Back to Inquiry Set

11.3.8 Representative Grant Hudson of Michigan, Congressional Record

Congressional Record transcript

1924 April 01
Text

Representative Grant Hudson of Michigan, Congressional Record, 68th Congress, 1st session, April 5, 1924, vol. 65, part 6 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1924), 5641.

Representative Grant Hudson served in the House of Representatives from 1923 to 1931. The son of immigrants from England, Hudson was a Baptist minister and a merchant from Michigan. In 1924, Congress was debating the adoption of the Johnson-Reed Act. The act was specifically designed to ban immigration from Asia and to severely limit the number of immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe. This excerpt from Hudson's speech reveals his opinion on the act. What point is Hudson making? How does Hudson's statement reflect the nativism and xenophobia of the era?
Representative Grant Hudson served in the House of Representatives from 1923 to 1931. The son of immigrants from England, Hudson was a Baptist minister and a merchant from Michigan. In 1924, Congress was debating the adoption of the Johnson-Reed Act. The act was specifically designed to ban immigration from Asia and to severely limit the number of immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe. This excerpt from Hudson's speech reveals his opinion on the act. Ask students to extrapolate Hudson's main point and to consider the many additional factors that influenced his perspective on the issue. Discuss the ways that Hudson's statement reflects the nativism and xenophobia of the era.

“Today we face the serious problem of the maintenance of our historic republican institutions. Now, what do we find in all our large cities? Entire sections containing a population incapable of understanding our institutions, with no comprehension of our national ideals, and for the most part incapable of speaking the English language. Foreign language information service gives evidence that many southern Europeans resent as an unjust discrimination the quota laws and represent America as showing race hatred and unmindful of its mission to the world. The reverse is true. America’s first duty is to those already within her own shores. An unrestricted immigration policy would work an injustice to all, which would fall hardest on those least able to combat it . . . today we see huge masses of non-American-minded individuals, living in colonies or ghettoes, or even cities and counties of their own. Here they perpetuate their racial mindedness, their racial character, and their racial habits. Here they speak their own tongue, read their own newspapers, maintain their separate educational system.”