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"Help Wanted/No Irish Need Apply" sign photographed in 1998 at O'Riley Hibernian Pub in Lawrence, Mass.
With his latest round of attacks on four first-year members of Congress who are women of color, President Trump has once again touched the raw nerve of racism in American life.
Strains - Politics - Fear - Vilification - Immigrants
He has also tapped into one of the oldest strains in our politics — the fear and vilification of immigrants and their descendants.
Although three of the four women were born in the United States, the president said they should all "go back" where they came from. That phrase has echoed down generations of nativist discourse as successive waves of newcomers have been targeted by individuals, groups and even whole political parties.
Times - Motivations - Competition - Jobs - Goods
At times, the motivations have been economic, focusing on competition for jobs and such social goods as housing or welfare programs. But there has also been a recurrent theme of cultural difference – an emphasis on characteristics of religion or language that identify new arrivals as "the other."
Anti-immigration sentiments emerged in force starting in the 1830s, when U.S. citizens descended primarily from English and Scottish settlers bridled at the influx of Irish. Most of the arriving Irish were Catholic, prompting a hostile reaction among some Protestants that led to deadly riots in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. The persistence of such prejudice made "No Irish Need Apply" one of the most iconic signs in the national memory.
Irish - Reaction - Surge - Arrivals - Germany
After the Irish, the hostile reaction extended to a surge of new arrivals in the 1840s from Germany, again largely Catholic. In ethnic terms, the Irish and Germans were akin to other colonial Americans (and to immigrants arriving from Scandinavia). But they were viewed as different, clannish and hard to assimilate – not just competing for jobs but threatening the social, cultural and political order.
They were pilloried as susceptible to criminality...
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Governemnt sponsored segratation of America, one household at a time.