Politicians have a history of using fear to gain votes and win elections. Here, Jonathan Hennika (his site here), follows on from his first article on Scared America (here) and considers recent events in the US in the context of 19th century America. He explains how Chinese immigration to America, particularly to California, led to hostility and the passing of the Chinese Exclusion Act, which would significantly reduce Chinese immigration.

A sketch on the ship  Alaska , bound for San Francisco, with many Chinese people aboard. Sketch from  Harper’s Weekly  in 1876. Available  here .

A sketch on the ship Alaska, bound for San Francisco, with many Chinese people aboard. Sketch from Harper’s Weekly in 1876. Available here.

Something unexpected happened as an outcome of the Watergate Scandal: Americans realized their leaders were merely human. When transcripts from the Oval Office tape recording system utilized by Nixon became available, the populace was shocked to hear their President say to his Chief of Staff: “You know, it's a funny thing. Every one of the bastards that are out for legalizing marijuana is Jewish. Whatthe Christ isthe matter with the Jews, Bob? What is the matter with them? I suppose it is because most of them are psychiatrists.”[i]

President Donald Trump has further demystified and possibly demoralized the Office of the President. In an Oval Office meeting with Congressional leaders, discussing protecting immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, and some African nations, the President asked, "Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?"[ii]

Immediately upon taking office in January 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order[1]banning immigration from certain Middle East countries. The purpose of the Order was laid out in the first paragraph:

The visa-issuance process plays a crucial role in detecting individuals with terrorist ties and stopping them from entering the United States.  Perhaps in no instance was that more apparent than the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, when State Department policy prevented consular officers from adequately scrutinizing the visa applications of several of the 19 foreign nationals who went on to murder nearly 3,000 Americans.  And while the visa-issuance process was reviewed and amended after the September 11 attacks to better detect would-be terrorists from receiving visas, these measures did not stop attacks by foreign nationals who were admittedto the United States.[iii]

 

According to a Fact Sheet issued by the State Department, “For the next 90 days, nearly all travelers, except U.S. citizens, traveling on passports from Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen will be temporarily suspended from entry to the United States.”[iv]

Despite many legal challenges and additional Executive Orders issued by President Trump, some form of this travel ban remains in effect. Numerous raids by the aptly acronymic ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) have stormed businesses and stalked illegal immigrants at non-immigration related court hearings. No one is safe from deportation, including military veterans. 

These actions are just part and parcel of the American experience. Nor is this the first timethat our leaders enacted laws barring the immigrant population from becoming part of the American Narrative.  

 

RISE OF THE ‘YELLOW PERIL’

`They are coming to take our jobs,’ is an oft-repeated refrain when speaking of any significant numbers of want-to-be immigrants. From the Irish of the 1850s to the Latinos of the 1980s, and somewhere in between, there is the Chinese.  The 47thUnited States Congress has the ignominious distinction of being the first to codify discrimination based upon national origin.  The signature piece of legislation: The Immigration Act of 1882, historically referred to as the Chinese Exclusion Act.

In similar fashion to the Know Nothing Party, decades later in California,there was a political party with nativist roots. Founded in 1877, the California Workingman’s Party took control of the state legislature in 1878. In their session in Sacramento, they rewrote the State’s Constitution, disenfranchising the Chinese. In an address that same year, Denis Kearney, founder of the CWP, declared, the Chinese “are imported by companies, controlled as serfs, worked like slaves, and at last go back to China with all their earnings. They are in every place; theyseem to have no sex. Boys work, girls work; it is all aliketo them.” Kearney used inflammatory rhetoric, stating that “we shall arm” and “we are men, and propose to live like men in this free land, without the contamination of slave labor, or die like men, if need be, in asserting the rights of our race, our country, and our families.[v]

The Chinese first began emigrating to the western coast of the American continent after the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill in 1849. In the decade of the 1850s, over 40,000 Chinese immigrants entered the United States. In the next decade,that number increased to close to 65,000.[vi]A majority of that population settled in California. 

 

The Chinese Exclusion Act

When discussing the motivation of any group of immigrants, there are two factors: pull and push. Pull factors are the concepts, ideas,ormonetary reward for moving to a new nation. In this example, the California Gold Rush was the first pull factor for the Chinese. An additional pull factor was the plentiful jobs working on the construction of the first transcontinental railroad. By the early 1860s, in response to the rise of the Chinese immigrants, the State of California enacted legislation heavily taxing these cheap "coolie" laborers, the "Anti-Coolie” tax. 

 Push factors, on the other hand, are intolerable conditions in the native homeland of the immigrant group. The potato famine of the 1840s drove many Irish and Germans away from their ancestral homes. In the 1850s China was engulfed in the Taipei Rebellion, a quasi-religious Civil War that raged from 1850 until 1864. There are estimates that 20 to 30 million Chinese lost their lives during the Rebellion, not counting those that died due to disease and famine in the aftermath. The Taipei Rebellion served as a significant push factor in the Chinese immigration to the United States. 

Political pressure mounted on Congress to act on the immigration issue. California continued to place prohibitions on Chinese immigration, but it was not enough, a national solution was required.  On August 3, 1882, President Chester Arthur signed the Immigration Act into law. In bowing to the California pressure groups and the national labor movement, the Chinese Exclusion Act barred any additional skilled or unskilled labor from entering the country. There were exceptions for professional Chinese immigrants such as doctors and lawyers though. The Immigration Act of 1882 was modified in 1888 by the Scott Act, which stated any Chinese in the United States who returned toChina were no longer permitted re-entry intothe United States. Set to expire in 1892, Congress enacted the Geary Act, re-authorizing the Immigration Act of 1882, for ten years. In 1902 the Geary Act was renewed but did not set an expiration date. 

 

Judicial Discretion: Chae Chan Ping v United States, 130 US 581 (1889)

The judicial branch must make any test of law enacted by the legislative branch, in accordance withthe wishes of the Founders when they created the conceptual idea of a separation of powers. In a 5-3 decision, the Supreme Court declared the Chinese Exclusion Act constitutional.  The Plaintiffin the case was Chae Chan Ping, who challenged the validity of the Chinese Exclusion Act on the ground it violated the Treaty of Wangxia. Signed in 1844, the Treaty of Wangxia was the American equivalent of the Anglo-Chinese Treaty of Nanjing, which ended the First Opium War in China. The relevant section of the treaty guaranteed unlimited entry of Chinese to America. Writing for the majority, Justice Horace Grey stated, “The power of the government to exclude foreigners from the country whenever, in its judgment, the public interests require such exclusion, has been asserted in repeated instances, and never denied by the executive or legislative departments.” The justice questioned the legal standing of the Plaintiff. Concluding that “If there be any just ground of complaint on the part of China, it must be madeto the political department of our government, which is alone competent to act upon the subject.” [vii]

An analogy: The majority of the Supreme Court told Mr. Chae, “Sorry, sir, that’s not my department, let me see if I can find someone for you.” The Legislative Branch passed a law based upon the "threat" represented by the incoming Chinese. The Executive Branch, in all its 19thCentury feckless glory, signed the Bill into Law. The Judicial Branch, eight white men (Stephen J. Field, Joseph P. Bradley, John Harlan, Horace Gray, Samuel Blatchford, Melvin Fuller, David Brewer, Henry Brown, andLucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar II), ratified the law.  The Chinese Exclusion Act finally ended in 1943, when the United States and China became wartime allies.

 

What do you think of the article? Let us know below.

You can read more of Jonathan’s work at Portable Historianwww.portablehistorian.com.


[1]An Executive Order is a rule or order issued by the President to the Executive Branch, bypassing the legislative branch, and having the full force and effect of law. 


[i]https://www.thoughtco.com/richard-nixon-quotes-2733879

[ii]Josh Dawsey.  “Trump Derides Protections for Immigrants From ‘Shithole’ Countries.” The Washington Post(January 2018) https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-attacks-protections-for-immigrants-from-shithole-countries-in-oval-office-meeting/2018/01/11/bfc0725c-f711-11e7-91af-31ac729add94_story.html?utm_term=.0abfecb37af0

[iii]President Trump. “Executive Order: Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” (2017) https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/27/donald-trump-executive-order-immigration-full-text

[iv]Homeland Security. “Fact Sheet: Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry to the United States.” (January 29, 2017) https://www.dhs.gov/news/2017/01/29/protecting-nation-foreign-terrorist-entry-united-states

[v]Dennis Kearney, President, and H. L. Knight, Secretary, “Appeal from California. The

Chinese Invasion. Workingmen’s Address,” Indianapolis Times, (28 February 1878).

[vi]Immigration to the United States, “History of Immigration, 1783-1891,” http://www.immigrationtounitedstates.org/549-history-of-immigration-1783-1891.html

[vii]CHAE CHAN PING v. the UNITED STATES 130 U.S. 581(9 S.Ct. 623, 32 L.Ed. 1068)https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/130/581

Politicians have a history of using fear to gain votes and win elections. Here, Jonathan Hennika (his site here), considers recent events in the US in the context of 19th century America. He explains how immigrants from Ireland and Germany led to fear and the rise of the American Party – or Know Nothing Movement.

An image representing the American Know Nothing Movement. 1850s.

An image representing the American Know Nothing Movement. 1850s.

In 1958 for three-bits you were able to purchase "Masters of Deceit" by J. Edgar Hoover, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  The book is currently available at various booksellers and online. In explaining Communist Discipline, he wrote, "Modern-day communism, in all its many ramifications, simply cannot be understood without a knowledge of Communist Discipline: how it is engendered, how it operates, how it tears out man's soul and makes him a tool of the Party.”[i]After defeating the Axis powers in the catastrophic war, a new/old threat emerged, Red Communism. The era of bomb shelters and duck and cover, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, McCarthy and Nixon, and Alger Hiss and the Pumpkin Papers. Korea ended in a stalemate, and something was brewing with the French in Indo-China. Americans were afraid.

According to J. Edgar Hoover, this was the threat America faced, "To make the United States a communist nation is the ambition of every Party member, regardless of position or rank. He constantly works to make this dream a reality, to steal your rights, liberties, and property. Even though he lives in the United States, he is a supporter of a foreign power, espousing an alien line of thought. He is a conspirator against his country."[ii]

Many questions surround the legitimacy of the 2016 elections and the current political climate in America. Regardless, we are still a scared nation, whether it be from a terrorist attack, a mass shooting, or just everyday life in poverty-stricken America. When we vote, that fear is present. We elect leaders whom we believe will take care of us. In the television show The West Wing, the character of Josh Lyman explains to an aide how the electorate makes their choice at the polls: “When voters want a national daddy, someone to be tough and strong and defend the country, they vote Republican. When they want a mommy, someone to give them jobs, health care the policy equivalent of matzah ball soup, they vote Democratic.”[iii] Researchers at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst studied the impact of fear and anger in political information processing.[iv] They found “feelings of anger may promote voting for candidates who are well recognized, regardless of their beliefs on issues. However, fear may encourage individuals to vote for candidates whose positions on specific issues are congruent with their own, thus leading to more thoughtful, meaningful, and self-relevant choices.”[v]

At the height of the 2016 election cycle, Time magazine’s political correspondent, Molly Ball, published an article in The Atlantic. The title of her article: “Donald Trump and the Politics of Fear.”[vi] In it, she wrote: Fear and anger are often cited in tandem as the sources of Trump's particular political appeal, so frequently paired that they become a refrain: fear-and-anger, anger-and-fear. But fear is not the same as anger; it is a unique political force. Its ebbs and flows through American political history have pulled on elections, reordering and destabilizing the electoral landscape.”[vii]

It is with that premise in mind that I plan to write on the use of fear in politics, in particular, the “fear of the other.” The other being whomever the politicians need to target to arouse fear and anger. I will work through this examination in chronological order; examining various political campaigns, parties, and movements for their use of fear and treatment of the other. I will demonstrate how the use of fear impacts the electorate.

 

The First Immigration Crisis: The Irish and Emergence of the Know-Nothing Party

Most Americans recognize the words of the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." Patriarchal language aside, this was a fundamental tenet of the Founding Fathers. In contrast, thirteen years later, these same founders indicated that an African-American was 3/5th a person, for purposes of the decennial census.

This American Narrative, a nation founded on the principles of freedom and equality, was accepted as truth. The narrative makes false assumptions, using an English and Protestant-centric view. The everyday use of the English language as an amalgamating societal force aided the growth of the narrative. Enacting its first Naturalization Act in 1790, the United States accepted any white person into its citizenry. Estimates are that between 1790 and 1805 immigration to the United States averaged 6,000 new citizens a year. The Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812 tampered down new influxes of Americans. The first rise in immigration began in 1815, leading the Congress to enact the Steerage Act, in 1819, requiring all ships to keep detailed records of passengers and offer better transportation conditions.[viii]

Immigration to America peaked in 1854 at 428,000, with Irish and Germans escaping adverse agricultural conditions. [ix] For these immigrants, their first views of America were the port cities they disembarked from. The first test of the American Narrative began in that time and place. "In the communities where the new Irish Catholic immigrants settled, many wondered whether their presence would affect American cultural identity. Natives also expressed fears and doubts regarding the allegiance of this group to American democratic values and institutions. Finally, they feared that these newcomers were being manipulated by corrupt city politicians, who were more concerned about votes than inculcating the principles of democracy in the new immigrants." [x]

 

The Order of United Americans/Know-Nothing Party

Thomas R. Whitney, son of a New York silversmith, is a little-known name to most Americans. A politician and a journalist, Whitney was a moving force in the Order of United Americans (OUA), a nativist fraternity. Founded in 1846, the OUA, was an amalgam of former Whigs, Free-soilers, and nativists who opposed slavery and were concerned with the growing power of the foreign-born. Initially, a secret society (members were instructed to answer that they knew nothing about the organization if questioned), by the early 1850s knowledge of them was common. Whitney served as editor starting in 1851 of the Republic, “a monthly magazine of American Literature, Politics, and Art that the rapidly expanding OUA initiated, sponsored, and distributed. Whitney's standing in the OUA was confirmed in 1853 when he began a second term as grand sachem. In 1856 Whitney crowned his writing career with the publication of a nearly four-hundred-page Know-Nothing bible, A Defence of the American Policy." [xi]

Economic development, a homogeneous national culture, active government, and opposition to the burgeoning women's rights movement was at the heart of OUA beliefs. The nuclear family was essential and required female and filial subordination. An active government was committed to economic and cultural development. It did not offer legislation attacking societal inequality. Whitney opposed maximum hours laws, public aid to the elderly, as well as a homestead bill that proposed to grant federal lands to those without. "Government’s proper task, Whitney argued, was to shore up the foundations of existing society, serve its needs, and advance its general interests."[xii]

To Whitney and the rest of the OUA, foreign-born nationals were not reliable conservatives and would not support the American Narrative. The OUA was threatened by the new peasants, craft workers, and unskilled laborers emigrating to the United States. They did not have the proper political experience. They had the wrong acculturation. The threat to the United States came in two forms: Roman Catholics and Radicals.

 

IRISH NEED NOT APPLY

According to the Library of Congress, nearing one-third of those immigrating to the United States between 1830 and 1860 were Irish Catholics.[xiii]

An Anti-Catholic fervor swept the nation. One conspiracy theory postulated the Catholic Church was behind the influx of Irish. The Irish also represented a greater fear for the OUA; they did not own property, so they were corruptible, irresponsible, and ignorant. The OUA used propaganda that the Irish were uneducated, politically unaware and easy to manipulate to attract men (i.e.voters) to the OUA. Voters were scared that the corruptible immigrants would prevent "good men" from governing. [xiv]

There was also a fear of radicalism, as Europe was undergoing its transformation in the 1840s. A riot between striking Irish dock workers and strikebreakers exemplified this radicalism. The political upheaval of 1848 added to the fear of newly arrived citizens. Some of the radical ideas were coming out of Germany; thus German emigres were marked as targets. In speaking of these working-class immigrants, Whitney said they were "carriers of a deadly plague--Red Republicanism." [xv]

The political wing of the OUA, the American Party, had strong showings in the elections of 1852 and 1854. The American Party drew most of its support from New York, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. The 1855 Congressional session started with 43 members of the American Party. Their candidate for President in 1856 won 21% of the vote.[xvi]

The leaders of the American Party were men who had never voted and defectors of the Whig Party. They promised to take power away from the political machines, to "drain the swamp," as it were. They proposed a direct primary voting system and required candidates for office to be "fresh from the people-not professional, no politicians." As a result, most, American Party candidates were inexperienced and incompetent.[xvii]

America, then as in now, was a nation in crises. The people, the voters, were scared. There were more Irish, Germans, and other Europeans coming to America. The revolts in Europe in 1848 added to the influx. The uneducated immigrants added to the population of the emerging cities. Soon, ghettos would appear. As the towns grew so did their political machines. These events added up to a threat against the traditional American narrative cherished by Thomas Whitney and others like him. They seized upon the inherent fear of the other in trying to preserve the American Narrative, never knowing they were altering it by their use of fear.

To be continued.

 

What do you think of the article? Let us know below.

You can read more of Jonathan’s work at Portable Historianwww.portablehistorian.com.

 

[i] J. Edgar Hoover, Masters of Deceit, (NY, 1958), 163

[ii] Ibid., 4

[iii]  Elie Attie, “The Mommy Problem,” The West Wing, (2005) https://www.springfieldspringfield.co.uk/view_episode_scripts.php?tv-show=the-west-wing&episode=s07e02

[iv] Michael T. Parker and Linda M. Isbell, “How I Vote Depends on How I Feel: The Differential Impact of Anger and Fear on Political Information Processing,” Psychological Science, 21 (April 2010), 548.

[v] Ibid., 549

[vi] Molly Ball, “Donald Trump and the Politics of Fear,” The Atlantic, September 2, 2016, 1.

[vii] Ibid.

[viii] The Statute of Liberty- Elis Island, "Immigration Timeline," https://www.libertyellisfoundation.org/immigration-timeline#1790

[ix] Raymond L. Cohn, "Nativism and the End of the Mass Migration of the 1840s and 1850s," The Journal of Economic History, 60 (June 01), 361.

[x] Jose E. Vega, "Cultural Pluralism and American Identity: A Response to Foner's Freedom and Hakim's Heroes," OAH Magazine of History, 20 (July 2006), 19.

[xi] Bruce Levine, "Conservatism, Nativism, and Slavery: Thomas R. Whitney and the Origins of the Know-Nothing Party," The Journal of American History, (Sept 2001), 461-463.

[xii] Ibid. 464-466

[xiii] https://www.loc.gov/teachers/classroommaterials/presentationsandactivities/presentations/immigration/irish2.html

[xiv] Levine, 468

[xv] Ibid., 469

[xvi] Encyclopedia Britannica, "Know-Nothing Party," https://www.britannica.com/topic/Know-Nothing-party; Michael F. Hot, "The Politics of Impatience: The Origins of Know-Nothingism," The Journal of American History, 60 (September 1973) 311.

[xvii] Ibid., 311, 318,319

The varsity sports teams at the University of Notre Dame are called ‘The Fighting Irish’. Thousands of Irish pubs have sprung up across the world; the Irish are notorious for their drinking. Where did these stereotypes come from? Have the Irish always been thought of in this way?

Becky Clark considers these questions and explains what happened when many Irish people immigrated to England in the nineteenth century.

An American anti-Irish cartoon,  The Usual Irish Way of Doing Things , by Thomas Nast from  Harper's Weekly  in 1871.

An American anti-Irish cartoon, The Usual Irish Way of Doing Things, by Thomas Nast from Harper's Weekly in 1871.

Today, the Irish are known for being friendly, fun, and the best drinking companions; in reality, the Irish stereotype has fluctuated throughout history.

The truth is, most people know very little about the history of Ireland. Most of us recognize St Patrick’s Day; some of us might know that there was a potato famine, and others probably have snippets of information to pull out about the IRA. What most of us don’t realize is that Britain was the source of a great deal of anti-Irish sentiment in the nineteenth century. It’s something that maybe isn’t taught about as much as it should be, but equally something that we should really be aware of.

I didn’t really come across much Irish history until my fourth year of university, when I started to learn more about the great famine of Ireland in the mid-nineteenth century. I discovered that poverty was rife in Ireland in the nineteenth century; only a quarter of the population were literate, and life expectancy was a mere 40 years of age. A majority of the Irish peasants subsisted on a diet of mainly potatoes. When the leaves suddenly turned black and the crops began to die, peasants struggled to find an alternative to replace it. Calls for help to the British government only met a response of a ‘laissez-faire’ approach. The result was that an estimated one million people died from starvation. Hundreds of thousands more emigrated in the hope of a better life. 200,000 Irish immigrants a year between 1849 and 1852 travelled across the sea, causing cities like Manchester, Glasgow and London to be cast as ‘Little Irelands’.

However, their reception upon arrival was hostile and unwelcoming. Workplaces began to advertise jobs in their windows with the words: ‘Irish need not apply’. Newspapers began to publish stereotype images of ‘Paddy’, the Irish Frankenstein:  unhygienic, violent, ungrateful and inherently criminal. Where did this hostility come from? The ‘paddy’ of the early nineteenth century had been presented as somewhat of a lovable rogue. Several factors could be induced for causing this hostility – anti-Catholicism, the perceived contagious degrading nature of the Irish, and the accusation that they were taking English jobs – but these all aligned under one overarching aspect: the consequence of timing. These masses of Irish immigrants arrived into a country besieged by economic, religious and social problems, and one that was looking for a reason on which to pin these problems. The Irish immigrants provided a ready-made scapegoat.

 

‘They’re taking our jobs’

This one might be familiar to you. It’s one that comes out in any time of economic crisis, when financial stability is under threat. You might be interested to know that this one goes back centuries; working class English people lamented the arrival of the Irish for fear that they were a threat to the security of their own jobs and income. Due to the extent of their poverty, these Irish immigrants were often willing to work any kind of job; longer hours, for less pay, and in worse conditions than their British counterparts. One ballad outlines:

When work grew scarce, and bread was dear,

And wages lessened too,

The Irish hordes were bidders here,

Our half paid work to do.’

 

In effect, the Irish immigrants provided a ready-made target for the frustrations of a class suffering from the job insecurity and poor living conditions of a newly industrialized state.

 

Degrading influence’

Britain was still undergoing industrialization when the influx of Irish arrived, and the symptoms of any industrializing state are squalor and misery. Industrial Britain proved a troublesome and unsanitary place for the lower classes. Living standards were low; disease, overcrowding, poor sanitation and consequent crime made life difficult in the bigger cities. The arrival of the Irish provided an easy scapegoat for this poverty: they were blamed for bringing degrading characteristics with them to pollute England. Inflated rents, a lack of accommodation and the general hostility of the community forced the Irish to overcrowd in poorly conditioned houses far from the city, forming what the English perceived as ‘ghettos’.

These ghettos were usually associated with high levels of drinking (due to the Irish drinking culture), casual violence, vagrancy, diseases and high levels of unemployment. Social investigators were horrified at the extent of violence they found. Rather than addressing the problems of industrial Britain, however, they tended to blame the Irish for their ‘degrading influence’. Nowadays, we know that political prejudice resulted in the Irish being vastly over-represented in crimes. At the time, however, people feared not only the squalor of the Irish, but that their habits would be a contagion, spreading to the lower classes.

In reality, this was not the spread of the contagion of Irish character, but the spread of poverty. Once again, anti-Irish sentiment was whipped into a frenzy, concealing the true root of the problem. It is interesting to see this technique of scapegoating those in the worst position for the country’s problems, particularly because it is a debate that we may still find in societies today.

 

‘No Immigrants. No popery’

Protestantism was the dominant religion in England in the nineteenth century, and this type of Protestantism was predominantly anti-Catholic. Loyalty to Rome was believed to compromise loyalty to the state, and people feared that the Catholic Irish were doing just that.

With the restoration of the Catholic hierarchy in 1850, ‘No Popery’ processions emerged throughout England and, on bonfire night, Catholic effigies were burned in numerous cities. The 1852 Stockport Riots are thought to have been prompted by anti-Catholicism, yet 111 of the 113 arrests were Irish – it became clear for many who the problem was. Religious conflict came to be associated with the perceived violent nature of the Irish. They had arrived into an environment already strongly anti-Catholic, at a time when people feared a revival of Catholicism. A good deal of the hostility towards these immigrants stemmed from a strong suspicion of their religion, which usually accompanied growing national sentiments.

 

An incomplete history?

It is surprising that the relationship between Ireland and England – from its early origins to the modern day – is so unknown in our historical and cultural imagination. Maybe it has something to do with the reason why British Imperial History is not a popular topic either. A friend had studied history for a year in Dublin; when she came back she told me that she was shocked by the long history between Ireland and Britain, of which she had hardly known about it. ‘It ought to be taught in schools,’ she told me. I agreed. We should study history as it happened – the good things and the bad. The moments that we can be proud of, and those that we cannot. 

 

What do you think of the article? Let us know below…

References

De Nie, Michael, The Eternal Paddy: Irish Identity and the British Press, 1798-1882, (Wisconsin, 2004)

Finnegan, Frances, Poverty and Prejudice: A Study of Irish Immigrants in York 1840-1875, (Cork, 1982)

MacRaild, Donald, Irish Migrants in Modern Britain 1750-1922, (London, 1999).

https://radicalmanchester.wordpress.com/2010/04/08/stockport-riot-june-1852/ [last accessed April 17, 2016]

http://www.historyplace.com/worldhistory/famine/introduction.htm