Immigrants have contributed to the stability of the American political system. This assertion, the major conclusion of the present investigation, stands in direct and fundamental opposition to the dominant theoretical interpretation of the immigrant experience. According to much of the literature of empirical democratic theory, immigrants are likely to disrupt the democratic equilibrium by reason of their alien political convictions; students of American politics have tended to follow this general line of analysis, believing that immigrants may well threaten the liberal political consensus on which the health of the American republic depends. But in fact immigrants have been pillars of the American political system, their character shaped by the process of immigration itself combined with an American culture specifically designed to integrate discrete immigrant groups.