America has a long history of people bitching about all those immigrants….about the Chinese, Irish, Italian, Cuban, Vietnamese, on and on…there is nothing really special about the “dislike” of immigrants. Trump was not the first and I am sure that he will not be the last bigot in office.
But can we point to the first Trump-esque American in our society?
Yes we can….and his name was….Lewis Charles Levin in Philadelphia…..the year is 1844……and the movement has been simmering for over 150 years……
On a stormy Monday afternoon in the spring of 1844, a stout, well-built, 35-year-old Philadelphia newspaper editor ascended a makeshift podium assembled from a stack of packing boxes. Surrounded by some three thousand of his fervent supporters – butchers, grocers, carpenters and craftsman, many armed for this occasion – Lewis Charles Levin had come to the main market in Philly’s heavily Irish-Catholic neighborhood of Kensington. He was there to rail against the rising tide of Catholic immigrants taking jobs from proud Pennsylvania-born Protestants, and the resulting “consequence upon American liberty” he vowed would surely come of admitting even more foreigners.
Learn more about our first “Trump-esque”……https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/lewis-levin-wasnt-nice
Levin was a son of immigrant Jew from England…..
Levin was born on Nov. 10, 1808, in Charleston, South Carolina, to parents who had immigrated from England. Charleston was then home to about 700 Jews, which was enough to make it the largest community of Jews in the United States.
Over the next 30 years, Levin pursued at least three careers in at least five states, maybe more. He spent two years in Columbia, South Carolina, attending college and running a dry goods store. He next became a schoolmaster, starting one school in Cincinnati, and then, a year later, another one in Woodville, Mississippi. He next moved to Vicksburg, then Nashville, then Baltimore, probably with sojourns in Kentucky and Louisiana as well. Along the way he learned enough law to call himself “L. C. Levin, Esq.,” though what legal training he received, and even what bars admitted him, remain obscure.
Probably Levin is best known for being the first leader of the Know Nothing Party.
About here…unless you are a strong student of American history then this means little…..
The Know-Nothing Party, also known as the American Party, was a prominent United States political party during the late 1840s and the early 1850s.
The American Party originated in 1849. Its members strongly opposed immigrants and followers of the Catholic Church. The majority of white Americans followed Protestant faiths. Many of these people feared Catholics because members of this faith followed the teachings of the Pope. The Know-Nothings feared that the Catholics were more loyal to the Pope than to the United States. More radical members of the Know-Nothing Party believed that the Catholics intended to take over the United States of America. The Catholics would then place the nation under the Pope’s rule. The Know-Nothing Party intended to prevent Catholics and immigrants from being elected to political offices. Its members also hoped to deny these people jobs in the private sector, arguing that the nation’s business owners needed to employ true Americans.
The Know Nothing Party reshaped American politics so much that it is still felt today.
Like Fight Club, there were rules about joining the secret society known as the Order of the Star Spangled Banner (OSSB). An initiation rite called “Seeing Sam.” The memorization of passwords and hand signs. A solemn pledge never to betray the order. A pureblooded pedigree of Protestant Anglo-Saxon stock and the rejection of all Catholics. And above all, members of the secret society weren’t allowed to talk about the secret society. If asked anything by outsiders, they would respond with, “I know nothing.”
So went the rules of this secret fraternity that rose to prominence in 1853 and transformed into the powerful political party known as the Know Nothings. At its height in the 1850s, the Know Nothing party, originally called the American Party, included more than 100 elected congressmen, eight governors, a controlling share of half-a-dozen state legislatures from Massachusetts to California, and thousands of local politicians. Party members supported deportation of foreign beggars and criminals; a 21-year naturalization period for immigrants; mandatory Bible reading in schools; and the elimination of all Catholics from public office. They wanted to restore their vision of what America should look like with temperance, Protestantism, self-reliance, with American nationality and work ethic enshrined as the nation’s highest values.
You can see where this all lead….straight to the nativist BS that we are living today…..some ideas are not defeated just put into a slumber to await the next round to HATRED.
I Read, I Write, You Know
“lego ergo scribo”