Strangers in the Land: Patterns of American Nativism, 1860-1925

➨ Strangers in the Land: Patterns of American Nativism, 1860-1925 Ebook ➮ Author John  Higham – Johndore.co.uk
  • Paperback
  • 464 pages
  • Strangers in the Land: Patterns of American Nativism, 1860-1925
  • John Higham
  • English
  • 08 July 2019
  • 0813531233

About the Author: John Higham

John William Higham 26 October 1920 26 July 2003 was an American historian, scholar of American culture and specialist on issues of ethnicity.Born in Jamaica, Queens, Higham earned his undergraduate history degree from Johns Hopkins in 1941 and received a master s degree from Yale University in 1942 In World War II, he served with the historical division of the Army Air Corps in Italy He married psychologist Eileen Moss Higham in 1948.After serving as assistant editor of The American Mercury, he earned a doctorate at the University of Wisconsin Madison in 1949 He taught at the University of California, Los Angeles, Rutgers University, Columbia University and the University of Michigan before returning to Johns Hopkins in 1971.He is noted for having described anti Catholicism in the United States as the most luxuriant, tenacious tradition of paranoiac agitation in American history.Higham died of a cerebral aneurysm in Balti.


Strangers in the Land: Patterns of American Nativism, 1860-1925Higham S Work Stands As The Seminal Work In The History Of American Nativism The Work Is A Careful, Well Documented Study Of Nationalism And Ethnic Prejudice, And Chronicles The Power And Violence Of These Two Ideas In American Society From 1860 To 1925 He Significantly Moves Beyond Previous Treatments Of Nativism, Both In Chronology And In Interpretive Sophistication Higham Defines Nativism As A Defensive Type Of Nationalism Or An Intense Opposition To An Internal Minority On The Grounds Of The Group S Foreign Connections By Defining Nativism As A Set Of Attitudes Or A State Of Mind, He Sets The Course For His Book As Tracing Trace An Emotionally Charged Impulse Rather Than An Actual Social Process Or Condition As He Argues That The Ideological Content Of Nativism Remained Consistent, He Uses Emotional Intensity As A Measure To Trace In Detail Public Opinion From The Relative Calm Following The Civil War To The Johnson Reed Act Of 1924 That Severely Limited European Immigration Strangers In The Land Is, Then, A History Of Public Opinion, Whose Purpose Is To Show How Nativism Evolved In Society And In Action Higham Seeks To Explain What Could Inflame Xenophobia And Who Resisted It He Saw His Work As Part Of A Renewed Interest In The Study Of Nationalism Following The National Upheavals In The Wake Of The McCarthy Hearings Surely Higham S Mentor At The University Of Wisconsin, Intellectual Historian Merle Curti, Influenced Higham S Approach In Seeking To Examine The Power Of Nationalism As An Idea Also Influential Was The Intellectual Climate Of The 1950s With Its Of Distrust Of Ideology And Distain Of Prejudice Higham Admits Being Repelled By The Nationalist Delusions Of The Cold War, Again Helping To Explain Why His Study Concentrates On Seeking Some Explanation For The Irrational And Violent Outbreaks The Book Thus Focuses On Points Of Conflict, Antagonisms That Belong Within Ideologies Of Passionate National Consciousness For Example, Higham S Explains The 100 Percent American Movement In Terms Of Progressive Ideals And The Desire Of Americans To Shape Immigrants Into A Particular Ideal Of Americanness Through Education And Assimilation This Intellectual Construct Eventually Gave Way To The Racial Thinking To Which Higham Assigns Much Influence In The Efforts To Restrict Immigration Ideology Is Also Central To His Chapter On The History Of The Idea Of Racism In Which He Argues That Anglo Saxon Nationalism, Literary Naturalism And A Nascent Understanding Of Genetics Combined To Bring Forth Arguments For Immigration Restriction To Preserve The Racial Purity Of The American People Thus, Key For Higham S Argument Is The Power Of Ideas In Shaping Individual Behavior And Thereby Shaping History This Text Is An Absolute Must Read For Anyone Seeking To Understand American Nativism And The Darker Side Of Nationalism.

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10 thoughts on “Strangers in the Land: Patterns of American Nativism, 1860-1925

  1. David Bates says:

    By 1910 the census found that one in three Americans was foreign born John Higham s Strangers in the Land, first published in 1955, traces the resulting backlash of nativism in America during the last decades of the nineteenth century and the first decades of the twentieth, culminating in the passage of the Immigration Restriction Act in 1921 which closed America s doors to European immigrants for the first time in its history Higham conceptualizes nativism as an ideology adopted, resisted or By 1910 the census found that one in three Americans was foreign born John Higham s Strangers in the Land, first published in 1955, traces the resulting backlash of nativism in America during the last decades of the nineteenth century and the first decades of the twentieth, culminating in the passage of the Immigration Restriction Act in 1921 which closed America s doors to European immigrants for the first time in its history Higham conceptualizes nativism as an ideology adopted, resisted or spread by different groups He contends that the Civil War completed the ruin of organized nativism by absorbing xenophobes and immigrants in a common cause Now the foreigner had a new prestige he was a comerade in arms The clash that alienated sections reconciled their component nationalities Intolerance intensified in the 1870s and 1880s however as the growing political clout of the Irish in eastern cities was met by an up swell of anti Catholicism A separate strain of intolerance based on ethnicity emanated from labor unions, whose organizing was undercut by temporary immigrant workers, leading to rhetoric from Congressional allies that Italian and Hungarian workers were so many cattle, large numbers of degraded, ignorant, brutalforeign serfs brought in by monopolists to displace citizens Fears of political radicalism amid the great labor disturbances of the 1880s and 1890s gave an eventhreatening aspect to newcomers from southern and eastern Europe Unrest created increased political anxiety among natives, economic competition stiffened during the frequent economic downturns, and it became increasingly clear that great numbers of immigrants were coming to stay permanently Higham contends that the resulting social anxiety underwrote a strengthening wave of nativist nationalism as a unifying response to worrying social divisions In the first decade of the twentieth century Southern congressmen shifted from favoring open immigration to restrictions, a move prompted by sectional reconciliation following the Spanish American War The South was rejoining the Union and celebrating its own role as defender of race purity for the nation at large Scientific racism tied to imperialism, and Southern exultation of Anglo Saxon purity, combined with anti Catholic and anti Radical elements to set the stage for withering hostility and harassment The 1920s saw both the passage of the Restriction Act and the flowering of the Ku Klux Klan in northern cities

  2. Frank Stein says:

    An old fashioned history book that tries to tell a story about the different twists and turns in the anti immigrant movement in Progressive America.Higham finds three main threads that wind all through the period s anti immigrant thought namely, the anti radical, the anti Catholic, and the racist Throughout the book, all three gain ascendancy and then retreat a bewildering number of times For instance, the anti radical movement explodes temporarily after the American born but foreign soundin An old fashioned history book that tries to tell a story about the different twists and turns in the anti immigrant movement in Progressive America.Higham finds three main threads that wind all through the period s anti immigrant thought namely, the anti radical, the anti Catholic, and the racist Throughout the book, all three gain ascendancy and then retreat a bewildering number of times For instance, the anti radical movement explodes temporarily after the American born but foreign sounding anarchist Leon Czolgalz assassinated President McKinley in 1901, leading to the 1903 Immigration Act, the first to restrict immigration by political belief specifically, anybody who advocated the violent overthrow of the government But by 1910 this concern gave way to a new anti Catholic hysteria, inspired by politicians like the Georgian ex Populist Tom Watson, whose Watson s magazine warned that popish armies were literally waiting in boats to invade American shores Eventually upper class theorists like Madison Grant combined with lower class movements like the KKK to bring racist thought to the fore, and this kind of thinking helped Congress, almost unanimously, pass the 1924 Immigration Act, barring immigrants according to their national origin Higham s dissection of who supported and who opposed immigration restriction is probably the most interesting part of the book He shows that Southern and Western states were almost universally FOR immigration in the 1890s they almost unanimously opposed the 1898 bill restricting immigrants to only those who could pass a literacy test States like South Carolina and Wisconsin even set up state funded immigrant bureaus to attract foreigners to their lands It was the still patrician dominated East that was concerned by foreign hordes, but by the 1920s they had reversed positions, and the few Congressional opponents of restriction were located around Eastern cities like New York and Boston, while the South and West both of which, paradoxically, had almost no European immigrants were the staunchest advocates of restriction.Higham also shows that although labor and business often played out their typical roles of opposing and supporting immigration, respectively, this too changed over time The National Board of Trade was so concerned about radical foreigners in 1903 that it supported a strict literacy test, but just one year later they switched positions in the face of tightening labor markets and rising wages The AFL, led by the Jewish, English born Samuel Gompers, also vacillated on immigration, since so many of its members came from overseas Gompers, surprisingly, argued forrestriction, but a 1891 convention of the union stated that restrictions were tight enough as they were By 1893, however, in face of an economic panic, they too switched as wages were driven downward.Although the book suffers from the complete lack of acknowledgement of the problems of Asian immigration the first general immigration bill and the first Chinese Exclusion Act both passed in 1882, Higham says there was no connection, but that would be surprising and from some disorganization, but this is a solid piece of research that shows how extreme much of the anti immigration rhetoric was at the time, and how it ultimately bore fruit in concrete legislation

  3. Lauren Hiebner says:

    This is a timely reading in light of today s anti immigrant attitudes Higham cites racism, fear of Catholics, and fear of radicals as the underlying reasons for Nativism from 1860 1925 He points out that in times of crisis nativists emerged and dominated the political agenda but when the economy was stronger the attitudes subsided However, racism never went away, it was always there In later years politicians in the post WWII and post 9 11 eras will use it for their own political agenda T This is a timely reading in light of today s anti immigrant attitudes Higham cites racism, fear of Catholics, and fear of radicals as the underlying reasons for Nativism from 1860 1925 He points out that in times of crisis nativists emerged and dominated the political agenda but when the economy was stronger the attitudes subsided However, racism never went away, it was always there In later years politicians in the post WWII and post 9 11 eras will use it for their own political agenda Today it is being used to further an America First, anti immigrant agenda by a decisive, polarizing president to promote his conservative, pro wealthy agenda

  4. Tarah says:

    If you re at all interested in issues of immigration, race, nationalism, and the rise of nativism in America and, come on, who ISN T , then this is the standard bearer to read It focuses in on reconstruction through turn of the century America, but the history as Higham reveals it isthan relevant to our current national conversations What does it mean to be white in America What does it mean to be American What s the role of immigration immigrants in the definition of America n, etc If you re at all interested in issues of immigration, race, nationalism, and the rise of nativism in America and, come on, who ISN T , then this is the standard bearer to read It focuses in on reconstruction through turn of the century America, but the history as Higham reveals it isthan relevant to our current national conversations What does it mean to be white in America What does it mean to be American What s the role of immigration immigrants in the definition of America n, etc The book is dated, certainly, but if you want to do any serious work or learning in this area, it s a must read

  5. John says:

    It s odd, I am very interested in this book and I get a lot out of it when I am just flipping through it, or using bits and pieces of it for paper writing material It s a good source Higham was an excellent historian, and this is a very important and sometimes fascinating topic But for some reason I can t just sit down and read this thing through to the end I have now read a few chapters from the middle, and a few from the start, but it just isn t holding my attention through to the end Par It s odd, I am very interested in this book and I get a lot out of it when I am just flipping through it, or using bits and pieces of it for paper writing material It s a good source Higham was an excellent historian, and this is a very important and sometimes fascinating topic But for some reason I can t just sit down and read this thing through to the end I have now read a few chapters from the middle, and a few from the start, but it just isn t holding my attention through to the end Partly I think this is because, while reading it, I ve been thinking that I want to learnabout the Know Nothing party and ITS nativism, which comes before the date of 1860 that Higham has decided to start with I also would like to knowabout racial nativism, such as west coast nativist movements against Asians, and this is another area that Higham chooses to mostly ignore He has a reason, and that s fine This book isabout anti Catholic and they are all Socialist agitators nativism I just find that a little less interesting than some of the stuff Higham left out But really, very important book to have around An element of American history that every American should learn something about

  6. Jessica says:

    This book is an extremely comprehensive overview of the development of nativist impulses and ideologies in the United States between the Civil War and the Great Depression What Higham does is think about the building of racism, nativism, and nationalism as layers of a larger argument about America s relationship to its foreign elements, shifting with other historical moments such as wartime, economic impoverishment and prosperity, impulses of progressivism and conservatism, and new forms of t This book is an extremely comprehensive overview of the development of nativist impulses and ideologies in the United States between the Civil War and the Great Depression What Higham does is think about the building of racism, nativism, and nationalism as layers of a larger argument about America s relationship to its foreign elements, shifting with other historical moments such as wartime, economic impoverishment and prosperity, impulses of progressivism and conservatism, and new forms of technological innovation and cultural modernity He illustrates nativism as a habit of mind that mirrors national anxieties, but also something that manifests in concrete policy the 1790s resulted the Alien Acts, the 1850s resulted in the breakdown of the party system from 1886 1896 it imagined social s as shaped by unrestricted immigration, and in WWI it produced broader impulses toward conformity and defensiveness against foreign threat In desperate efforts to rebuilt national unity, men rallied against the symbols of foreignness that were appropriate to their predicament xiii As a result of Higham s perspective, this story is told from the perspective of the most defensive the white men shaping policy, popular culture, and social s in the years concerned What makes this especially interesting is how anxieties around African Americans only partially shape the anxieties surrounding immigration larger questions of enfranchisement and employment emerge, yes, but the bigger question is that of whose culture dominates and whose undue influence is most feared

  7. Donald Grace says:

    If you want to understand the politics US immigration policy , this the book to read I think it s a great book.

  8. Hotavio says:

    Strangers in the Land was one of the first books to deal with the concept of nativism, which was the defensive mechanisms employed by white Americans in the face of surges in immigration Higham studies trends in immigration from the 1870s to the mid 20s and measures to either curb this immigration or promote it Of particular concern to Higham are Political developments, led by racialist scientific thinking, to welcome preferred people s into the country While the timeframe that the author f Strangers in the Land was one of the first books to deal with the concept of nativism, which was the defensive mechanisms employed by white Americans in the face of surges in immigration Higham studies trends in immigration from the 1870s to the mid 20s and measures to either curb this immigration or promote it Of particular concern to Higham are Political developments, led by racialist scientific thinking, to welcome preferred people s into the country While the timeframe that the author focuses on is satisfactory for establishing patterns, it leaves the reader stranded when the quota establishing Johnson Reed Act throws a wrench in the influx of Eastern and Southern European immigrants This is perplexing because the book was written in the 50s allowing for the author to examine the outcome of this drastic regulation Still, Higham addresses an important subject, which warrants attention The roots of nativism can still be felt as contemporary natives bemoan the throngs of spanish speaking people coming into the country today

  9. Cat says:

    This is a real first class history book and I don t hand out that accolade lightly Even though it was written half a century ago, it s hard to argue with any point in the entire text The prose is measured and careful, but ultimately it is easy to see the bias against the Nativist movement on the part of the author Is that a problem Not for me, though I imagine the crazies in the contemporary anti immigration group would froth at their collective mouths if they weren t a bunch of illiterate This is a real first class history book and I don t hand out that accolade lightly Even though it was written half a century ago, it s hard to argue with any point in the entire text The prose is measured and careful, but ultimately it is easy to see the bias against the Nativist movement on the part of the author Is that a problem Not for me, though I imagine the crazies in the contemporary anti immigration group would froth at their collective mouths if they weren t a bunch of illiterate bumpkins.I jest, I jest it is important to distinguish the advent of restrictive immigration policies which is the END of this book in comparing then vs now The bottom line is that when the legislation passed restricting immigration, the nativists effectively won and pro immigration forces lost and so really this kind of anti immigration sentiment is the norm, rather then exception.You need to read this if you care about the debate over immigration policy in the United States

  10. Brandy says:

    Read this for a grad class.It actually came as a surprise to me when I realized I d finished this one I hate reading books in chunks over a span of weeks Throws me off Anyway Higham is a brilliant historian, which I suppose should be obvious seeing how we re still using his work in schools This is a key work for anybody interested in the trends in nativism in America, which really should be everybody It s kind of a major theme in American history I will definitely be keeping my copy clos Read this for a grad class.It actually came as a surprise to me when I realized I d finished this one I hate reading books in chunks over a span of weeks Throws me off Anyway Higham is a brilliant historian, which I suppose should be obvious seeing how we re still using his work in schools This is a key work for anybody interested in the trends in nativism in America, which really should be everybody It s kind of a major theme in American history I will definitely be keeping my copy close for my future studies I doubt I would use the entire book in a course unless it was an upper level undergrad or a grad course But there is definitely the potential here to have a chapter or two stand alone and still teach a lot I m rambly tonightshouldn t write book reviews afterthan a glass or two of wine