Essay on Immigrants and Nativism

1840s ”“ 1860s of the XIX century have become one of the key periods in the history of the USA. The industrial growth allowed the USA to become one of the world economic leaders. In the middle of the XIX century spree of immigration has swept through the United States. It is first of all, the Irish and the Germans immigration. The Irish were coming to America during two centuries from the moment of the first English colonies foundation. In 1845, severe famine started in Ireland and that served as one of the reasons why thousands of the Irish people started their way to the USA, England, Canada and Australia. Two thirds of all immigrants that arrived to the USA were represented by the Irish. This caused negative reaction on behalf of the Native Americans that found its realization in the “nativists” movement. Anti-Irish and Anti-Catholic rhetoric was becoming more and more popular during the 1830s of the XIX century. As a result, the so called “Know nothing” movement became the symbol of the nativism movement. In order to stamp out the Irish from the territory of the USA nativists arranged a range anti-Irish riots.

Numerous patriotic communities the amount of which significantly increased in 1880-1890s, have played a great role in support of the nativists actions. The largest community was the “Order of the United American mechanics”. It was founded in Pennsylvania in 1845. Its major purposes were to state the American system of public education and struggle against the idea of the church and state alliance. Creators of the Order insisted that immigrants did not form ethic communities in the country. In 1880-s such communities as “Patriotic league of Revolution”, “Order of the American freemen” and many others have appeared. The main ideas of these communities were to defend the American interests and principles, support American institutions. They claimed for immigration limitation and protecting of the country from the foreign influence.

On May 31, 1894, the League of the Immigration Restriction was founded in Boston. The main objectives of the League was: to defend and pursue legislative restriction and tighter regulation of immigration, publish documents and pamphlets, disseminate information about it, arrange meetings and shape public opinion in favor of the further prohibition of entry for those people who are undesirable for the nationality or do harm to the national character.

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