni 1880, Lutherisches Volksblatt, June 1, 1880, 2.
20. Michael Gauvreau, The Dividends of Empire: Church Establishments and Contested
British Identities in the Canadas and the Maritimes, 17801850, in Transatlantic Subjects:
Ideas, Institutions, and Social Experience in Post-Revolutionary British North America, ed.
Nancy Christie (Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 2008), 199250; George Emery, The Methodist Church on the Prairies, 18961914 (Montreal: McGill-Queens University
Press, 2001), 100101; Roberto Perin, Rome in Canada: The Vatican and Canadian Affairs in
the Late Victorian Age (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1990); Pierre Savard, Jules-Paul
Tardivel, la France et les tats-Unis 18511905 (Qubec: Presses de lUniversit Laval, 1967);
John Zucchi, Italians in Toronto: Developments of a National Identity, 18751935 (Montreal:
McGill-Queens University Press, 1988), 11840.
21. See the annual reports of the Canada Synod (Verhandlungen der Jahresversammlung
der Evangelisch-Lutherischen Synode von Canada, 18801900).
22. In 1880, the synod supported three men; see Verhandlungen der zwanzigsten JahresVersammlung der Evangelisch-Lutherischen Synode von Canada, 1880 (Berlin: Gedruckt bei
Rittinger und Motz, Berliner Journal Office, 1880), 2728. In 1891, the two sons of E. M. Genzmer, a pastor in Toronto, completed their training in Philadelphia and returned to Ontario;
Verhandlungen der 31. Jahres-Versammlung der Evangelisch-Lutherischen Synode von Canada,
1891 (Walkerton: Ontario Glocke Office, 1891), 6.
23. The Canada Districts founder, A. Ernst, had come from the United States. Pastors of
different congregations regularly came from the United States, but they also left the Canada
District to join other districts of the Missouri Synod. For example, see Aus unseren Gemeinden, Lutherisches Volksblatt, July 19, 1894, 118.
24. Deutsche Einheimische Mission, Kirchen-Blatt, March 15, 1886, 4. The seminary
merged with another one in nearby Breklum in 1918, and the two ceased activities in 1931.
The Breklum seminary worked with the General Synod, a large Lutheran church body in the
United States that was separate from the General Council. The General Synod, the General
Council, and the United Synod of the South merged in 1918 and created the United Lutheran
Church in America.
25. Annual Report 1927. St Matthews Evangelical Lutheran, Kitchener, Ontario (N.p.: n.p.,
n.d.), 7.
26. Verhandlungen der dreiundzwanzigsten Jahres-Versammlung der Evangelisch-Lutherischen Synode von Canada, 1883 (Neu-Hamburg: Otto Preupich, Volksblatt Office,
1883), 16.
27. Deutsche Einheimische Mission, Kirchen-Blatt, March 15, 1886, 4.
28. J. J. Kndig, Deutsches Predigerseminar, Kirchen-Blatt, May 1, 1886, 6.
29. For more on this language shift in Ontario, see Bryce, Making Ethnic Space.
30. For a detailed study of German-speaking Catholic priests in Ontario and questions
about language use, see Theobald Spetz, The Catholic Church in Waterloo County (Toronto:

177

178 Benjamin Bryce


Catholic Register and Extension, 1916); John Iwicki and James Wahl, Resurrectionist Charism:
A History of the Congregation of the Resurrection, 150 Years, 18361886, vol. 1 (Rome: Tip Poliglotta della Pontificia Universit Gregoriana, 1986); John Iwicki, Resurrectionist Charism: A
History of the Congregation of the Resurrection, 18871932, vol. 2 (Rome: Tip Poliglotta della
Pontificia Universit Gregoriana, 1992); James Wahl, Father Louis Funckens Contribution to
German Catholicism in Waterloo County, Ontario, CCHA Study Sessions 50 (1983): 51331.
31. Amicus, Woher nehmen wir unsere Pastoren, Kirchen-Blatt, March 15, 1886, 6.
32. A. R. S., Anmerkung, Kirchen-Blatt, March 15, 1886, 6.
33. Der Beachtung werth, Kirchen-Blatt, April 15, 1886, 4.
34. J. J. Kndig, Deutsches Predigerseminar, Kirchen-Blatt, May 1, 1886, 6.
35. Ibid.
36. Ibid.; Verhandlungen der 64sten Jahresversammlung der Evangelisch-Lutherischen Synode von Canada, 1926, 43.
37. For example, a pastor came from Kropp to Normandy, Ontario, in 1901. Kirchliche
Nachrichten, Kirchen-Blatt, September 5, 1901, 221.
38. Unsere neue Verbindung mit Kropp, Kirchen-Blatt, December 16, 1909, 6.
39. Verhandlungen der 53sten Jahres-Versammlung der Evangelisch-Lutherischen Synode
von Canada, 1914, 11.
40. Verhandlungen der 49sten Jahres-Versammlung der Evangelisch-Lutherischen Synode
von Canada, 1909 (Pembroke, Ont.: Druckerei der Deutschen Post, 1909), 1617.
41. Unsere neue Verbindung mit Kropp, Kirchen-Blatt, December 16, 1909, 5.
42. Ibid., 4.
43. Ibid., 5.
44. See the Jahresbericht des Schatzmeisters in the annual reports of the synodical
meetings (Verhandlungen der Jahresversammlung der Evangelisch-Lutherischen Synode von
Canada, 18851930).
45. Verhandlungen der 50sten Jahres-Versammlung der Evangelisch-Lutherischen Synode
von Canada, 1911, 14.
46. The Evangelical Lutheran Theological Seminary at Waterloo Ontario, 19131914 (N.p.:
n.p., n.d.), 8. The German Home Mission was the official translation of the innere Mission in
documents produced in English by the pastors of the Canada Synod. In the synods Germanlanguage documents, the innere Mission was the most common name, but the einheimische
Mission also appeared in these sources.
47. See the Jahresbericht des Schatzmeister in the annual reports of the synodical
meetings (Verhandlungen der Jahres-Versammlung der Evangelisch-Lutherischen Synode von
Canada, 19181930).
48. Verhandlungen der 56sten Jahres-Versammlung der Evangelisch-Lutherischen Synode
von Canada, 1918 (N.p.: n.p., 1918), 29.
49. Verhandlungen der 63sten Jahresversammlungen der Evangelisch-Lutherischen Synode
von Canada, 1925 (N.p.: n.p., 1925), 2831; Verhandlungen der 64sten Jahresversammlung der
Evangelisch-Lutherischen Synode von Canada, 1926, 55.

German Lutherans in Ontario and North America, 18801930 179


50. Verhandlungen der 68sten Jahresversammlung der Evangelisch-Lutherischen Synode
von Canada, 1930, 12, 3132.
51. Verhandlungen der 32ten Jahres-Versammlung der Evangelisch-Lutherischen Synode
von Canada, 1892 (Walkerton: Ontario Glocke Office, 1892), 15.
52. Ibid.
53. Verhandlungen der 40sten Jahres-Versammlung der Evanglisch-Lutherischen Synode
von Canada (N.p.: n.p., 1900), 19.
54. Verhandlungen der 64sten Jahresversammlung der Evangelisch-Lutherischen Synode
von Canada, 39.
55. Jubilums-Bchlein, 46, 54.
56. Synodal-Bericht: Verhandlungen der deutschen evang.-luth. Synode von Missouri, Ohio
und anderen Staaten. Canada-District, 1903 (St. Louis, Mo.: Concordia Publishing House,
1903), 61.
57. Gemeinde-Nachrichten, Lutherisches Volksblatt, March 1908, 67.
58. Ernest Hahn: His Life, Work and Place among Us (N.p.: n.p., 1951).
59. Toronto Evening Telegram, April 16, 1910, 20.
60. Toronto, das Arbeitsfeld unseres Distrikts, Lutherisches Volksblatt, November 15,
1911, 34.
61. W. C. Boese, Toronto Kirchenbau, Lutherisches Volksblatt, August 15, 1911, 5. Also see
Notschrei aus Toronto, Lutherisches Volksblatt, July 15, 1911, 2.
62. Verhandlungen der 49sten Jahres-Versammlung der Evangelisch-Lutherischen Synode
von Canada, 1910 (Pembroke, Ont.: Deutsche Post, 1910), 15.
63. There were two in western Ontario (Auburn and Walkerton), one in Muskoka, two
in northern Ontario (Denbigh and Elmwood), and one in Thorne Centre in northwestern
Quebec; Verhandlungen der 30. Jahres-Versammlung der Evangelisch-Lutherischen Synode
von Canada 1890 (Walkerton, Ont.: J. A. Rittinger, Die Ontario Glocke Office, 1890), 20.
64. For example, see Winnipeg, Kirchen-Blatt, February 15, 1890, 182; Kirche und Mission, Kirchen-Blatt, August 11, 1898, 191.
65. Verhandlungen der 31. Jahres-Versammlung der Evangelisch-Lutherischen Synode von
Canada, 1891 (Walkerton: Ontario Glocke Office, 1891), 8.
66. Kirchliche Nachrichten, Kirchen-Blatt, February 25, 1904, 398.
67. Verhandlungen der 42sten Jahres-Versammlung der Evangelisch-Lutherischen Synode
von Canada, 1902 (Walkerton: Ontario Glocke Office, 1902), 20.
68. Ibid.
69. Nachrichten aus dem Missionsgebiet im canadischen Nordwesten, Lutherisches
Volksblatt, January 21, 1897, 15; Nachrichten aus dem Missionsgebiet im canadischen Nordwesten, Lutherisches Volksblatt, February 4, 1897, 21; Nachrichten aus dem Missionsgebiet
im canadischen Nordwesten, Lutherisches Volksblatt, March 4, 1897, 37.
70. Nachrichten aus dem Missionsgebiet im canadischen Nordwesten, Lutherisches
Volksblatt, March 4, 1897, 37.
71. Aus Zeit und Kirche, Lutherisches Volksblatt, April 15, 1915, 6.

180 Benjamin Bryce


72. In 1922, congregations of western Canada formed their own district and in that year
the Canada District was renamed the Ontario District; Malinsky, Grace and Blessing, 23.
73. Advertisement, Deutsches Emigrantenhaus in New York, Kirchen-Blatt, May 1,
1880, 8.
74. Advertisement, Deutsches Emigrantenhaus in New York, Kirchen-Blatt, March 15,
1883, 8.
75. Advertisement, Deutsches Emigrantenhaus in New York, Kirchen-Blatt, September
27, 1894, 8; March 4, 1897, 8; July 13, 1899, 160; January 1, 1903, 360.
76. Verhandlungen der zweiundzwanzigsten Jahres-Versammlung der Evangelisch-Lutherischen Synode von Canada, 1882 (Listowel, Ont.: Dr. Al. Sommers Private-Office, 1882),
1718.
77. Verhandlungen der dreiundzwanzigsten Jahres-Versammlung der Evangelisch-Lutherischen Synode von Canada, 1883 (Neu-Hamburg: Otto Preupich, Volksblatt Office,
1883), 16.
78. Verhandlungen der 64sten Jahresversammlung der Evangelisch-Lutherischen Synode
von Canada, 1926, 33.
79. Verhandlungen der 68sten Jahresversammlung der Evangelisch Lutherischen Synode
von Canada, 1930, 56.
80. Unsere Emigrantenmission und das Lutherische Pilgerhaus im Jahre 1888, Lutherisches Volksblatt, March 15, 1889, 44.
81. Das Lutherische Pilgerhaus und seine Mission im Jahre 1896, Lutherisches Volksblatt,
March 18, 1897, 44.
82. For example, see Advertisement, Lutherisches Pilgerhaus for Ein- und Auswanderer, Lutherisches Volksblatt, January 7, 1897, 8; Advertisement, Lutherisches Pilgerhaus,
Lutherisches Volksblatt, December 27, 1900, 208.
83. For example, see Aus Zeit und Kirche, Lutherisches Volksblatt, August 20, 1914, 5.
84. Das Lutherische Pilgerhaus und seine Mission im Jahre 1896, Lutherisches Volksblatt,
March 18, 1897, 44.

8
Religious Borderlands and Transnational Networks
The North American Mennonite Underground Press in the 1960s
Janis Thiessen

In 1968, Sam Steiner, a 22-year-old Mennonite from Lima, Ohio, immigrated


to Canada as a draft resister, one of approximately 60,000 people to do so from
1966 to 1976.1 For more than three years, Steiner had been a student at Goshen
College, a small liberal arts school in Indiana operated by the (Old) Mennonite
Church. While he had long been opposed to the draft, 1968 was the year that
Steiner lost his student exemption because he was expelled from Goshen for
co-editing an underground newspaper.
Steiner edited the newspaper Menno-Pause with fellow students James
Wenger, Lowell Miller, and Tom Harley. It ran for only two issues. The selfprofessed aims of Menno-Pauses editors at the time were to serve as a spontaneous voice for opposition to the Goshen College establishment by poking
and prodding the G[oshen] C[ollege] sacred cows, to function as a critic and
watchdog of education and discipline on campus, to be a venue for student
opinion, and to provide general all-around crap.2 After the appearance of the
second issue, all four student editors were expelled from the college. MennoPause was just one of thousands of underground newspapers that existed in
the 1960s and that illustrate the entangled history of Mennonite students in
Canada and the United States at that time.
Mennonites are a diasporic group with origins in sixteenth-century northern Europe. Fleeing religious persecution and economic limitations, many
settled in Canada and the United States in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Though their history in these two countries has been very different,
many Canadian and American Mennonites have strong connections to each
other by virtue of a shared ethnic and religious heritage that is maintained and
reconstituted by transnational networks such as those created by educational
institutions and church organizations and by official and grassroots media.3

182 Janis Thiessen

Historians of the North American student movement have tended not to


focus on religious campuses or on religious motivations, preferring to examine the (often-competing) philosophies and actions of various student groups.
Doug Owram, for example, reviews the activities of the Company of Young Canadians, the Student Union for Peace Action, and the Canadian Union of Students, among others.4 An exception is Douglas Rossinows study of Christian
student organizations at the University of Texas in the 1960s. Rossinow shows
that a minority of Christian students existed whose exposure to religious traditions such as the Social Gospel and to student radicalism resulted in their
resolve that they could live a life of meaning only if they decided on, and acted
on, their values.5 While not discussing religion or religious hypocrisy per se,
Roberta Lexier notes that the gap between myth and reality was the primary
focus of social movements in Canada, as students worked actively to promote
specific democratic values.6 This gap was a particular struggle for Mennonite
students on Mennonite campuses.
This study of Mennonite student newspapers adds a religious dimension
to the scholarly work that has been done on the importance of networks to
the student movement, such as that of David Churchill, Stuart Henderson,
and Roberta Lexier.7 Lexier demonstrates that transnational social movements
shaped student movements in English Canada to move beyond campus radicalism, while Henderson and Churchill show that American draft resisters in
Toronto were sustained in their radicalism by alternative social spaces (such
as Yorkville) that enabled them to link local actions with global movements.
Michael Foley discusses the importance of radical newspapersstudent and
otherwisein creating a network of support for draft resistance during the
Vietnam War.8 John Hagan investigates the migration of Vietnam War resisters from the United States to Canada and outlines the cross-border network
created by the Toronto Anti-Draft Program, its production of the Manual for
Draft-Age Immigrants, the newspaper created by the Union of American Exiles,
and the networks established by religious groups such as the Quakers.9 My
focus on religion within these networks demonstrates that Mennonite students
were part of a broader transnational student movement and that their religious
backgrounds enabled them to see themselves not only as radicals challenging
orthodoxy but also as prophets calling for a return to the radicalism of their
faiths origins.
Student newspapers were central to the student movement and these networks, and their censorship was the final key ingredient in the development
of campus unrest.10 The Carillon was censored on the University of Saskatch-

The North American Mennonite Underground Press in the 1960s 183

ewans Regina campus in 19681969, and in 1966, Simon Fraser Universitys


suspension of The Peak forced it underground.11 The problem, Owram argues,
was not so much that university administrators opposed the student movement but that they mishandled situations. They were both too tough and too
soft. Universities had traditionally assumed a quasi-parental supervisory role
in relation to their occasionally troublesome and all too often high-spirited
students. . . . The administrator and the senior faculty member thus assumed
the role of a moral authority figure as well as official of the university. He adds
that universities saw themselves as being forced by circumstance and history
to take on a role that comprised family pastor, teacher, and parent. Overall,
the universitys approach to students was a kind of benign authoritarianism.12
The quasi-parental and pastoral role administrators played on religious
campuses was even greater, of course. Administrators at these church colleges,
however, also struggled with their role as authority figures and the challenge
to their consciences the student press presented.
This study of five North American Mennonite underground newspapers
(Remnant, Piranha, The Fly, College Scroll, and Menno-Pause) at five North
American college campuses (Simon Fraser University in British Columbia,
Eastern Mennonite College in Virginia, Bethel College in Kansas, Canadian
Mennonite Bible College in Manitoba, and Goshen College in Indiana) contributes to the broader scholarly discussion of the North American student
movement by adding two focuses: transnational networks and religious borderlands.13 In the context of this study, I argue that religious borderlands were
the underground newspapers and Mennonite colleges where traditional Mennonitism and the New Left were entangled. These colleges and publications
bound people together across large regions that transcended political boundaries. Although the papers were produced in a specific geographic location
(often an American college campus), their content and subscribers were transnational.
The idea of borderlands at first glance appears to have much in common
with liminality. Both seem to address fringes or edges. Liminality, however,
suggests that there is a normative center; a borderlands approach does away
with such privileging.14 The advantages of a transnational approach are that it
encourages the scholar to explore how all parties involved were transformed
in processes that have typically been seen as unidirectional (such as the flow of
migrants from one country to another or the flow of religious authority from
leaders to followers). A transnational approach encourages the examination of
not only the differences and conflicts but also the connections and continu-

184 Janis Thiessen

ities between groups (such as migrants, host societies, and sending societies or
religious authorities, religious adherents, and religious rebels). The formation,
maintenance, and re-formation of such transnational networks were essential
for North American Mennonites after World War II, as increasing numbers
of them migrated from farms to cities and entered secular institutions (particularly businesses and universities). They were also critical during the 1960s,
when Mennonite university students found themselves torn between the expectations and commitments of the student movement and those of their religious leaders.
Borderlands reference geographic and political spaces,15 but they also refer to social spaces. Indeed, these last have come to be viewed by some scholars as the more significant. Anthropologists Gupta and Ferguson define borderlands as an interstitial zone of displacement and deterritorialization that
shapes the identity of the hybridized subject.16 They argue that geographic and
political space, for so long the only grid on which cultural difference could be
mapped, need to be replaced by multiple grids that enable us to see that connection and contiguitymore generally the representation of territoryvary
considerably by factors such as class, gender, race, and sexuality, and are differentially available to those in different locations in the field of power.17 I would
add religious identity to the factors that they list here. Gupta and Ferguson
do well to remind us of the importance of power. Historians Jeremy Adelman
and Stephen Aron similarly emphasize power structures in their definition of
borderlands as the contested boundaries between colonial domains.18 When
considering religious identity as a type of borderland, it is necessary to keep
such power relations in mind.
Religious borderlands are the spaces where religious identity is questioned,
challenged, or in flux.19 These spaces may be physical or geographic, but
they are more likely to be intellectual or emotional. A borderland, sociologist Wade Clark Roof observes, is a space of conflicted identities that harbors
violence, fears, struggles, deep ambivalence.20 Since religions are unfinished
creations, always evolving, their boundaries drawn and redrawn to fit new
circumstances,21 they are better understood as borderlands than as institutions or ideologies. Religious historian David Carrasco defines religious borderlands as the existential conditions of people who often, if not continually,
find themselves at the crossroads of their lives and seek new combinations of
resourcescultural and religiousto carry on creative struggles for survival
and to thrive.22 The stories of these people and their communities are key for
understanding religious borderlands. As political geographer Alex van Wijhe

The North American Mennonite Underground Press in the 1960s 185

notes, Borders come to life at the level of the narrative, anecdote and communication, through everyday experiences of individuals. . . . These narratives
can be individual, but also exist at group-level.23
By connecting Mennonites on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border and by
serving as a space in which these Mennonites could debate and reimagine their
evolving religious identity, underground newspapers and Mennonite colleges
functioned as religious borderlands. The discussion here of five Mennonite
underground newspapers in Canada and the United States, most of them on
Mennonite college campuses, challenges simplistic dualities that position religious authorities against young radicals. The concept of religious borderlands
instead reveals that college campuses and underground newspapers during the
Vietnam War era functioned as spaces where both Mennonite students and
religious leaders could question their positions.

Remnant and the Radical Mennonite Union


Underground newspapers functioned as sites where young Mennonites in
Canada and the United States attempted to negotiate the competing claims of
Mennonite religious identity and the transnational student movement. Mennonites in a variety of situationsliving in the city, attending public universities, or studying at Mennonite collegesproduced such newspapers. They were
often hastily (and poorly) mimeographed and with low circulation numbers,
and it is fortunate that any of them have been preserved. Many published only
a few issues before being shut down by authorities or because of lack of funds.
What is notable about the papers that have been preserved is their extensive
geographic reach. Newspapers published in Illinois and Manitoba would carry
news of events in British Columbia and Indiana and be read by subscribers in
Ontario and Florida.
An example of such a paper is Remnant: Forum for Radical Mennos, a Mennonite underground newspaper published in Chicago by Steve, Mark, Stein,
and G. P. Funk in 1969.24 Only one issueits thirdhas survived. This issue
included news of protest actions by Mennonites in support of the Vietnam
Moratorium Campaign at Goshen College in Indiana, North Newton High
School in Kansas, Evanston Hospital in Illinois, and in Pennsylvania.25 Other
items included favorable and supportive reviews of student underground papers on Mennonite college campuses: Menno-Pause and the other wall at Goshen
College and The Fly at Bethel College.26 Two issues of Remnant devoted space
to the Radical Mennonite Union (RMU), a protest movement comprised of

186 Janis Thiessen

Mennonite students at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia that was


led by John Braun.27 Excerpts of the RMUs Radical Manifesto for Mennonites were published in Remnants first issue.28 While student protest often
has been examined in a national context, the story of Remnant and the Radical
Mennonite Union reveals that student protesters were dependent on a transnational exchange of ideas and support.29
The manifesto addressed four major issues regarding Mennonitism: the
churchs limited engagement with political and social issues, the absence of
true democracy in the church, the limitations of religious education, and the
conservatism of Mennonite society. The language used is provocative, as when
church members are described as passive, docile idiots . . . human near-vegetables incapable of facing life with any kind of honesty.30 Despite this harsh
tone, Braun did not reject religious institutions but instead called for a radical transformation. The manifesto decries the Mennonite churchs defense of
rigid theology and outdated social mores and its support of the status quo
in the political sphere. The document encouraged Mennonites to actively support draft dodgers and war resisters, and it called on the church to reform
itself, allowing free and open discussion of all theology, doctrines, rules, etc.
Religious educationwhether in the churches or on Mennonite college campuseswas to be similarly reformed. Women were to be liberated and treated
with equality. To honestly follow Christ in this day, the manifesto notes, is
to make the social revolution.31
After publishing excerpts of this manifesto in its first issue, the editors of
Remnant included a reflection on the manifesto by its author, John Braun, in
their third issue. Braun now judged the manifesto to be insufficiently radical, particularly with respect to its suggestions regarding democracy in the
church.32 He advocated a more activist approach: forming coffee houses, living communally, producing underground publications, and supporting antiwar efforts.33 In particular, Braun encouraged Mennonites to work together
with non-Christian radicals, thereby attempting to link Mennonite students to
a larger North American student movement. In so doing, Braun attempted to
redefine Mennonitism, arguing that the quietism of twentieth-century Mennonites in the face of social change exemplified by the protest movements of
the New Left was an abandonment of the radicalism of their sixteenth-century
Anabaptist origins.34 After some provocative and poetic slogans, Braun wrote
a conclusion to his Confession of Faith that incorporated references (some
unattributed) to Canadian poet-musician Leonard Cohens 1966 novel Beautiful Losers:

The North American Mennonite Underground Press in the 1960s 187

Down with Fat-Cat Christianity


Obscenity is stuffing yourself and your garbage can while watching
with quiet glee as our Boys burn rice paddies in Vietnam,
Happiness is smashing the state
Before change, understanding; before understanding, confrontation.
Anabaptists have a persecution complex, or is it prosecution complex?
A New Christianity for a New Religious Age
God is alive; Magic is Afoot
Welcome to you who read me today. Welcome to you who put my heart
down. Welcome to you, darling and friend, who miss me forever in
your trip to the end.
Cohen35
Brauns writings reveal many connections and continuities with the Mennonite
church he rejected. The manifesto, for example, demands not the rejection of
the church but its transformation. His use of religious language (confession of
faith) is further evidence of an ongoing interest in maintaining religious affiliation. Braun had connections with other Mennonite members of the New Left
across the border in the United States, as his activities were reported in Mennonite underground newspapers there. The Chicago Mennonite editors of Remnant, for example, reported that RMU members had joined a student strike
in support of eight professors who had been dismissed from Simon Fraser
University.36 The Remnant editors voiced their support of RMU members activities: In their spare time, these students are developing a multi-media happening with theological overtones. This looks like part of a diabolical scheme
to radicalize people with fascinating educational tools. God bless these efforts
north of the border.37

The Underground Press on Mennonite College Campuses


Operating in the major urban centers of Chicago and Vancouver, Remnant and
the Radical Mennonite Union were free (so long as their founders interests
and/or finances permitted) to continue their work. Editors of underground
newspapers on Mennonite college campuses, by contrast, had to contend with
administrative officials whose interests often ran counter to theirs. Although
most Mennonite colleges were in the United States, many Canadian Mennonites attended these schools. These U.S. institutions were larger and better
established than the relatively few Mennonite colleges in Canada, and they of-

188 Janis Thiessen

fered a greater number of degrees. Parents and religious leaders viewed these
U.S. colleges as safe environments that were suitable for a young persons first
adventures away from home. In addition, Mennonites on both sides of the
border fundedand taught atthese U.S. schools. Underground newspapers
on Mennonite college campuses thus functioned as religious borderlands for
students and faculty alike and for both Canadians and Americans.
For example, Virginias Eastern Mennonite College was home to The Piranha, an underground newspaper that began in response to campus restrictions
that included faculty censorship of the official student newspaper, The WeatherVane.38 A former editor of The Piranha explained the origins of the paper,
writing The WeatherVane was pretty much censored. We did not show movies on campus. We were still trying to get musical instruments. It was a time
where . . . Mennonite women wore [religious head] coverings. It was kind of
pre-jeans. So, it was the times and something seemed to need to be done. So we
created this paper.39 The Piranha served as a forum where Mennonites could
debate their changing religious practices regarding dress and social activities.
Despite the controversial content and language of the paper, the administration at Eastern Mennonite College never did more than chat with the student
editors of The Piranha. The paper died a natural death after a year, and one of
the editors subsequently was invited by college administration to be the editor
of a newly uncensored WeatherVane.40
Bethel College, a Mennonite churchowned school in Kansas, also had an
underground newspaper. The Fly, published from 1968 to 1970, discussed student power . . . the Vietnam War, oppression, irrelevant classes, required chapel, Bethel College Mennonite Church, US President Nixon and Bethel President Vothalways in very colorful, forceful language.41 The Fly was one of the
campus newspapers endorsed by the editors of Remnant: Forum for Radical
Mennos.42 Bethel College administration did not share Remnants view and
took a very different approach from that of administrators at Eastern Mennonite College. In Kansas, administrators worked for two years to close [The
Fly] down and were ultimately successful.43
While there do not appear to have been any underground newspapers at
Winnipegs Canadian Mennonite Bible College (CMBC), students did take advantage of school-sanctioned outlets for expression. The Wittenberg Door was a
bulletin board on which students posted news items, art, poetry, and personal
commentary. Students often commented on each others postings and lengthy
dialogues could ensue.44 By its very nature, little of this material has survived
over the years.45 Other student outlets were CMBCs student yearbook and the

The North American Mennonite Underground Press in the 1960s 189

official student newspapers, the College Scroll (19481969) and its successor,
Ayin (19691999).46
The College Scroll existed, the student editors explained in 1968, not for discussion of the scholarly aspect of student life (which was the function of
classes, prayer meetings, and the Wittenberg Door) but for artistic expression.
We have seen that the result of suppression of expression in the school papers
of certain of our fellow American colleges has been the organization of underground publications.47 The existence of the College Scroll made underground
papers on the CMBC campus unnecessary, its editors claimed. Only a minority
of the articles published there in the late 1960s and early 1970s, however, address the sorts of issues raised by these other, more radical papers.
That said, CMBC students in generaland the contributors to the College
Scroll in particularwere not oblivious to the transnational student movement
of the 1960s. This papers involvement in this broader phenomenon integrated
Mennonite students into these currents while at the same time maintaining
permeable ethno-religious boundaries. An examination of the issues published
in this decade, however, shows that these students interest was limited to the
cultural aspects of the New Left (beatnik and hippie life) and Vietnam War
protests.48 The Vietnam War was a topic of particular importance for Mennonites: those in the United States had to determine how (or if) to resist the draft,
while those in Canada had to determine their response to so-called draft dodgers (only some of whom were fellow Mennonites). The challenge for some was
that living out ones Mennonite beliefs (pacifism) might result in identification
with the countercultural trends of the 1960s.
Appearing in the fall of 1968, Menno-Pause (an underground newspaper
edited by four students at Goshen College, Indiana) contained a critique of
Mennonite conservative social practices, called for a new definition of Mennonitism in light of broader social changes, and judged Mennonite authorities for religious hypocrisy. Articles included comment on Goshen Colleges
policy against dancing, its ban on popular music in public spaces on campus,
discrimination against women in college housing policies, the decline in the
use of religious head coverings among college women, and the reasons for low
male enrolment at the college. Mennonite authorities were subtly critiqued
for not providing sufficient leadership in response to the Vietnam War; they
encouraged hiding in colleges or urged young men to seek alternative service
assignments (1-W) instead of challenging the draft. The editors claimed that
many young Mennonite men were avoiding attending Mennonite colleges, despite the risks of being drafted, and instead were accepting 1-W assignments,49

190 Janis Thiessen

the sheer individual freedom of a job, or attendance at state universities without the strict code of conduct of Mennonite colleges.50 This first issue of four
mimeographed pages ended with a brief note on editorial policy: In keeping
with the Menno-Pause policy of printing only articles of virgin purity, we have
deleted the following less than acceptable words from the articles which herein
appear: goodness gracious, golly-gee, heck, shucks, asinine, fink, raunchey
[sic], LBJ, fuck.51 The last word, it was claimed, had been deleted thirty-seven
times.
Reaction on campus to this first issue was mixed at best. J. Daniel Hess,
professor of communication at Goshen College at the time, was tickled that
the four young men had a sense of humor and enough energy to put together
a funny sheet. I wasnt the only faculty member who liked it. . . . What I didnt
know until Monday morning was that a number of students, as well as the
establishment, didnt find the publication funny.52 Hess contacted the four
editors when he learned that there was a possibility of their being sanctioned
and suggested that they bring out a second issue that clarified their function
of providing innocent fun. In retrospect, he noted that this was very bad
advice.53
Whereas the cover of Menno-Pauses first issue quoted Goshen College president Paul Mininger (and we all need a sense of humor), the second issues
cover featured a poem entitled Ode to the Four-Letter Word (purported to
be from a book titled Pornography and the Law) and a quotation from Martin
Luther (A Christian should and could be gay, but then the devil shits on him).
The shift in tone is clear here. The first issue quoted the college president, reminding the reader that even authority figures in the Mennonite community
advocated a humorously critical approach to life. The second issues cover quotations are a more aggressive response to the criticism of the editors inclusion
of one swear word in the first issue.
The second issue of the publication was twice as long as the first, running
to eight pages. The editors noted that their previous issue had been subject
to super-pious pronouncements because of its use of one swear word. They
quoted at length from a 1965 article by Howard Moody in Christianity and
Crisis54 that commented in part, Vulgar speech and four-letter words are not
blasphemous or immoral, and our shame and prudery over them are basically class matters.55 The student editors concluded, We dont think vulgarity is something to get hung up on, one way or the other.56 Another article
on the same subject published excerpts from Episcopal priest and civil rights
activist Malcolm Boyds Free to Live, Free to Die.57 In it, Boyd argued that the

The North American Mennonite Underground Press in the 1960s

true obscenity is smiling at racist jokes or living in neighborhoods that


exclude Jews and African Americans.58 He wrote, Cant people care enough
about others to try hearing what they are saying, despite their selection of
words? . . . Dirty words are apparently a greater shock than the dirty realities we have been conditioned to ignore, the dirty things we do to each other
every day, often in the name of high-sounding words like duty, patriotism,
and religion.59
Other articles with a similarly serious intent addressed the religious nature of the college and the quality of its faculty. President Miningers public
explanation of the purpose of Goshen College (the College is here to serve
the Church) was questioned in light of the fact that almost one-third of the
student body was non-Mennonite. Why had these students been admitted if
the college was part of the church, the student editors asked. Was the college
merely a Sunday school under another name? Whatever the case, they wrote,
this is no longer education; this [is] training (conditioning in psychological
terms).60
Faculty who demonstrated an awareness and acceptance of the secular
non-Mennonite world were lauded in the newspapers second issue. Fine arts
professor Mary K. Oyer was assessed in what the editors claimed was the first
article in a series that would evaluate instructors on campus. Oyer was endorsed as human and alive. Talk with her sometime about the Beatles, TV
(she watches Hitchcock at 10:00 sometimes), gospel songs, McLuhan, Bach,
G[oshen] C[ollege], or just life. The editors noted that Oyer enjoyed the music
of avant-garde composer John Cage and was interested in the sculptures of
modern artist Alberto Giacometti. The anonymous author concluded: Hail
Marywho brings some fresh grace wherever she goes.61
The articles included in this longer issue were wide ranging in content. In a
satirical transcript of Menno-Pauses editorial process, editor James Wenger
was quoted as saying, Well, I guess I showed those people what kind of person I am last issue. And here they all thought I was a nice, sensible, pious, little
boy. (Laughs demonically; starts singing a horrendous version of Lovely Rita
Meter Maid.)62 Also published were a long letter submitted by Goshen College mathematics professor Delmar Good teasingly correcting the first issues
graphical representation of the decline of religious head coverings on campus,
an invitation to Goshen College students to join the Students for a Democratic
Society63 (John Birchers need not apply for membership64), a suggestion to
paint campus trash cans psychedelic purple and pink, a letter arguing that
alcohol consumption in moderation yields the sort of fellowship too often

191

192 Janis Thiessen

missing in Christian churches, and a classified advertisement asking to trade a


leather-bound King James version of Gods word for back issues of Playboy.65
After the appearance of this second issue, Professor Hess was called to
President Miningers office to meet with the top leadership of Goshen College and was asked if he had encouraged the creation of the paper. He said
he had not but was ready to give [his] assessment of its place in the current national student mood. He did so for eight to ten minutes, after which
Mininger pointed out a solicitation for a male partner personal advertisement placed by student editor James Wenger in the underground newspaper
Berkeley Barb.66 Hess recalled, For the men in the room, there was no longer
a question about the moral intentions of the Menno-Pause staff. I was not
prepared to respond. The meeting was over.67 At a faculty meeting a few days
later, President Mininger asked for a unanimous vote of support for his decision to expel the four students: most faculty members voted in support, some
abstained, and Hess himself was absent because of a friends medical emergency. The letter to the four students noted that their suspension was due to
their promoting or encouraging campus attitudes contrary to the philosophy
and/or standards of Goshen College. Russel Liechty, the author of the letter of
expulsion, concluded, I have prayed and will continue to pray that you and
we as individual and institution may through His Spirit be directed in our
search for Truth.68
Faculty met together the weekend thereafter for a venting session to state
their true feelings about the publication, about the Thursday faculty meeting
[with the president], and about campus process in general.69 On the following Monday, Professor Hess was again called into the presidents office, this
time for a one-on-one meeting. Hess took the opportunity to tell Mininger
in terrible language what I thought of him and Goshen College for at least
a half hour. He later learned that the president had defended him when some
board members had asked that he be fired over his support for the editors of
Menno-Pause. Almost thirty years after the Menno-Pause controversy, former
president Mininger initiated a conversation with Hess about it. Mininger told
him that he wondered what happened to the four boys, whether they had
recovered from their expulsion and humiliation.70 At Hesss encouragement,
Mininger visited former editor James Wenger at his and his male partners
home in Chicago. Both Wenger and Mininger died shortly thereafter.
There are some notable aspects of this story that make it more than simply
an isolated disciplinary issue occurring in the 1960s at a small religious college

The North American Mennonite Underground Press in the 1960s 193

in the American Midwest. First are the religious language used in various articles in Menno-Pause and the student editors interest in religious topics. They
attacked what they considered to be frivolous applications of religious belief
(prohibitions on dancing and popular music, the use of religious head coverings by Mennonite women, middle-class rejection of crude language) at the
expense of those aspects of Mennonite religious commitment that they held
more dearly (war resistance and rejection of racism). Their writing demonstrates not a dismissal of the religious tradition of the college but a call for
its reexamination, much like the writings of Vancouvers Radical Mennonite
Union in Chicagos Remnant. What the editors of Menno-Pause did reject, very
clearly, is religious indoctrination and some Mennonites refusal to engage
with popular culture (thus, for example, they comment favorably on Professor
Oyers habit of watching late-night television).
The second aspect worth noting is the support of a significant minority of
faculty members for the student editors. Professor Goods humorous submission correcting the graphing skills of the editors (and ignoring the discussion
of religious head coverings in the article in question) is one example. Clearly
Good did not feel offended or challenged by the newspaper if he was willing to
contribute a light-hearted piece to its second issue. Hesss comments to President Mininger on the current national student mood are particularly telling.
Hess was aware that in the fall of 1968, following a spring and summer filled
with news of student protests around the globe as well as the anti-war demonstrations at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, an underground
student newspaper on the Goshen College campus was not an isolated challenge to college authorities but part of a larger historical movement. His words,
however, fell on deaf ears.
Another notable aspect is the college presidents reference to James
Wengers advertisement in the Berkeley Barb as the ultimate grounds for expulsion. It is not clear whether the solicitation for a sexual partner, Wengers
homosexuality, or the reputation of the Berkeley Barb itself was the problem from President Miningers perspective, or whether all three were the
issue.71 Professor Hess makes it clear, however, that the administration used
Wengers action (if not his homosexual identity) to judge the moral intentions of Menno-Pauses editors. As a result, Goshen College authorities, with
the support of many faculty members, put an end to the four students public
questioning of Mennonite religious beliefs and their public advocacy for the
New Left.

194 Janis Thiessen

After Menno-Pause
Menno-Pause editor Sam Steiners expulsion from Goshen College was not the
first conflict that he had had with the administration since his arrival in the fall
of 1964. The administration was aware both of the changing nature of their college and of the transnational student movement. The composition of Goshen
College student body was increasingly non-Mennonite, and Menno-Pause was
evidence of some student (and some faculty) support for the New Left. In an
attempt to adapt the school to these circumstances, college administration had
taken some small, awkward steps by the end of the 1960s.
In September 1966, Steiner wrote to the administration, questioning policies
regarding drinking, smoking, and dancing (topics that were also popular in The
Fly, The Piranha, and Remnant). An extraordinary written exchange between
Steiner and administration ensued, in which administrator Russel Liechty
wrote unusually lengthy responsesnot merely defending school policies but
also raising philosophical questions regarding community and the limits of
freedom. In November of that year, another, more serious, conflict developed
when Steiner refused to record his attendance at mandatory school assemblies
(which differed from the schools chapel services) as a protest against the use
of religious language at those nonreligious events.72 His continued refusal to
comply resulted in his suspension, despite the attempts of a pair of college
senators to intervene and a small student protest.73 Steiner responded with an
open letter:
Was it worth it? I dont know. The issue was. The results might not be.
Vietnam is not the only battleground, Civil Rights is not the only cause.
If true intellectual ferment is not achieved, how can these other problems
be resolved? It should not take a year in France to see that Goshen College is only trying to mimeograph progressive middle-class Mennonitism onto blank-faced students. The testimonials of graduates as to the
narrowness of their education here is evidence of this. This failure is the
root of my protest. My departure will be worth it if anyone starts to realize that the only road to truth is through challenge, and not through soft
reinforcement of childhood experiences. . . . The hopes of this college lie
in the hands of students like Dwight King and speakers like Vince Har
ding. My 2 years [at Goshen College] have seen their and similar challenges either ignored or only tokenly listened to. The Christ you claim to
follow would seem to deserve more than this.74

The North American Mennonite Underground Press in the 1960s 195

Steiner was suspended from the school for the remainder of the semester. At
the beginning of the next term, in May 1967, he was readmitted.75 But in October 1967, he was suspended for the remainder of the academic year for his
involvement with Menno-Pause.76
Steiner was raised in a Mennonite home but was not a member of a Mennonite church and did not identify as a Christian in the late 1960s. He nonetheless used the rhetoric of the Mennonite religious tradition in which he was
raised and that was the religious foundation of Goshen College. The final reference in Steiners open letter to true Christian discipleship would have struck a
chord with the colleges Mennonite administrators. His invocation of the 1968
student protests in France and of the American civil rights movement and
his upholding of Vincent Harding and others as models of Mennonitism are
telling. Steiner clearly saw himself as existing in a religious borderland: one
where the traditional Mennonitism and the New Left coexisted. He had been
profoundly shaped by his experience of participating in Martin Luther Kings
Selma to Montgomery march in 1965. He subsequently joined the Students
for a Democratic Society, which may be where he obtained his awareness of
the French student protests.77 Steiner thus viewed his actions at Goshen not as
those of an isolated disaffected nonreligious Mennonite student but as part of a
broader transnational student movement and, indeed, as part of the centuriesold Anabaptist movement, both of which spoke truth to power in their own
way.
Steiners expulsion from Goshen College resulted in the loss of his student
exemption from the Vietnam War draft. He moved to Chicagoa haven for
many draft resisters on their way to Canadaand worked with the Chicago
Area Draft Resisters (CADRE) while appealing unsuccessfully for conscientious objector status to his local and state draft boards.78 He was called up for
active service on April 20, 1968, and refused to board the bus that was taking
inductees to be sworn in. Members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation came
to interview him about this refusal, but he would not meet with them. The next
step would have been indictment for failure to comply with an order of his local draft board and failure to report for induction into the armed forces, but
former classmates from Goshen College convinced Steiner to move to Canada
in November 1968 rather than wait to be imprisoned.79
In moving to Canada, Steiner took advantage of transnational networks
comprised of draft resister supporters and Mennonites. While the pacifist commitment of the latter group suggests a natural affinity with the former, in fact
the two did not come together until the late 1960s, and only after a struggle.

196 Janis Thiessen

American Mennonites supported registration with the government as conscientious objectors (COs) and performance of alternative service rather than
noncooperation with the draftthat is, until fifteen Mennonite draft resisters led by three Goshen College students convinced the annual assembly of
the (Old) Mennonite Church at Turner, Oregon, to support noncooperation
in August 1969.80 Rather than quietly accept alternative service assignments,
young Mennonite men now had the support of their church for burning their
draft cards and resisting the draft in other ways. Most draft-age Mennonite
men continued to register as COs, but just over fifty young Mennonite men
resisted the draft. For example, Duane Shank, a student at Eastern Mennonite
College who refused to register for the draft, was arrested on campus by the
FBI and was convicted and sentenced to three years of community service.
Dennis Koehn, a student at Bethel College who also refused to register for the
draft, was arrested on campus by the FBI and was imprisoned for a year and a
half.81
In Canada, Mennonites debated whether they should support draft resisters migrating to the country and whether that support should be restricted to
those resisting on religious grounds. The Canadian Mennonite, an independent
weekly newspaper edited by Frank H. Epp that was published in Winnipeg,
Manitoba, regularly published articles about the Vietnam War and draft resistance, including articles by Vincent Harding and descriptions of draft protests
at Mennonite colleges in the United States.82 Religious scholar Mara Apostol
observes, There was a profound sensitivity [among Mennonites during the
Vietnam War] to the fact that the fates of the [Canadian and American] nations were deeply intertwined as far as militarization and the protection of
conscientious objectors were concerned.83 Epps I Would Like to Dodge the
Draft-Dodgers But . . . , published in 1970, was written to convince Canadian
Mennonites to support draft resisters and help draft resisters find assistance:
the booklet lists contact information for draft resister assistance centers across
Canada.84 Mennonite Bob Neufeld worked as an employment counselor for
Ottawas Assistance with Immigration and the Draft (AID)a war resister support groupin the basement of the Ottawa Mennonite Church; Frank Epp
had recommended the job to him.85 Mennonites were a mainstay of the AID
organization, and Mennonite churches in Winnipeg helped fund the Winnipeg
Committee to Assist War Objectors.86
Mennonite networks that linked the United States and Canada and the draft
resister networkswhich at times overlappedproved essential for Steiner.
Families, institutional connections, and the binational nature of the three larg-

The North American Mennonite Underground Press in the 1960s 197

est Mennonite church conferences had maintained cross-border Mennonite


networks for over a century.87 Although he could have had access to draft
resister networks through his participation in the non-Mennonite CADRE,
Steiner came to Canada with the assistance of his former Goshen College professor, Dan Leatherman. Leatherman had a sister-in-law living in New Hamburg, Ontario, and he arranged for Steiner to stay with her for his first night in
Canada. He subsequently found accommodations in Waterloo with his former
roommate from Goshen College. Steiner then made contact with Walter Klaassen, a professor at the Mennonite Conrad Grebel College, who was active in
the local support committee for draft resisters.88 Klaassen, in turn, connected
Steiner with James Reusser, the pastor of Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church.
Reusser helped Steiner get a job at a supermarket owned by a member of his
church and found him six months room and board with his wifes aunt.
These contacts kept Steiner within Mennonite circlesas did his enrollment
as a student at Conrad Grebel Collegeand after several years, he became a
church member.89 Steiner was baptized into Rockway Mennonite Church in
Kitchener, Ontario, in 1974, a church that had other draft resisters as members
and that had impressed him during a sermon on the theology of Bob Dylan.90
Steiner recalled that at his baptism, he declared that his faith was not traditionally orthodox, yet Rockway Mennonite still made space for him.91 In a
biographical article in a Mennonite church publication in May 2012, Steiner
asked, Did the persona of the marginalized radical refugee survive in any
form? Others will have to answer that.92 He noted, however, that he has had a
history of supporting war tax resistance93 and advocating acceptance of homosexuality by the Mennonite churchideas supported by only a minority of his
fellow church members. Thus, Steiner maintained continuity with his earlier
commitments to the 1960s student movement.

Conclusion
Looking across the Canada-U.S. border to find linkages provides a greater understanding of the student movement in the 1960s and 1970s, which has typically been treated within a national framework. Including the ways students
of one denomination interwove ideas of the New Left and religious traditions
shows other ways that the student movement in this period transcended the
Canadian-American border. The networks that connected activists across
North America and that were cultivated by underground newspapers and
church college campuses were crucial in the 1960s, as urban Mennonites found

198 Janis Thiessen

themselves torn between their commitments to the student movement and the
expectations of their religious leaders. These newspapers and campuses functioned as both figurative and physical borderland spaces where the tensions
between conservative religious belief and leftist political activity were negotiated and transnational connections were reinforced. Mennonite underground
newspapers were part of the broader North American phenomenon that was
the student movement, and they created a movement that exploited the porosity of Mennonite religious identity.
Many North American Mennonites were at the crossroads of their lives in
the 1960s. The countercultural movements of that decade generated a contested
religious borderland in the Mennonite community. Four hundred years earlier,
European Anabaptists and Mennonites had been countercultural, but by the
1960s, North American Mennonite leaders were upholders of the middle-class
status quo. Transnational networks allowed students, who perceived themselves as the other yet who simultaneously wanted to redefine Mennonitism
on their own terms, to exchange ideas and obtain much-needed moral support
via underground publications. Some of these students also relied on more traditional Mennonite networks of family and institutional connections, as was
the case when Sam Steiner migrated to Canada after losing his draft exemption. Mennonite leaders, meanwhile, relied on other networks to keep abreast
of the scope and challenge of the New Left. Canadian historian Frank Epp, for
example, regularly received copies of the American publication Menno-Pause,
and he corresponded with others about the newspaper. American sociologist
Calvin W. Redekop, who taught at Goshen College in the late 1960s, received
copies of writings by Canadas Radical Mennonite Union. Reuben Baerg similarly received a copy of the Radical Mennonite Union manifesto; Baerg had
been born in Saskatchewan and taught in Mennonite colleges in Canada and
the United States. When the RMU issued its manifesto, he was pastor of Dinuba Mennonite Brethren Church in California.94
In migration and diaspora studies, transnational theory has shifted the
discussion away from assimilation and its nationalist assumptions by making
us aware of the connections over borders and beyond the nation-state.95 The
stories of transnationalism and religious borderlands told here enable us to
see how individuals in a time of social ferment attempted to negotiate a new
relationship with both their secular and religious communities and how their
religious communities joined them in this process. Interpreting these stories
through the dual focus on religious borderlands and transnationalism frees us
from creating a false binary between religious traditionalists protecting their

The North American Mennonite Underground Press in the 1960s 199

power and radicals on the fringe pushing for change. Shaped by resistance
to the Vietnam War and by denominational identity, the transnational nature
of student networks and the religious borderlands created by underground
newspapers in the 1960s are best understood by broadening our scholarly gaze
beyond national frameworks.

Notes
Authors note: Many thanks to Sam Steiner, Laureen Harder-Gissing, Conrad Stoesz,
Yukari Takai, Kerby Miller, Andrew Hoyt, Grinne McEvoy, Benjamin Bryce, Alexander
Freund, and Jordan Stanger-Ross for their suggestions and comments on this chapter.
1. Hist. Mss. 138.1/8, Samuel J. Steiner fonds, Mennonite Archives of Ontario, Conrad
Grebel University College, Waterloo, Ontario (hereafter SJS). The draft resister statistics are
estimates calculated by Joseph Jones, cited in David S. Churchill, American Expatriates and
the Building of Alternative Social Space in Toronto, 19651977, Urban History Review 39,
no. 1 (2010): 42n11. John Hagan, who has conducted 100 interviews with these war resisters,
details his findings in Northern Passage: American Vietnam War Resisters in Canada (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2001). See also Bryan Palmer, Canadas 1960s: The
Ironies of Identity in a Rebellious Age (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2009); and Doug
Owram, Born at the Right Time: A History of the Baby-Boom Generation (Toronto: University
of Toronto Press, 1996).
2. Menno-Pause 1 (Fall 1968): 1.
3. Until the twenty-first century, Mennonite church conference organizations were organized binationally rather than nationally. Mennonites from both Canada and the United
States attended Mennonite Bible colleges in both countries and subscribed to transnational
periodicals published on both sides of the border (such as Mennonitische Post, Mennonite
Quarterly Review, Mennonitische Rundschau, and The Mennonite). See, for example, Part
Four: Preparing the Next Generation in T. D. Regehr, Mennonites in Canada, 19391970: A
People Transformed (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1996).
4. Owram, Born at the Right Time, 21647.
5. Douglas C. Rossinow, The Politics of Authenticity: Liberalism, Christianity, and the New
Left in America (New York: Columbia University Press, 1988), 8586.
6. Roberta Lexier, Dreaming of a Better World: Student Rebellion in 1960s Regina, Past
Imperfect 10 (2004): 82. Lexier discusses the censorship of the University of Saskatchewans
Regina campus student newspaper The Carillon in 19681969 (7998).
7. See Churchill, American Expatriates; Stuart Henderson, Theyre Both the Same
Thing? Transnational Politics and Performance in 1960s Toronto, Journal for the Study of
Radicalism 5, no. 2 (2011): 3563; and Roberta Lexier, The Backdrop Against Which Everything Happened: English-Canadian Student Movements and Off-Campus Movements for
Change, History of Intellectual Culture 7, no. 1 (2007): 118.
8. Michael S. Foley, Confronting the War Machine: Draft Resistance during the Viet-

200 Janis Thiessen


nam War (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003), 22, 5758, 83, 273, 279,
31922.
9. Hagan, Northern Passage, 71, 101.
10. Owram, Born at the Right Time, 241.
11. Lexier, Dreaming of a Better World, 7998; Owram, Born at the Right Time, 241.
12. Owram, Born at the Right Time, 241.
13. The North American student movement, part of the larger counterculture of the 1960s,
was in some ways itself a religious movement, with its emphasis on mysticism, personal conversion, and the search for an ultimate truth. Doug Owram notes that in the 1960s, political
activism and a religious sense of duty were linked, much as they had been throughout
twentieth-century Canadian politics. He argues that while hippies were the minority, fringe,
and visibly extreme expression of the 1960s counterculture, their life and style choices (music, drugs, clothes) were embraced by middle-class college students as well as by political
activists. Owram, Born at the Right Time, 20910, 215, 219.
14. See chapter 3, Liminality and Communitas, in Victor Turner, The Ritual Process:
Structure and Anti-Structure (Chicago: Aldine, 1969). While ethnographer Arnold van Gennep originated the term liminality, this book by the anthropologist Turner is considered the
foundation text for work on the term.
15. Bradley J. Parker, Toward an Understanding of Borderland Processes, American Antiquity 71, no. 1 (2006): 80.
16. Akhil Gupta and James Ferguson, Beyond Culture: Space, Identity, and the Politics
of Difference, Cultural Anthropology 7, no. 1 (1992): 18.
17. Ibid.
18. Jeremy Adelman and Stephen Aron, From Borderlands to Borders: Empires, NationStates, and the Peoples in Between in North American History, American Historical Review
104, no. 3 (1999): 816.
19. Wade Clark Roof, Religious Borderlands: Challenges for Future Study, Journal for the
Scientific Study of Religion 37, no. 1 (1998): 1.
20. Ibid., 4.
21. Ibid., 5.
22. Anca Draganescu and Christian Pinawin, A View from the Borderlands: A Conversation on Religion with David Carrasco and Michael Jackson, Religions Gateway, June 1, 2012,
http://www.religionsgateway.com/articles/view-borderlands-conversation-religion-davidcarrasco-and-michael-jackson, accessed October 23, 2012.
23. Alex van Wijhe, On Borders, Boundaries and Borderlands: Theoretical Limology,
Limology: Rethinking Territory and Society, April 27, 2010, http://criticalgeography.wordpress.com/2010/04/27/on-borders-boundaries-and-borderlands-theoretical-limology/.
24. Remnants third issue states that it is printed in Chicago by Steve, Mark, Stein, and
G. P. Funk, and notes that RMUs manifesto was published in its first issue. This third issue
is the only one in existence of which I am aware. Remnant: Forum for Radical Mennos 1, no.
3 (December 1969), Hist. Mss. 1.156, John Braun fonds, Mennonite Archives of Ontario,
Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo, Ontario (hereafter JBF).

The North American Mennonite Underground Press in the 1960s 201


25. Which Way Political Menno? Remnant: Forum for Radical Mennos 1 no. 3 (1969):
712.
26. Remnant: Forum for Radical Mennos 1, no. 3 (December 1969): 1222.
27. RMUs Manifesto states that the movement began in Abbotsford in December 1968
and that its members were primarily SFU students. John Braun, A Confession of Faith,
Remnant: Forum for Radical Mennos 1, no. 3 (1969): 29.
28. Mention of these published excerpts in the (missing) first issue is made in the third issue.
29. See, for example, Marc Jason Gilbert, ed., The Vietnam War on Campus: Other Voices,
More Distant Drums (Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2001); and Kenneth J. Heineman, Campus
Wars: The Peace Movement at American State Universities in the Vietnam Era (New York:
New York University Press, 1994). Gerald J. De Groot examines student protest movements
in several countries (but not the connections between them) in Student Protest: The Sixties
and After (London: Longman, 1998). The same is true for Mark Edelman Borens Student Resistance: A History of the Unruly Subject (New York: Routledge, 2001). A notable exception is
the transnational approach taken by Martin Klimke in The Other Alliance: Student Protest in
West Germany and the United States in the Global Sixties (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2009). For an interesting transnational examination of Canadian coverage of the
Vietnam War and American draft resistance by religious newspapers (not underground papers), see Mara Alexandra Apostol, Speaking Truth to Power: How the United Church Observer and The Canadian Mennonite Helped Their Denominations Navigate a New ChurchState Dynamic during the Vietnam War (MA thesis, McMaster Divinity College, 2010).
30. John Braun, Manifesto of the Radical Mennonite Union, typescript, Hist. Mss. 1.156,
JBF.
31. Braun refers favorably to S. G. F. Brandons Jesus and the Zealots: A Study of the Political Factor in Primitive Christianity (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1967), which
portrays Christ as a national liberationist.
32. Braun, A Confession of Faith, 29.
33. Ibid., 31.
34. Ibid., 32.
35. Ibid.
36. The Remnant incorrectly reports the number of dismissed faculty members as nine.
The student strike in the fall of 1969, which lasted six weeks, was not the first student protest
at SFU. In March 1967, five teaching assistants (graduate students in the Political Science, Sociology, and Anthropology Department) were fired after they were arrested for supporting a
high school student who had been fired as newspaper editor after criticizing teachers in print.
They were reinstated after widespread campus protests. See Bryan Palmer, May 68: An Appreciation, Canadian Dimension, May 2, 2008, http://canadiandimension.com/articles/1752;
Cheratra Yaswen, Student Protest at SFU: A History Worth Knowing, The Peak: Student
Newspaper of Simon Fraser University 88, no. 2 (1994), http://www.the-peak.ca/1994/09/
student-protest-at-sfu-a-history-worth-knowing; Owram, Born at the Right Time, 245; and
Hugh Johnston, Radical Campus: Making Simon Fraser University (Vancouver: Douglas &
McIntyre, 2005).

202 Janis Thiessen


37. Editors introduction to Braun, A Confession of Faith, 29. The fired professors were
all members of the Political Science, Sociology, and Anthropology Department; Simon Fraser University Archives, SFU Campus Politics: Guide to Sources, 2010, http://www.sfu.ca/
archives2/PDFs/ResearchGuideCampusPolitics1v0.pdf.
38. The Piranha was first published in 1964 by Eastern Mennonite College students Joseph
Lapp, Ken Reed, and Duane Martin.
39. Kristine Sensenig, Joe Lapps Underground Piranha Revealed, The Weather Vane,
October 11, 2001, http://weathervane.emu.edu/issues/v48n6/article14.html.
40. Kristine Sensenig, Storytelling Together, The Weather Vane January 24, 2002, http://
weathervane.emu.edu/issues/v48n14/article8.html; Sensenig, Joe Lapps Underground Piranha Revealed.
41. Keith Sprunger, Voices from the Underground, Context: Bethel College Alumni
Magazine (March 2012), http://www.bethelks.edu/bc/news_publications/context/2012mar/
inquiry.php?view=print, accessed October 23, 2012.
42. Remnant: Forum for Radical Mennos 1, no. 3 (1969): 1222.
43. Sprunger, Voices from the Underground. Sprunger appears to have copies of The
Fly in his possession, which he is using as he writes an official history of Bethel College. The
serials guide for the Mennonite Library and Archives at Bethel College does not list The Fly
as part of the archives holdings.
44. This tradition persists at CMBCs successor, Canadian Mennonite University.
45. An exception is the material preserved in S. Keith Funk-Froese, The CMBC Wittenberg
Door: Files and Analysis, September 1970-April 1986, unpublished paper, March 29, 1995.
46. The name of the paper was taken from a letter of the Hebrew alphabet that is interpreted as sight or eye or the divine.
47. Editors, By Way of Apology, College Scroll, February 20, 1968, 7.
48. Bob Bartel, Beatnik Party, College Scroll, March 29, 1966, 67; Annie Weier, An
Open Letter to Anyone Who Is Concerned about the Problems in Our World Today, College
Scroll, November 27, 1968, 12.
49. 1-W was the draft classification assigned to American conscientious objectors who
were required to perform alternative service during the period 19511973. Guy F. Hershberger,
Albert N. Keim, and Hanspeter Jecker, Conscientious Objection, Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online (1989), http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/C6664.html;
J. Harold Sherk, I-W Service (United States), Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia
Online (1957), http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/i_w_service_united_states.
50. Menno-Pause 1 (Fall 1968): 34.
51. Ibid., 4.
52. J. Daniel Hess, Menno-Pause Revisited, CMW Journal 1, no. 3 (2009): 1.
53. Ibid., 12.
54. Howard Moody, Pornography, Prudery, Blasphemy: Toward a New Definition of
Obscenity, Christianity and Crisis 24, no. 24 (1965): 28488.
55. As You Like It, Menno-Pause 2 (Fall 1968): 2, quoting Moody, Pornography, Prudery,
Blasphemy, 286.

The North American Mennonite Underground Press in the 1960s 203


56. Ibid.
57. Malcolm Boyd, Free to Live, Free to Die (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1967).
58. The True Obscenity, Menno-Pause 2 (Fall 1968): 4.
59. Ibid., 6.
60. Viva Sunday School, Menno-Pause 2 (Fall 1968): 3.
61. Expo on MKO, Menno-Pause 2 (Fall 1968): 4.
62. Lovely Rita is a song from the Beatles 1967 album Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club
Band. The M-P Community, Menno-Pause 2 (Fall 1968): 3.
63. Steiner was a member of this organization. See Sam Steiner, Alternative Service or Alternative Resistance? A Vietnam War Draft Resister in Canada, Journal of Mennonite Studies
25 (2007): 197.
64. The John Birch Society was formed in 1958 to oppose communism and advocate for
less government. History, The John Birch Society, http://www.jbs.org/about-jbs/history.
65. Subversive Organization on Campus!! Menno-Pause 2 (Fall 1968): 2; For sale or
trade, Menno-Pause 2 (Fall 1968): 6; Menno-Pause Goes Positive, Menno-Pause 2 (Fall
1968): 5; The Pause That Refreshes, Menno-Pause 2 (Fall 1968): 5. SDS issued the 1962 Port
Huron Statement, largely written by Tom Hayden (who was later one of the Chicago Seven
charged in the aftermath of the violence related to the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago). SDS went into decline after members formed splinter groups such as the
Weather Underground and other factions in 1969. See Tom Hayden, What the Port Huron
Statement Still Has to Say, 50 Years On, The Guardian, June 14, 2012, http://www.guardian.
co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jun/14/port-huron-statement-50-tom-hayden; and Tom Hayden,
Participatory Democracy: From the Port Huron Statement to Occupy Wall Street, The Nation, April 16, 2012, http://www.thenation.com/article/167079/participatory-democracyport-huron-statement-occupy-wall-street#.
66. The Berkeley Barb, which was founded by Max Scherr in 1965, ended publication
in 1980. Obituaries: Max Scherr, Radical Founder of The Berkeley Barb in 60s, New York
Times, November 4, 1981, http://www.nytimes.com/1981/11/04/obituaries/max-scherr-radical-founder-of-the-berkeley-barb-in-60-s.html. How this California publication came into
the hands of a Mennonite college president in the American Midwest is something of a
mystery.
67. Hess, Menno-Pause Revisited, 2.
68. Russel A. Liechty, Goshen College, to Sam Steiner, October 12, 1967, Hist. Mss. 138.1/8,
SJS.
69. Hess, Menno-Pause Revisited, 3.
70. Ibid.
71. In 1987, the (Old) Mennonite Church passed its first resolution to specifically address
homosexuality. It declares, in part, We understand the Bible to teach that genital intercourse
is reserved for a man and a woman united in a marriage covenant and that violation even
within the relationship, i.e., wife battering, is a sin. It is our understanding that this teaching
also precludes premarital, extramarital, and homosexual genital activity. Mennonite Church
Canada, Call to Affirmation, Confession and Covenant Regarding Human Sexuality, A

204 Janis Thiessen


(Mennonite Church, 1987), Mennonite Church Canada, http://home.mennonitechurch.
ca/1987-humansexuality.
72. Convocations and Chapels at Goshen College, 196667, Hist. Mss. 138.1/8, SJS; March
Protests Suspension of Goshen College Students, Elkhart Truth, January 18, 1967, 18; Harold
E. Bauman, Goshen College campus pastor, to Sam Steiner, November 29, 1966, and Sam
Steiner to Goshen College Judicial Board re: appeal of suspension, n.d., both in Hist. Mss.
138.1/8, SJS.
73. William D. Hooley, Goshen College Dean of Men, to Sam Steiner, with appended response by Sam Steiner, December 1, 1966, Hist. Mss. 138.1/8, SJS; . . . By the Chimney with
Care, in Hopes That SAM STEINER Still Will be Here, The Goshen College Record, masthead
for December 16, 1966, 1; Carl Kreider, Goshen College Dean, to Sam Steiner, December 30,
1966, Hist. Mss. 138.1/8, SJS; Senators Dan Leatherman and Bruce Stahly, resolution to ask the
faculty and administration to consider a moratorium on the suspension of Sam Steiner and
Al Hite while present convocation policy is being reviewed, Hist. Mss. 138.1/8, SJS; Puritan
or Anabaptist? Goshen College Record, January 13, 1967, 2; J. Daniel Hess, Goshen College
Secretary, to Sam Steiner and Al Hite, January 16, 1967, Hist. Mss. 138.1/8, SJS; Bill Sheffer,
70 G. C. Students Protest; But 1,030 Do Not, Goshen News, January 17, 1967, 1; Sam Steiner
to Carl Kreider, Goshen College Dean, n.d., and Goshen College Judicial Board, memo to
Sam Steiner, n.d. [February 1967], both in Hist. Mss. 138.1/8, SJS.
74. Steiner to Kreider, n.d. Vincent Harding was an African American historian, political activist, and former Mennonite minister who co-founded the Veterans of Hope Project.
He was involved in both the U.S. civil rights and antiVietnam War movements, and wrote
Martin Luther King Jr.s 1967 speech against the Vietnam War, A Time to Break Silence.
Dwight King was a student at Goshen College who advocated in the 1960s for a more active role in Washington, D.C., for the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), the relief,
service, and peace agency of Mennonite churches. He later became a specialist in Indonesian politics as a professor of political science and director of the Center for Southeast
Asian Studies at Northern Illinois University. See Kenneth L. Eshleman, Thirty Years
of MCC-Washington Office: A Unique or Similar Way? Mennonite Quarterly Review 75
no. 3 (2001): 29798, 313; Professor Dwight King Retires after 30 Years of Service, The
Northern Political Scientist: Newsletter of the Department of Political Science of Northern Illinois University 1, no.1 (2009): 2, http://www.niu.edu/polisci/announcements/newsletters/
Summer09.pdf.
75. J. B. Shenk, Goshen College Director of Admissions, to Sam Steiner, May 25, 1967,
Hist. Mss. 138.1/8, SJS.
76. Russel A. Liechty, Goshen College, to Sam Steiner, October 12, 1967, Hist. Mss. 138.1/8,
SJS.
77. Steiner, Alternative Service or Alternative Resistance? 19697.
78. Ibid., 197.
79. The indictment came in absentia on October 30, 1968; ibid., 195, 198.
80. The students were Doug Baker, J. D. Leu, and Jon Lind. The resolution supporting draft
resistance was titled Response to Conscription and Militarism. Jodi H. Beyeler, Mennonite

The North American Mennonite Underground Press in the 1960s 205


Peacemakers across Generations Gather to Discuss ResistanceThen and Now, Goshen
College press release, November 24, 2009, http://www.goshen.edu/news/pressarchive/1124-09-resistance376.html; Mennonite Church, Response to Conscription and Militarism
(Mennonite Church, 1969), Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online, http://www.
gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/R484_1969a.html, accessed October 23, 2012.
81. Beyeler, Mennonite Peacemakers. See also Melissa Miller and Phil M. Shenk, eds.,
The Path of Most Resistance: Stories of Conscientious Objectors Who Did Not Cooperate with
the Vietnam War Draft (Scottdale, Pa.: Herald Press, 1982).
82. Apostol, Speaking Truth to Power, 52, 68.
83. Ibid., 104.
84. Information is provided for Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Victoria, Winnipeg, Saint
John, Guelph, Hamilton, Kingston, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Ottawa, Thunder Bay, Toronto, Windsor, Welland, Winona, Montreal, Regina, and Saskatoon. Frank H. Epp, ed., I
Would Like to Dodge the Draft-Dodgers But . . . (Waterloo: Conrad Press, 1970), 9192.
85. Bob Neufeld, . . . They Are Coming to Our Chapel Looking for Jobs, in I Would
Like to Dodge the Draft-Dodgers But. . . . , ed. Frank H. Epp (Waterloo: Conrad Press, 1970),
76, 78, 79.
86. Joseph Jones, Historical Notes on Vietnam War Resisters in Canada, February 2008,
http://www.library.ubc.ca/jones/hstrnt.html#no1; Students Aid Dodgers, Winnipeg Free
Press, October 1, 1970, 1. Other prominent Canadian draft resister organizations included
the Toronto Anti-Draft Programme and the Union of American Exiles.
87. These three conferences were the (Old) Mennonite Church, the General Conference
Mennonite Church, and the Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches. The first two
amalgamated in 2000 to form the Mennonite Church and simultaneously divided along national lines into the Mennonite Church (Canada) and the Mennonite Church (United States).
88. Sam Steiner, Joining the Doxology, Canadian Mennonite 16, no. 10 (2012), http://
www.canadianmennonite.org/articles/joining-doxology.
89. Steiner, Alternative Service or Alternative Resistance? 199.
90. Steiner, Joining the Doxology.
91. Ibid.
92. Ibid.
93. War tax resistance is the refusal to pay the taxes that pay for the military. Such resistance may be carried out by withholding a portion of ones income tax as a protest (which
results in federal seizure of wages and bank accounts), deliberately earning less than the
minimum taxable income, or redirecting a portion of income tax to Conscience Canadas
Peace Tax Fund. See the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (http://www.
nwtrcc.org/), the War Resisters League (http://www.warresisters.org/wartaxresistance), Conscience & Peace Tax International (http://www.cpti.ws/index.html), and Conscience Canada
(http://www.consciencecanada.ca/).
94. The finding aid for the Frank H. Epp papers at the Mennonite Archives of Ontario
notes: Removed: 2 issues of Menno-Pause (Goshen, Ind.: Campus Underground Newspaper
Team, 1967), Sept. 29 & Oct. 9, 1967; the following issues from 1968 of The Record Goshen

206 Janis Thiessen


College: May 17, June 21, July 12, Aug. 16, Sept. 20, Oct. 11 as well as a copy of the Oct. 11 issue
attached to a note dated Nov. 10, 1968 to Frank from Jacob D. and a copy of the July 12 issue
attached to a letter of Aug. 23. Hist. Mss. 1.26, Epp, Frank H., subject file 90: Self-expression, Mennonite Archives of Ontario, Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo, Ontario;
Redekop, Calvin W., subject file 16: Revolution, Series 2: Research Materials, Mennonite
Archives of Ontario, Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo, Ontario. I am grateful
to archivist Conrad Stoesz for bringing to my attention the copy of the RMU manifesto in
Baergs possession. It is part of the not-yet-cataloged Reuben Baerg collection at the Mennonite Heritage Centre Archives in Winnipeg. Biographical information from Memorials:
Reuben Menno Baerg, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 46, no. 1 (2003): 180.
95. See, for example, Steven Vertovec, Transnationalism (New York: Routledge, 2009); C.
A. Bayly, Sven Beckert, Matthew Connelly, Isabel Hofmeyr, Wendy Kozol, and Patricia Seed,
AHR Conversation: On Transnational History, American Historical Review 111, no. 5 (2006):
144164; and Thomas J. Csordas, Introduction: Modalities of Transnational Transcendence,
in Transnational Transcendence: Essays on Religion and Globalization, ed. Thomas J. Csordas
(Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009), 129.

Epilogue
Entanglements and the Practice of Migration History
Erika Lee

Do national borders matter anymore? What does citizenship mean in todays


globalized world? These are the questions that have been running through my
mind as I read news about increasing globalization and border-crossing individuals, networks, and culture. Take, for example, the fact that immigrants in
North America can readily purchase food and products from their homelands
at both the corner stores in their neighborhoods and in some big-box retail
stores. Or that family and friends back home are just a Skype call and Facebook
instant message away.
But another set of news headlines reminds us that as borders become more
porous for some, they remain intractable obstacles for others. Those believed to
be on the wrong side of a border without proper documentation are not full
members of society and are at risk for deportation. In the early twenty-first century, the United States government is deporting a record number of individuals,
often long-term residents with children who are U.S. citizens. And the United
States is not alone. Xenophobia and state-sanctioned curbs on immigration are
on the rise around the globe. A multitude of contemporary immigration issues
are increasingly entangling peoples, governments, and countries across borders.
Given these contemporary events, how do we make sense of migration and
its consequences in the past and present? When is migration a local, regional,
or national phenomenon? When is it part of borderlands history, hemispheric
history, international history, or global history?

Doing Different Types of History


As a scholar of migration, I have engaged in many different types of history. As
a graduate student trained in the new social history and critical ethnic stud-

208 Erika Lee

ies of the United States, I tried to connect the history of Chinese immigrants
during the exclusion era to a larger U.S. history of anti-Chinese discrimination and immigration restriction. Inspired by contemporary debates about
undocumented immigration and new critical perspectives on contemporary
immigration emerging in the 1990s, I began to read the transnational scholarship coming out of anthropology and the borderlands literature from cultural
studies. My work turned to include the U.S.-Canadian and U.S.-Mexican borderlands to explore how Chinese immigration was redirected to both Canada
and Mexico.
More recently, hemispheric, inter-American, and global approaches to history have expanded my work even more. And instead of defining migration
history as just one of these types of history, I am more apt to characterize the
field as encompassing all of these approaches. I aim to reread local histories
from a global perspective and vice versa. I find that for the subjects that I most
often write aboutmigrating Asians in the Americas from the nineteenth
century to the presentthe local blends into the national and again into the
global. One example comes from the early twentieth century in the form of
South Asian immigrants (mostly from the Punjab region of present-day India
and Pakistan) in the United States. When South Asians began arriving in the
United States in 1910, they entered a country embroiled in ongoing debates
over Asian immigration. Viewed as another Asiatic invasion, South Asians
were considered inassimilable cheap laborers who threatened American society. Their experiences applying for admission through the Angel Island Immigration Station in San Francisco reveal how local (California and western U.S.)
prejudices became institutionalized in federal immigration policy enforcement. They had the highest rejection rate of any immigrant group applying for
admission through San Francisco.1 But dig deeper into this seemingly local/
regional/national story and one finds that it is enmeshed in a larger North
American and transpacific history as well as the history of the British Empire.
South Asian immigration to the United States began in 1910 because Canadathe North American destination of most South Asians prior to that
timewas also struggling with its own Oriental immigration problem. Like
Americans, many Canadians, especially in British Columbia, believed South
Asians were detrimental to the country and to white civilization in general.
But both India and Canada were strongly connected to the British Empire,
and Canadas foreign affairs were still influenced by Britain. Any regulation or
restriction of South Asian immigration to Canada pulled that country into international diplomatic debates. Canada finally achieved its goal of immigration

Epilogue: Entanglements and the Practice of Migration History 209

restriction through its continuous journey law, which barred South Asians by
requiring all immigrants to arrive by continuous journey from their port of
embarkation to their port of disembarkation. Since no direct steamship passage
existed between India and Canada, South Asians were effectively barred. Once
the doors to Canada were closed, South Asian migration was redirected south
to San Francisco and a new chapter in their immigration history began. By
1917, South Asians were also barred by U.S. law. And these examples of global
inequality targeting South Asians helped fuel the Indian nationalist movement,
a movement that was heavily assisted by immigrants in North America. In the
end, this story is simultaneously local, regional, national, colonial, and international. Viewing a complicated and multilayered immigration history like this
one within just one framework would not only be very limiting, it would also
blind us to the larger patterns that make this history so rich.

Entangled Histories
The contributors of Entangling Migration History: Borderlands and Transnationalism in the United States and Canada share this open-ended approach to
history and articulate a new and illuminating vision for the field. They seek
to follow people rather than borders in order to examine how migrants transcended the political boundaries of the United States and Canada during the
nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The authors individually draw from transnational, borderlands, and comparative approaches to history, but the volume
itself seeks to connect these three types of history through the concept of entangled history. And it does so exceptionally well.
The concept of entangled history has many points of origin. Derived from
the French term histoire croise, entangled history has been useful for historians studying chronological periods of history that predate the nation-state.
Historians of European imperialism in the Americas have notably engaged
with the idea of entanglements to consider the personal, diplomatic, and military relations and connections that emerged as European empires struggled
to achieve hegemony in the Atlantic world. As historian Eliga Gould explains,
an entangled history approach allows historians to see the interconnected
yet porous and open-ended whole.2 In this volume, Jos C. Moyas trans- and
intra-Canadian examination of migration to different parts of French and
British Canada from 1500 to 1800 is an excellent example of how a hemispheric perspective that is entangled with attention to Canadas relationship to
the wider Atlantic world can offer new insights into the peopling of North

210 Erika Lee

America. Focusing on the twentieth century, Bruno Ramirez similarly takes a


macro-comparative perspective to demonstrate how intra-continental migrations from Canada and Mexico to the United States not only shaped the U.S.
economy and society but also entangled the economies and societies of all
three North American countries.
After the rise of nation-states in the nineteenth century, entangled history
can be viewed as a form of borderlands history at the intersection of nationstates and is related to comparative and transnational history. Nation-based
comparisons too often obscure, however, the fluid and interactive processes
of migration and the economic, familial, political, and cultural worlds that
cross borders and oceans. Or as Jrgen Kocka explains, while a comparative
approach is indispensable for asking and answering causal questions and can
be a de-provincializing and liberating undertaking, it nevertheless breaks
continuities [and] cuts entanglements.3
Some of the contributions in Entangling Migration History are best characterized as transnational history. Over the years, transnational history has
come to mean many things. When the transnational turn in U.S. history was
first introduced in the 1990s, scholars grappled with definitions and methodologies. David Thelen and others called for an interrogation of the centrality
of the nation-state. Others suggested a focus on a range of connections that
transcend politically bound territories [to] connect various parts of the world
to one another. Shelly Fisher Fishkin advocated an approach that considered
the historical roots of multidirectional flows of people, ideas, and goods and
the social, political, linguistic, cultural, and economic crossroads generated
in the process. Sanjeev Khagram and Peggy Levitt have recently proposed a
transnational gaze that considers how transnational processes and dynamics
are both rooted in nation-states and help create and shape nations and other
bordered and bounded structures, actors, and processes.4
The contributions by David Atkinson, Benjamin Bryce, and Janis Thiessen
in this volume are especially strong in their use of transnational frameworks.
David Atkinsons study of the 1907 anti-Asian riots in Bellingham, Washington, and Vancouver, British Columbia, is an excellent example of studying the
multidirectional flows of people and ideas while using a transnational gaze
to consider how the anti-Asian racism and organizational cooperation across
the U.S.-Canadian border reverberated to shape national policies in the United
States and Canada. Similarly, Benjamin Bryces study demonstrates how organized Lutheranism in Ontario grew as a result of both local and regional
factors and ongoing connections that entangled German Lutherans in Ontario

Epilogue: Entanglements and the Practice of Migration History

with their German-speaking congregations in the United States and Germany.


Thiessen focuses on the North American connections of another group with
a shared ethnic and religious heritage: Canadian and American Mennonites.
Like German Lutherans, Mennonites maintained strong transnational networks, and during the 1960s, the North American Mennonite underground
press helped shape student movements, including resistance to the Vietnam
War, in both the United States and Canada.
If some chapters in Entangling Migration History fit mostly within a transnational framework, others contribute to borderlands history. As Pekka Hm
linen and Samuel Truett have recently explained, borderlands history has been
crucial in illuminating the cracks in between national and imperial studies.5
Scholars have demonstrated how borderlands regions are important contact
zones between nations and peoples where there is both cooperation and conflict. Fluidity and mestizaje can flourish in the borderlands, but so can extreme
state power. In her contribution to this volume, Grace Pea Delgado persuasively demonstrates how morality and sexuality was policed at the U.S.-Mexico
border and expanded the power of U.S. federal immigration control in general.
Borderlands scholarship has led many of us to consider other crossroads
where people, culture, and capital connected with each other and with other
sites around the world.6 In this sense, a place like the Angel Island Immigration Station in San Francisco is an ideal site that encompasses and shapes local,
regional, national, and transnational histories. Other key crossroads of interaction might include exchanges between Pacific ports such as San Francisco,
Vancouver, Honolulu, and Sydney; the Anglo-American web connecting Ottawa, London, and Washington, D.C.; and a Caribbean/Gulf Coast route that
includes Havana and New Orleans. Here, Randy Widdiss very useful spatial
grammar of migration entangles borderlands frameworks with the concepts
of flows, hubs, corridors, and networks to demonstrate how borderlands serve
as functional entities transcending boundaries. Yukari Takais chapter persuasively shows how Honolulu acted as one of these significant transpacific
hubs in the early twentieth century as the city became entangled in national
struggles by Japan, Canada, and the United States to control Japanese immigration and remigration in the Americas. And Bryces identification of the connections between Lutheran congregations in Ontario and German-speaking
hubs of Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Philadelphia, and New York helps explain how
these cities tied North American Lutheranism together.
Entangling migration, transnational, and borderlands history might lead
some to global history, which can connect different scales of historylocal, re-

211

212 Erika Lee

gional, national, transnational, and globalto each other to better understand


connections across time (particularly long chronological eras that predate the
rise of nation-states) and space. According to Bruce Mazlish, global history is
the study of globalization as measured by increased interconnection and the
interdependence of peoples, economies, nation-states, culture, and so forth
around the globe. The compression of time and space with Internet communications, space exploration, faster and more frequent air travel, and global mass
culture have all made the world a smaller place. While some historians believe
that global history begins only in the mid-twentieth century, others suggest
that the contemporary era of globalization is only an intensification and acceleration of centuries-old patterns of trade and migration that dispersed and
connected peoples. But some historians shy away from global history, noting, as Ian Tyrrell does, its perceived links with modernization theory, its occasional focus on unidirectional activity, and its implicit historical trajectory
towards a more homogeneous world.7
Where do all of these approachessimilar and complementaryleave historians who want to go beyond comparison and explore connections across
borders? Entangled history is a productive and promising approach to migration history, and Entangling Migration History is an excellent introduction for
its use for U.S. and Canadian history and beyond. The goal of this volume,
according to editors Benjamin Bryce and Alexander Freund, is to engage with
space without dwelling on nations or borders. Here, an entangled migration
history connects U.S. and Canadian histories to each other and to larger international and/or global processes. It goes beyond comparison to illuminate
histories of connection and tension within and across the United States, Canada, U.S.-Canadian borderlands, and beyond to the wider world. Considering
exchanges and connections as a problem of scale, as Richard White has explained, or as overlapping worlds, is helpful here. Each scale, White explains,
whether it be local, regional, national, or global, reveals some things while
masking others. One way to address this problem is to write history that does
not have to choose between the local, regional, national, and transnational, but
can establish shifting relationships between them.8 The concept of entangled
histories goes further than Whites concepts to emphasize how societies and
worlds are interconnected, mutually influence each other, and are tied to wider
processes, entities, peoples, systems, and communities.
Entangling the histories of the United States and Canada in relation to migration, Bryce and Freund recognize, is especially fitting. The two countries
share not only a geographical border but also common migration histories

Epilogue: Entanglements and the Practice of Migration History 213

that include intra-North American migration, growing immigration restriction and border security, the circulation of ideas, and the cooperation of organizations across national borders.
Focusing on entangled histories of connection does not mean that the nation and the importance of nation-state making can be ignored. Many projects
affecting immigrants, including immigration regulation, detention, deportation, and citizenship, were nation-based and indeed were integral in the making and consolidation of modern nation-states. Grace Pea Delgados chapter
in this volume is again illuminating on this point. Crossing and questioning
the sanctity of national borders should not erase attention to the inequalities
that created those same borders and divisions.
The editors also make an excellent intervention in calling for the United
States and Canada to be placed on equal footing. The hegemonic role of the
United States in North American history has been a concern for many. As
Claudia Sadowski-Smith and Claire Fox warn, the United States should not be
fixed as primary interlocutor vis--vis other countries. They and others suggest that Canadian, Latin American, and Australian Studies must be placed on
equal footing with American Studies as protagonists rather than mere recipient sites of US policies and of US-based theoretical perspectives and comparative paradigms.9
The transnational Americas paradigm that literary scholar Sandhya
Shukla and Latin American historian Heidi Tinsman have proposed is helpful
to consider in this regard. They define the Americas as a transnational and
transregional formation defined against the notion of nation-states. Their
interdisciplinary Americas paradigm thoroughly connects Latin America
with North America but leaves open connections to other sites of America
such as Hawaii, the Philippines, and Canada. Eschewing national histories
of separate countries as well as a North-South dichotomous comparison of
a developed United States and a developing Latin America, Shukla and
Tinsman focus on shared histories of connection and interaction between
peoples in the Americas.10
Decentering the United States in North American history and the history of
the Americas must continue. At the same time, there is the danger that transnational, entangled histories underestimate the power of the United States in
the twentieth century. This is especially true for migration. The United States
was the primary destination point for Europeans, Asians, and Latin Americans
on the move during the century of migration from 1830 to 1930. Its immigration laws that closed its gates directly led to remigrations to Canada and

214 Erika Lee

Mexico and to other parts of the Americas and influenced similar policies and
reactions in those countries. By the twentieth century, it was an imperial power
with growing influence over the western hemisphere. During World War II,
the forced removal and incarceration of Japanese peoples in Canada and Latin
America were clearly influenced, if not engineered, as in the cases of Peru and
Mexico, by similar U.S. policies and U.S.-led hemispheric security initiatives.
We need to be vigilant about acknowledging this hegemonic presence without letting the United States dominate content, perspectives, questions, approaches, and sources. One way to accomplish this is to consider a broad range
of entanglements, paying attention to reciprocal and uneven relationships
as well as the possibilities and limitations of these interactions. Another way
is to avoid fixing the starting point on one specific geographic site looking
outward. Instead, we might have multiple starting points or perspectives that
travel south, then north, across the Pacific and Atlantic and back again.

Contemporary Entanglements
Migration continues to entangle people across national borders and has many
international consequences today. Debates over immigration in one country
spill into another. Attempts to regulate borders are viewed not just as national
concerns but as international ones. Prospective migrants have learned how to
adapt to changing economies and national immigration regimes. Just as in the
past, we cannot separate the histories of people on the move, the borders they
cross, the communities and families they maintain, their national and ethnic
identities, and the social, economic, and political networks they inhabit into
distinct analytical frameworks. Entangling Migration History captures complex
lives on the move that reverberate across national boundaries. By connecting
the histories of the United States, Canada, and the U.S.-Canadian borderlands,
this volume will help us write new migration histories that illuminate complicated journeys, experiences, patterns, and all of their myriad entanglements.

Notes
1. Erika Lee and Judy Yung, Angel Island: Immigrant Gateway to America (New York:
Oxford University Press, 2010), 145175.
2. Eliga H. Gould, Entangled Histories, Entangled Worlds: The English-Speaking Atlantic as a Spanish Periphery, American Historical Review 112, no. 3 (2007): 76667.
3. Jrgen Kocka, Comparison and Beyond, History and Theory 42, no. 1 (2003): 40

Epilogue: Entanglements and the Practice of Migration History 215


41. See also Micol Seigel, Beyond Compare: Comparative Method after the Transnational
Turn, Radical History Review 91 (2005): 63.
4. David Thelen, The Nation and Beyond: Transnational Perspectives on United States
History, Journal of American History 86, no. 3 (1999): 96575; C. A. Bayly et al., AHR Conversation: On Transnational History, American Historical Review 111, no. 5 (2006): 144164;
Shelley Fisher Fishkin, Crossroads of Cultures: The Transnational Turn in American StudiesPresidential Address to the American Studies Association, November 12, 2004, American Quarterly 57, no. 1 (2005): 1757; Sanjeev Khagram and Peggy Levitt, The Transnational
Studies Reader: Intersections and Innovations (New York: Taylor & Francis, 2008): 2, 5.
5. Pekka Hmlinen and Samuel Truett, On Borderlands, Journal of American History
98, no. 2 (2011): 351.
6. See, for example, Henry Yu, Los Angeles and American Studies in a Pacific World of
Migrations, American Quarterly 56, no. 3 (2004): 53143.
7. Ian Tyrrell, Reflections on the Transnational Turn in United States History: Theory
and Practice, Journal of Global History 4, no. 3 (2009): 458.
8. Richard White, The Nationalization of Nature, Journal of American History 86 (December 1999): 97899. Stephanie Moore suggests using different lenses to capture the wider
angle of global histories and more detailed close-ups of local and regional histories. Stephanie Moore, The Japanese in Multiracial Peru, 18991942 (PhD diss., University of California, San Diego, 2009), 1.
9. Claudia Sadowski-Smith and Claire F. Fox, Theorizing the Hemisphere Inter-Americas
Work at the Intersection of American, Canadian, and Latin American Studies, Comparative
American Studies 2, no. 1 (2004): 538. Other scholars express anxiety that new hemispheric,
transnational scholarship might simply reify U.S.-centered narratives, or as George Lipsitz
describes, project American Exceptionalism onto a broader geographic terrain. George
Lipsitz, Abolition Democracy and Global Justice, Comparative American Studies 2, no. 3
(2004): 272. See also Robert McKee Irwin, Qu Hacen Los Nuevos Americanistas?: Collaborative Strategies for a Postnationalist American Studies, Comparative American Studies
2, no. 3 (2004): 30323.
10. Heidi Tinsman and Sandhya Shukla, Introduction: Across the Americas, in Imagining Our Americas: Toward a Transnational Frame (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press,
2007), 56; Sandhya Shukla and Heidi Tinsman, Editors Introduction, in Our Americas:
Political and Cultural Imaginings, ed. Sandhya Shukla and Heidi Tinsman, special issue,
Radical History Review 89 (Spring 2004): 2.

Contributors

Benjamin Bryce is assistant professor in the Department of History at the University of Northern British Columbia. His research focuses on migration in
the Americas. His work has appeared in the Canadian Historical Review, the
Journal of the Canadian Historical Association, and Estudios Migratorios Latinoamericanos.
Alexander Freund is professor of history and chair in German-Canadian Studies at the University of Winnipeg, where he codirects the Oral History Centre. He is the author of Aufbrche nach dem Zusammenbruch: Die deutsche
Nordamerikaauswanderung nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg, editor of Beyond the
Nation? Immigrants Local Lives in Transnational Cultures, and coeditor of Oral
History and Photography.
David C. Atkinson is assistant professor of history at Purdue University. His research analyzes the domestic, imperial, and international tensions engendered
by Asian immigration restriction in the United States, Canada, Australia, New
Zealand, and southern Africa from 1896 to 1924.
Grace Pea Delgado is assistant professor of history at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her research queries the nature of nationalism, immigration, citizenship, identity construction, and border making. Her first book,
entitled Making the Chinese Mexican: Global Migration, Localism, and Exclusion in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands, was selected as a Choice-recommended
academic title. Her work has won several awards, including the Bolton-Cutter
Prize from the Western History Association.
Erika Lee is the Rudolph J. Vecoli Chair in Immigration History and director
of the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota.
She is the author of two award-winning books in U.S. immigration history: At

218 Contributors

Americas Gates: Chinese Immigration during the Exclusion Era, 18821943 and
Angel Island: Immigrant Gateway to America, coauthored with Judy Yung.
Jos C. Moya is professor of history and director of the Forum on Migration at
Barnard College, director of the Institute of Latin American Studies at Columbia University, and professor emeritus at UCLA. He has authored more than
fifty publications, including Cousins and Strangers: Spanish Immigrants in Buenos Aires, a book that received five awards and was the subject of a special forum in the journal Historical Methods for its contribution to migration studies.
Bruno Ramirez is professor of history at the Universit de Montral. His
books include On the Move: French-Canadian and Italian Migrants in the
North Atlantic Economy; Crossing the 49th Parallel: Migrations from Canada
to the United States, 19001930; and Inside the Historical Film (selected a Choicerecommended academic title).
Yukari Takai is assistant professor in the Department of History at the University of Windsor. She is the author of Gendered Passages: French-Canadian
Migration to Lowell, Massachusetts, 19001920. Among her awards, she held a
SSHRC Standard Research Grant and was a Fulbright Visiting Research Fellow
at Columbia University.
Janis Thiessen is assistant professor in the Department of History at the University of Winnipeg. Her research focuses on Canadian labor and business
history, North American religion, and oral history. Her publications include
Manufacturing Mennonites: Work and Religion in Post-War Manitoba.
Randy William Widdis is professor of geography at the University of Regina.
He is the author of With Scarcely a Ripple: Anglo-Canadian Migration into
the United States and Western Canada, 18801920 and coauthor of Permeable
Border: The Great Lakes Basin as Transnational Region, 16501990, which was
awarded the Albert B. Corey Prize from the American Historical Association
and the Canadian Historical Association. He is a fellow of the Royal Canadian
Geographical Society and has held a number of awards, including a Fulbright
Fellowship.

Index

Adee, Alvey, 132


Adelman, Jeremy, 184
Agnew, John, 47
Agriculture, 5758, 62, 89. See also Contract
laborers, Mexican
AID. See Assistance with Immigration and
the Draft
Alberta, 65, 68
Alien Contract Labor Law, 1885, 144
Allen, James P., 84
American exceptionalism, 7
American Revolution, 16, 20
Angel Island Immigration Station, 102, 114,
208, 211
Anglo-Canadians, 57, 8284, 93, 96n17
Anglo-Japanese Treaty of Commerce and
Navigation, 1906, 133
Anti-Asian riots, 1907, 210; in Bellingham,
Washington, 12425; borderlands
represented by, 12223; global tensions
and, 12324; Hawaiian Japanese transmigrants arrival and, 14849; immigration control and, 148; international
reaction to, 13235; national tensions
demonstrated by, 12829; overlapping borderlands and, 12735; Pacific
Coast borderlands and, 12035; politics
surrounding, 127; transnational scale
and, 120; in Vancouver, British Columbia, 12526; white nativist connection
through, 12223
Antigua, 26

Anti-white slavery laws: Bureau of Immigration expansion and, 1012, 1067,


115n2; challenges of, 108; enforcing,
10810; international treaties and, 103;
strategies for, 1078; Victorian-era beliefs and, 104. See also Prostitution
Apache Indians, 110
Apostol, Mara, 196
Aron, Stephen, 184
Asian immigrants, 1023, 105; anxieties
about, 120, 12728, 208; Bellingham,
Washington and exile, 125; British
policies on Canada and, 13032; federal
opponents to, 129; gold rushes and,
124; immigration control restriction attempts against, 12829; North American
restrictions on, 2089; Pacific Coast
borderlands fears of, 12930; violence
resisted by, 138n23; white nativist resistance and hostility towards, 122, 124,
126; white nativists forcing boundaries
upon, 12728, 135. See also Anti-Asian
riots, 1907
Assistance with Immigration and the Draft
(AID), 196
Australia, 20
Ayin, 189
Azuma, Eiichiro, 157n5
Ballesteros, Esperanza, 109
Bancroft, George, 89
Barbados, 26, 29

220 Index
Barrett, Kate Waller, 1056
Basch, Linda, 156n1
Baudoin, Jean, 29
Bellingham, Washington, 120; anti-Asian
riots, 1907 in, 12425; Asian immigrants
exiled from, 125; borderlands represented by, 122; as global interaction and
conflict site, 12324. See also Anti-Asian
riots, 1907
Belsito, Antonio, 107
Bender, Thomas, 3, 12122
Berkeley Barb, 19394, 203n66
Berland, Jody, 5253
Bermuda, 20
Bethel College, 183, 185, 188, 196
Blanc, Cristina, 156n1
Boese, W. C., 171
Bonded labor. See Indentured servitude
Bonded migration, 9, 1415; control and
punishment challenges with, 3132,
44n100; expense of, 28; settlement of
Canada and, 2232, 2425; voluntary,
22, 41n56. See also Indentured servitude
Borderlands, ix; Anti-Asian riots, 1907 and
overlapping, 12735; Anti-Asian riots,
1907 representation of, 12223; as arterial systems, 5354; Bellingham, Washington representation of, 122; colonialism and, 5; corridors and, 53; definition
of, 184; flows and, 53; gateways and, 53;
historical geographies of, 4748; history,
121, 21011; hubs and, 53; liminality
compared to, 183; migration history
approach using, 6; as multidimensional
spaces, 12021, 135; networks and, 54;
Pacific Coast borderlands as global,
132; postmodern perspective on, 4850;
religious identity and, 184; studies on,
xii, 23, 11n4; as transnational, 5; Vancouver, British Columbia representation
of, 122. See also Religious borderlands;
specific borderlands

Borders: clarity of, x; gender and, xixii;


internal, xxi; North America formation of, ixxi, 12; postmodernism and,
4849; racism and, xi; of religion, xii;
temporal and geographical context for,
4748; twenty-first century importance
of, 207
Boucher, Pierre, 17
Boyd, Malcolm, 19091
Bracero Program, 8991, 94, 98n44
Braun, John, 18687
Braun, Marcus, 1045, 107
Brazil, settlement of, 15, 37; precious metals
and, 1819
British Columbia, 63, 12035
British ColumbiaWashington borderlands,
6, 9
Brodsky, Joseph, 1617
Brothel investigations, prostitution and,
11011
Brown, Ruby, 1089, 11415
Bruch, J. F., 171
Bryce, James, 130, 132
Buffalo, New York, 59, 61
Bulstrode, Edward, 85
Bureau of Immigration, U.S.: anti-white
slavery laws and expansion of, 1012,
1067, 115n2; junior matrons assigned
by, 106; morality policing of, 102, 106;
restructuring of, 115n3
Cable Act, 1922, 113
Cabot, John, 16
CADRE. See Chicago Area Draft Resisters
California, 4, 62, 85, 12425, 12830
Calvert, George, 19
Campesinos (peasants), 78, 80, 89. See also
Contract laborers, Mexican
Canada: American Revolution and inflows
to, 16, 20; British policies for Asian immigrants in, 13032; Hawaiian Japanese
transmigrants banned by, 14748; nine-

Index 221
teenth century growth of, 3738; origin
of name, 38n4; white nativists claim to,
126. See also U.S.-Canada borderlands;
specific regions
Canada, settlement of (15001800): belated
and slow nature of, 1617, 37; bonded
migration and, 2232, 2425; climate
and weather challenges to, 17; comparison and, 1415; economic struggles
during, 18; entangled history of Atlantic
World and, 1415, 32, 3738; ethnoregional origins in, 3637, 45n115; fishing and fur trade in, 1718; France and,
1516, 17, 3637; gender patterns and sex
ratios in, 33, 3435, 36; indentured servitude and, 2232, 2425; labor shortages in, 31; military migration and, 22,
3233, 41n55; penal immigration and,
2022; political refugees and, 1920;
Portugal and, 15; precious metals and,
18; religion and, 19, 36; southern preferences in, 1516; Spain and, 15, 3637;
trade challenges of, 17; United Kingdom
and, 16, 17, 3637
Canada District of Missouri Synod, 16364,
17172, 175
Canada-Japan Gentlemans Agreement,
1908, 131, 13334, 147, 150
Canada Synod, 16263, 175; charities of,
173; English language shift concerns
of, 16768, 171; growth of, 164; inner
missionary work of, 16975; Kropp
Seminary pastors and, 16669
Canadian-American borderlands. See U.S.Canada borderlands
Canadian Department of the Interior, 58,
75n34
The Canadian Mennonite, 196
Canadian Mennonite Bible College
(CMBC), 183, 18889
Canadian migration to U.S. (19151965),
9; appeal of, 9293; changes after 1965

to, 9495; economic need filled by, 83;


education and, 93; expansion of, 82;
gender and, 82, 92; geographic proximity and, 83; Great Depression impact
on, 8687; historical background of, 78;
labor profiles of, 8283, 92; networks
aiding, 8485, 92; resistance to, 81; reverse movement of, 8687; after World
War II, 88, 9193. See also U.S.-Canada
borderlands migration
Caales, J. T., 113
Cantuga, Aurelia, 111
The Carillon, 18283
Carrasco, David, 184
Cartier, Jacques, 18
Catholics, 36
Chain migration, 8486
Champlain, Samuel de, 15
Chang, Kornel, 136n4, 146
Charter of the U.N., human rights clause
in, xii
Chicago Area Draft Resisters (CADRE),
195, 197
Chinese Exclusion Act, 1882, 102, 144, 150,
153
Chinese immigrants: Hawaii plantation
work shunned by, 157n12; Mexican
sentiment against, 148, 159n30; prostitution and, 1023, 105; violence resisted by,
138n23. See also Asian immigrants
Chinese Immigration Act, 1885, 1023
Christianity and Crisis (Moody), 190
Churchill, David, 182
Circuits, 54
CMBC. See Canadian Mennonite Bible
College
Cohen, Leonard, 18687
College Scroll, 183, 189
Colonialism: borderlands and, 5; penal
immigration objectives of, 2122. See
also Brazil, settlement of; Canada,
settlement of

222 Index
Comparative history, xii, 78
Comparison, 78, 1415
Connell, Charles, 10912, 114
Conscientious objectors (COs), 196
Contract laborers, Mexican: Bracero
Program and, 8991; fears of, 7980;
Public Law 78 reinstating, 89; recruiting centers for, 8081; seasonal nature
of, 80; World War I opportunities for,
7879
Convict transportation. See Penal immigration
Corn Laws, 55
Corridors, borderlands and, 53
Cortz, Frank, 11213
COs. See Conscientious objectors
Coutts, Alberta, 65, 68
Cowan, Harry, 126
Coyotes (smugglers), 80
Cross-border social networks, 78, 8486
Cuba, 19, 32, 145
Debien, Gabriel, 23, 33
Deterritorialization/reterritorialization
paradox, 48, 52
Detroit, Michigan, 59, 60, 63
Deutsche Lutheraner, 165
Dudley, L. Edwin, 12930
Eastern Mennonite College, 183, 188, 196
East India Company, 21
Emerson, Manitoba, 65, 66
Entangled history, 2, 3; borderlands history and, 21011; of Canada and U.S.,
21214; conceptual origins of, 3, 209;
contemporary, 214; French term origin
of, 3; of migration, 810; promise of, 212;
of settlement of Canada with Atlantic
World, 1415, 32, 3738
Entangled social spaces, xi
Entanglement, ix, 23, 20910, 214
Epp, Frank H., 196, 198

Ernst, A., 177n23


Everett, Washington, 125, 137n15
Fishing, settlement of Canada and, 1718
Fishkin, Shelly Fisher, 210
Flows, 5354
The Fly, 183, 185, 202n43
Foley, Michael, 182
Foran Act, 1885, 144
Foucault, Michel, 106
Fowler, A. E., 126
Fox, Claire, 213
France, settlement of Canada and, 1516,
17, 3637
Franklin, Benjamin, 30
Free to Live, Free to Die (Boyd), 19091
French Canadians, 1516, 2324, 33, 36, 57,
82, 84, 96n17
French Guiana, 20
Frontier thesis on U.S. westward expansion, 5
Fur trade: indentured servitude and, 23;
settlement of Canada and, 1718
Gabaccia, Donna, 155
Galenson, David, 32
Gamio, Manuel, 8081, 85
Gateways, 53, 5859, 62
Gender: borders and, xixii; Canadian
migration to U.S. (19151965) and, 82,
92; citizenship and, 11213; prostitution
and roles of, 104; settlement of Canada
and, 33, 3435, 36
General Council (Lutheran), 162, 165, 169,
175; annual collection of, 174; German
Mission Committee of, 16667; inner
missionary work of, 17374; language
shift concerns of, 168; Missouri Synod
compared to, 163
Genzmer, E. M., 17071, 177n22
German Home Mission Board, 169, 178n46
German immigrants, 78, 30, 33

Index 223
German Lutheran Immigrant Home, New
York, 17374
German Mission Committee of General
Council, 16667
German-speaking Lutherans in Ontario, 10,
16263; charities of, 173; community origins and development of, 16364; English
language shift concerns of, 16768, 171;
generational acceptance of English by,
176n11; growth of, 172, 175; inner missionary work of, 16975; Manitoba extension
of, 17273; seminaries and, 16669; transnational networks of, 16366, 17375,
21011; U.S. connections of, 16466
Germany, 4, 8, 37, 77, 82, 93, 105, 162, 163,
16669, 175, 211
Gibraltar, 20
Global history, 212
Globalization, 48, 50, 212
Good, Delmar, 191, 193
Goshen College, 18183, 185, 18998
Gould, Eliga, 209
Great Depression, 81, 8687
Great Lakes region, of U.S. and Canada, 10,
59, 6061, 65, 69, 70
Grey, Earl, 137n17
Hagan, John, 182
Hmlinen, Pekka, 47, 121, 211
Hamm, M., 171
Harding, Vincent, 195, 204n74
Harley, Tom, 181
Harvey, David, 4950
Haupt, Heinz-Gerhard, 3
Hawaii, 910; Chinese Exclusion Act, 1882
impact on, 144; Chinese immigrants
shunning plantation work in, 157n12;
Hawaiian Japanese transmigrants
departing, 144, 151, 157n10; Hawaiian
Japanese transmigrants importance
of, 142, 146, 154; indentured servitude
on, 14344; Portuguese immigrants

in, 153; sugar economy of, 14245; U.S.


annexation of, 141, 14344, 157n12. See
also Japanese diplomats, in Honolulu;
Japanese hotelkeepers, in Honolulu
Hawaiian Japanese transmigrants: antiAsian riots, 1907 and arrival of, 14849;
Canada and U.S. agreements banning, 14748; Chinese Exclusion Act,
1882 impact on, 144; departing, 144;
early twentieth century increase of, 145;
economic factors motivating, 14950,
153; government sponsoring, 14344;
Hawaii departure of, 144, 151, 157n10;
Hawaii importance to, 142, 146, 154;
illegal immigration and, 150; Japanese
diplomats attempts to slow, 15153,
155, 160n47; Japans emigration policy
towards, 150; networks of, 15556;
Pacific Coast borderlands arrivals of,
14546; perceived threat of, 14142, 148;
Roosevelts Executive Order 589 banning, 147, 153
Helliwell, John, 71
Henderson, Stuart, 182
Hernandez, Kelly Lytle, 81
Hernndez, Mara, 11415
Hess, J. Daniel, 190, 19293
Higham, John, 88
Historiography: borderlands and, 121; entangled history and borderlands, 21011;
global, 212; postmodernism and, 49;
transnational, 21011; types of, 2079.
See also Comparative history; Comparison; Entangled history; Migration
historiography
Hoffman, Emil, 162, 16869
Homosexuality, 19293, 203n71
Honolulu, Hawaii, 142. See also Japanese
diplomats, in Honolulu; Japanese hotelkeepers, in Honolulu
Hubs, borderlands and, 53
Human rights clause, in U.N. Charter, xii

224 Index
Illegal immigration: coyotes and, 80; Hawaiian Japanese transmigrants and, 150;
Mexican migration to U.S. (19151965)
and, 8081, 8991; official records
difficulty with, 85, 89; underground
economy and, 91
Immigration Act, 1903, 103
Immigration Act, 1907, 103, 105, 112
Immigration Act, 1917, 114
Immigration and Nationality Act, 1965,
7071, 97n36
Immigration and Naturalization Act, 1952, 88
Immigration control: anti-Asian riots, 1907
and, 148; Asian immigrants restriction
attempts of, 12829; citizenship determination and, 11213; with deportation for
prostitution, 10910, 11314; international prostitution reports for, 105; morality
policing and, 1034
Indentured servitude, 9, 15; colonial slavery
patterns with, 2425, 26; control and
punishment challenges with, 3132,
44n100; cycle of, 28; ethnicity and
conflict with, 2930; fur trade and, 23;
on Hawaii, 14344; Newfoundland
and, 2627, 3031; in Nova Scotia, 23;
redemptioners and, 22; settlement of
Canada and, 2232, 2425; transportation expense of, 28; voluntary, 22, 41n56
Industrialization, space-time compression
and, 51
Inflows, 9, 1516, 20
Inner missionary work, of German-speaking Lutherans, 16975
Internal borders, xxi
Internal Security Act, 1950, 97n36
International Agreement for the Suppression of the White Slave Traffic, 1902, 103
International comparison. See Comparison
Intra-continental migration, to U.S. (1915
1965), 210; Bracero Program and, 8991,
94; changes after 1965 to, 9495; eco-

nomic expansion and, 7881; economic


needs filled by, 83; family reunification
measures and, 94; geographic proximity
and, 83; Great Depression impact on, 81,
8687; historical background of, 7879;
networks aiding, 8488; quota laws and,
7778; reconfiguration of, 7778; World
War II impact on, 88. See also Canadian
migration to U.S.; Mexican migration
to U.S.
Intra-European racism, 9
Irish immigrants, 33, 43n81; resentment
towards, 2930
Iriye, Akira, 3
Italian immigrants, 8
Jamaica, 26, 29
Jameson, Frederic, 52
Japan, 4, 150. See also Hawaiian Japanese
transmigrants
Japanese diplomats, in Honolulu, 142; Hawaiian Japanese transmigrants impeded
by, 15153, 155, 160n47; Japanese hotelkeepers conflicts with, 14647, 152, 154;
labor advantages promoted by, 154
Japanese hotelkeepers, in Honolulu, 142;
commissions paid to, 147; Japanese diplomats conflicts with, 14647, 152, 154;
as recruiters, 147, 152, 154
Japanese immigrants, 910, 137n7; in California, 4; restrictions for, 13335; violence resisted by, 138n23; World War II
and incarceration of, 214. See also AntiAsian riots, 1907; Asian immigrants
Japanese transmigrants. See Hawaiian Japanese transmigrants
Jews, 36
John Birch Society, 203n64
Junior matrons, white slavery and, 106
Kaelble, Hartmut, 7
Kazuo, Matsubara, 146, 151, 158n18

Index 225
Khagram, Sanjeev, 210
Kikujiro, Ishii, 133
King, Dwight, 204n74
King, Mackenzie, 13132, 134, 139n33, 152,
159n28, 160n49
King, Martin Luther, Jr., 195, 204n74
Kirchen-Blatt, 16768, 17273
Kitamura, Henry Chuta, 114
Kocka, Jrgen, 3
Koehn, Dennis, 196
Konrad, Victor, 48, 73n5
Kropp seminary, 16669
Kumeric steamship, 141, 159n28
Kndig, J. J., 16768
Laurier, Wilfrid, 126, 13031, 13334, 137n17
Lawlor, James P., 100101, 114
Lawton, Fred, 113
Leatherman, Dan, 197
Levitt, Peggy, 210
Lexier, Roberta, 182
Liechty, Russel, 192, 194
Liminality, borderlands compared to, 183
Lipsitz, George, 215n9
Lizurriaga, Aurelia, 100101, 114
Luther, Martin, 190
Lutheranism, 162, 165. See also Germanspeaking Lutherans
Lutheran Pilgrim House, New York, 174
Lutherischer Herold, 165
Lutherisches Volksblatt, 165, 17174
MacDonald, Claude, 13334
Madawaska, 56
Manitoba, 65, 66; German-speaking Lutherans in Ontario extending to, 17273
Manitoba Synod, 168, 172
Manual for Draft-Age Immigrants, 182
Marion, George, 84
Massachusetts, 62
Mauro, Frdric, 23
Mazlish, Bruce, 212

MCC. See Mennonite Central Committee


McCarthy, Joseph, 97n36
McInnes, T. R. E., 130
McKinsey, Lauren, 73n5
McWilliams, Carey, 7980
Mennonite Central Committee (MCC),
204n74
Mennonites, 8, 10; binational gathering of,
199n3; European origins of, 181; radicalism and, 182; religious borderlands and,
185; student newspapers redefining, 186;
Vietnam War resistance and, 18990,
19596
Mennonite student newspapers: censorship of, 18283, 188; editorial challenges
of, 187; expulsion and, 181, 192, 19495;
Mennonitism redefined in, 186; motivations for, 182; quality and reach of,
185; as religious borderlands, 183, 185,
188, 19899; transnational networks
and, 184, 189, 19899. See also specific
newspapers
Menno-Pause, 183, 185; campus reaction to,
190; editorial policy of, 190; expulsion
and, 181, 192, 19495; faculty evaluation in, 191; faculty reaction to, 19293;
radical content in, 18990; religion
examined by, 193; vulgarity and, 19091
Mexican migration to U.S. (19151965), 9;
assisted moves and, 86; Bracero Program and, 8991, 94; changes after 1965
to, 9495; contract laborers and, 7880;
economic appeal of, 9495; economic
need filled by, 83; geographic proximity
and, 83; Great Depression impact on,
81, 87; historical background of, 7879;
illegal immigration and, 8081, 8991;
labor profiles of, 83; legal entry for,
81; networks aiding, 8586; recruiting
centers for, 8081; reverse movement of,
8687; after World War II, 8891
Mexican Revolution, 78

226 Index
Mexico, 5; anti-Chinese sentiment in,
148, 159n30; prostitution regulation
in, 11112, 118n32. See also U.S.-Mexico
borderlands
Michigan, 59, 60, 6263
Migration: chain, 8486, 95; entangled history of, 810; networks, 87; racism and,
xi; return, 87; short-distance, 6; spatial
grammar of U.S.-Canada borderlands
and, 5272, 211; transnationalism and,
14. See also specific types
Migration fields (geographic area), 8486
Migration historiography: borderlands
approach, 6; of Canada, 13; definition,
208; entangling, 810, 20714; of U.S.,
13
Miki, Sait, 145, 15154
Military migration, settlement of Canada
and, 22, 3233, 41n55
Miller, Lowell, 181
Mininger, Paul, 19093
Minnesota, 6263
Missouri Synod: Canada District of,
16364, 17172, 175; General Council
compared to, 163; inner missionary
work of, 174; Ontario missionary work
of, 164; pastor origins of, 166
Montana, 63, 65
Montreal, Quebec, 174
Moody, Howard, 190
Moogk, Peter, 23
Moore, Stephanie, 215n8
Morality policing: assumptions and, 11415;
Bureau of Immigration and, 102, 106;
immigration control and, 1034; with
vagrancy fee for prostitution, 110, 112;
Victorian-era beliefs and, 104. See also
Prostitution
Mller, P. W., 171
Multiculturalism, 4, 7
Moz, Abrn, 112
Moz, Hortensia, 109

Natal, South Africa, 131


National Council of Women, 105
Nationalism, 4
Naturalization Act of 1798, 30
Networks: borderlands and, 54; Canadian
migration to U.S. (19151965) and, 84
85, 92; cross-border social, 78, 8486;
of Hawaiian Japanese transmigrants,
15556; intra-continental migration to
U.S. (19151965) aided by, 8488; Mexican migration to U.S. (19151965) aided
by, 8586; migration returnees and, 87;
of prostitution, 1069; reproduction of,
86. See also Transnational networks
Neufeld, Bob, 196
New Brunswick, 16
New Caledonia, 2021
Newfoundland, 16, 19; economy of, 2728;
environmental challenges for colonizing, 27; indentured servitude and,
2627, 3031
New France, 16, 19, 20, 3233
New Left, 186, 189, 19395, 19798
New York, 59, 61, 62, 17374
New York Ministerium, 168
Niagara Falls, Ontario, 59, 63, 70
Nicol, Heather, 48
Nobuji, Komoto, 149, 155
North America: Asian immigrant restrictions on entering, 2089; border formation in, ixxi, 12; U.S. decentered from
history of, 23, 21314
North American student movement, 6,
186, 189, 19495; motivations of, 182;
religious aspects of, 200n13; transnational networks and, 18283, 19798.
See also Mennonite student newspapers
North Dakota, 63, 65
North Portal, Saskatchewan, 65, 67
Nova Scotia, 1617, 26, 3334, 87; indentured servitude in, 23

Index 227
Ontario, 10, 59, 6263, 65, 69, 70, 162; Missouri Synod missionary work in, 164.
See also German-speaking Lutherans
in Ontario
Ortega, Bonifacio, 85
Ortega, Consuela, 107
Ortega, Patricia, 107
Otoichi, Nishimoto, 149, 155
Ottawa, Ontario, 63
Owram, Doug, 18283, 200n13
Oyer, Mary K., 191, 193
Pacific Coast borderlands, of U.S. and
Canada, 910; Anti-Asian riots, 1907
and, 12035; Asian immigrant wave
feared in, 12930; contested region of,
121; entangled, 127, 12930; as global
borderland, 132; Hawaiian Japanese
transmigrants arriving in, 14546
Page, Horace F., 103
Page Act, 1875, 103
Paulsen, Johannes, 167
The Peak, 183
Peasants. See Campesinos
Penal immigration, 2022
Pennsylvania Ministerium, 16768
Pineda, Mariana, 1089, 114
The Piranha, 183, 188, 202n38
Pittsburgh Synod, 16364, 168
Political refugees, settlement of Canada
and, 1920
Pope, Joseph, 133
Portugal, 18; Hawaii and immigrants from,
153; penal immigration during eighteenth century and, 21; settlement of
Canada and, 15
Postmodernism: borderlands perspective of,
4850; borders and, 4849; history and,
49; space-time compression and, 52; U.S.Canada borderlands perspective of, 48
Prairie region, of U.S. and Canada, 65,
6668, 70

Precious metals, 1819


Price, John, 139n39
Prince Edward Island, 16, 62
Prostitution: brothel investigations and,
11011; Chinese immigrants and, 1023,
105; choices leading to, 11415; citizenship determination and, 11213; families
supported with, 115; gender roles and,
104; immigration control with deportation for, 10910, 11314; immigration
control with international reports on,
105; international investigations on,
1045; Mexico regulation of, 11112,
118n32; networks of, 1069; Page Act
and, 103; U.S.-Mexico border crossing
accusations of, 100101; U.S.-Mexico
border crossing punishment for, 107;
U.S.-Mexico borderlands incentives
for, 108; vagrancy fee for, 110, 112;
Victorian-era beliefs and, 104; white
slavery confused with, 108. See also Sex
trafficking
Quakers, 182
Quebec, 62, 87
Racism, 12627; borders and, xi; intraEuropean, 9; migration and, xi. See also
Anti-Asian riots, 1907
Radical Mennonite Union (RMU), 18587,
193, 198
Rail transportation, U.S.-Canada borderlands migration and, 55, 63, 65
Redekop, Calvin W., 198
Redemptioners, 22
Religion: borderlands and, 184; borders of,
xii; Menno-Pause examining, 193; North
American student movement aspects of,
200n13; settllement of Canada and, 19,
36. See also German-speaking Lutherans
in Ontario; Mennonites
Religious borderlands: definition of, 184;

228 Index
Religious borderlandscontinued
Mennonites and, 185; Mennonite
student newspapers as, 183, 185, 188,
19899; power relations and, 184
Religious settlement, 19
Remigration, 156n1
Remnant: Forum for Radical Mennos, 183,
193, 201n36; radicalism offered by, 186;
RMU support in, 18587
RMU. See Radical Mennonite Union
Rodriguez, Marc, 91
Roof, Wade Clark, 184
Roosevelt, Theodore, 129, 13435, 142;
Executive Order 589 of, 147, 153
Root, Elihu, 129, 132
Rossinow, Douglas, 182
Russia, 18, 21, 58, 105, 144
Sadowski-Smith, Claudia, 213
Saskatchewan, 65, 67
Saunier, Pierre-Yves, 3
Scherr, Max, 203n66
Schiller, Nina, 156n1
Schmieder, John, 166
Sex trafficking: international investigations
on, 1045; state control of, 106; types
lured into, 105; U.S.-Mexico border
crossing and, 1034, 11011. See also
Prostitution
Sexual control, by state, 106, 110
Sexual slavery, 101
Shank, Duane, 196
Short-distance migration, 6
Shukla, Sandhya, 213
Sikhs, 12426
Simmons, Alan, 14, 38n1
Simon Fraser University, 18283, 201n36
Slavery: anti-white slavery laws, 1012;
colonial indentured servitude patterns
with, 2425, 26; sexual, 101; transportation expense of, 28
Smugglers. See Coyotes

Social networks. See Networks


Soundex Index to Canadian Border Entries
to the United States through the St.
Albans, Vermont, District, 18951924,
5859, 60, 61, 64, 75n34
Space-time compression, 48; geographers
use of, 4950; industrialization and, 51;
postmodern, 52; technology and, 5052;
U.S.-Canada borderlands and, 5152
Spain, 19, 3436, 103, 105; penal immigration during eighteenth century and, 21;
settlement of Canada and, 15, 3637
Spatial grammar, of U.S.-Canada borderlands, 9; changing nature of, 7172; early
twentieth century sample evidence of,
5859, 75n34; migration and, 5272, 211;
syntax of, 4852
Steiner, Sam, 181, 19497
Stien, Lee, 111
St. Johns Evangelical Lutheran, 171
Stone, Frank, 108, 114
Student movement. See North American
student movement
Synod of Central Canada, 169
Tatsugoro, Nosse, 13233
Technology, space-time compression and,
5052
Texas, U.S. annexation of, 95n3
Thelen, David, 210
Thistlethwaite, Frank, 155
Tijerina, Rosa, 11213, 11415
Tinsman, Heidi, 213
Tobacco, 17, 39n21
Transmigration, 141, 156n1. See also Hawaiian Japanese transmigrants
Transnational gaze, 210
Transnational history, 34, 21011
Transnationalism, xii, 23; as histories of
transfer, 4; migration and, 14; regions
described by, 4; uses of, 34; white
nativists fighting, 135

Index 229
Transnational networks: of Germanspeaking Lutherans in Ontario, 16366,
17375, 21011; Mennonite student
newspapers and, 184, 189, 19899; North
American student movement and, 182
83, 19798; student movements shaped
by, 182; transformation through, 18384,
198; Vietnam War draft resistance with,
19599
Transnational scale, 34; Anti-Asian riots,
1907 and, 120; social worlds and, 12122
Transportation: rail, 55, 63, 65; slavery
expense of, 28; U.S.-Canada borderlands
migration and developing, 5657
Treaty of Paris, 1783, 54
Truett, Samuel, 47, 121, 211
Turner, Frederick Jackson, 5
Tyrrell, Ian, 212
Underground economy, illegal immigration
and, 91
Union of American Exiles, 182
United Kingdom: Asian immigrants in
Canada policies of, 13032; penal immigration during eighteenth century
and, 20; settlement of Canada and, 16,
17, 3637
United Lutheran Church, 177n24
United Nations (U.N.), xii
United States (U.S.): Anti-Asian riots, 1907
in Vancouver and influence of, 130;
frontier thesis on westward expansion
of, 5; German-speaking Lutherans in
Ontario connection to, 16466; Hawaiian Japanese transmigrants banned
by, 14748; Hawaii annexation by, 141,
14344, 157n12; North American history decentering of, 23, 21314; Texas
annexation by, 95n3. See also specific
regions
U.S.-Canada borderlands, 56; deterritorialization/reterritorialization paradox

and, 52; flows and, 54; postmodern perspective of, 48; regional variation of, 48;
space-time compression and, 5152. See
also Spatial grammar, of U.S.-Canada
borderlands
U.S.-Canada borderlands migration: agriculture opportunities and, 5758, 62;
Buffalo, New York and, 59, 61;
communities developed through,
5657; from Coutts, Alberta, 65, 68;
Detroit, Michigan and, 59, 60, 63;
economic conditions in late 19th and,
5556; from Emerson, Manitoba, 65,
66; Great Lakes region and, 59, 6061,
65, 69, 70; industry interdependence in,
56; from North Portal, Saskatchewan,
65, 67; Prairie region and, 65, 6668,
70; rail transportation and, 55, 63, 65;
regional variance of, 54; top connections in, 64; transportation development and, 5657; twentieth century
patterns in, 7072; urban opportunities
driving, 57
U.S.-Japan Gentlemans Agreement, 1908,
134, 147, 150
U.S.-Mexico border crossing: prostitution
accusations at, 100101; prostitution
punishment and, 107; sex trafficking
and, 1034, 11011
U.S.-Mexico borderlands, 56, 9; labor
recruitment in, 8081; prostitution
incentives in, 108
Vagrancy fee, for prostitution, 110, 112
Vancouver, British Columbia, 120; antiAsian riots, 1907 in, 12526; Anti-Asian
riots, 1907 U.S. influence in, 130; borderlands represented by, 122; as global
interaction and conflict site, 12324. See
also Anti-Asian riots, 1907
van Wijhe, Alex, 18485
Vietnam War, 70, 18990, 19599

230 Index
Warf, Barney, 52
War tax resistance, 205n93
Washington, 12035
Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, 166, 169
The Weathervane, 188
Webb, Joseph, 11213
Weinbach, W., 171
Wenger, James, 181, 19192
West Indies, 20
White, Richard, 212
White nativists: anti-Asian riots, 1907 connecting, 12223; Asian immigrants and
forced boundaries of, 12728, 135; Asian
immigrants resistance and hostility of,
122, 124, 126; Canadian claim of, 126;
transnationalism fought by, 135. See also
Anti-Asian riots, 1907
White slavery: international investigations
and cooperation on, 1046; junior ma-

trons and, 106; prostitution confused


with, 108; sources of, 104; strategies to
stem flow of, 1078; treaties for suppressing, 103. See also Anti-white slavery
laws
Wilson, J. E., 126
Windsor, Ontario, 65, 69, 70
Wittenberg Door, 18889
Woodworth, C. M., 126
World War I, 7879
World War II, 70; Canadian migration to
U.S. after, 88, 9193; intra-continental
migration to U.S. impact of, 88; Japanese
immigrant incarceration during, 214;
Mexican migration to U.S. after, 8891
Xenophobia, 207
Young, W. A., 126

Contested Boundaries
Edited by Gene Allen Smith, Texas Christian University

Contested Boundaries focuses on conflictspolitical, social, cultural, and economicalong the ever-changing territorial boundaries of the American empire to explore the fluidity that characterized these borderlands as they transformed into modern nation states.
The Maroons of Prospect Bluff and Their Quest for Freedom in the Atlantic World,
by Nathaniel Millett (2013; first paperback printing, 2014)
Creole City: A Chronicle of Early American New Orleans, by Nathalie Dessens,
(2015)
Entangling Migration History: Borderlands and Transnationalism in the United
States and Canada, edited by Benjamin Bryce and Alexander Freund (2015)