Abstract

In April 1787, the New York State Legislature naturalized Spanish ship captain Pablo Vidal under unusual circumstances. Vidal's naturalization was temporary, retroactive, and requested by a third party, New York City merchant Dominick Lynch. The atypical conditions surrounding Vidal's naturalization reveal the existence of an Atlantic-spanning buyer's market for migrants after the American Revolution. With peace came a growing demand for immigrants, causing individual states to compete against one another to offer the most desirable terms to attract opportunistic newcomers. The stories of Pablo Vidal, Dominick Lynch, and many other migrants to Confederation New York detail how the state recognized its position within this broader Atlantic market, how it sought to capitalize on its strengths, and how it attempted to bind these once transient migrants to New York's future. Amid the stories of this scramble for migrants lie the tensions that led to the diminishment of the buyer's market after Congress centralized naturalization standards in 1790.

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