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The way we were: American populism—the people and their enemies

Extracts from memoirs and diaries

By Ian Irvine   November 2016

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In the early 1850s immigration to the United States rose dramatically. Most were Catholics from Ireland and Germany. A movement of nativist reaction called “Know Nothings” had considerable electoral success. It was hostile to wealth, elites and expertise, and deeply suspicious of outsiders. An 1855 editorial in a Texas newspaper railed: “It is a notorious fact that the Monarchs of Europe and…

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