Transcendental Views on Immigration

From 1840 to 1920, the population of The United States increased from 17.1 million to 105.

7 million people. This prodigious expansion in the population was due to the drastically increasing number of foreigners that immigrated to the US. The presence of these immigrants fueled the industrial revolution that laid the foundations for the US becoming an influential world power. Without the allowance for immigration, this may have never occurred, so should America still encourage it? Henry David Thoreau, an abolitionist and renowned practitioner of Transcendental philosophy, encourages the equal treatment of all people. The equality that Thoreau advocates symbolizes a universal equality, not limited to only the people who reside in America. Thus, every person, no matter what nation they were conceived in, deserves equal opportunities and treatment, meaning that if one seeks a form of prosperity in a foreign country, he or she possesses the right to immigrate to that country.

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Some express their disapproval of immigration to the US, saying that it results in multiculturalism that presents challenges for natives of the country as well as those who are immigrating to it. Another argument against immigration states that immigrants negatively affect the availability of jobs in the US because of the additional competition for them. However, the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages. The meshing of different cultures provides American citizens with both an enlightened view on the practices of different regions of the world and a greater respect for the people who occupy them. In addition, it nurtures diversification in thought, which may lead to beneficial reforms to society and the government. Banning immigration would limit the number of unique ideas available in America, while promoting it would cause the county to flourish due to the abundance of unique perspectives.

As far as the job market is concerned, the competition brought by immigrants forces individuals to set themselves apart from the masses of job applicants. This reinforces the need for intellectual diversity and non-conformity, another theme of Transcendentalism that Thoreau endorses, which produces economic innovation and the overall transcendence of society.