Hating Immigrants A Long American Tradition

The recent shutdown of the government and politicians ranting about the proposed anti-illegals wall at the Mexican border, brings back memories. Hispanic immigrants, legal and otherwise, are not the first to feel the wrath and prejudices of haters.

My grandparents arrived, legal or otherwise, the same year from Russia as a 1907 article appeared in McClure’s magazine, “The Great Jewish Invasion”. It ranted about Russian Jews, “no people have had a more inadequate preparation, educational and economic, for American citizenship.” Does that sound familiar?

Earlier, Henry Adams wrote of “furtive Yacoob or Ysaac still reeking of the ghetto, snarling a weird Yiddish.” A few years later, sociologist Edward Alsworth Ross, called Jews “moral cripples” whose “tribal spirit intensified by social isolation prompts them to rush to the rescue of the caught rascal of their own race.” This cartoon in Puck magazine criticized the number of Jewish immigrants. The theme exaggerated the features with hooked noses, and could be as offensive as a current Virginia governor wearing blackface.

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