GOP's New 'America First Caucus' Follows in some Blatantly White Nationalist FootstepsRoundup
tags: White Supremacy, Nativism, Anglo Saxonism
Kevin M. Kruse is a professor of history at Princeton University. A specialist in modern American political, social and urban/suburban history, he is the author and editor of several books, including White Flight (2005), One Nation Under God (2015) and Fault Lines: A History of the United States since 1974 (2019).
A newly formed “America First Caucus” in Congress, supported by a few far-right Republicans in the House of Representatives, is looking to recruit new members with an old set of arguments.
Its platform, now circulating in Washington, is little more than a retread of the white nationalist screeds of the 1910s and 1920s.
“America is a nation with a border, and a culture, strengthened by a common respect for uniquely Anglo-Saxon traditions,” asserts the section on immigration. “History has shown that societal trust and political unity are threatened when foreign citizens are imported en-masse into a country.”
A century ago, these same sorts of arguments about the “Anglo-Saxon” character of the United States and the threat that “foreign” elements would bring to its politics and culture were quite widespread.
During the late 1910s, as the United States reeled from a deadly pandemic, economic turmoil, race riots and a surge in immigration all at once, these white nationalist tropes found a receptive audience in the American people.
Bestselling books made the case. Madison Grant’s 1916 “The Passing of the Great Race” complained about unwanted demographic changes in terms familiar to us today. White Anglo-Saxon Protestants, he warned, were not reproducing children fast enough to keep pace with “the Slovak, the Italian, the Syrian, and the Jew.” Established “old stock” Americans, he grumbled, were “being literally driven off the streets of New York City by the swarms of Polish Jews.”
In the 1920 publication “The Rising Tide of Color: The Threat Against White World Supremacy," Lothrop Stoddard made the same claims, warning that white Americans were being engulfed by the more "fertile" nonwhite races. Americans of “Anglo-Saxon origin,” he insisted, had to restrict immigration to preserve their country for “future generations who have a right to demand of us that they shall be born white in a white man’s land.”
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