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19th Century American Nativism

19th Century American Nativism

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19th Century American Nativism

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  1. 19th Century American Nativism What is an American? “When the Irish first came to America they were persecuted and they literally did have to fight for their fair share of what America had to offer” - Historian Tyler Anbinder http://profcivitella.wordpress.com

  2. Nativism Defined • What is nativism? • a policy of native born people being hostile towards/opposing immigrants • Nativism in the 19th century: • white, native-born, Protestant American hostility towards European immigrants • immigrants were usually German and Irish and Catholic • America had been a Protestant, anti-Catholic nation since the 17th century

  3. Why the Hatred? • Nativists thought immigrants… • lacked intelligence; were lazy and ignorant • stole jobs from Americans by working for less • increased crime • drank too much • the Catholic papacy would influence government • lacked morals; didn’t respect American social rules/values • wouldn’t assimilate (socially/culturally integrate) • were burdens on society • were racially inferior (not 100% “white”)

  4. Why did the Germans and Irish emigrate? • Potato famine of the 1840s • Poor economy • Religious freedom • Growing population • Jobs/settlement promotions • The “American Dream”/”Land of Opportunity” • Germans settled in the mid-west (e.g., St. Louis); Irish in the northeast (e.g., Boston)

  5. The Irish Tempest by Sir John Tenniel cartoon analysis

  6. American Response • Immigrationresulted in… • the formation of anti political parties • (1850s) Know Nothing party • blamed immigrants/Catholics for economic, social, and political ills • when asked about their affiliation with an anti-immigration/anti-Catholic party, or the Order of the Star Spangled Banner, they answered “I know nothing” • violence • (1844) Philadelphia Riots • fighting between natives and Irish which led to property damage, deaths and injuries

  7. American Response “When the hordes of other lands are permitted to come here, as is the case daily; when ignorance, poverty, crime is allowed to land upon our shores and be transformed, hardly without ceremony, and with no time to learn the nature of our institutions, into what is called the 'American' citizens—when these things are done, it is time that good men lifted their arms and sounded their voices against the abomination.” -The Nativist Press, 1854

  8. Why Should I Care About Nativism? • Nativism is still very much prevalent today • anti-Muslim/Mexican/Islamic sentiment • Nativism directly affected your ancestors • Nativism impacted cities’ designs • “Little Italy”; “China Town” • Nativism led to the creation of Catholic schools • Nativism led to the formation of ethnic gangs in America • was the basis of Martin Scorsese’s highly acclaimed film Gang’s of New York