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US HISTORY FINAL EXAM STUDY GUIDE The Know Nothing Party: 325 325t 330 296 323 97, 111 The first wave of 19 th century immigration to America brought millions of newcomers, primarily from Northern and Western Europe. Although enriching American society, the immigrants often faced opposition. Immigrants: Increasing immigration in 1940’s increased nativism o Extensive migration in Europe: including emigration to America, following the Napoleonic Wars. Conditions in Europe Prompted people to leave American Dream?? America offered abundant jobs and cheap land Earlier arrivals sent back optimistic reports Steamship lines advertised low trans-Atlantic fares. Immigrants faced difficult voyage and often victimized Immigration as a percent of total population peaked between 1845 and 1855 Irish largest in 1840’s Poverty, overcrowding, as well as discontent with British rule Great Irish Famine o Between 1845 and 1850, more than a million Irish people starved to death while massive quantities of food were being exported from their country. 1.5 million emigrate Manual Labors Catholic Church (tight ties) Irish voter groups o Germans: also large numbers Economic depression and political conditions Settled in groups Served in Civil War German Jews o Others: Scandinavians, Swedes, Danes, and Norwegians productive pioneer farmers o Chinese Immigrate on west coast, construction work. Much discrimination, barred in 1882. Discrimination: “Nativists” increasingly opposed immigrant groups that were not easily acculturated (absorbed). There were sometimes violent clashes. o Irish Catholics targeted by those who feared papal conspiracies o Language handicaps o Stereotypes aggravated public fears, including fear of threats to their jobs. 1
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Political Organizations resisting immigration climaxed in the formation of the American (Know-Nothing) Party in 1854. o A nativist third party that relied upon “xenophobia” and on the temperance movement o In 1856 former president Millard Fillmore, the Know-Nothing candidate, won over 21.6% of the popular vote and Maryland’s 8 electoral votes. o Was absorbed by republicans after 1856. Over 2.5 million immigrants entered the US in the 1850’s compared with 600,000 in the 1830’s. Restrictive legislation failed to pass as the slavery crisis began to eclipse the anti- immigration movement. The nativist American party, or Know-Nothings, condemned the growing political influence immigrants, especially Roman Catholics. With its ranks filled with former Whigs, the party tapped into a deep wellspring of resentment against immigrants on the part of urban, native-born workers as well as Protestant farmers anxious about retaining their influence in public affairs o Protestants worried that large numbers of Catholic immigrants would be loyal to the pope in Rome, the head of the Catholic church, and thus undermine American democracy The rapid rise of the Know-Nothings further indicated that voters had grown
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This note was uploaded on 09/27/2008 for the course HIST 200gm taught by Professor Shammas during the Spring '05 term at USC.

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