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Digital History ID 3833

Interpreting Statistics

Reading 1:

Americans must rule America; and to this end, native-born citizens should be selected for all state, federal, or municipal offices of government employment, in preference to naturalized citizens.

1856 Platform of the American (Know Nothing) Party

Reading 2:

Popery is a system of mere human policy; altogether of foreign origin; foreign in its support; importing foreign vassals and paupers by multiplied thousands; and sending into every state and territory in this union, a most baneful foreign and anti-republican influence....

Every Roman Catholic in the known world is under the absolute control of the Catholic Priesthood....And it is this...political influence, this power of the Priesthood to control the Catholic community, and cause a vast multitude of ignorant foreigners to vote as a unit, and thus control the will of the American people, that has engendered this opposition to the Catholic Church.

William G. Brownlow, 1856

Reading 3:

It is a notorious fact that the Monarchs of Europe and the Pope of Rome are at this very moment plotting our destruction and threatening the extinction of our political, civil, and religious institutions....The Catholics in the United States receive from abroad more than $200,000 annually for the propagation of their creed.

Texas State Times, 1855

Questions To Think About

1. How would you explain the prevalence of anti-Catholic sentiment in pre-Civil War America?

2. Why do you think anti-immigrant sentiment declined sharply in the mid-1850s?

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