by Ken Feltman
Remember the Know Nothings from mid-19th century American politics?
Notice any similarities to the Donald Trump campaign and his followers? Here’s what Wikipedia says about the Know Nothings:
The movement arose in response to an influx of migrants and promised to “purify” American politics by limiting or ending the influence of Irish Catholics and other immigrants, thus reflecting nativist and anti-Catholic sentiment. It was empowered by popular fears that the country was being overwhelmed by German and Irish Catholic immigrants, whom they saw as hostile to republican values and as being controlled by the Pope. Mainly active from 1854 to 1856, the movement strove to curb immigration and naturalization but met with little success. Membership was limited to Protestant men. There were few prominent leaders, and the largely middle-class membership was divided over the issue of slavery.
Anti-Catholicism had been a factor in colonial America but played little role in American politics until the arrival of large numbers of Irish and German Catholics in the 1840s. It then reemerged in nativist attacks on Catholic immigration … Continue reading