Paranoia against immigrants is nothing new for America. All throughout our history we’ve been scared into believing that certain new people to this country were only here to undermine our American values and take over the government. Thankfully, in most cases, reason one out over insanity, but there was always much to be ashamed of prior to our revelation.
In the nineteen hundreds it was thought that the Irish Catholics were here to undermine and take over the government on behalf of the Catholic church. Due to the potato famine in Ireland many Irish people migrated to the United States. The large numbers were quickly treated to our good ‘ol American hospitality and made out as criminals and anti-patriots.
The obvious insanity of a group claiming to be nativists, a term adopted by the Know Nothing Party, must have escaped them at the time. Given the fact that they were still closely involved with real natives it seems ridiculous for a group of European settlers to claim that they were native to this part of the world. Unfortunately this very fact still escapes many factions within our modern society. These anti-immigrants somehow believe that they are native to this country. I guess it doesn’t take long to forget that which you’ve destroyed when the convenience of its presence is lost.
Just read the below excerpt from OhioHistoryCentral.org and you’ll notice the similarities to today’s arguments against Hispanic people in the United States by the “Patriot” Anti-Immigrant movement.
The Know-Nothing Party originated in 1849. Its members strongly opposed immigrants and followers of the Catholic Church. The majority of white Americans followed Protestant faiths. Many of these people feared Catholics because members of this faith followed the teachings of the Pope. The Know-Nothings feared that the Catholics were more loyal to the Pope than to the United States. More radical members of the Know-Nothing Party believed that the Catholics intended to take over the United States of America. The Catholics would then place the nation under the Pope’s rule. The Know-Nothing Party intended to prevent Catholics and immigrants from being elected to political offices. Its members also hoped to deny these people jobs in the private sector, arguing that the nation’s business owners needed to employ true Americans. Know Nothing Party