Nativism and Slavery: The Northern Know Nothings and the Politics of the 1850s

Paperback | April 30, 1999

byTyler G. Anbinder

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Politicians have used immigrants as scapegoats for the nation's problems throughout American history. No group achieved more success with this tactic than the Know Nothing Party, which directed its attacks primarily against Catholic immigrants. Within a year of its appearance in 1854, theparty had elected eight governors, over one hundred members of Congress, and thousands of local officials. Prominent politicians of every persuasion joined the organization, which eventually became known as the American Party. Many observers predicted that the party would elect the next President.The Know Nothings experienced a precipitous decline, however, and in the 1856 election their presidential candidate, Millard Fillmore, carried only one state. The Know Nothings have not attracted much interest from historians, because the events involved in the coming of the Civil War eclipsedinterest in a movement that was apparently only peripherally involved with Civil War issues. In this important new book, however, Anbinder argues that the Know Nothings's phenomenal success was inextricably linked to the firm stance their northern members took against the extension of slavery.Nativism and Slavery presents the first comprehensive history of the Know Nothings as well as a major revision of the political crisis that led to the Civil War.

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From Our Editors

In this important book, Anbinder argues that the Know Nothing's phenomenal success in the pre-Civil War era was inextricably linked to their anit-immigrant and anit-Catholic political agenda as well as to the firm stance their northern members took against the extension of slavery. Nativism and Slavery presents the first comprehensive ...

From the Publisher

Politicians have used immigrants as scapegoats for the nation's problems throughout American history. No group achieved more success with this tactic than the Know Nothing Party, which directed its attacks primarily against Catholic immigrants. Within a year of its appearance in 1854, theparty had elected eight governors, over one hu...

From the Jacket

In this important book, Anbinder argues that the Know Nothing's phenomenal success in the pre-Civil War era was inextricably linked to their anit-immigrant and anit-Catholic political agenda as well as to the firm stance their northern members took against the extension of slavery. Nativism and Slavery presents the first comprehensive ...

Tyler Anbinder is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Wyoming. He specializes in Civil War era politics and American immigration.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 9.17 × 6.1 × 0.75 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195089227

ISBN - 13:9780195089226

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From Our Editors

In this important book, Anbinder argues that the Know Nothing's phenomenal success in the pre-Civil War era was inextricably linked to their anit-immigrant and anit-Catholic political agenda as well as to the firm stance their northern members took against the extension of slavery. Nativism and Slavery presents the first comprehensive history of the Know Nothings and a new perspective of the political crisis that let to the Civil War.

Editorial Reviews

"Excellent....Professor Anbinder has done an outstanding job in presenting his thesis that the Know Nothings were successful not only because of their nativism but also because of their antislavery positions....Those interested in the use of religion in political contests will find this a mostimpressive study."--Journal of Church and State