« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
KNOW-NOTHINGISM IN WISCONSIN
Philadelphia, on the fourth of July, 1844, staged a unique and grandiose celebration. It was in the nature of a mighty demonstration of the Native American, or Republican Associations of that city, joined by allied organizations from neighboring cities and states. The leading feature was the parade which began at ten thirty, having formed on Arch Street and proceeded, by a complicated route employing nearly a score of streets and roads, to Snyder's woods. The procession, we are told, was preceded by a "trumpeter of fame, mounted." Then, in order, came: "the Committee of Arrangement on horseback, ten in number, with broad light blue silk scarfs, badges on hats, and carrying truncheons"; chief marshal and aides, mounted; plough, drawn by two horses, "the horses and harness decorated with ripe grain, farmers leading the horses and following the plough"; victuallers of the city, one hundred and thirty of them, in white frocks, with scarf and sash, mounted; "twenty infirm native American citizens, mounted, in citizen's dress; a barouche containing the president and vice-president of the New York delegation, followed by the committee of arrangements from New York, mounted, sixty-five members"; their banner, borne in the barouche, proclaimed the sentiment: "The Bible the basis of Education, and the Safeguard of Liberty."
Following the New York delegation came the delegation from Wilmington, Delaware, forty-five members, also with a barouche and with a banner inscribed with the challenge: "Our fathers gave us the Bible, we will not yield it to a foreign hand." Following this came a barouche bearing the orator of the day (William D. Baker), the reader of the
Declaration of Independence, and several others. A "Temple of Liberty" came next. It was supported by thirteen Greek columns, suspended on each "a scrolled shield bearing the coats of arms of the thirteen original states."
The temple was the real head of the procession. It was followed by the representations of the several states mounted, the committee of relief, the "orphans of the martyrs [those killed in the riots to be mentioned later] and the wounded in the assault at Kensington"; the Camden, New Jersey, Native American Republican Association; Second Ward Spring Garden Association, with a banner inscribed: "Foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of a Republican government"; more barouches, marshals, aides, etc. Then followed, in seemingly endless array, the organizations from the wards of the city, the suburbs, and those of neighboring towns, carrying banners inscribed with sentiments appropriate to the occasion, such as: "Beware of foreign influence," "The future destinies of the country depend on us," "Right gives might," "United who can break us," "21 years," and "America, our native land." It is said the line was an hour and a quarter in passing a given point; that the streets along the whole line were densely crowded, while "the windows and balconies of the houses were occupied by ladies, showering bouquets and wreaths, and waving their handkerchiefs in token of admiration."
In this manner did the "Native American Republican Associations" first effectually dramatize their principles and their power in the eyes of the American public. The origin of this particular movement dates from the year 1837, when a meeting of native Americans occurred at Germantown, Pennsylvania, which drew up a declaration
1 This description is from John Hancock Lee, The Origin and Progress of the American Party in Politics (Philadelphia, 1855), chap. xvii.
of principles, while about the same time meetings in New York took similar action. That was just the period of the rapid settlement of Northeasterners, or Yankees, in Wisconsin, and in order to reveal the character of the agitation which came ten years later to that new community, it is only necessary to discover what Nativism meant where it manifested itself more normally. The Germantown "Preamble and Constitution" of 1837 affords a partial interpretation. In that document the Nativists demanded a repeal of the naturalization law of 1790, which permitted foreign-born persons, arriving in this country, to become citizens of the United States after five years' residence therein. “It needs no argument," they say, "to prove how rapidly increasing is the foreign influence, even now by far too powerful in our country; and the day must come and, we fear, is not far distant, when most of our offices will be held by foreigners-men who have no sympathy with the spirit of our institutions. . .Is this the way to secure and perpetuate the freedom for which our ancestors bled and died? No, Americans, No! Let us come forward, then, and prove that the spirit of '76 is not yet extinct, and that we are not degenerate sons of worthy sires. Let us crush this rising power: it has already blossomed, let us destroy it in the bud, ere the fruit reach maturity."3
The address declares that the emigrants from Europe, who are coming at that time, are chiefly of those classes who, "discontented and oppressed at home, leave there filled with all the requisite materials to spread among our citizens anarchy, radicalism and rebellion."
This earliest pronouncement says nothing to indicate that a religious issue was involved in Nativism, but that phase of the subject was not long in manifesting itself.
2 In a very real sense, however, the agitation leading to the passing of the alien and sedition acts during John Adams' presidency may be regarded as the first of the antiforeign movements in this country.