Political migration is any migration motivated primarily by political interests. Typically, political migration is in one of two classes, private or government, depending on who encourages the migration.
Political migrations differ from other migrations by attempting to change aspects of a political system. These changes are accomplished by modifying the
demographics of a specific region. The focus on demographics necessitates an emphasis on migration towards low-population regions or artificially creating low-population regions.
Private political migrations
Private political migration includes efforts by individuals or organizations to persuade others to migrate to a specified location. Although the detailed goals of these migrations vary widely, the trend is migration towards greater political liberty.
During the 17th and 18th centuries,
Europeans migrated to the United Statesto obtain greater political and religious freedom. Contemporary European laws strongly favored official state religions. Members of non-sanctioned religious sects became victims of persecution and sought escape in the New World. Early Puritans at Massachusetts Bay repeated this pattern, expelling Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson, who founded colonies in what was to become Rhode Island.
The western frontiers of the United States continued to draw persons seeking greater religious and political liberty. The westward migration of the
Latter-day Saintsis the most prominent example in U.S. history.
Other migrations have sought broader rights for ethnic minorities. For example, in the 1880s,
Edward P. McCabepromoted a movement to establish a majority-black state in Oklahoma. The movement was met with racism and the establishment of Jim Crow lawsin that state.
In the aftermath of the
American Civil War, approximately 20,000 former supporters of the Confederate cause emigrated to Brazil. While some of the emigrees returned to the United States, others became Brazilian citiens. Their descendents are known as Confederados.
World War II, eastern Europe was under the influence of the Soviet Unionand a system of minimal political liberty obtained. The availability of relatively greater political liberty in western Europe than in the Eastern Bloc motivated millions to flee towards the West.
The situation in
East Germanyprovides a microcosm of the greater phenomenon. Between 1949 and 1961, approximately 2.2 million people (more than 10% of the population) migrated from East Germany to West Germany. In response to this private political migration, the East German government constructed the Berlin Walland a border system to prevent outward migration. These systems effectively stemmed the private westward migration (though several thousands a year did still find their way across the border) until August 1989 when Hungary removed its border restrictions with Austria providing a viable route for the private political migration of East Germans. Soon thereafter, the East German border was reopened.
The foundation of modern freedom projects is the recognition that democratic political systems may be influenced by concentrated, unified voters. If persons with similar political ideology migrate enough people to a specific region they will obtain political influence in the region, thus enabling them to enact their goals of increasing political liberty.
Such projects differ in the geographic scale of the target region: town, county, state, nation. However, they tend to focus on regions with low populations, low voter registration, low voter turnout and high sympathy for the project's goals. All four criteria lower the number of migrants the project must rally in order to obtain "success."
Free State Project, Free State Wyoming, Free West Alliance, European Freestate Project.
"External links:" [http://libertyunbound.com/archive/2004_06/orhai-fsp.html A Revolution by Other Means]
"Related Material:" [http://www.limonreal.com/ Limón REAL Project] , [http://www.awdal.com Awdal Roads Company] , [http://seastead.org Seastead.org]
Government political migrations
Government political migration includes efforts by government entities to relocate persons to geographic regions favored by a government. The motivation for such relocations generally comes from internal political pressures and the migrations are hoped to relieve the causes of those pressures. The goals may include:
* establishing power in a disputed territory
* encouraging economic development
* relieving urban pressures
Treaty of Versaillesin 1919 Germany lost approximately one sixth of its arable land to surrounding nations. That loss combined with losing its overseas territories made the population density of post-WWI Germany (including its colonies) 97 per square kilometer. In contrast the population density of England (including its colonies) was less than 1 per square kilometer (it should be noted however, that the disparity in population density excluding the colonies was much less).
This population disparity gave rise to the Nazi policy of
Lebensraum("living space") which demanded that Germany obtain land for the settlement of German peoples. The long-term goals of the lebensraum policy were a type of government political migration focused on moving Germans from the heart of Germany to other regions.
An intermediate step in the implementation of lebensraum was a forced government political migration of
Jews from rural areas to concentrated urban centers ( ghettos) thus preparing the countryside for the future migration of Germans. These ghettos, along with Nazi ideas about " racial hygiene," lead to the genocideof Jews and others in concentration camps.
"External link:" [http://www.mtsu.edu/~baustin/ghetto.html The Ghettoization of European Jews: Deportation and Resettlement in the East]
The political pressure inspiring Indonesia's
Transmigration Programwas the disparity in population distribution between the nation's 17,000 islands. The island of Java encompasses only 6.8% of Indonesia's land area, yet 48.5% of its population.
Beginning with the Dutch in the early 20th century and continuing until August 2000, the Transmigration Program migrated over six million people from Java to other islands in the country. The migration did not significantly reduce the population density of Java. For example, if Java were an independent nation, it would be the eighth most densely populated nation in the world at 863 people per square kilometer. Removing 6 million people from the island (using 2003 population figures) would not change its world ranking.
The policy of the
United Statestowards the American Indians is another example of government-sponsored migration because of population density concerns and the availability of arable land. During the 19th century, the population of the United States moved westward in pursuit of Manifest Destinythereby increasing conflict between new settlers and the existing American Indian populations. These conflicts created a perception among settlers — and the United States generally — that there was a shortage of arable land conveniently available for settlement.
To assuage these concerns, many politicians supported
Indian removal, causing incidents such as the Trail of Tearsand the Long Walk. Indian Removal involved forcing Indians from their homes, confiscating their property and relocating them to designated territories such as the Indian territory and later Indian reservations.
Free State Project
Free West Alliance
Free State Wyoming
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