EUROPEAN IMMIGRANTS WERE NOT ALWAYS CONSIDERED WHITE IN THE UNITED STATES!
I had an exchange with an attorney about whether Spaniards, Italian, and Europeans, were considered white in early America. I was amazed he didn’t know the legal definition of being white in the United States and how it was originally based on the (Naturalization Act of March 26, 1790. This Act excluded anyone of the black, red, and yellow races. It was amended on July 14, 1870, to say: “A Free White Person” which included all the European races and their descendants. So for 80 years, even white folks had to earn the right to be white.
This is what founding father Ben Franklin had to say: “The Spaniards, Italians, French, Russians, and Swedes, are generally of what we call a SWARTY COMPLEXION (dark skin); as are the Germans also, the Saxons only excepted.”In short, they were not to be liberally admitted to Pennsylvania, because as Franklin argued, “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 WHITE COMPLEXION.”