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I'm More American Than You

Updated on February 6, 2017
Plimoth Plantation; my ancestor, Jonathan Dunham, was the Deacon of the Plymouth Colony ca. 1628
Plimoth Plantation; my ancestor, Jonathan Dunham, was the Deacon of the Plymouth Colony ca. 1628 | Source

Update: Well, he did it. He is going to build the wall and has banned citizens from several Muslim countries from entering the United States. Although he didn't ban Saudis from entering. Don't forget the General Strike on February 17, 2017! Make your voice be heard on these issues!

Donald Trump Is a First Generation American

Donald Trump complains a lot about illegal immigrants.

I guess he's lucky his mom squeezed him out just a couple short years after she became a naturalized citizen, or he wouldn't be allowed to run for President.

Anyway ... when people like Donald Trump compete in the "Who's More American?" debate, I have to just sit back and laugh. After all, Mr. Trump has done a few impressive things in his life, but he didn't do them for anyone but himself.

Forgetting that neither his father nor mother were born here and that I can't find any proof that his current wife is an American citizen, I'm not sure that Donald Trump is American enough to have an opinion on immigration, legal or illegal.

The biggest problem with illegal immigration is that American citizens are bringing them here. Cheapskate American employers who don't want to pay a living wage or offer health insurance. But we don't want to talk about them, or how they have helped to undermine the American labor market. No, let's just keep blaming it on all those immigrants.

In the early 2000s, Denison, Iowa, was overrun with immigrants. This was neither a gradual nor an easy transition. Mexican children far outnumbered local children in school. Iowa flags were nowhere to be found. In the worse parts of this small town, immigrants were living several families to one house.

But the locals weren't mad at the immigrants. Now, don't get me wrong. They were frustrated, but they aimed their frustrations at the right people: the owners of the packing plants. Without those jobs - jobs that paid near slave wages with no benefits - there would be no immigrants. But the plants didn't care about these small communities, all they cared about were profits.

Sons of Liberty flag
Sons of Liberty flag

Sorry, Trump, But I'm More American

Unfortunately, I could be more American.

My great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather, Jonathan Dunham, was supposed to come here on the Mayflower with the other Pilgrims, but his wife died in the Netherlands and he didn't want to travel alone with his many young children, so he waited a few years before sailing to the Plimoth Colony. In 1628, he became the Deacon - a sort of religious and secular leader - of the Plimoth Colony.

His son, also a Jonathan, was one of the first settlers in Martha's Vineyard. He was the first minister to travel to the island and the first to establish a church there. He married Mary Cobb, whose family also held many leadership positions in the early Plimoth Colony and was close to the hierarchy of the Separatists in England.

Jonathan's grandson, Shubael, married Lydia Chase. Lydia's brother was a member of the "Loyal Nine." You've probably never heard of them, but they organized and participated in the Boston Tea Party. Shubael Dunham represented Martha's Vineyard in the Ratification of the Constitution.

Shubael's son, Cornelius, enlisted in the Revolutionary War in defense of the shore on Martha's Vineyard. His wife was a woman named Tabitha Hancock. She and John shared a grandfather. They also lived two doors down from John Hancock, according to census records.

Cornelius had many children, the last of which was my great-great-great grandfather, Cornelius. Cornelius headed west, possibly fought alongside Zachary Taylor in the Blackhawk War, and at some point joined Brigham Young and the Mormons on their way out to Zion. He left Mr. Young in Kanesville, retracing his steps a bit northeast to what is now known as Crawford County, Iowa.

He was the first white settler in the area, and the Natives liked him. They even suggested the site where his house still stands, near the Boyer River in southwestern Crawford County.

His son, Zachary Taylor (Z.T.) Dunham (who is rumored to have been named after Cornelius' comrade in the Balckhawk War, president Zachary Taylor), was an inventor as well as a farmer. He submitted numerous patents; he receives credit for several livestock patents to this day. The brick barn he built is on the National Register of Historic Places.

My ancestors attended Harvard and helped to found Princeton. Many of them were directly involved in the founding of our nation. A Dunham caused the murder of Joseph Smith. A Dunham saved many people at the Alamo. We have been here a long time.

Trump? Not so much.

Oh, this?  Just my ancestor who was born in the Plymouth Colony in 1632.
Oh, this? Just my ancestor who was born in the Plymouth Colony in 1632. | Source

Trump's Plan? No Plan

Do we have too many illegals in our country? Probably yes. Would we have so many illegals if American business owners quit giving them jobs? Probably not.

The bigger issue, however, is much more complex and difficult to solve: American jobs shipped overseas in the 1990s and 2000s. How many plants have closed? How many call centers are opened in other countries while our citizens sit, hopeless and unemployed? How many Americans had stable employment before their company was bought out by a multi-national corporation and all their jobs moved overseas?

Frankly, I think Trump is a circus clown. I'm even beginning to wonder if he plans on finishing the election process, or if he's just in it for the laughs.

All I would say is this: He just barely scraped by as "American," so eventually all those rocks he's throwing around his glass house is gonna break something.


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    • Brynn Thorssen profile imageAUTHOR

      Carrie Peterson 

      4 years ago from Colorado Springs, CO

      So what does she think of Trump?

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      4 years ago from Oklahoma

      My wife is 100% Native American, the only type of pure American I'm familiar with. The rest of us are just Johnny Come Latelies in comparison.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Interesting article. There's no doubt that enforcement of current laws would shut down the magnet for illegals - companies would find it legally expensive to hire them.


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