By the finish of this section, girlfriend will:Explain the effects of immigrant from miscellaneous parts the the world on American society from 1844 to 1877Explain the political causes of the polite War

Suggested Sequencing

Use this Narrative together the thing 7 introductory Essay: 1844-1860 to explore reactions to raised immigration in this time period.

You are watching: In the 1840s, nativists blamed immigrants for what?

The antiforeign sentiment, likewise called xenophobia or “nativism,” that swept throughout the United states in the at an early stage 1850s had actually a lengthy history. Indeed, the Alien and Sedition action of 1798 had actually been signed right into law by President john Adams largely as result of Federalist pertains to that immigrants from revolutionary France and also Ireland can support Jeffersonian Republicans. Catholic immigrants, in particular, particularly in the Northeast, faced discrimination through Protestants that feared the Pope secretly encouraged immigration to subvert U.S. Law. Only in 1821 did the state of new York accord full citizenship rights to Catholics. In 1834, a good news mob in Charlestown, Massachusetts, shed down a Catholic convent over rumors the nuns were being abused in ~ its confines.

Yet in 1844, nativism showed up to reach new heights. After ~ a riot between Protestants and also immigrant Catholics, Philadelphians elected three nativist candidates come Congress. That very same year, new York City’s James Harper, a wealthy and ardent anti-Catholic and also publisher, won the gyeongju for market on antiforeign issues. This victories proved temporary, however. Nativist candidates roundly failure to win office transparent the rest of the te as the economic situation improved and also debates end Texas annexation and war with Mexico overcame newspapers. Nevertheless, their temporary political successes foreshadowed an also larger motion to come.


In this 1850 political cartoon, an ireland immigrant in a whiskey barrel and also a German immigrant in a beer barrel room running off with a ballot box.

It was in this paper definition of massive Catholic immigration that the first nativist institutions organized. In 1844, James Harper and also Thomas R. Whitney founded the order of joined Americans (OUA) together a semisecret, antiforeign association in brand-new York City. By 1846, the OUA declared 2,000 members. 5 years later, that number had actually mushroomed come 30,000 statewide. In an earlier era, Whitney and also his fellow nativists would have supported the Federalist Party, suggesting that inequality was natural and social pecking order inevitable. “What is equality however stagnation?” Whitney asked. “If democracy implies universal suffrage, or the ideal of all men to take regulate of the State, without regard to the intelligence, the morals, or the values of the man, i am no democrat.” together nativists witnessed things, immigrants and Catholics lacked such virtues. In 1852, the OUA linked with a ritualistic, totally secretive association referred to as the order of the Star Spangled Banner (OSSB). The complying with year, the OSSB transformed right into the Know-Nothing Party, accused named since its members publicly claimed to “know nothing” around the secret party.

Watch this BRI Homework Help video clip on immigration and the climb of the Know-Nothing Party for a review of mass immigration to the United says in the first half the the nineteenth century.

In 1854, the Know-Nothings exploded onto the nationwide political scene. Shopkeepers popularized the movement by marketing Know-Nothing candy, cigars, toothpicks, and soap. Merchants, manufacturers, artisans, and also professionals were specifically attracted to the party’s message. Most blamed immigrant Catholics for enhancing social ills: poverty, alcohol abuse, and also moral decline. New members had tendency to it is in younger and also wealthier, although part were apprentices anxious about future jobs and also foreign competition from immigrant artisans. Nearly all thought that immigrants, whom Whitney defined as “that course of aliens who – i think to be law-givers and also rulers in America,” were ending up being too powerful. Nativist candidates won crucial state and also federal races in new York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and also throughout brand-new England. “The ‘Know nothings,"” one human being from Indiana reported, “are together thick as locusts in Egypt.” by the year’s end, the mysterious political association boasted more than 10,000 lodges and also one million members.


A ballot native 1855.

Refer come the image provided.

1. This file best exemplifies the concept of


2. I beg your pardon of the complying with foreshadowed the sentiments express in the detailed image?

Kansas-Nebraska act of 1854Alien and Sedition plot of 1798Missouri weaken of 1820Treaty that Guadalupe Hidalgo contract of 1848

3. The image was most straight influenced by

the result of the Mexican-American Warthe discovery of yellow in Californiaeconomic and also political vary in Europefailure the the compromise of 1850 to end sectionalism

Primary Sources

Brownson, Orestes A. “Native Americanism.” Brownson’s Quarterly Review. January 1845. Orestes Brown Society. Http://

Whitney, thomas R. A Defence of the American Policy, as Opposed come the Encroachments of foreign Influence, and also Especially to the Interference of the Papacy in the politics Interests and Affairs that the united States. Brand-new York: DeWitt and Davenport, 1856. Https://

Suggested Resources

Anbinder, Tyler. Nativism and also Slavery: The Northern know Nothings and the politics of the 1850s. Brand-new York: Oxford university Press, 1992.

Billington, beam Allen. The protestant Crusade 1800-1860: A study of the beginnings of American Nativism. New York: Macmillan, 1938.

Gienapp, william E. The origins of the Republican Party, 1852-1856. New York: Oxford college Press, 1987.

Holt, Michael F. The Rise and Fall the the American Whig Party: Jacksonian Politics and the beginning of the civil War. Brand-new York: Oxford college Press, 1999.

Johnson, Tyler V. “Punishing the Lies ~ above the Rio Grande: Catholic and Immigrant volunteer in Zachary Taylor’s Army and the Fight versus Nativism.” Journal the the early Republic Spring (2010):63-84.

Levine, Bruce. “Conservatism, Nativism, and Slavery: thomas R. Whitney and the beginnings of the Know-Nothing Party.” The newspaper of American History88 no. 2 (2001):455-488.

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Wilentz, Sean. The increase of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2005.