During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, many American nativist groups opposed free unrestricted immigration. Although racism is a main reason, there were many others. Economic, political, social and moral standards seemed to be threatened by these newcomers. The immigrants were unfamiliar of the language and customs that we take for granted in our everyday lives. The fear that gripped the nation was why people reacted so strongly against immigrants. The people feared change might distort the course of our prospering country. We did not want to become what those immigrants were fleeing.
Many economic changes were changing the pace of our nation during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. There were changes being made in how business was being taken care of and how the workers were being treated. Strikes and riots were a constant concern to factory owners. They felt they could not afford to risk their enterprise to demonstrations of dissatisfaction by their workers. By the owners standards, their workers were being paid quite well. However, an immigrant would be willing to twice as much work for half the wages. Millions of immigrants came to America looking for work. This made many Americans apprehensive at the thought of immigrants taking over their jobs. With so many immigrants, who were thought of as untrained, dirty, uncultivated and an inconvenience, factory owners feared that they would be unable to control such kind of unfamiliar people. These immigrants stuck together, almost like animals, nativasts thought. Living in ethnic communities, and working in groups with one another. Separately they were seen as weak and unworthy of any basic human care. However, when they were together, they were generalized and stereotyped. against any immigration economic support whatsoever. This was not a single view, but a reflection of how the entire nativast nation felt.
Many political changes were also being made during this abstract time period. Immigrants were new to our elaborate and tangled web of politics. In fact many nativast Americans didn’t understand our political system all to well. Many people had the conception that immigrants were too half-witted to follow American politics. After all they were not even born here. Immigrants tended to vote in blocks together. In document 7, according to magazine writer, E.A. Ross thought that foreigners were underhanded and corrupt. They polluted everything “good” about our “pure and honest” political system. Ross gives a clear exaggeration on how the foreigners managed to change the outcome of an election. From intimidation at the polls, ballot frauds, vote purchases, and saloon influence. Also the support of the vicious and criminal. This is clearly a stretch on the reality of the situation. He contradicts himself at the end by saying its root is the “simple minded foreigner”. With all this criminal masterminding to change an election outcome, its foundation are immigrants who do not completely understand our political system. Thats fails to make any sense to me whatsoever. Most immigrants wanted a better future for their families and that was all.
Social changes played a huge role in the nativast campaign against immigrants. Many changes were occurring in our social atmosphere. The immigrants were the easiest victim to chose. They were part of a significant transformation of our country. We thought that our entire civilization was at stake. Nativast’s public standard of living would deteriorate by allowing these people to continue to enter and run the country. This can be seen in document 1. The American Federation of Labor wrote to congress, that it was no longer a racial, labor, or political standpoint. It was the basic establishment of the country. Our civilization was at stake. However, it was not falling apart, it was just metamorphosing into something different. Naivasts could not understand this.
These changes in society were blamed on the foreigners. This is seem in document 2. It was an excerpt from “Our Country” by Rev. Josiah Strong. Nativasts held a strong resentment for the changes being made in religion and other social habits, such as drinking. The crime rate was changing and the easiest one to blame were the immigrants. They were a disease that polluted our civilization’s standards. Immigrants tended to flock among one another in large numbers. They had their own religious beliefs, and