tv [untitled] June 23, 2012 3:00pm-3:30pm EDT
every weekend we visit historic sites, museums and college classrooms as leading professors and historians reveal secrets from the past. civil war with debates and interviews about the people and events that shaped an era. every saturday at 6:00 and 10:00 pm eastern and sunday mornings at 11:00 here on american history tv on c-span3. up next, history professor james connolly speaks about immigration and the roots of pluralism in the united states. this one hour and 15-minute class took place at ball state university in indiana. watch more history lectures every saturday at 8:00 pm and midnight eastern and sundays at 1:00 pm. >> all right. on tuesday in class, we looked at the social question in europe. and one of the things we talk about is the ways in which
european governments attempted to appease the working classes, reduce social tension. one of the tools they used was mass politics, we talked about. that's also something that's going on in the united states. in the united states, that process takes on a much different context. and the main reason for that is that in the u.s., you have universal white male suffrage by about 18 20. unlike in europe where it is france and the 1870s and other countries later on, in the u.s. you have basically full mass democracy very early on and you have it before most immigrants show up. so, when immigrants begin to be integrated into american society and particularly when they begin to be integrated into american politics, they're being integrated into a much different world than are those immigrants that we've talked about in europe. so what i want to do today is
talk about how the united states begins to develop a pluralist philosophy, a pluralist vision of how the country might work, and in particular, i want to trace the roots of that back to the way politics worked in 19th century america. i have here -- just to give you a sense of the kind of politics we're talking about, an image from harper's weekly in 1858, around election time or just after election time, in 1858. it shows a saloon and a polling place. they didn't do it in elementary schools. they did it in saloons and places like that. this is in the sixth ward in new york. there are a lot of details that clue you in as to the environment that's being created. it is a saloon. you have a dog running around, a kid who is i think begging, asking for money, and you have
-- if you look at a lot of art from the magazines of the middle of the 19th century, the clothing you see is very much working class style. the guys with the dark top hats on the right are sporting men, men usually involved in gambling and other kinds of vice and so forth. if you want to vote, you can see the doorway all the way in the back. you had to go in there to vote. anyone who wanted to vote had to make their way through the saloon itself to get into the back. if you see the two posters on either sides of the door -- i don't know how well you can make it out from back there, but on the left is a campaign poster for john clancy and on the right is a campaign poster for john kelly. clancy and kelly. this was an irish environment. this was an irish neighborhood. what's going on here is you're starting to see politics in which immigrants are heavily involved. the person who drew this picture or designed this picture for harper's wasn't very happy about that, and this is supposed to be a picture of what is wrong with american politics in new york
city in the 1850s. for many, many immigrants, politics is one of the key ways in which they integrate themselves into american life and they do this from the get-go. and that is what's going to really make a difference in the way americans begin to conceive of their own identities and of the nation's identity as well. so that's what i want to talk about, the immigrant experience of politics in the 19th century and how that relates to and develops over time and produces by the time you get to the early 20th century a pluralist philosophy and explanation of what the united states was like. now, basically, just as -- there's a lot of different ways to define and understand pluralism. and so just for our purposes of fairly straightforward and basic definition of it is a vision of in this case the united states as a country with many different cultures, many different ethnic groups. there isn't one single american
identity that everyone has to subscribe to in every way. another way to think about it is the way in which immigrants could identify themselves. they could identify themselves in hyphenated terms as irish-american, polish-american and italian-american. and what i want to do today is get at the roots of that identity, the roots of the development of that conception of what the united states is. we're to do it by going through three different sections, three different sets of developments. the first is going to be the world of party politics like the image we just looked at from the period from about 1840 to the end of the 19th century. it's a period when there is very stiff competition between the two major parties for votes and that includes votes for immigrants. it's a period when efforts to naturalize and bring immigrants into american life are
particularly intense, and it's a period when identities, particularly we'll look at the case of irish-american, identities take shape in a particular way. then we'll look at a little bit about how immigrant politics or ethnic politics changes as you get into the early 20th century. during that era you see a slower pace of naturalization. you get fewer and fewer immigrants who are coming into the united states and very quickly becoming citizens, the pace of naturalization slows down. there is a number of different reasons we'll talk about. you still see immigrants engaged in american public life and american civic life pretty intensely, and so you still have a process where immigrants are participating in politics while also remaining within their own ethnic communities and developing these same hyphenated identities. you could be, again, italian-american, polish-american and so forth in
this period. all of this sort of comes to a head in the first part of the 20th century doing some of the stuff we already talked about and read about with the rise of nativism, and particularly the stuff that jacobson outlined for you. and immigrants are facing this onslaught, demands to restrict immigration and demands to prevent immigrants from becoming citizens, arguments that they're inferior in a biological sense, a racial sense as well. and so they start to argue back and this is when they begin to articulate the set of experiences they've had of being irish and american and being both italian and american. and for the past century and so you see the articulation of a cultural pluralism, a pluralism in the first decades of the 20th century, so -- does this makes sense to everyone? any questions at this point? all right. good.
let's go back to the early part of the 19th century. as i said before, the united states is a country that is the quickest to democratize in the western world. by about 1820 in almost every state, every adult white male can vote. you remember the naturalization rules that allow free, white people to become american citizens. you have similar voting rules by the time you get to the '20s, that every free, white american is allowed to vote. so when immigrants start to show up in significant numbers, which is what the case in the 1820s and 1830s and very much the case in the 1840s and afterwards,
they're showing up into a political environment in which they're already qualified to vote as soon as they become citizens, and remember the clause or the requirement that they be white. there is a debate about whether the irish are white. we talked about that a little bit and whether other groups are white or not, but for purposes of voting, they were considered white, and so they had access to the ballot from very early on. now, the world they come into, the political environment they come into is quite intense. there is a fierce competition going on beginning in the 1830s and 1840s between two major political parties. the other feature of american public life that develops and intensifies in this period is the growth of mass political parties. the united states is not only the first to provide voting rights to just about every adult man, it's also the first country to see large mass political parties. by about the end of the 1830s, both parties are fully committed to mobilizing as many voters as possible, of allowing as many people as possible or at least as many men as possible to participate in american politics
and so there is an incentive on their part to mobilize new voters. and those new voters, in many cases, are immigrants. so, there is a real pressure on both political organizations. both major parties. in the 1840s, we're talking about the democrats and the wigs. a little bit later, it will shift over, by the end of the 1850s, to being between democrats and republicans, the two parties that remain with us today, all the way through. these two organizations need as many votes as they can get. they develop particularly in cities, but elsewhere as well. they develop very elaborate organizations that will eventually come to be called political machines. so machines is kind of another word for the party organizations of the 19th century and into the early 20th century. they're really well developed in cities where you have neighborhoods broken down, block by block, precinct by precinct,
people in charge of mobilizing the vote in each of these little neighborhoods, ensuring that everybody on the block has voted, has voted properly. voting was much more public in the 19th century than the 20th. there was no secret ballots so they knew how you were voting. they had all kinds of tricks. sometimes they printed their own ballots prechecked and everything so if you want to vote for the democrats, they just hand you a ballot and you handed it in and you didn't have to read it or know what was going on. gradually over the course of the 19th century you get rules that are designed to make it harder for parties to dictate people's votes, so they say you can't have preprinted ballots. you have to have publicly provided ballots and they would do clever things like putting drops of perfume on their ballots which were also prechecked and people would stand by the polling place and sniff your ballot. and if they didn't get chanel
number 5 or whatever it is, they knew you didn't vote correctly. there are all kinds of ways in which they are able to manipulate and shape voting. they also provide all kinds of incentives. part of the deal in voting was that you were making a sort of exchange. you were doing your voting for the democratic party in exchange for a job or some other kind of favor, maybe easy access to a liquor license or a favor getting your son out of jail, or any of a number of other kinds of exchanges. so there was this bartering that goes on in which you change votes for favors and votes for service and votes for patronage during the really the whole of the 19th century. this system develops gradually from the middle of the 19th century and is really cemented into place in most cities by the beginning of the 20th century. the most famous of these political machines is tammany hall. you guys heard of tammany? remember tammany?
remember the thomas nast cartoons targeting boss tweed? tweed was a tammany hall guy. it becomes the quintessential machine, the quintessential example of a party organization in a city in 19th century america. and tammany hall is really in the throes of substantial competition, fierce competition with republicans with other factions within the democratic party, as well as all through the middle decades of the 19th century. one of the things they try to do rather is get new immigrants to vote for them. they would send guys down to greet the ships when they arrived at the docks. they would help people find a place to live. they would get them a job. as soon as they could, they would get them registered to vote, naturalized and registered to vote. it became a matter of great importance to tammany to naturalize immigrants as fast as it possibly good. these naturalizations we have up here between 1856 and '67 on
average about 9,200 people were naturalized per year. in 1868 there was a very fiercely competitive election and they needed as many votes as they can so they managed in that year alone, in new york city alone, to naturalize 48,000 immigrants. this was done in illegal, corrupt ways. they had judges they bribed who didn't really care if immigrants who had arrived actually waited the five years. we talked about it is a five-year waiting period for citizenship. so they had judges who just ignored the fact that the person just got off the boat a couple weeks ago and allowed them to register people. they hired a printer in 1868 who printed up over 100,000 ballots -- or, excuse me, not ballougts.
100,000 blank naturalization forms and about 70,000 completed naturalization certificates where they could just write somebody's name in. also they could basically churn out as many new immigrants who are now american citizens as possible, so you had cases of immigrants being in the united states for a matter of months, a matter of a year or two and already they were registered to vote. it is not just true of new york. this is -- the most famous case involves tammany hall and mobilizing immigrants in new york and it is happening other places as well, anywhere where there is a substantial competition. there is a researcher that looked at buffalo politics in the 1840s and found in the months leading to every election there was a spike in naturalizations where it would be a couple hundred people a week every week for several months would be naturalized. so these immigrants were coming over, particularly irish immigrants coming into new york city -- but it's also true of germans as well. these immigrants were becoming citizens and becoming voters in the united states very quickly.
does this make sense, everyone? how many of you wrote papers on the seiferts? yeah, a few of you did. one thing that william seifert does is get involves in politics. he comes over from germany, sets up a saw mill and farm in michigan. by the 1850s, he's heavily involved in politics. he's getting exercise over the slavery question. and do you remember who he is doing this politics with? who was he organizing with? do you remember? >> with the other germans. >> exactly. like a german faction locally involved in politics. this is happening all over the united states through the 1840s, the 1850s and all the way really through to the end of the 19th century. immigrants are very quickly becoming engaged in american politics. american politics is wide open. it allows people to get involved quickly and incentives to bring
new people in. and so what you end up seeing is immigrants come along and become citizens and voters without becoming culturally american. so you can stay with your german group in michigan and still be heavily involved in american politics. you can be barely off the boat from ireland in new york city and already voting in local elections in this way. so there are implications here for the experiences of immigrants and for the way they begin to identify themselves. we have talked a lot about how republican theories of the democracy require active civic participation. one of the essential things to being a good american citizen is participating in american politics. so you have these immigrants who are very quickly involved in one sort of the main kinds of things you do as an american citizen all the while, they're still living in an immigrant neighborhood, perhaps not even speaking english yet. in the case of the germans,
still in every cultural way being meshed in your ethnic, your natural community. yet at the same time, being fully active american citizens in a political sense. so, it's very easy for people to think of themselves very quickly after they come over to the united states as american citizens and as irish, as american citizens and as germans. and so you end up very quickly developing these hyphenated identities. it is not hard for irish-americans to imagine themselves as being both irish and being american and not thinking there was anything incompatible about those two things. not everybody agrees with that, right? we know there are plenty of people that disagree and the experience of these immigrants that are coming over is -- makes it very easy for them to imagine themselves in these terms. does this make sense? any questions at this point? no one wants to stand up and ask a question?
chicken. all right. there's another event that fuels this process of creating these dual identities, and that's the american civil war. what you see here is an image of the marshaling, the mustering i suppose of the 69th regiment in new york city. this is in all irish-american regiment that's going off to fight in the civil war. this is a scene that was sketched, obviously, of its parade before it departs new york city. the site that's been chosen for this image is pretty telling. along the right here is st. patrick's cathedral, the major roman catholic, irish catholic church in new york city. on the opposite side here is hibernian hall, the headquarters of the ancient hibernians, irish
fraternal group that was very prominent, been around in new york city for a while. did a great deal in terms of providing assistance to new irish immigrants and was really one of the central institutions of the irish-american community in new york city. so they're marching between these two big architectural symbols of the irish presence in new york. and as you look at this, i am not sure you can see the details easily, but there is a flag they use, a regimental flag, all green with an irish harp in the middle. and right next to it and also down the way a little bit as well is the american flag. so you have both symbols, both expressions of identity, american and irish mixed together. when they were recruiting this regiment, they were waving this green flag right next to the american flag, and they were arguing this is a way to really prove to those doubters, a way to prove to those know nothings that catholics can't be good citizens. that you really are good, loyal americans, prepared to make the
ultimate sacrifice that any american would make. and so you end up getting sort of these public symbols, these public expressions of identity in which both halves of these people's identities are expressed, both the irish half and the american half. yeah? whatever you want. yeah. >> so were the irish in the renlg dent, did they have to be citizens or could they also be people straight off the boat? >> they were typically citizens. you didn't have to be. there were cases when they were not citizens, people not yet naturalized, but that was unusual because naturalization happened so quickly when you get here, so it took awhile. you would have to really get someone pretty close to fresh off the boat to get them into this regiment without having already seen them naturalized. and tammany hall is involved
in the mobilization. so if a person wasn't already naturalized, they probably had them sign a form right there. yeah? >> since it's civil war, didn't immigration process was reduced? >> yeah, that's exactly right. immigration is much slower during the '60s. remember the graphs we looked at. there is a spike in the '40s and '50s and slows down in the case of the irish because the crisis of the famine is over and things stabilize a little bit in ireland. but it's also not an attractive time to be visiting the united states. it doesn't disappear entirely. there still is immigration. it does slow down. that's another reason why most of these people likely joining up with the regiment are likely to have been citizens because there hasn't been that many new arrivals recently. thanks. anything else?
now, this continues on. there's a lot of efforts to sort of assert this. one of the things i found striking, too, is that the catholic hierarchy, the archbishops in new york and in boston that also had an irish regiment -- and the 69th regiment we were just looking at, that was just one unit in a larger irish brigade. if you go to gettysburg today, there is a monument to the tammany regiment, which is essentially the irish regiment that fought at gettgettysburg. there was a conscious effort on the part of those participating in that unit and other irish units. there is an irish regiment that comes out of boston as well, for instance, to demonstrate that you were both irish and a good american.
part of the recruiting pitch is prove to everyone that we're good citizens and part of this union cause and of course they're all northerners, but there is also sort of we want to assert our own identity and maintain our own identity, so there is a story about an irish unit at the battle of fredericksburg in virginia that took clips of a boxwood which is a little green bush with green leaves and put the box wood branchs in their hats and so there was a little sort of splash of green across the union blue uniform to let everyone know they were irish and so that's a strategy. that's a way of asserting yourself and saying i am american but i am also irish. so this is a context in which american and irish identities fuse even more tightly. it's not a coincidence that anti-catholic and anti-irish nativism diminishes considerably in the immediate aftermath of the war.
it will come back later in the 19th century, but for a while the irish demonstration of their loyalty really proves to people that there is a reason to accept the irish as legitimate americans in this process. this is an irish catholic -- i am assuming they're irish. i am certain they're almost all entirely irish from a boston unit celebrating mass on the battlefield. the picture is not identified. i don't know which unit it is. i don't know who the priest is. there is a couple of women in the picture, so my hunch is this is at camp before the battle started. there weren't a lot of photographers running around on civil war battlefields at the time. we talked about how hard it was to take pictures in the middle of the 19th century so this is clearly a posed photograph. but it's also another signal, you know, that we are here participating in the war effort and we are still irish and still catholic. of course, what charge are they responding to here? what's the worry that catholics have in the united states?
go ahead. >> they'll only listen to the pope. >> that they'll only listen to the pope, that they're loyal to the pope before and instead of being loyal to the united states, and you can't be a good citizen, particularly if you're overly obedient to the pope and the clergy you can't be independent citizen required in the american public so this is a way of saying, hey, we're being good citizens and participating in the war effort even as we are still overtly practicing our catholicism. more of these kinds of expressions of dual identities. fast forward after the civil war a little bit. this is a famous st. patrick's day parade, again in new york city, in 1871. where else have we seen a picture of st. patrick's day before? anyone remember? >> the nast cartoon. >> the day we celebrate. a lot different, right?
that was a picture of a drunken riot. this is the opposite. it is orderly, calm, peaceful. and that's not a coincidence. the irish are very conscious in the public displays as anyone involved and sending a message about who they are and the details here are pretty interesting. up front have you a guy on a horse that doesn't seem to be going particularly well, but he has the plumed hat and so forth. does anybody recognize that uniform? i wouldn't necessarily expect it. but it's a knights of columbus uniform, catholic men's organization. these guys with the long, flowing cloaks, i guess they are, they are -- i will say it wrong, gallow glasses i think is the name. what is it? gallow glasses, yeah. they are ancient irish warriors the costumes they're wearing.
in this main carriage that's being towed is a bust of general o'connell, the leader of the independence movement in ireland for this, so irish nationalism. remember how jacobson talks about nationalism being an important part of identities and he has that and he is in here and o'connell will come to new york city. and over here you have the irish brigade we were looking at a few years earlier and there is the harp, and behind it the american flag marching in good order. this is not a riot or a drunken brawl of the kind that nash showed us from a few years earlier. what's the other big violent event in new york city during the civil war just a few years before? >> draft riots. >> draft riots, right. there is this history and perception the irish are violent thugs creating chaos in the various riots and disloyal, so these orderly processions are designed to counter that image and to suggest something else. so there is a blend of these irish symbols, appropriating space in the middle of new york city.
i think this is right near central park, although i am not certain of that. there is a mixing of american symbols and irish symbols and throughout and notice the women dressed here like the feminine image of the republic or maryann in the french case and the feminine image of a republic of virtue, one of the ways in which the american nation was symbolized in cartoons of the middle of the 19th century. so again blending republican american images with irish images and the fact that the campaign for a free irish republic meshes with the idea that the united states is a republic. so it's very easy for irish people, at least, to imagine themselves as being good, loyal irish men and women and being good americans, the two identities are merging, coming together. >> would the americans have seen them pushing for a republic as proof that like not the civil
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