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In 1856, former President Millard Fillmore ran for president as a part of the Know Nothing movement. The movement attracted 23% of the popular vote and as a result James Buchanan became President. A year later, most of the Know Nothing supporters joined the newly formed Republican party. While the Know Nothing movement seems like no more than an interesting historical anomaly, the rhetoric in today’s political climate seems to be a reincarnation of this earlier movement.

Immigration:

Immigration was a major concern among people in the Know Nothing movement in the mid-nineteenth century. At the least they wanted more stringent and effective immigration laws. Among their proposals was a 21-year mandated wait for immigrants to obtain citizenship.

Some proposed doing away with all naturalization laws: in other words, only those born Americans would be allowed to be American. The repeal of all naturalization laws was actually the first item listed in their party platform.

In the recent GOP primary debates:

Bachmann says the Federal government has failed to set immigration policy, and it's reprehensible that Obama sued Arizona over its immigration policy law. Of course that's called setting policy. She says she'd put a wall on every single inch of the border with Mexico.

Romney beating up on Rick Perry for letting "illegal aliens" get instate tuition for Texas. He says it's unfair to Americans in other states. Of course those "illegal aliens" are actually the sons and daughters of undocumented immigrants who have grown up in America and aren't responsible for their status.

Source

Closely allied with their concern for immigration was their insistence that only “Americans” (meaning “American born”) should be allowed to hold and run for public office. Furthermore, they felt that holding public office should also be restricted to native-born Americans of English and/or Scottish lineage and Protestant persuasion.

The nineteenth-century “Americans only” requirement for public office seems to be reflected in today’s birthers. Lawrence Sellin, for example, writes:

Being born in the U.S. makes one a U.S. citizen, but not necessarily a natural born citizen, which requires U.S. citizen parents at the time of birth. The Founding Fathers specifically put that requirement in the Constitution to prevent someone having dual allegiance from becoming president.

Source

The primary concern of the Know Nothing movement in the 1850s was the large number of Irish and German Catholics who were coming to the United States. Today, of course, the modern Know Nothing folks concerns are Hispanics (xenophobia over language and skin color) and Muslims (the religious issue has shifted).

The Know Nothing movement favored the use of English-only in public meetings and advocated the restriction of all other languages.

Religion:

The Know Nothing movement sought government protection for Protestants. Conspiracy theories regarding papal influence abounded, including the fear that American law would somehow incorporate or become subservient to Catholic law. One Protestant minister described Catholicism as:

"the ally of tyranny, the opponent of material prosperity, the foe of thrift, the enemy of the railroad, the caucus, and the school."

Their opposition to Catholicism was so great that they allegedly stole and destroyed the block of granite which had been contributed by Pope Pius IX for the Washington Monument.

The Know Nothing party platform called for “War to the hilt, on politican Romanism,” “Hostility to all Papal influences, when brought to bear against the Republic,” and “The amplest protection of Protestant Interests.”

The present day Know Nothing movement’s concern for Sharia law seems to echo the 1856 platform plank:

“Finally,-American Laws, and American Legislation, and Death to all foreign influences, whether in high places or low.”

The American Party, the official political arm of the Know Nothing movement, advocated restricting public school teacher positions to Protestants. They also felt that daily Bible readings should be required in all public schools.

Intimidation:

The followers of the Know Nothing movement were not content to simply discuss their agenda: they used intimidation to keep Catholics away from the ballot box. In 1855, a riot perpetrated by the Know Nothings broke out in Louisville, Kentucky which resulted in 22 deaths, numerous injuries, and much property damage. In Baltimore, the elections of 1856, 1857, and 1858 were all marred by violence. In Maine, the Know Nothing followers were involved with tarring and feathering a Catholic priest and burning a Catholic church.

Originally posted to History for Kossacks on Sat Sep 24, 2011 at 07:12 AM PDT.

Also republished by Pink Clubhouse, Progressive Friends of the Library Newsletter, ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, Street Prophets , J Town, and Progressive Hippie.

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  •  Tip Jar (307+ / 0-)
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  •  History does not repeat (50+ / 0-)

    but it does rhyme - Mark Twain.

    And this particular rhyme lacks meter and gets off on the wrong foot.

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

    by blue aardvark on Sat Sep 24, 2011 at 07:25:29 AM PDT

  •  Nice history lesson. Well done! (36+ / 0-)

    "A lot of people are waiting for Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi to come back - but they are gone. We are it. It is up to us. It is up to you."--Marian Wright Edelman

    by TheSolipsisticMe on Sat Sep 24, 2011 at 07:31:58 AM PDT

  •  That 20-30% of our country has always been (34+ / 0-)

    with us. They live in a world no larger than what they can directly influence. The world outside that sphere is out to get them.

    Delusional paranoia fed by propaganda and legitamized by captured politicians.

    •  With the power of media (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ojibwa, TiaRachel

      That 20 to 30 percent has grown.  They now control the House of Representatives and states such as Wisconsin and Michigan and Ohio and Florida and New Jersey.  They are driving the national agenda.

      "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, now we know that it is bad economics." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jan. 20, 1937

      by Navy Vet Terp on Sun Sep 25, 2011 at 07:05:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  wow, I really knew nothing ... (12+ / 0-)

    well, we German lutheran protestant descendants (mostly by name only), had apparently a lot of reasons to hate Catholicism. Too bad they didn't leave their meta pie fights in the old world....

    I always thought Lutheran protestants were appalled by the enrichment of the Catholic Church, obtained by making the sinners pay some good money and recite some good prayers to buy their salvation. This vision of the protestand minister you quote

    ... the opponent of material prosperity, the foe of thrift ...

    were not in my consciousness so far.

    But when I look around at what protestant Christians come up with these days ... I guess there must have been something in the air in the New World to make them come up with this stuff.

    So, naive question, was that movement really called "Know Nothing" movement or was that your snarky wording only. I feel like an idiot to ask that... Had that movement a name at all? I mean if you know nothing you most probably don't know your name either. :-)

    Great diary. Sigh.

    •  It was really called Know Nothing (65+ / 0-)

      When asked about it, the members were supposed to reply "I Know Nothing" and hence the name Know Nothing. At least one of the prominent members named a ship Know Nothing in honor of the movement.

      Today's intellectual descendents seem to be quite proud of their ability to Know Nothing and lack of education seems to be valued.

      •  One is tempted to point out (17+ / 0-)

        ... that Perry's D grades at Texas A&M show he's even worse than George W. Bush, who was a C-student at Yale.  But I'm not sure there's much to that.  Bush was a legacy at Yale, which is also in the same state where his grandfather was Senator.  There's the tradition of the "gentleman's C" for such well-connected students.  It's just another way of saying he was a piss-poor student.  I kinda figure they're about the same.  Only thing is: Dubya thinks he earned his C grades, rather than just them just being given to him by virtue of his parentage.

        In either case, one has to wonder about poor academic performance getting held up as some kind of a virtue.

        Grab all the joy you can. (exmearden 8/10/09)

        by Land of Enchantment on Sat Sep 24, 2011 at 08:40:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  your history lessons just amaze me (12+ / 0-)

        I am reading four books at once right now about the AIM movement and my eyes are opened like there is no way to close them again.

        Just read about FDR's New Deal proposed agenda for Indians (with John Collier as his Indian Commissioner) "so unique that some in Congress attacked it as communistic." and what followed afterwards under Truman and his Indian Commissioner Dillon Myer, that make me understand the meaning of his policy of "Termination" and "Relocation" and "Assimilation".  

        A critic, Harolc Ickes, Sec. of the Interior und FDR and Truman called Commissioner Dillon Meyer of the BIA "a Hitler and Mussonline rolled into one". That was after 1946 ... a time when the policies of the "final solution" (a very close expression to "termination" I think) should have been very much in the consciousness of the Americans. Wow.

        I am just hijacked by those books.

        Thank you for your answer. I am learning and loving it. :-)

        •  Links or references? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cartoon Messiah

          I would love to follow up on this bit of history. Thanks!

          •  I am reading this in (4+ / 0-)

            "Like a Hurricane - The Indian Movement from Alcatraz toWounded Knee" by Paul Chaat Smith and Robert Allen Warrior.

            They source it back to
            "The Nation within. Past, Present and Future of American Indian Sovereignty" by Vine Deloria and Clifford Lytle"
            and
            "The Great Father: The United States Government and the American Indians" by Francis Paul Prucha.

            For official federal government publications they refer to
            "A History of Indian Policy" by Lyman Tyler. (1973)

        •  The Caucasian politicians (12+ / 0-)

          ... instituted horrific policies regarding Native Americans, including forced schooling that punished children for speaking their mother tongue.  I don't know about the other tribes, but in reservation public schools they are teaching children their native language now - or, at least they are in MN for the Ojibwe people.

          In US census data for 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, one of the questions is along the lines "Able to speak English?"  "Mother tongue if not English?"  "Able to read?"  "Able to write?"  Along with that, there are questions for where each person was born, where each parent was born.  1890 US census was destroyed in a fire (which newbie genealogists regularly wail over when they find out).  The 1890 Veteran's Schedule was stored separately so that survived, and those who were in the Civil War were listed on that.

          Yes, that's why genealogists love those census years so much, especially 1900, which asks for month and year of birth, and starting with 1900 and thereafter, the year of immigration and year of naturalization is asked for (or list if citizenship is pending).

          Women were asked how many children they'd given birth to and how many were still living.  One of those years asks how many years a couple has been married (marital status is asked for from 1900 forward).

          If Batshite Crazy Bachmann had ever looked at those early census returns, she would have crapped bricks - sideways.  I was very, very, very disappointed in the 2010 census for the brevity; nothing of importance was asked other than date of birth, not even location of birth.  The 2000 census asked about how one considered themselves..., and 72 years from then if anyone looks me up, they'll find I listed all seven countries of my ancestors (that I can document).  No more enumerators..., means I can add little notes...!  Ha!  ;-)

          Genealogy researchers are now doing an impatient dance waiting for 2 April 2012 when the 1940 US census will be available for public viewing.  No one can even index it before then, more's the pity, but the images will be available to scroll through.

          If one scrolls through some of the census data, the tales of woe can be read in the statistics..., especially if there was a boarding school for children who were forcibly separated from their parents and had to learn a new language quickly and try to forget their own language.

          People who didn't speak English were made to feel ashamed.  Even my maternal grandfather..., when I asked him to teach me Norwegian, he adamantly told me "You don't need to learn Norwegian; you're an American."  Later, after he died, I took two years of Norwegian so I could read genealogy documents from all three Scandinavian countries.  Then serendipity put me in touch with a fifth cousin who contacted my gr-grandmother's relatives and they had saved some of my grandfather's letters to his cousin (they scanned them and sent them to me)..., written in Norwegian.  I've no idea why, but it never occurred to me to ask Grandpa in which language he and his cousin communicated.  The last one, written in 1930, is very sad; he wrote to let the relatives in Norway of his sister's death of heart problems within an hour or two of giving birth to her last child.

          So, the whole language thing affected many people from many ethnic groups, but as far as I'm concerned taking children from their homes to force them to learn English so they could assimilate is just criminal.

          I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

          by NonnyO on Sat Sep 24, 2011 at 11:30:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  One of the great ironies (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Bulldawg, NonnyO, Ahianne, Cartoon Messiah

            of the history of the "Know Nothings" was that they were oftern referred to as "nativists." Given their feelings about the peoples who were truly native to this continent, that sobriquet is a cruel deception.

          •  From what I read I was amazed (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            NonnyO, Ahianne

            in the numbers of how many Native American's children not only were forced into the boarding schools but also forced into adoption to non-Indian families.

            It happens all the time that children of immigrants are forced to learn the language of their host country, demanded by that country's school policies, as well as demands from their parents, it happens along all races and countries. That is not a comment in support of such policies, just an observation.

            You are supposed to have a mother language and a fatherland. When you immigrate (or your country of origin becomes occupied by a minority group with different language roots) you have none of both. Most parents who believe their kids will gain from dropping their mother language and immerse in the new language agree to those policies. Otherwise, you can't stop a child from picking up the new language anyhow.

            But if their is no gain, you get angry, you lose on both ends.

            •  FYI, Mimi (5+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Ojibwa, figbash, mimi, NonnyO, TiaRachel

              I thought you might like to know that I was an AIM national leader during Wounded Knee etc. I also was "educated" in BIA boarding schools as was my parents before me. Have you watched the recent PBS documentary "We Shall Remain"? The fifth segemnt is about AIM and our struggles. It can be seen on the PBS website.

              I don't care for the Robert Warrior book much, I know both the authors and they never came to the rez to interview any AIM people so what they wrote is mainly rehashed news reports. But on the other hand there really are no good books about AIM so theirs is better than nothing.

              The stealing of our kids is still going on today at quite a rate. But now it's done under state laws. The Americans promised to keep us as a nation of paupers and so far it has worked out well for them. But we have survived and not vanished to the perpetual surprise of most historians.  

              In fact I believe that was AIMs main accomplishment. We brought about a revival of our traditional ways and gave our people the determination to survive another five centuries.

              America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

              by cacamp on Sat Sep 24, 2011 at 08:59:37 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Hello, cacamp, I read all about you. :-) (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                NonnyO

                and I follow your posts here and I am thankful that you comment here from time to time and educate us about the AIM and the events during Wounded Knee. I even saw photos of you when you were young in some of the books. May be I find even some video footage somewhere buried in the archives...though the usual TV footage one can find rather distracts from the essence than it helps, strangely enough. But every document counts.

                Thank you also for pointing to the PBS documentary I hadn't seen yet, as well as your view on the Warrior book.

                Understand that I am a complete newbie, stranger and so to speak from planet Mars, when it comes to American history, especially everything that concerns the American Indians' one.

                Once I get caugth up reading about something that touches my mind, I usually read several different books about it. That helps somewhat. I am still exploring a lot and I am glad that the Ojibwa's diaries have triggered all of it.

                I could have just sleep-walked for another decade. But the American Indians struggles remind me about so many other things I have been exposed to that I start to compare and look for similarities and differences.

                ...and for surviving another five centuries ... I am so glad it is happening. It's a beauty and a gift.

                And you know, nature is tough. I just came back from an area in Hawaii, where around two hundred years ago, lava has "killed" any vegetation, but created new land masses. Plants and animals grow on the lava rocks there in ways that seem to be indestructable. I remember some documentary that showed that it takes only fourty years for a seed to germinate again after lava has killed all previous life. So I have trust  in human's determination to survive any attempts of genocides by others. Your bravery and courage during Wounded Knee events are just one more proof of it. (I am not finished reading about it though - gimme some more time :-)).

                 

              •  I don't know... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mimi

                ... what is going on in other states, but I do know about what is happening with the profits from at least one casino in MN.  They built a museum.  They expanded their schools (where they are teaching the Ojibwe language from grade school forward).  They built housing (esp. for the elders).  They expanded their medical facilities.  They improved their infrastructure.  The reservation had their own license plates.  They (and a couple of other tribes) sponsored PBS shows during fundraising efforts for the PBS station in this region.  All that on top of expanding the casino, the adjoining hotel, and conference facilities.  (I think they were doing the same in the area where their sister casino was built, but I've never been to the second one.)  The casino was the only one in the state which does not serve alcohol and it was packed wall-to-wall for every holiday.  I haven't talked to anyone I used to work with at the casino many years ago, but they've almost certainly continued their building projects and spending profits on improvements on the reservation, and all of that has benefited all members of their tribe in one way or another, not just with providing jobs if people wanted to work at the casino or with any of the construction companies that were always building something at the time I worked there.  Oh, and the person who was elected chief just before I left was a woman.  I don't know if she still holds the position or not.

                If that sounds like I heartily approve of what this one tribe did with their casino profits..., I do.  They've made sure they are taking care of their people to the best of their ability.

                I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

                by NonnyO on Sun Sep 25, 2011 at 07:57:38 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Thank you cacamp. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Ojibwa, cacamp

                I am watching the PBS documentary. But the film made me move fast forward in comparison to what I have read so far and I realize that I still have put into the right timeline into place with some things I remember having read months ago. I find most of what I read in the documentary, amazing.

                The film is very good, but I need more reading and follow-up and get more information about details that just boggled my mind. Still a lot of things I don't understand. A lot more to research and absorb.

                I will check what the German TV stations did with regards to any documentary or reporting from that time. I know they made an some story may be five years ago or so, but I doubt it was good. Now I try to check the archives in Germany, if they did something at the time in 1973. Just to look ...

                The images and soundbites and quotes in the PBS documentary bring what I read to life in a way I didn't expect would be possible. There is so much film material in it, I wouldn't have expected to exist.

                I am so glad you and Dennis Bank survived and could help telling the story in the film. You are very kind to have helped me on my way. Thank you so much.

                PS I also read "Agents of Repression" by Ward Churchill and Jim Vander Wall, which has lots of details also about what the FBI and the goons and the infiltration into AIM was all about during Wounded Knee and afterwards. Horrible stuff.

    •  The Official name was the American party (11+ / 0-)

      The nickname derived from the fact that they were very secretive about their meetings and were instructed to reply "I know nothing" when asked by outsiders about their activity.

      I'll believe a corporation is a person when Texas executes one.

      by aisling on Sat Sep 24, 2011 at 08:58:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This is Protestant Fundamentalism Which Was Fairly (5+ / 0-)

      small and apolitical before big conservative money began allying with 40-45 years ago. It's not a purely organic force, it's been a well tended garden intended to bring this specific fruit.

      I grew up near Megachurch #1 and heard the radio and first televangelists regularly. While they were every bit as magical about routine miracles, routine certainty about the Lord's wishes and such, they had nothing to do with politics as they began to by the 70's.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sat Sep 24, 2011 at 09:04:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ojibwa is correct (6+ / 0-)

      There really was a No Nothing movement.

      I remember it being mentioned in high school American History classes.

      Fifty years ago we were expected to learn actual facts.  Yes, we got the mythology thrown in, but besides that we had to learn facts.

      No NCLB back then.

      I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

      by NonnyO on Sat Sep 24, 2011 at 10:58:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "No, Nothing" could be today's GOP as well. (47+ / 0-)

    No government, no health care, no social safety net, no living wages, no middle class.

    It is not surprising that the Know Nothing group joined the Republican party. Throughout the years the Republicans had to attract the most radical fringe elements to get enough votes and ground troops to take power. The John Birch Society, the followers of Strom Thurmond, the religious right, and now the tea party. There are simply not enough Wall Streeters to win an election on their own. Or at least there wasn't before Citizens United paved the way for unlimited anonymous money to be part of our political process.

    Thank you for this excellent post.

  •  Everything old... (17+ / 0-)

    is new again, you bet'cha!
    :wink:

    "Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world." — Howard Zinn

    by blueyedace2 on Sat Sep 24, 2011 at 08:02:57 AM PDT

  •  and given their climate denialism (37+ / 0-)

    and other forms of hostility toward science, not to mention the almost comical misunderstandings of history by some of their leaders, the term "know nothing" is more relevant than ever.

    48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam (The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers)

    by Laurence Lewis on Sat Sep 24, 2011 at 08:03:06 AM PDT

  •  Great lesson! (24+ / 0-)

    I suspect a lot of those know nothings were sympathetic to or members of the Klan, also virulently anti-Catholic.

    And WTH?

    the foe of thrift, the enemy of the railroad

    I may no longer practice the faith, but I'll always be culturally Catholic ( something in the holy water I guess) and am intrigued by our country's history of anti-Catholicism. Gotta say,  I never knew that part of it was that we were enemies of the railroad!

    We view "The Handmaid's Tale" as cautionary. The GOP views it as an instruction book.

    by Vita Brevis on Sat Sep 24, 2011 at 08:03:09 AM PDT

    •  There was a strong Klan (25+ / 0-)

      connection. Some history sources credit the Know Nothing movement with the establishment of the Klan in the post Civil War era.

    •  history of anti-Catholicism (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      capelza, libnewsie

      I thought it more of a case whereby each religious or ethnic group of new incoming immigrants were discriminated against by the ones who came before them, soemthing happening routinely til today.

      So, I wonder, what kind of Christians were the first, who started hating the next new waves of "other" Christian immigrants.

      I have busily avoided to learn anything about the differences among Christian denominations. I barely and only vaguely had a feeling of what German Lutherans and German Catholics are today.

      Anglicans, Episcopalians, Baptists and a lot of other denominations were and remain foreign to me.

      Just that when I was confronted with US parochial schools and looked for some church to go to at Christmas time being lonely the US, I found the Episcopaleans to be very close to Catholics, just a little bit more sneaky, talking too much politics. But heh, I am a "know nothing"

      Something smells somewhat "not so right" to me, when you  make the degree of racism against American Indians in the past much of an issue of which Christians were more or less proned to do so. Or am I just trying to make excuses here?

      •  It started almost immediately... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wu ming, mimi, Ahianne, Vita Brevis

        See Roger Williams and Rhode Island.

        •  thank you, I read the Wikipedia entry (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          capelza

          for Roger Williams for the first time. Quite complicated timeline of events that happened between religious groups I have no knowledge of. I feel like a dumb germanic peasant with rather non-christian heritage... :-)

          It will take me a while to get an understanding of what exactly the differences between religious groups were and I don't know if I am inclined to dig into it other than may be learn more about the Quakers. It's such a depressing subject.

      •  It continued from Europe, actually. (7+ / 0-)
        I thought it more of a case whereby each religious or ethnic group of new incoming immigrants were discriminated against by the ones who came before them, soemthing happening routinely til today.

        So, I wonder, what kind of Christians were the first, who started hating the next new waves of "other" Christian immigrants.

        If you haven't read about religious wars in post-dark-ages Europe (just grabbing a setpoint there), then you've missed some of the most crucial historical issues/trends.

        Just a very general overview: the Catholic Church worked very hard to eliminate (and I do mean eliminate) alternative views (and maintain their control), and once Protestants emerged, they pretty much did the same re: Catholicism. And sometimes other versions of Protestantism. (& they all pretty much hated the Jews.)

        That came along to the New World -- was intrinsic to North American settlement, along with your basic colonialism/imperialism.

        Something smells somewhat "not so right" to me, when you  make the degree of racism against American Indians in the past much of an issue of which Christians were more or less proned to do so. Or am I just trying to make excuses here?

        I'm not sure what you're referring to here. It's definitely the case that actions against the native populations in the New World were excused/explained/understood specifically as Christian.

        •  Fundamental reason for the Separation of Church (5+ / 0-)

          and State in the Constitution:

          Maryland being Catholic and Virginia being Anglican.

          Not to mention the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

          Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
          I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
          —Spike Milligan

          by polecat on Sat Sep 24, 2011 at 12:12:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I am aware of past religious wars in Europe - (0+ / 0-)

          just not  knowledgable about them - I had lousy history teachers as a teenager in highschool - and they messed up any interest in the European history of anything before late nineteenth and the twentieth century. The way the German educational system works after graduating from highschool you don't continue a "broad" education, but specialize. I was much into science and math til I was around thirty years old. After that I quit it all. No more book learning, just "street learning".

          I never had interest in Christian religions. Having been WWII generation I was raised by parents (especially my mother) who didn't trust anyone or anything regarding the official churches in Germany. That's what the WWII did to them.

          They had seen too much shit from clergy of Catholics and Protestant churches alike, at a time when they needed  spiritual guidance the most. Hitler's Germany came to their consciousness them being teenagers. My mother's experiences before and during WWII must have been so bad that she even refused to talk about it with us children.

          We were all aware of the need of spirituality in our lives, but we didn't get it through what we grew up with. I am in a spiritual no-mans land so to speak.

          But I have a growing interest and need for it, because I am confronted with a sort of spiritualism usually people are not exposed to and I want to reflect over my own reactions to it. So, I am returning to inquiring, researching and reading and book learning, slowly. A humble beginning after a long hiatus.

          With regards to your last paragraph of your comment, I think you misunderstood me. I was saying

          when you  make the degree of racism against American Indians in the past much of an issue of which Christians were more or less proned to do so.
          Emphasis on which.

          Of course the actions against the American Indians were heavily excused and explained on the basis of so-called Christian beliefs. How could I have not understoo that?

          I was argueing against trying to blame Catholics or Protestants or whatever Christians there were, differently, playing one group of Christians against the other, so to speak. I don't think they were very different. To me their religiously-worded argumentation rather nothing but a marker and justification to make their exploitation and oppression more "godly", while they were driven by survival, profit, wealth accumulation and their fears to lose what thye just gained vis a vis the next wave of immigrants or the American Indians fighting for their land.

          You know I couldn't care less if the Catholics or the Protestant were different, who belonged more to the Klan and who was a bit "nicer". They basically were race-based imperialist exploiters all the same and may just have worded their intentions with smarter code words and rethoric.  It's always the same, isn't it?

          And I don't know what purpose it would serve to dwell in the same divisions among the different Christian groups today other than to continue the same old divisive discussion way back some hundred years ago and by that avoding to address the real issue.

          •  One important point, though, (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ahianne, peregrine kate, mimi, alizard

            when looking at history -- "Religion" has much more in common with political-type power than with what people these days consider 'spirituality.'

            I do think it's important to note distinctions between these groups, beyond the kind of theological distinctions that are so important to them (when to baptize, for example). Because they are different, and those differences have been expressed in sociopolitical ways. Catholics, for example, wanted to bring lots of souls to christ. Convenient that it also gave them slaves -- but how different an approach than that of, say, a group which devoutly believed in pre-determination. 'Bringing souls to christ" would be an impossibility -- so should they even bother? Or is it equal in the eyes of god whether or not they drive off/exterminate the inconvenient native residents?

            There are, of course, many other factors involved in the settlement of the new world, basic $/power-grubbing being predominant. That these were discussed in the language of christianity may or may not be historically relevant -- but it is historical fact. They did, all of them, claim (and likely believe) to be doing god's work.

            As to 'why distinguish"? For one thing, both religious and political descendents (cultural, too) of those groups are still very much active. Knowing what certain ideological/policy positions led to in practice in the past is one way to figure out what to do -- or not do -- now.  For another -- while nearly all of these historical actors were (some sort of) christian, it is not true that all christian denominations acted identically.

            And the religious, political, and cultural descendents of their targets are still here, as well.  This is their history as well -- those of us who are descendents/inheritors of non-christian cultures, and those who now think of themselves as 'just christian' (or 'nothing in particular') who don't know that the bile that's tossed at others today might have been thrown at their grandparents. Might get some people thinking about why some groups  have become 'normal' when others have not.

            One problem with the "well, they were all christian, who cares what else they were?" point of view is that it's often used to excuse specific incidents. If  'all christians' are responsible, then why look any further?   (Also, in the US these days, "christian" is used as a warm-fuzzy-you-don't-want-to-insult- anyone-we're-all-good-people--right? descriptor, so general as to be meaningless. Except as it excludes non-christians, of course.) Not that I believe in inherited guilt or some such -- but these things happened. And people claiming the glories of their religious/cultural heritages (as so many do in the US) need to also be made aware of the not-so-glorious.  Again, not because they share the blame -- but because the descendents of those wronged are still here , and still recovering from those inflicted wrongs (and then there are the invisible -non-descendents?- of those who vanished...)

            I think what it comes down to, though, is that Ojibwa is recounting history in these essays. It seems to me that generalizing in the way you suggest would be over-generalizing, a kind of whitewashing. As political a decision as any other...

            •  I get your point but believe you read (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              TiaRachel

              something into my comment, which I don't think you can conclude. It reflects your own assumption, imo.

              I follow you in your first three paragraphs. Of course it is honorable to dig into the details of differences between Christian groups and evaluate how they ended up to  influence politically and socially the Native American's fate differently. (If that actually reallly should have occurred what I don't know) It's just not my priority, because this sentence

              They did, all of them, claim (and likely believe) to be doing god's work.

              might be right in your eyes, but I consider it a claim, which I don't put trust in.  

              Here I think you go beyond what you can rightfully deduct from my comment.

              One problem with the "well, they were all Christian, who cares what else they were?" point of view is that it's often used to excuse specific incidents. If  'all christians' are responsible, then why look any further?  ...(Also, in the US these days, "christian" is used as a warm-fuzzy-you-don't-want-to-insult- anyone-we're-all-good-people--right? descriptor, so general as to be meaningless. Except as it excludes non-christians, of course.) ... It seems to me that generalizing in the way you suggest would be over-generalizing, a kind of whitewashing. As political a decision as any other...

              I am far from excusing anything and further even from  your "warm-fuzzy-you don't want to insult" stuff. Believe me, as a German I know really well that there is no white washing even possible, nor going on in my mind, not even unconsciously. At least I don't see myself like that.

              I follow Ojibwa's diaries as closely as I can and have the feeling that I mostly understand what he is expressing. I prematurely ask him lots of stupid questions though, I admit. That's because everything I read in his diaries is new to me.

              No, I don't want to insult. I just don't get into those discussions over different Christian religions. Fact is that people of non-Christian beliefs have been target of enforced missionary activities by various Christian denominations. I believe that this is wrong and I don't care which denomination does what kind of proselytizing, I am against it.

              You don't intervene in a person's spiritual or religious belief system or stalk them with your persuasional efforts, imo.

              I am not part of American Christianity as it presents itself to me today, nor do I have knowledge about how badly the Christian immigrants to America couldn't stand each other in America's founding years. Though I sometimes get a taste of it ...

              Given the legal and social situations the American Indians found themselves in during the last couple of hundred years or so, I think the European colonists religious differences in their Christianity might not have been that relevant to the Indians' actual fate.

              People who lived through these times made alliances, put trust in one group more than another (Ojibwa mentions that) and it seems as if it didn't change the final outcome.

              We all do make alliances or decisions whom to trust more or less in our daily life. Going back a couple of hundred years to study those details among Christians in America is work of historians. I am not one. Hence I generalized, I am sorry. May be I shouldn't have said anything. So, I would accept you telling me to STFU, because I am one of those "Know Nothing" folks. :-) But white washing? That a bit too much ...

              And with regards to spirituality, I admit I have never used this word in my German mother language. I took it over from my English reading here. I don't claim to know what it exactly means and how it differs to the usage of the word religion. I also don't know how Americans typically use the word spirituality.

              The only thing I know is "that there are lots of spirits out there, which influence us in ways that incite interactions from us to them in different ways".

              In that sense I expect spirituality being different from one ethnic groups to the next and I try to understand some of it.

              I am just not that inclined to go backwards in history and dig into Christian religious wars. I am glad that at least for the last fifty years or so they are over in Europe (or at least in Germany). Who knows may be they popp up again.

              •  One of the problems here, I think, (0+ / 0-)

                is that I'm (naturally) thinking in a USA-specific context, and you're somewhat outside of that. So of course you'll see things I don't, and miss things that I do. We all inevitably speak out of our own cultural contexts.

                They did, all of them, claim (and likely believe) to be doing god's work.
                That many of the historical actors did make this claim is a matter of historical record, as is their typical assumption/presumption of  genuine belief. I accept this belief as (often, not universally) genuine because the entire cultural & intellectual environment of their lives was based on it -- not necessarily in the sense that we think of religious-type belief now, as sort of an extra bonus to our view of the world, but as the center and foundation of the world itself. Obviously (and depending on which historical period we're discussion), there have always been those who are unconcerned with god/religion, and those who doubt or even reject it. However, these people in those times were continually surrounded by it, even those who tried to avoid the whole thing. It shaped their thoughts and actions even if by being opposed or worked around.

                I meant to indicate that I was generalizing from your apparent point-of-view, which seems similar to me to others I've seen. I didn't mean to impugn you with any specific instance of action -- just to note the possible similarity of results. (Most of the kind of whitewashing I was thinking about is done unintentionally, unknowingly. The result is a whitewash, though that was never the intent. Generally I think it's a result of cultural blind spots, which may be unintentionally transmitted across generations .)

                I came across a mention of 'the post-christian europe of today' (in a magazine flier) earlier, and it occurred to me that you're working from that sort of perspective. I've come across many americans who seem to have a similar point of view, though I don't think most use that particular phrase (self-proclaimed atheists sometimes fit, as do lots of people who'd describe their religion as 'nothing' or in vaguely fluffy terms). One thing about that language, though, is the difference between 'post-christian' and 'non-christian.' The ritualized-god-talk might be absent in a post-christian culture, as might some of the formerly more obvious cultural attitudes & signifiers, but other aspects/cultural memories might be present.

                The example I usually give is: which winter holidays are you (aware of) not celebrating? Some general assumptions and traditions of the old culture carry on. The past continues to shape the present -- old ways may be (deliberately) abandoned, but their effects and ripples in cultural/intellectual thought (as well as everyday life) don't vanish easily. And in my experience as a non-christian, some we-used-to-be-christians  who've left the god-ritual-belief part behind (or actively work in opposition to it) still work from many of the same deep cultural assumptions (for example, an assertion that 'religion' is primarily/predominantly/inextricably 'god-belief', instead of cultural heritage/traditions of living in which the presence/absence of belief in deity may be irrelevant). So from the outside, it sometimes looks like  a person/culture has settled on 'christianity' as a scapegoat, while some of the same attitudes that caused problems still remain.

                Maybe that's all irrelevant to you. From an historians viewpoint, I think an answer to 'why distinguish between these different christian groups' is simply 'because these are the people that acted at that time.' History is about looking at what happened & then thinking about it, and the kind of thing you're talking about is jumping a step. There were (are) many kinds of 'christian', some of which remain, and despite the apparent ludicrosity of some of their distinctions to outsiders, they were in fact different groups who may have differed (or been the same) in other unrecognized ways.

                An analogy: look at the attempted extermination of assorted 'undesireables' in mid-20th century Europe. Would it be accurate to claim that Europe, in its entirety, is responsible?

                An argument could be made, I suppose, but it'd require ignoring a whole lot of distinctions which would probably be very important to those involved -- and would mask the reasons that some specific actors made specific choice which had specific results. If 'everyone' is to blame, then analysis tends to settle on the obvious things they all have in common -- which may not, in fact, be why those things happened in the first place. And so the hard work of 'why' is made a little easier, but at the cost of accuracy & future prevention.

                •  Oh, I apologize, I missed your response, (0+ / 0-)

                  I don't think we see things that differently (outside vs. inside) though I am not an insider to historical facts about the Klan, and for that matter an insider of the Protestants in the US being not only happy followers of the Klan, but also happy followers of anti-Catholicism. That was the original comment I responded to, which I might have misunderstood.

                  To me the comment I responded to (by Vita Brevis about the virulant anti-Catholicism) sounded so, as if the discussion were going into the direction of "who is the more evil Christian, the Protestant or the Catholics, with regards to their attitudes and feelings of superiority vis a vis the American Indians and/or racism in general. I thought that the possible resulting thread out of this would end up distracting from the actual issue of Ojibwa's diary.

                  It reminded me of Germans who try to find out, who were the more evil Nazis and racists before and during the Third Reich, the Lutherans or the Roman Catholics. I can assure you that you find the guilty ones of racism and genocide and war crimes on both sides. And though anti-semitism was clearly also religion-based, I don't think that the differences between the denominations were of importance with regards to what each individual Christian actually did and the Third Reich policies resulted in.

                  I reread the whole thread and I try to grasp what I think your comments meant. Let me try to respond..

                  you:
                  They did, all of them, claim (and likely believe) to be doing god's work.

                  me:
                  might be right in your eyes, but I consider it a claim, which I don't put trust in.  

                  you:
                  That many of the historical actors did make this claim is a matter of historical record, as is their typical assumption/presumption of  genuine belief. I accept this belief as (often, not universally) genuine because the entire cultural & intellectual environment of their lives was based on it -- not necessarily in the sense that we think of religious-type belief now, as sort of an extra bonus to our view of the world, but as the center and foundation of the world itself.


                  I think it is obvious that I have not the skills to express my thoughts as well as you can and my thoughts are not that clear as well.  

                  When I said I consider it a claim, which I don't put trust in, I didn't mean to deny that the claims were made and historical records are plentyful to prove it.  I wanted to express though that I don't believe any Christian (or any person for that matter) is able to know what "God's work" or"God's will" is and therefore, to me personally, their claim represent just their beliefs. The claim doesn't give a proof of a causal relationship between their beliefs and the resulting actions, though it is certainly set up and intended to pretend a causal relationship.

                  I am more interested in knowing what the actually resulting actions were, what they did, the historical facts. I seems you took my comment as an excuse for me avoidiing to study historical facts and the religious and cultural underpinnings that were used by the "believers" to "explain" their deeds as morally justified.  

                  Think of MB sig-line "don't tell me what you believe, tell me what you do and I tell you what you believe in".  So, I guess, if I could, I love to dig in to historical facts.

                  Are there indeed with regards to historical facts, proofs that Protestants were more evil than Catholics in support of the KLAN and in genocidal racism against the Native Americans? Or was it perhaps more a matter of time, because the Roman Catholics immigrated much later? The Roman Catholic church were not involved in the exploitations and genocide of Native Americans in Latin America and Mexico?

                  I don't think that it is "God's work or will" that we go around and use our religious beliefs to engage in wars with those who have not the same religious beliefs and other spiritual traditions. That's "human's work and will" to me, not God's.  

                  I don't claim to know what God has in mind for us doing with each other. Does that mean I deny historical facts or support generalizations with the intent to scapegoat and whitewash the Christians' guilt vis a vis genocidal activities?  

                  you:

                  I came across a mention of 'the post-christian europe of today' (in a magazine flier) earlier, and it occurred to me that you're working from that sort of perspective. I've come across many americans, who seem to have a similar point of view, though I don't think most use that particular phrase (self-proclaimed atheists sometimes fit, as do lots of people who'd describe their religion as 'nothing' or in vaguely fluffy terms). One thing about that language, though, is the difference between 'post-christian' and 'non-christian.' The ritualized-god-talk might be absent in a post-christian culture, as might some of the formerly more obvious cultural attitudes & signifiers, but other aspects/cultural memories might be present.

                  I agree with that. I simply don't know if I am post-Christian, non-Christian, atheist or anything at all with regards to my beliefs. I don't know myself in that respect. I think I believe in spirits somewhat. (heh, I talk to them all the time :-)

                  You suggest that I have some subconscious cultural attitudes and signifiers? Certainly, I do, how else could it be? I was born into something cultural, whatever that was. I think that is true for any people, imo. I would though not believe that I can understand other person's subconscious cultural attitudes better than they themselves.

                  I could turn this argument around and claim, due to your historical experience as a victimized non-Christian, that you too have subconscious cultural attitudes. How could you not?

                  But that's not my point. I don't believe in "unconscious attitudes" at all, I guess.

                  I think in fact most things we do, we do in full consciousness. And we are extremely conscious about our deeds and acts and feelings as being good ones or bad ones. We have this consciousness before we have any spiritual or religious beliefs, imo. Children have consciousness about what is right and wrong very early.

                  As we are so conscious of having done something right or wrong,  the question is how we deal with guilt of wrong deeds.

                  I observes basically three ways people deal with their guilt.

                  1. they deny categorically and openly they did something wrong. they construct an argument based on "religious and moral beliefs" or "scientifically" proven facts that the evil they are accused of having done, is absolutely right and justified. Whatever they come up with in their logic or belief system, is a construct that turns the value system of their true conscious feelings upside down. It's a tool to make right something they know very well was wrong. Everything in this process is conscious, imo.

                  2. they accept having done something wrong openly without giving an explanation of why they did something wrong. They don't apologize admitting shame, but accept the deed as wrong.

                  3. they accept having done something wrong openly, feel guilt and shame and apologize, accepting evil acts, but still can't give an explanation of why they engaged in these acts.

                  Now, when the wrong is a genocide, an apology isn't going to change the facts. So to me 2. and 3. are pretty similar.

                  Also none of the three groups really does explain why they engaged in acts their conscious knows were wrong. This is independent from denial or acceptance.  

                  I am more inclined to believe that religions are NOT the root cause for exploitations of people with other religious beliefs. Though we had for centuries "religious wars", I somehow think that religion is used as astrosurfing tool to make a wrong right and cover up other instinctive motivations of genocidal wars, imo.

                  I think if you go outside Christian religions and into cultures and ethnicities with other spiritual traditions, you will find genocidal war attempts between different tribes as well. I don't believe that whatever differences in the spiritual or religious customs and traditions  between the warrior parties are, that they are root cause of those wars.

                  I also believe that probably and potentially (needs research and digging into those genocidal wars) that you will find that racial or religious discrimination will be used to justify both sides's actions all the time ... as a tool, after the fact,  to  incite the instincts of those, who were not yet involved, but neede to be recruited for warfare.

                  So, may be in short form something like this. Some injustice, social or environmental imbalance occurs. Instincts to remedy that imbalance lead to "dark thoughts", war is needed, to convince others that war is needed to correct the imbalance, racial discrimination against the declared enemy target and religious justification of a "war in the name of god" is invoked. That doesn't mean that race and religion were the root cause, but that it was used as a tool, a mystification process and cover-up for your true instincts to fight and kill.

                  you:

                  The example I usually give is: which winter holidays are you (aware of) not celebrating? Some general assumptions and traditions of the old culture carry on. The past continues to shape the present -- old ways may be (deliberately) abandoned, but their effects and ripples in cultural/intellectual thought (as well as everyday life) don't vanish easily. And in my experience as a non-christian, some we-used-to-be-christians  who've left the god-ritual-belief part behind (or actively work in opposition to it) still work from many of the same deep cultural assumptions (for example, an assertion that 'religion' is primarily/predominantly/inextricably 'god-belief', instead of cultural heritage/traditions of living in which the presence/absence of belief in deity may be irrelevant). So from the outside, it sometimes looks like  a person/culture has settled on 'christianity' as a scapegoat, while some of the same attitudes that caused problems still remain.

                  I am a bit hesitant to put much into that. I have seen far more often that "general assumptions and traditions of the old culture" does NOT carry on. I have seen more often that "the past does NOT continues to shape the present -- that "old ways" are more often NOT deliberately abandoned (rather lost through outside forces), and that their effects and ripples in cultural/intellectual thought (as well as everyday life) "as a consequence of that loss" DOES vanish easily". May be that is not true for white Americans, who haven't been forced to leave their environment and whose privilege status was never threatened for the majority of whites.

                  You might not follow me on this. May be I look at different situations. With that much migration of peoples around the world going on, a lot of the young generations lose the culture and traditions their parents have grown up in very fast. You lose language, you lose your cultural and spiritual or religious belief system sometimes before you know it.

                  Lost souls are easily to abuse. The past continues to shape the future, in as far as you inherit the deeds of your anchestors and forefathers, sins, privileges, all of it, and on the other side you inherit the results of oppression, explotation of your anchestor and of you are born into a status of a victim of past exploitation.

                  Now I think it's different who loses their cultural and religious or spiritual traditions.

                  Let's say you inherited privileges and are guilty of your forefathers or immediate family of having abused your privileges on the cost of people of other ethnicities and cultures and religions.  Then for some reasons outside your control you  lose your tradidtions. (It doesn't take long for that to happen, sometimes just a generation or even within your lifetime), then the chances are that these people will reinvent a "spiritually or scientifically based" construct to engage in policies that support same exploitation to cover up that they just want to keep their privileges.

                  The current evangelical Christians to me seem to be a new breed to construct anew justifications for policies that result in exploitation and discrimination - again. The motivator is not their "old traditions" that keep on giving, but a new need to justify power grabs and defending their privilege status.

                  Ok, sorry for the long response. I can't get it shorter, not that smart and literate.

                  And thank you for taking so much effort in trying to open my eyes ... I will explore my unconsciousness ... isn't that an oxymoron?  But how can YOU know what is unconscious even to me? Are you clairevoyant? :-)

                •  uh, I can't recommend your comment anymore, (0+ / 0-)

                  it's too late for that. I am sorry, I wholeheartedly would have rec'd it.

                  I wonder why they have this feature. I often can't read comments the same day or so and always you can't rec anymore. I don't like that.

          •  Bachmans church says the Pope is the anti-Christ (5+ / 0-)

            She belongs to a Lutheran denomination that still clings to Martin Luthers teaching that the Pope is the anti-Christ and many protestant fundys believe that also. So it's kind of important to know where they're coming from. Same thing with the fundies support of Israel, it isn't what it seems at first glance.

            America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

            by cacamp on Sat Sep 24, 2011 at 09:18:31 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well, to be Fair... (0+ / 0-)

              The Pope said that Luther was the Anti-Christ too.

              As I understand it, (and the Lutheran denomination I belong to is slightly more liberal in its theology than the Wisconsin Synod), the official Lutheran position is that the Catholic Church claims power and authority for the Pope that rightfully belongs only to Christ.

              Granted, my memory may be hazy on this.  I need to dig out my copy of the Book of Concord and actually read "On the Power and Primacy of the Pope".

              Another thing to remember, there is a difference between the Small "a" antichrist and THE Antichrist.  Usually when people use the term, they're thinking of the "Great Beast of the Apocalypse" mentioned in the Book of Revelation.  But Revelation never uses the term "Antichrist."  The epistles of John do, but always in the plural:  "antichrists".  The Epistles of John warn that teachers will come who will sucker people into thinking they are godly but who actually preach doctrines that contradict the Gospel of Christ.  These are "antichrists".

              So from this interpretation, any person, be he prophet, pope or pundit, can be considered AN antichrist, to the extent that his teachings go against the Gospel of Salvation.  But that doesn't mean any of them have the number 666 tattooed on their heads.

              "All the World's a Stage and Everyone's a Critic." -- Mervyn Alquist

              by quarkstomper on Sun Sep 25, 2011 at 02:17:11 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  it amazed me to find out that my glowing white (6+ / 0-)

      Irish Catholic family had crosses burned on their lawns for being Catholic.....

      One reason I think the church so focused on the Social gospel in the 60-70s......I miss Liberation Theology.....

      Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
      I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
      Emiliano Zapata

      by buddabelly on Sat Sep 24, 2011 at 11:32:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  "When I left Ireland to come here (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      alizard, Vita Brevis

      To spend me latter days in cheer
      The boss, he drank some ginger beer
      And Pat worked on the railway"

      Funny how the enemies of the railroad built so many of them!

      We are not given mercy because we deserve it, but because we need it.

      by Ahianne on Sat Sep 24, 2011 at 06:59:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  In short (16+ / 0-)

    Nativist Christian bigots with a propensity for violence.

  •  I do agree with Perry on the Wall & DREAM act (6+ / 0-)

    Building a wall all the way across our southern border is ridiculous!

    The GOP says -- "firefighters are thugs!"

    by MartyM on Sat Sep 24, 2011 at 08:22:24 AM PDT

  •  Interesting. (12+ / 0-)

    Christians are again seeking special protection. The National Organization For Marriage pledge signed by most of the candidates includes a provision that gays should be the target of a Presidential commission investigation, to "protect Christians."

    The Catholic Church has totally renegged their Kenmedy era promise to stay out of the White House and is now openly attacking Obama.

    Why would they choose a name like "know nothing."

    If President Bachmann attempts to close the gaps in the border fence she'll have a rude awakening. They exist because the oligarchs have asserted a "NIMBY!" stance. She won't be able to get over that fence.

    "A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."--Margaret Mead 

    by Scott Wooledge on Sat Sep 24, 2011 at 08:24:28 AM PDT

  •  I had a couple of thoughts going through (16+ / 0-)

    my mind as I read this; "The more things change..", and "American exceptionalism..".

    Catholicism was an issue, so much so that Bachmann had no problem with saying that the Catholic church is the anti-Christ.  It was an issue for John Kennedy, and he had to promise fervently that Catholic teachings would not be incorporated into his administration.

    How is it now alright that evangelical presidential candidates state forcefully that God or the Lord Jesus will fully occupy the White House if they are elected?  Why aren't people concerned about this?


    The religious fanatics didn't buy the republican party because it was virtuous, they bought it because it was for sale

    by nupstateny on Sat Sep 24, 2011 at 08:27:33 AM PDT

    •  1/4 of USA are Evangelicals, Another Chunk Maybe (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nupstateny, Cartoon Messiah, alizard

      at least 1/8 of the people are Catholics. I think popular support for a Christian-oriented government runs at least 1/3 of the general population, could be 40%.

      The corporations are thrilled at this as the Christianists seek authoritarian government and are supportive of restoring aristocratic wealth concentration. Media being Constitutionally the organ of the rich and corporations are not going to provide much space for challenging the Christianists and no-nothings as this movement is strongly in the media's interest by virtue of media being corporations too.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sat Sep 24, 2011 at 09:10:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for this (19+ / 0-)

    Five years ago, Unitary Moonbat did a series of diaries on this period, including discussion of the know-nothings.  The last four on this search result are the relevant items.  Think of it as additional reading, or a different take on the story.

    Grab all the joy you can. (exmearden 8/10/09)

    by Land of Enchantment on Sat Sep 24, 2011 at 08:31:23 AM PDT

  •  As late as the early 1960s (22+ / 0-)

    Catholic Italian-American families such as mine were not welcome to live on the Main Street of the New England town in which I grew up.

    Truth be told I preferred living in the modest yet vibrant ethnic neighborhood where we lived. Now that I am in Dallas, the Mexican-American neighborhoods remind me a lot of my childhood home.  Fear of the "others" is a curse and an evil that afflicts the haters as well as the hated: Xenophobes are missing out on the richness of American life.

    Cause we find ourselves in the same old mess singin' drunken lullabies--Flogging Molly

    by dalfireplug on Sat Sep 24, 2011 at 08:33:36 AM PDT

    •  In the 1940s my catholic mother was turned down (10+ / 0-)

      for employment at the executive level several times
       simply for being catholic. Businesses just outright told her: "We don't hire catholics."

      They basically told her, even though she had the education, training, qualifications and experience, that she should go apply at the garment factory.

      (She did eventually get a great job at a major corporation because of WWII--all the men were being drafted and they couldn't afford to discriminate so much anymore)

    •  Ethnic and religious bigotry (12+ / 0-)

      was very much a part of the early 20th century. This has always been a country for white anglo-saxon protestant male landowners. Ever since people of diverse backgrounds got the vote, WASPs have been trying to turn back the clock.

      New England was less of a melting pot than people realize. The Massachusetts town I grew up in had all the ethnic groups in their own little enclaves. We each had our own Catholic churches. When one of my great aunts, from the French church, married a boy from the Polish church it was cause for much concern. My own father grew up in a French "ghetto" in another town and learned French before he learned English. Once we learned to pull together as one (in political parties), we were much better off than as smaller ethnic or racial groups.

      It is much the same as it is now: we need to pool our resources and be willing to let some issues be subsumed for the greater good. For example, if the plutocrats succeed in voter suppression, it makes no difference if my favorite issue is not issue number 1. None of our issues will be in the top 100 of a Republican administration.

      •  true in West Michigan too... (12+ / 0-)

        This from an old family album...

        In 1890 Hilda married a german carpenter, Henry. Henry learned to farm so his carpentry trade slacked off.

        They lived in the log cabin for a long time until Henry, being a carpenter, began to build his own home on the spot they cleared in the woods near Falmouth. At this time, besides Bertha, Henry and Hilda had five of their seven children.

        Both Lizz and Cristine rode on the wagonload of wood their dad was hauling to the new homesite. It was the first time either of the girls had seen where they were to live. Henry began to unload the wagon and the girls were off inspecting. In the back of the site was a cluster of bushes and trees just right for making into a play house. What fun they had pretending until it was time to go home. What plans they had made for tomorrow.

        Again they ran to the playhouse while dad was working. As they pushed back the leaves both screamed, turned and ran to dad, for in the middle of the house were two very large snakes. They never ventured that way again.

        The evening was darkening and shadows growing longer. Hilda was taking her children deep into a virgin woods to a place where light can't get because of the density of the forest. A lesson must be impressed on their minds and Hilda knew what she had to do. The sounds of the night screamed at their hearts and stomachs crawled up to throats. Their mother spoke solemnly about death and how it would be to die. The only way for them to ever be saved was if they believed in Jesus Christ. One last thing must be told. A time of great persecution was coming when the Catholics would  join together and try to kill all Christians - Always Beware! They came back to a warm fireside hearth but the memory was burned into their minds never to be forgotten.

        It was still the same way in the late 1960s when my sister got married to a catholic man and my grandmother refused to attend the wedding due to his religion.  The Dutch Reformed (and Christian Reformed) in that area had problems with the Catholics in the old country and brought those problems here when they emigrated from the Netherlands.

        A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams

        by dougymi on Sat Sep 24, 2011 at 09:25:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  American Party (11+ / 0-)

    There was a party split over slavery after 1856. The northern Know Nothings were absorbed by the Republicans. However, in the south the American Party survived for another few years, mostly I suspect as a political home for former Whigs who could not quite bring themselves to join the Democratic  Party and who would not accept the anti-slavery agenda of the early Republican Party.

    There is no man alive who is sufficiently good to rule the life of the man next door to him. Sir Rhys Hopkin Morris, M.P.

    by Gary J on Sat Sep 24, 2011 at 08:54:00 AM PDT

  •  American Party (Know Nothings) swept MA (8+ / 0-)

    in 1854.  Every statewide office, the entire Congressional delegation; all but three seats in the Legislature (both branches) were held by either No Nothings, or candidates they supported.

    It was, by far, the most success the American party ever had.  A dark chapter in the history of the Commonwealth.

    I'll believe a corporation is a person when Texas executes one.

    by aisling on Sat Sep 24, 2011 at 09:07:01 AM PDT

  •  As This Was the Same Period Industrialization (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ozsea1, NonnyO, Cartoon Messiah

    was beginning to take off, I wonder if there was a growing wealth concentration and disparity that might've been a contributing factor. It's always more likely to blame others when there are tough times.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Sep 24, 2011 at 09:17:03 AM PDT

  •  Good lesson on a party (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dalfireplug, OldDragon, NonnyO

    which was a founding part of the original Republican coalition.  There antecedents live on today in the Tea Party.

    I'm EAGER to act to rid the site of anyone that even skirts the line into racism. kos

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Sat Sep 24, 2011 at 09:37:00 AM PDT

  •  Tip'd n Rec'd Oji, WTG on GOP ancestory show.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dalfireplug

    thanks

    Verbal repetitive reinforced Bull S; is MSM weapon of mass destruction!

    by laserhaas on Sat Sep 24, 2011 at 09:43:28 AM PDT

  •  Anti Irish immigrants (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dalfireplug, NonnyO, libnewsie

    awful times, especially in North East

  •  1976 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dalfireplug, BarackStarObama

    Ask not for whom the ban hammer swings. It swings for thee.

    by Nada Lemming on Sat Sep 24, 2011 at 10:41:44 AM PDT

  •  T&Red. History sure does rhyme. n/t (0+ / 0-)

    An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. -Benjamin Franklin

    by martinjedlicka on Sat Sep 24, 2011 at 11:40:05 AM PDT

  •  Wingnuts just wrong about "natural-born" citizens (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NonnyO, Temmoku, lurkyloo, Cartoon Messiah

    Clearly, it cannot refer to being the children of US citizens. If that's what it meant, the first half-dozen US Presidents would not have been eligible to serve (actually, the first seven were not born to US citizens, since they were all born before there was a USA -- and, clearly, it couldn't refer to parents who acquired their citizenship after the child was born).

    Their argument is just plain stupid.

    Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

    by FischFry on Sat Sep 24, 2011 at 11:48:47 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for another great diary Ojibwa. :-) n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Temmoku, alizard

    "Congress has not been able to fix these flaws so far, so I will." - President Obama, 9/23/11

    by BarackStarObama on Sat Sep 24, 2011 at 01:22:37 PM PDT

  •  GOP ought to change name back to Know Nothing Prty (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Temmoku, alizard

    Some truth in advertising would be refreshing.

    Gasoline made from the tar sands gives a Toyota Prius the same impact on climate as a Hummer using gasoline made from oil. ~ Al Gore

    by Lefty Coaster on Sat Sep 24, 2011 at 02:06:29 PM PDT

  •  I think the Know Nothings have a new home. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    libnewsie

    Just read the comments to Objibwa's very informative and thoughtful post. The left clearly is not foreign territory to religious bigotry. The bigotry is acceptable as long as it is directed at the right groups.

  •  The Scots . . . well they are some tough folk. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    libnewsie

    Living in a land covered in thistles, where they haven't invented trousers.

    Courage is contagious. - Daniel Ellsberg

    by semiot on Sat Sep 24, 2011 at 03:29:19 PM PDT

  •  Anti-Catholicism etc. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ahianne, libnewsie

    In Oregon it was only recently that a KKK-era anti-Catholic law was repealed.  At the time of it's passage in the early 20th century it was intended to prevent Catholic schools from getting state funds, as it prevented public school teachers from being able to wear anything of religious significance.  Today, it prevented some Sikhs and Muslims from being able to teach.  Thankfully, it was finally repealed.

    I changed by not changing at all, small town predicts my fate, perhaps that's what no one wants to see. -6.38, -4.15

    by James Allen on Sat Sep 24, 2011 at 04:17:20 PM PDT

  •  Anti Education, Anti Science, Head in Sand (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ojibwa, alizard

    That would be a working definition of "Know Nothing" politics or any era.  

    The only thing that the Dominionist driven need know is the talking points they have been handed.  

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Sat Sep 24, 2011 at 05:57:41 PM PDT

  •  I have two sections of US until 1877 this semester (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ojibwa, TiaRachel

    Great diary.  I'm going to use it in reverse both times I have to teach this material in late November.  Don't forget, quite a few of the disaffected Whigs who formed the Know Nothing movement ended up in the new Republican Party in 1858 and 1860.

    All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

    by Dave in Northridge on Sat Sep 24, 2011 at 11:12:57 PM PDT

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