Nativists & the Klan

Sam and Henry

Nativism in a Nutshell

Nativism is a political belief which is basically opposition to immigration. These nativists were mostly Native Americans that sought to stop new immigrants from entering the country and changing the culture. In the Nineteenth Century, Nativism were white, native-born, Protestant hostility towards immigrants. Most immigrants before Civil War were Roman Catholic, people hated Catholics in general.

Emergency Quota Act

This act passed on May 19, 1921 restricted immigration into the country. The act also imposed a quota on the number of new immigrants that could enter each year. Allowable quotas for each country was about 3% of the total number of foreign born people. That would equal out to 357,802 new immigrants per year. Of these new immigrants, just over half were from Northern and Western Europe. The Emergency Quota Act had been proposed several times before but in 1921 was when it finally got passed. The reason for passing it in 1921 was that the immigrants had caused a negative wage effects on natives.


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Alfred E. Smith's Election

The Presidential election of 1928 was between Herbert Hoover and Alfred Smith. Hoover was the Republican candidate and the clear victor while Smith was the Democratic candidate that was lacking votes from the Southern community. Hoover was a rural protestant and Smith was a New Yorker who was raised a Catholic. Smith desired to oppose the prohibition and the Klu Klux Klan. Hoover distinguished himself as a statesman and a humanitarian. This showed the division in politics on the highest scale between the white protestant nativist. Smith represented the North and the Catholic which wanted the KKK to be gone and more open in their opinions about different ethnicities.


New KKK philosophy in 20's and 30's

Colonel William Joseph Simmons brought back the Klan as an “fraternity of heros” after being inspired by a film called Birth of a Nation. He tried to sell the membership of the klan which was fading from existence. The rebirth of the klan brought back the terror to all “inferior races”. This did not only include blacks, but also catholics, jews, and foreigners. They took hold of a society growing weary of urbanization and immigration and sponsored that they were bringing back the “clean living” for all whites. This brought members in the millions to the klan which added more racial tension than the country had ever had. Klan members spread to places all over the country to control the political balance in the south. With a system called the “decade” the klan put members in political positions not only in the south, but in northern and western states as well.


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National Origins Act

An immigration law that restricted immigration from Southern or Eastern Europe and basically excluded it from Asian of other non-white foreign countries. It used the population of the certain nationality group to determine how many immigrants could be let into the country at a particular time. The immigrants that the Supreme Court didn’t allow to gain citizenships who were mostly Asians, were stopped from entering the country. These changes brought the annual immigration average down by almost 200,000 a year. Abolished in the 1960’s.


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