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?

Rodger

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Jun 2014
6,171
US
Why?
by what argument?

Given that we already HAD Irishmen in the colonies?

By the time of mass migration, so many different peoples had ended up in the US that the US kind of LOST its biases and prejudices over other folks religions.
By the mid-1800s Americans were PROUD that they had no aristocracy... no 'underclass' of whites and a rising intolerance of having an underclass of slaves.

Sure- the locals of any given area didn't want Jews in their country clubs. Didn't want Italians or Irish living next door.- but then, the Anglicans felt the same way about the Presbyterians.

But the US government simply did not allow such parochial sentiments to determine public policy. Jefferson's WALL of SEPARATION was much more respected.
No religious test for office- and the freedom to follow the faith of your own choice.

The US was Not xenophobic back then.'
Sure they were racists... and prejudiced... but they were not AFRAID of folks they thought prayed to the wrong God.

They had not merely learned in school about the horrors that religious states had wrought thru european history- most of them had family histories of fleeing that violence.
Simply not true.
Anti-Catholicism in the United States - Wikipedia
When America Hated Catholics
America's dark and not-very-distant history of hating Catholics
Fighting the 'Papists' and the 'Popery': When America Was Anti-Catholic
Know Nothing - Wikipedia
 

stevev

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Apr 2017
3,519
Las Vegas, NV USA
The Potato Famine eventually sent some 2 million Irish Catholics to the US. It was cheaper to hire Irish workers than to own slaves. They generally kept to themselves in ethnic neighborhoods along with Italians and Poles particularly in New York City and Boston. Irish and Italian gangs often fought each other in "turf" wars. They were largely invisible to the general WASP population and most Americans stlll lived on farms or small towns.

In Germany the bloodletting of the Reformation was long in the past at this time. Southern Germany was Catholic and the Northern Germany was predominantly Protestant . Bismarck's Kulturkampf was more about complications of unification than a broad anti Catholic policy.
 
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sculptingman

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Oct 2009
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San Diego

What's 'Not true'? I stated that people hated other religions and certainly catholics.
People had prejudices about italians, Irish and other ethnic types.

But the people of the Government did not consider religion a valid reason to deny immigration regardless of their personal prejudices.

And as worried as Some folks were about catholics owing allegiance to a foreign pope, they still did not deny immigration to catholics.
 
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Rodger

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Jun 2014
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US
What's 'Not true'? I stated that people hated other religions and certainly catholics.
People had prejudices about italians, Irish and other ethnic types.

But the people of the Government did not consider religion a valid reason to deny immigration regardless of their personal prejudices.

And as worried as Some folks were about catholics owing allegiance to a foreign pope, they still did not deny immigration to catholics.
This: "By the time of mass migration, so many different peoples had ended up in the US that the US kind of LOST its biases and prejudices over other folks religions. "
And this: "But the US government simply did not allow such parochial sentiments to determine public policy. Jefferson's WALL of SEPARATION was much more respected. "
And this: "The US was Not xenophobic back then. "

Immigration and the Great War (U.S. National Park Service)
Immigration Act of 1917 - Wikipedia
Immigration Act of 1924 - Wikipedia


And even this; "They had not merely learned in school about the horrors that religious states had wrought thru european history- most of them had family histories of fleeing that violence."

Many of the early colonists were fleeing due to religious persecution. The great wave of migration from eastern and southern Europe (starting about 1870) had very little to do with religious turmoil or persecution and everything to do with economic opportunity.
 

Code Blue

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Feb 2015
4,267
Caribbean
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?
First, I would not call it phobia, which is an irrational fear. The concerns were substantive. The government a people have is a result of their religion, especially when the can vote. John Adams asked, "Can a free government possibly exist with the Roman Catholic religion?" What does he mean? Divine Right and the Pope's claim to temporal power. When they say people from Europe emigrated to the US to avoid religious persecution, who do you think was persecuting them?

I do not believe that Americans were "eager" to import Catholics. I believe it was the Vatican that was anxious to fill the US with Catholics. (It still is). It took a hundred years - and a gift from the French Freemason to the American Freemasons called the Statute of Liberty - to begin to convince the US that it's destiny was to import people. It takes time to manufacture culture, but it can be manufactured.
 

Code Blue

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Feb 2015
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Caribbean
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. :)
I reject that notion that any one in particular needs "cheap labor" more than everyone else.
 

Code Blue

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Feb 2015
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Caribbean
Because the US is NOT a Christian nation- it is a secular nation that forbids even the consideration of another persons faith by the government.
Back in the day- our political leaders took our constitution more seriously and honored the separation of church and state.
These modern ideas did not exist in the early US.

The US were Christian nations, 13 of them. with their own constitutions, most of them with "establishment" clauses, and most of them expressly considered the faith of people seeking public office. Back in the day,, the US Constitution's Bill of Rights were guarantees only against the federal government - only. Separation of church and state is a phrase that did not see the light of day until 1947, and was not a policy imposed on the states by the modern all-powerful federal government until after that.

However, the original Constitutions also provided for freedom of worship in personal lives. This is a hallmark of Protestant Christian nations. Inquisitions were the hallmark of Catholic Christian nations. The States were founded as one and not the other.
 

mark87

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Jan 2014
2,080
Santiago de Chile
They were not eager to do so at all. The Irish, then Germans (Catholic ones naturally), then southern Europeans and the eastern ones all got the brunt of Protestant European-American's prejudice against Catholicism (don't worry the issue goes both ways in Catholic nations Protestants are looked at as heretics, loonies, or just plain odd, I can give you an example of protestant immigrants in South America if you want).
The United States if anything responded to massive catholic immigration (1870-1914) with prejudice and contempt at best. The 1924 Immigration law was heavily biased in favor o the Protestant establishment countries of Europe (the quota system enacted favored northern and western Europe over southern and eastern Europe).
As to why so many catholic's settled, the United States did not have a very strict immigration policy until at least 1880's (Chinese Exclusion act) and subsequent legislation that ended up reflecting the societal views of the time. It's not so much allowing to settle, it's that nobody was really checking who was entering, and there definitely was backlash against Catholic groups at times.
 
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Code Blue

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Feb 2015
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The United States if anything responded to massive catholic immigration (1870-1914) with prejudice and contempt at best.
And yet, somehow it happened anyway. There must have been someone in the US who wanted this to happen.