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I am not a Know-Nothing. That is certain. How could I be? How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor of degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we begin by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes." When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty-to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy.

Answer below the fold.

hipster lincoln.jpg

Abraham Lincoln was a staunch foe of the national restrictionist party of his day, the Know Nothings. (Thanks to Bryan Lonegan for the quote.)

A party that celebrated its own ignorance was not one destined to be fondly remembered in the history books.  I’ll pass this next bit on to an anonymous Wikipedia editor who seems to share my politics:

The term "Know Nothing" is better remembered than the party itself. In the late 19th century, Democrats would damn the Republicans as "Know Nothings" in order to secure the votes of Catholics. Since the early 20th century, the term has been a provocative slur, suggesting the opponent is both nativist and ignorant. In 2006, an editorial in the neoconservative magazine The Weekly Standard by William Kristol attacked populist Republicans for not recognizing the danger of "turning the GOP into an anti-immigration, Know-Nothing party."[5]   

The platform of the American (Know Nothing) Party called for, among other things:

  • Severe limits on immigration, especially from Catholic countries
  • Restricting political office to native-born Americans
  • Mandating a wait of 21 years before an immigrant could gain citizenship
  • Restricting public school teachers to Protestants
  • Mandating daily Bible readings in public schools
  • Restricting the sale of liquor

The only good thing that came out of that movement was fictional, a character for the ages, Daniel Day Lewis’s “Bill the Butcher” Cutting in Gangs of New York.  Somehow, though, I don’t see actors 100 years from now taking on the role of “Third World Tommy” Tancredo.  Maybe they would if he gutted his political enemies in the public square . . .

nacho tancredo.jpg [Props for this epic image to slublog, whose distaste for "Tanc's" demagoguery may be the only thing we agree on.]

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Slublog said:

Ha! I'd forgotten about that one. It almost (almost) makes me want to write about 'the Tanc' again.

yave begnet said:

There's something about that picture that makes me think of Bilbo Baggins. I guess Jack Black + Tom Tancredo = a hobbit luchador.

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This page contains a single entry by David Bennion published on April 18, 2008 11:31 PM.

Latino Communities Terrorized: Pro-Migrant Sanctuarysphere was the previous entry in this blog.

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