Nativist sentiment proliferated in the era around the Civil War, as different groups like the Know-Nothing Party and Workingmen’s Party organized around common anti-immigrant sentiment. Their reasons for opposing immigration differed, as did the immigrant groups who they opposed. In this module you read primary sources from two Nativists. Denis Kearney, a California labor activist who opposed Chinese immigration, was himself an immigrant from Ireland. Samuel Morse, the founder of Morse code, strongly opposed Irish Catholic immigration in the Northeast.
This discussion will address the following outcomes:
- Define the concept of nativism and examine nativist thinking and policies directed toward European, Asian, and Mexican immigrants in the mid-nineteenth century (CO#1, CO#2)
Before beginning this discussion, read the Module Notes and assigned chapters in Takaki, view the Chung Sun clip, and read the following primary sources: Kearney, D. (1878), “Our Misery and Despair” and Morse, S. (1835), Imminent Dangers to the Free Institutions of the United States.
In a post of at least 250 words consider the following:
- What arguments did Nativists make against particular immigrant groups?
- Did Nativists have valid reasons for their reaction against immigration? If you had lived then, would you have supported immigration and naturalization restrictions, or not? Please justify your choices with examples from that era (not from today).