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Nativism in the United States

As European immigrants sailed into New York Harbor in the 1800s, they were filled with excitement about their potential for a new beginning in the United States. Emma Lazarus's (1883) welcoming words, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” on the Statue of Liberty offered no warning of how nativists would influence the experiences and opportunities of immigrants. Nativism is a sociopolitical policy that privileges the rights and concerns of the citizens of a nation over those of new immigrants. In Strangers in the Land, the seminal book on American nativism, John Hingham argues that from 1860 to 1925 nativists were characterized by their contempt for Catholics, fear of foreign radicals, and belief in the superiority of Anglo-Saxons. This ...

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