Given the widespread anti-Catholic sentiments in the US, why was the US so eager to allow a lot of Catholics to move to the US?

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,239
SoCal
Given the widespread anti-Catholic sentiments in the US, why was the US so eager to allow a lot of Catholics to move to the US in the 19th and early 20th centuries? I know that the US had large-scale Catholic-phobia as late as 1928, when Al Smith's Catholicism cost him a lot of votes during his presidential run. However, this simply raises the question of why exactly the US let so many Catholics move into the country in the first place. I mean, Imperial Germany was also Catholic-phobic during this time but unlike the US it never opened its doors to large numbers of Catholic immigrants. Why was the US different?
 

pikeshot1600

Ad Honorem
Jul 2009
9,966
For virtually its entire existence, America, colonial and republic, has needed a supply of relatively cheap labor. It still does. Catholic immigrants fit that profile and it is good that they did. In times of depression the labor situation could change, but those times were relatively infrequent. Where they went to church was not that big a deal, and most of the anti-Catholic sentiment was used as a political label.....kinda like Yankees. :)
 
Last edited:
Oct 2015
929
Virginia
Not everybody was "eager", there was lots of opposition. Look up the "American Party" or the "Know Nothings". And it didn't end in the 1920's, there was plenty of opposition to Kennedy in 1960 because he was catholic.
(edit) or "The American Protective Association", or the Ku Klux Clan.
 
Last edited:

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,239
SoCal
For virtually its entire existence, America, colonial and republic, has needed a supply of relatively cheap labor. It still does. Catholic immigrants fit that profile and it is good that they did. In times of depression the labor situation could change, but those times were relatively infrequent. Where they went to church was not that big a deal, and most of the anti-Catholic sentiment was used as a political label.....kinda like Yankees. :)
Why did the US have a labor shortage and Germany didn't?
 

pikeshot1600

Ad Honorem
Jul 2009
9,966
Not everybody was "eager", there was lots of opposition. Look up the "American Party" or the "Know Nothings". And it didn't end in the 1920's, there was plenty of opposition to Kennedy in 1960 because he was catholic.
The reply seems to apply to politics. Politics is always somewhat exclusionary and tribal. The prevailing attitude preferred its politicians Protestant, white and male. Protestant women were no more acceptable than Catholic men. The steel mills, the mines and the railroads had no problem employing lots of Catholics, and Europe had plenty to spare.
 
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Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,171
US
While many of the average citizens may have been nativists, the builders of American industry in the 19th and early 20th centuries were only interested in profit. The latter controlled immigration policy for the the most part.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,239
SoCal
While many of the average citizens may have been nativists, the builders of American industry in the 19th and early 20th centuries were only interested in profit. The latter controlled immigration policy for the the most part.
What changed after WWI?
 
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Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,171
US
What changed after WWI?
Congress seemed to succumb to the will of the people. Maybe all the turmoil in Europe, including the Bolshevik revolution convinced lawmakers that no more immigrants were needed for labor. Maybe the titans of industry had been satiated with their wealth. Also, there was a ready made and steady streaming supply of labor in the form of African Americans from the South.
 
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