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tv   [untitled]    May 20, 2012 12:30am-1:00am EDT

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draft riots. yeah. 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. this way 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 mary ann 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 is very easy for irish people at least to imagine
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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 rising mission but that they had improved the irish? >> there is some who -- yeah, the idea that them advocating for irish republic would be evidence of the irish moving up the ladder a little bit socially and civically and i think there is some of that and certainly people who argue a little later on that the irish progressed enough they can be considered legitimate american citizens. it is the other newcomers that arrived more recently that we have worry about, the new italians and eastern european jews and so forth and there is a little bit of that and this is an irish authored image that's being created here. irish sort of answering that charge that they're not good citizens, and so they do make
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the claim supporting a republic in ireland is consistent with being a good republican citizen in the united states. other questions? does this make sense? we talked about on tuesday this idea of invented traditions and that's what's going on here. this is the st. patrick's day parade is a relatively new phenomenon in new york. you had parades by basically catholic churches on st. patrick's day going back to the late 18th century and tended to be a number of small parades by different churches in different parts of town. the first sort of all new york single st. patrick's day parade is 1848, just after you start to see the influx of the irish so it is a firly new tradition, the idea of a single irish march on this date. >> did the parade originate in ireland or in -- >> it is an irish custom as well, but it takes on particular
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meanings in the american context. joseph. >> is this parade organized by tammany as well? >> no, it is organized by the ancient order of hibernians, the fraternal group. by the time you get to the 1870s and the wake of the civil war, irish americans were quite convinced they could be legitimately irish and legitimately american at the same time and that the two things weren't incompatible and that remains the way things proceed through the rest of the 19th century for the most part. there is ups and downs. we read about the rise of the american protective association, the resurgence of nativism in the late 1880s and 1890s and there is always friction and debates and disagreements about schooling and catholics are
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quite suspicious of public schools which they see as essentially vehicles for converting people to protestant faith or protestant faiths i should say, so there is friction but the essential claim the irish make to being american citizens remains very powerful and persists into the 20th century. this is true for germans as well. if you did a similar kind of case study looking at the way the germans are integrated civically while retaining their german identity, william seifert participating in politics and doing it inside of a german group, a german faction and also maintaining close ties with home and the correspondence with his parents and so forth we looked at and so forth, so this is a phenomena that is true of the germans as well as the irish in the 19th century and true of other groups as well in this period. any questions in the 19th
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century before we bump forward a little bit into the 20th century? this is when american politics starts to change and takes on a little bit different character. that intense partisan competition moderates some, doesn't disappear altogether but diminishes. machines are entrenched and powerful and will persist into the 20th century, that highly organized effort to mobilize voters in urban settings and continues and it gets a little harder and the incentives change. the circumstances in which machines are operating changes. it is not in their interest to mobilize every immigrant as soon as they come off the boat now in the way that it had once been. there is a number of reasons for this. some of it has to do with what happens in particular cities. in some cities there is a decline in competition. one party organization essentially gains control of the city and dominates, and in those situations there is not a lot of incentive for them to seek out
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new voters. they want to keep things the way they are. they want to preserve the status quo. they don't want to go off and start to invite new groups into the electorate and reshape the situation in ways that might not be advantageous to that party, so they try to keep things the way they are. in other places where the competition keeps up there is more of an incentive to mobilize immigrants but it is becoming harder to mobilize immigrants. one of the reasons it is becoming harder is that parties don't have enough resources and particularly don't have enough of the patronage they use. we talked about the exchanges of votes for favors, votes for jobs, things like that and that's going on still in the early 20th century and there are not enough jobs to go around. partly that's because there are so many immigrants coming in. remember, after about 1880 there is this second big wave of immigrants that comes into the united states mostly from
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southern and eastern europe and mostly to cities on the eastern half of the united states. so the urban machines operating in those cities become almost overrun by these newcomers and don't have enough jobs and don't have enough favors and don't have enough money to do this. it is even harder now because it is harder to get a government job. one of the ways that reformers, critics who don't like the party machines try to under mine them is bypassing civil service laws, laws that require you to meet certain standards or pass a test in order to get a government job, so all of a sudden some of the jobs that used to be at the disposal of particular politicians no longer are. they become the something that you can only get through some kind of exam, some kind of process in which the politicians don't have the say as to who gets the job.
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my favorite story about this is one from boston in the early 20th century. there was an irish-american politic names james michael curley who would go onto not mayor of the city elected several times, would serve in congress, would serve as governor, would go to prison. he has an incredible life through the first half of the 20th century in the public eye. the first place where he becomes well known is when he is caught taking a civil service exam for one of his constituents that couldn't read and he was caught along with a colleague of his. they were thrown in jail, but he became kind of a hero. he had this great line. he said pat couldn't spell constantinople but had wonderful feet for a letter carrier. you had to pass a test to get a postal job. he argues this guy was capable of delivering the mail and he runs for office from prison and gets elected and which is just a scandal for those who believe in proper politics but it really makes his name and sort of
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catapults him onto bigger and better things in politics over the next really 50 years or so. this process despite efforts like curley's, this process undermines the ability of politicians to dole out jobs in exchange for votes. there is not incentive. you don't have enough jobs to go around to begin with. you have enough jobs to keep the irish friends happy but you don't have enough jobs to keep the new italians that arrive down the road or the jewish community over there, you don't have enough jobs for them so you have incentive for them not to vote, for them to become basically isolated non-participants in local civic life. it was easier to do that too, of course, because the newcomers unlike the irish tended not to speak english. now, it is true that germans didn't speak english in the 19th century and that was an
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impediment to their political mobilization, but it is even more the case that the immigrants who come over from southern and eastern europe, the italians, the slavs, the eastern european and russian jews, the greeks, lithuanians, all of them coming in significant numbers, none of them speak english so it is harder to participate in public life without access to the english language and without being able to communicate. joseph? >> how did the immigrants deal with the 1901 assassination? back then the mckinley assassination, the anti-immigrant notion of notion where the people didn't like the immigrants because mckinley was assassinated by the anarchist. >> we talked about anarchism is associated with immigrants, one of the sources of anti-immigrant
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feeling and nativism that develops in this period and so immigrants are sort of under siege a little bit and heim talks about this in the chapter. immigrants are under siege a little bit in the wake of that and there is kind of two-ways to read it. you can read it as more evidence of the hostility of the country to these newer immigrants, particularly those that express any radical political ideas and as heim points out in the end not a whole lot happens after that. there is a lot of talk, but there is not a lot of action in response to that, so there are no new laws that are passed that are particularly harsh or create particular difficulties for the immigrants in the immediate aftermath of mckinley's assassination. there is also an effort on the part of many immigrant groups to make it clear that they are not radicals, that they are good republican citizens and loyal to the united states and patriotic and so there is an effort to counter that.
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this is part of what's going on here is immigrants are responding to the criticism that they're receiving whether it is the fear of catholics that was so prevalent in the 19th century or the worries about anarchism and other radical ideas in the 20th century and they're answering with this claim that, hey, just because we're ethnic doesn't mean we're also not good americans. >> did they put the blame on anarchists? >> certainly. anarchists are the central villains in the story and more generally increases suspicion of immigrants. remember, anarchists are almost all immigrants as well or at least all ethnics, so the two things are tied together in the minds of a lot of people. >> all right. >> thanks. anything else? the last thing that makes it harder to generate new voters
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and to naturalize immigrants is a set of laws that are passed not immediately after the assassination of mckinley but not that long after. in 1906 the organization that is have been campaigning for immigration restrictions, particularly the immigration restriction league we talked about a little bit already, they succeed in pressuring congress to pass the naturalization law of 1906, and depending on how you slice it, it is either not really a significant piece of legislation in terms of immigrant experience or it is in some ways a really difficult one. it does a number of things. one of them is that it creates a standard form so remember that story tammany printing the naturalization forms? they can't do that anymore. you can only do that through the federal government and only through that form can you get naturalized. there is a rule passed that initially not enforced really at all that says you're supposed to be able to speak english to be allowed in.
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it is on the books, but there are still millions of people coming into the country after this that don't speak english or don't speak it fluently and they're admitted into the country, so this is a law that's not really passed or not really enforced in its immediate aftermath. perhaps the most significant result of this new naturalization law, though, is a rule that all naturalizations will take place through the federal government. it creates an agency that will be in charge of immigrant naturalization. so no longer do you have, can you be like tammany hall and have a judge in the back pocket to let people in even if they haven't met the five-year residency requirements and so forth so it is a lot harder to naturalize people and combined with the fact the parties don't have the same incentives to naturalize people and you can see the numbers drop. the table we have up here, you look at the percentages in each of these cities we have listed new york, boston, chicago, san francisco, philly and pittsburgh, and in 1900 they're all about 50% of the foreign born population as naturalized,
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so in new york a little over 55% of all immigrants, all people born outside of the united states are naturalized american citizens. fast forward 20 years and the percentage dropped to 42%. you can see most places drop, boston drops about what's that about 7%, chicago drops about 14%. san francisco drops considerably. pittsburgh and philly don't really change as much. the reason for that is those are places where there really is a fierce competition for voters so there still is something of an incentive on the part of the party organizations there to mobilize voters. both cities are controlled by republican machines, and republicans are interested in mobilizing immigrants, particularly the newer immigrants because they see them as a counter weight to the democrats or to the irish who are overwhelmingly democrat, and so there is still a bit of a battle going on. that said, though, look at the figures. there is still just around 50%. philadelphia actually dips below half by 1920, so this political
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incentive for mobilizing immigrants isn't as powerful. it is much more difficult to turn immigrants into american citizens and into active voters and compared to what it was like half a century earlier and so the naturalization process slows down considerably. does this make sense? questions? comments? this doesn't mean they're no longer a factor in the civic life of cities or the united states. what it really means is that immigrants find other avenues, other ways of mobilizing of pursuing group goals and advocating for group interests and so they engage in a variety of different kinds of
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activities. probably the most significant and the one that certainly attracts the most attention is the participation of immigrants in unions. there was for a long time a sense by a lot of historians that participating in union activities was essentially not political, that it was another arena, another area, about battling for better conditions at work but it wasn't something you carried out into the civic realm. it wasn't something that shaped your political activities. looking more closely, historians found a couple of things. immigrants involved in unions were increasingly getting involved in politics because many of the questions unions cared about, things like the eight-hour day, things like workplace safety, those are things that become political issues, so this draws immigrants, even non-voting immigrants into public life to a certain extent. it is not entire, but to a certain extent that's the case.
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the dominant labor group through this period is the american federation of labor increasingly tied to the democratic party and so unions become more and more closely tied to political organizations in this period and are pretty active politically by the time you get into the 19 teens and really through the first couple of decades of the 20th century. in other cases immigrants who are cut out and one of the problems with the american federation of labor and we talked about this a little bit as well is that if represented trade unions. it represented skilled workers. the skilled workers tended to be more established immigrants, irish construction trades workers, the german brewery workers tied to the afl, and the older immigrants with a little more much a foothold in the united states and a little better position economically
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possessing a skill, they make up the bulk of the afl unions, and so their interests are represented by the afl. the newer immigrants coming in are in many cases less skilled or industries that aren't as well organized, so, for instance, italians are coming in. remember the padrones, the labor agents that bring them over and put them in contract labor positions. they're unskilled workers. they tend to be doing the basic manual labor. many of them can be day laborers. one of the earliest efforts to organize italian workers in boston involves organizing hod carriers, guys that carry buckets of waste in and out of construction sites, and so they were really at the very bottom wrung of the status ladder of construction trades or construction work. it was basically grunt labor. so there is a limit as to what
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sort of the traditional unions in the united states can do for the newest immigrants. you see other immigrant groups that are excluded including italians and particularly jews in new york city involved in the garment industry. they gravitate towards socialist, and the socialists become quite powerful as a public force in new york city and morris hill quit, the leader of the group is a jewish immigrant and other members of most of the leadership and most of the membership of the socialist movement in new york city is jewish, and they begin to organize garment workers, men and women and women are another group excluded from the trade union organizing and all of this is politicizing and people that looked closely at the work of unions in this period see it as a politicizing force and so wean if you're not actively involved in party politics and acting
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like a citizen, you still are civically active to a growing degree as an immigrant and very much enmeshed in your own immigrant community at the same time, so you're an active american citizen and you are a self-identified ethnic at the same time. these two things go hand-in-hand. they continue to go hand-in-hand in this period just like they afl. another place where you might not really think of it as civic is churches. particularly the roman catholic church, but other church groups as well. there's been studies, fairly recent studies of life in catholic parrishes. a good study in providence, rhode island, that see churches as civic agencies as well as religious institutions. priests would stand up on sunday and preach about social issues we're politicizing and are debated in public live at the
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time. churches provided spaces for catholic immigrants, italian immigrants, poles in chicago. they provided space for them to develop ideas, get practice engaging in civic activities, and they proved to be springboards to wider civic engagements outside of the church. over a period of time. yeah? >> [ inaudible ] >> it's not such a roman catholic idea. the social gospel it was a protestant idea. it tends to influence not so much immigrant behavior as the behavior of native born social reformers who see it as part of their christian mission to provide assistance to the urban poor. many of whom are immigrants in this period. the social gospel is coming from a different direction.
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it's not so much a part of the immigrant direction, it's part of the social reform tradition of the same period. there's an intersection, but it's not something the immigrants are engaininged in directly to the same extent. so churches encouraged slowly, gradually and in limited ways immigrants to engage in civic activity as well. the study of churches in providence found that by the 19 teens, you had catholic groups actually staging voter registration drives. through the church, essentially, through the catholic network. so church activity, religious activity could also morph into civic activity amongst these groups. then there's another dimension of this which is the work that civic groups did in immigrant
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communities. there was, and this is again something that there are clear parallels to what was going on in europe. sports clubs, singing societies, gymnastics clubs, you have all kinds of civic organizations that are organizing in ethnic communities, are very ethnic in their character, but are also avenues towards more civic participation. my favorite example of this, really the best example probably is the development of a group called the united societies for local self government, which was an organization that started in chicago in 1906. situation that triggered its organization was the imminent passage of a law that was going to regulate liquor licenses in chicago. state government in illinois down in downstate illinois, a legislature in springfield, wanted to clean up chicago. people wanted to do that for a
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long time before and since, and one of the ways they wanted to do that was to regulate much more heavily the liquor trade, particularly saloons and think back to that image we saw at the beginning of class, limit who could start a saloon or any kind of bar, any kind of place that served alcohol. this was infuriating to the many immigrants because alcohol was in many cases a central part of their cultural world. there's cliches about the german and their beer and the irish and their whiskey, but there's some truth to the cliches as well. this infuriated the immigrants communities in chicago. and so they banded together, they formed the united societies for local self government, and the point of local self government is we'll decide who gets a liquor license and who doesn't get a liquor license in our neighborhood. we're going to govern ourselves locally. a democratic impulse they're expressing. this becomes a powerful interest
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group in chicago. it becomes -- it has about 35,000 members, and it's mate up essentially of all these civic organizations. singing groups in it, it's got gymnastics clubs in it, sports clubs in it, it's got local fraternal societies in it, and they all are specific to particular immigrants groups. the leader that emerges from the organization is a man named antawn cermak, who is a bohemian from what we would think of the present day czech republic. he would eventually move his way through chicago public life until he's elected mayor in 1931. he was assassinated years later with a bullet that may or may not have been meant for roosevelt who was standing next to him. this is how they could be mobilized outside party politics to engage in public activity.
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they became not just a group that agitated about liquor grub groups and liquor laws. it became a vehicle for expressing a whole wide range of issues and concerns out of the civil society of immigrant communities in this period. this is the most concrete, biggest example of this process, but it's happening all over the united states. it's happening all over american cities. you see the same thing in boston. you see neighborhood and ethnically based organizations. often times they're tied to newspapers and part of the impetus, well, there's two other groups besides these clubs and societies that organize. one is the people involved in the liquor business, if you have lot of money to get started for obvious reasons, and the other is newspapers because this is a way of building an audience, the building the circulation of newspapers. you see this in new york, in boston. the clubs and organizations
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forming that become vehicles for lobbying, for pressure group politics other than electoral politics. that's the characteristic change that is taking place in this period. the shift from highly organized machine politics to pressure group lobbying kind of politics. this make sense? so there's a big change in the way politics work, but there's not as big a change in the fact that immigrants are both civically engaged and still living and surrounding themselves with fellow members of their particular ethnic group. you get up in the morning and you're in your immigrant family, perhaps you're speaking your old world language. you're in a community populated by many people from your home country, but then you are also engaged in american politics. the notion that you can't do both, be an american citizen and be a member of the ethnic community doesn't make sense to the immigrants in their day to day experience. make sense? questions?
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let me give you a little bit of an interesting close-up of how this is unfolding in boston, the place i have studied a fair bit. and this is actually an election flyer i came across in the files of a local party boss. and he was the boss, the dominant political figure in the west end of boston, which was originally when he came of age and had gotten involved in politics was an irish neighborhood. by the time he had ascended to being the top dog in the neighborhood, it was shifting from being irish to being jewish. and so by 1906 when this flyer was put out, he was in a community where all of the people that are closely tied to him that run the party organization are irish, but almost a huge chunk of the voters, more than half of the voters are -- more than half of the residents are jewish. so he is in a pickle.

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