From Ohio History Central
Revision as of 18:11, 27 April 2013 by (Talk)

Nativism is a reaction against immigrants. Earlier inhabitants of an area or a country sometimes develop a dislike or fear of immigrants.

Nativism and racism are similar. In both cases, a strong dislike or hatred arises on the part of one group against another group. With racism, however, one race dislikes another race. With nativism, people of the same race may dislike each other.

Nativism has been a major theme in United States history. Some of the original colonists of British North America despised people who had different religious faiths than themselves. Beginning in the 1830s and 1840s, many white Americans developed nativist sentiments towards Irish immigrants. Several reasons existed for this dislike, including the fact most Irish immigrants were Roman Catholics, the inaccurate stereotype that Irish people were heavy drinkers, and the fact that many Irish immigrants were very poor and willing to work for less money than native-born Americans, thus causing some American employers to hire Irish workers over native Americans. During World War II, a fear of Japanese Americans developed, prompting the United States government to place Japanese Americans in internment camps. In the early twenty-first century a strong dislike of people of Middle Eastern descent arose, principally because of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

In Ohio, nativist sentiment also existed. Many Ohioans opposed the Irish and the Japanese Americans, but the best example of nativism in Ohio occurred during World War I. During World War I, the United States and its allies were fighting against Germany and its allies in Europe. As a result, anti-German sentiment developed in Ohio and across the nation during 1917 and 1918. Being anti-German became a way of showing patriotism for the American war effort, but many Ohioans began to target German Americans in their zeal to promote patriotism.

The Ohio government promoted some anti-German activities, such as Ohio