James G. Blaine

.       Republican politician, unsuccessful presidential nominee in 1884

.       First powerful easterner to endorse anti-Chinese sentiment; played major role in passage of Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882


Millard Fillmore

.       13th President of the United States, 1850-53

.       In 1856, ran for president again on ticket of Know-Nothing Party, but received only 23% of vote

.       His loss demonstrated political weakness of anti-immigration parties


Abraham Lincoln

.       Illinois Senator and 16th President of the United States

.       First Republican President, elected 1860

.       Issued Emancipation Proclamation in 1863

.       Set anti-nativist standard for Republican Party, broken only by Blaine


Denis Kearney

.       Irish demagogue and politician based in San Francisco, 1870s

.       Launched California Workingmen's Party, first successful nativist party

.       Threatened violence against politicians and organized riots against Chinese

.       His agitation led to passage of Chinese Exclusion Act, 1882




Naturalization Act of 1795

.       Extended required period of U.S. residency before citizenship from two to five years

.       Alien and Sedition Acts, passed in 1798, extended required period to fourteen years

.       Thomas Jefferson lowered required wait for citizenship again in 1800


1844 Irish Potato Famine

.       Led to the death of one million in Ireland

.       Sparked the emigration of some two million

.       Contributed to highest immigration rate in U.S. national history


1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

.       Ended Mexican-American War

.       U.S. gained Texas, California, much of Southwest

.       80,000 Mexicans suddenly found themselves living in U.S. territory and gained U.S. citizenship


1849 Rise of Know-Nothings

.       Originally formed as secret society in New York City

.       Organization of native-born Americans opposed to immigration of Catholics, especially Irish


1854 Founding of American Party

.       Know-Nothings converted into overt political party

.       Demanded 21-year waiting period for citizenship, restriction of jobs available to Catholics, temperance


1856 Presidential Election

.       Democrat James Buchanan won presidency with backing of immigrant voters

.       Millard Fillmore, anti-immigrant American Party nominee, got 23% of vote

.       Showed that Know-Nothings would not become a significant opposition party


1865 First Chinese Railroad Workers

Hired by Central Pacific

.       Initially only fifty Chinese were hired

.       By 1867, Chinese laborers made up 90% of workforce


1877 Formation of California

Workingman's Party

.       Wanted to drive out Chinese and punish businessmen that employed them

.       Marched in San Francisco, rioted in Chinatown     

.       Elected its first state senator and forced revision of state constitution in 1878

.       Faded by 1880


1882 Chinese Exclusion Act

.       Immigration from China banned for ten years

.       Immigration Act of 1882 also passed in same year, banning criminals, "idiots", and lunatics from entering U.S.





.       Anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant secret society in 1850s

.       Membership peaked somewhere above one million

.       Split over slavery

.       Their American Party polled only 23% in presidential race in 1956


Workingman's Party

.       California political party

.       Dedicated to barring Chinese immigration

.       Organized by Irish immigrant Denis Kearney

.       Helped rewrite California constitution

.       Eventually absorbed by Democrats


Nonpartisan Party

.       Union of Democrats and Republicans in California

.       Formed to counter Workingman's Party


"Big Four"

.       Group of four California rail barons who led Central Pacific RR

.       Leland Stanford, Collis P. Huntington, Mark Hopkins, Charles Crocker

.       Hired first Chinese railroad workers





.       Process by which an immigrant group assimilates to host society



.       Opposition to immigration

.       Can be based on racism, economic and cultural worries, politics

.       Workingman's Party was a nativist party, meaning its platform was dominated by anti-immigration measures



New York, New York

.       Birthplace of Know-Nothing societies, 1850s

.       Epicenter of anti-Irish nativism


San Francisco, California

.       Birthplace of California Workingman's Party

.       Epicenter of anti-Chinese nativism, 1870s

.       Spent rainy winter encamped at Fort Clatsop at mouth of Columbia River