tv 19th Century Irish Immigration CSPAN June 25, 2017 10:20pm-10:31pm EDT
c-span.org/history. >> american history tv was at the organization of american historians' annual meeting in new orleans where we spoke with the story and about irish immigration in the 19th century. the interview focuses on his book, "expelling the poor: atlantic seaboard states and the nineteenth-century origins of american immigration policy." about eightew is minutes. >> your research focuses on immigration restriction in the united states. when do you see this begin? >> i think it started in the mid-19th century when a large number of impoverished irish catholic immigrants came to the united states. in response to this immigration, the states of massachusetts and new york developed a series of laws to prohibit the landing of destitute foreigners and to
deport those already in the states back to europe. >> were there any federal laws in place at the time? >> not really. federal law had to wait until the late 19th century. before that moment, states and local governments were largely responsible for immigration control. so state governments rather than federal governments are the major administrators of immigration control. >> what were the perceptions of irish immigrants at the time? hidetaka: the american perception of the irish can be characterized by three issues mainly. one is anti-catholicism. the vast majority of the irish were catholics. and many of the americans were protestants at that time. protestant americans really disliked catholic immigrants because they felt that the
catholics were trying to overturn american constant society. another dimension is ethnic dimension, in that many anglo-americans thought that irish were inferior culturally, ethnically. and finally, there was an economic argument against the irish. many of the irish immigrants arrived in the u.s. in a debilitated state. they were impoverished heavily. many of them became poppers after landing by entering the charitable institutions. many americans thought they were abusing public welfare funded by american taxes. americans felt these irish immigrants were a burden on their communities. >> who determined if an irish immigrant would be turned away or deported?
hidetaka: mostly state immigration officers. new york and massachusetts had their own immigration agencies who are taking care of the law enforcement. the state immigration officers inspected the condition of immigrants upon arrival and they excluded the unacceptable classes. at the same time in massachusetts in particular, fed -- state officers visited charitable institutions. when they discovered foreign-born inmates there, they paupers back to europe. >> who supported these measures? hidetaka: the nativisits. middle-class people detested the poverty and catholicism of the irish immigrants, and working-class people as well didn't like immigrants because they thought they were job
competitors for americans. just like today's undocumented immigrants were accused of lowering wage standards for americans, working-class americans believed that irish immigrants would take away their jobs. >> were there any legal protections for the irish immigrants? hidetaka: yes. the biggest protection is citizenship. after all, irish immigrants were white, so they could become citizens through naturalization if they lived in the u.s. for 5 years. technically, deportation law only applied to noncitizens. if you become a citizen through naturalization that would exempt , you from deportation. >> does the 14th amendment affect the status of these immigrant groups? hidetaka: yes. 14th amendment is very important. to start with, it provided for
the first time the definition of u.s. national citizenship. it provided that anyone born or naturalized in america is citizen of the united states, and by doing so, it affirmed the quality of birth right and naturalized citizenship, and that was an empowerment for irish immigrants seeking broader acceptance into american society. >> how were the experiences of the irish different from other immigrants? >> that is a very important point. after all irish were regarded as , whites, and they could become american citizens through naturalization unlike some other immigrant groups such as asians, who were not eligible for naturalization until the mid-20th century. in this sense, the 14th
amendment is also important for asian immigrant groups as well. the children of the asian immigrants were citizens by birth under the 14th amendment. that was also an empowerment for the families and communities of immigrants who themselves were not eligible for naturalization. >> and when do you see opinions about irish start to change? hidetaka: that is a good question. progress came really slowly. as newer immigrants arrived in the u.s., in places such as eastern and southern european countries, irish social status rose, in contrast to these newcomers. and also toward the end of the 19th century, there was an increasing number of asian immigrants coming to the u.s.
and the presence of non-white people, comparatively, contributed to the improvement of the status of irish within u.s. society. >> what sort of sources did you use for this research? hidetaka: public, governmental and legal documents, especially those concerning state immigration agencies in new york and massachusetts. but i also used 19th century reconstruct the scenes of deportation explosion, -- exclusion as well as to , illustrate the public perception of policy and the irish immigrants. and finally, i used the records of charitable institutions, especially like patient records, case records of institutions. these records provide information about the social
immigrants supported by those institutions. >> thank you for talking to us. hidetaka: thank you so much. >> interested in american history tv? visit our website, c-span.org/history. you can view our tv schedule, preview upcoming programs and watch college lectures, archival films, and more. american history tv at c-span.org/history. >> c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1970 nine, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. is onrican history tv cspan3 every weekend featuring museum tours, archival films,
and programs on the presidency, the civil war, and more. here is a clip from a recent program. are the two cultures that really emerge, two worldviews, that in the 1940's are going to clash. on one hand, you have major oil which sees the virtue of the large, integrated, multinational company working with government to open up new foreign fields and in the process focus on modernity and expanding capital to nurture economic development and democratic values on a global scale. on the other hand, you have independents, religion of crude, which sees the virtue of the small, independent producer, integrated only on a limited scale, working with local people
and local associations. support of states to explore domestic feels, again, raising up and securing the privileges of the rugged individualists and individualism amid this globalization of the 1940's. >> you can watch this and other american history programs on our website where all of our videos archived. that is c-span.org/history. year is the 30th anniversary of president ronald reagan's visit to berlin where he delivered his "tear down this wall" speech. next, former u.s. ambassador to germany recall the president's speech and trip. the international center for journalists hosted this event. it is an hour and a half.