We Don’t like Them: Why Do
We Have to Teach Them?
Immigration and education a
Historic Review
Benjamin Franklin on German
Immigration to Pennsylvania
• In 1753 Franklin described the German
colonists as “the most ignorant Stupid Sort
of their own nation.”
• Franklin felt that since they did not speak
English and they fought to keep their
language, that it was “almost impossible to
remove any prejudices they once
Benjamin Franklin on German
Immigration . . .
• “Few of their children in the County learn
• “They import many books from Germany;”
• “And of the six printing houses in the
Province [Pennsylvania], two are entirely
German, two half German and half
English, and but two are entirely English.”
Benjamin Franklin on German
Immigration . . .
• Franklin continued: “The Signs in our Streets
have inscriptions in both languages, and in
some places only German.”
• Ben Franklin also complained about the ever
increasing amount of “legal Writings in their own
language, which (though I think it ought not to
be) are allowed good in our Courts, where the
German Business so increases that there is
continual need of Interpreters.”
Benjamin Franklin on German
Immigration . . .
• Franklin continued his protest of the
German language being accepted so
readily, that he believed:
• “In a few years they [interpreters] will be
also necessary in the Assembly, to tell one
half of our Legislators what the other half
Benjamin Franklin on German
Immigration . . .
• In bringing it to a close Ben Franklin
believed that “unless the stream of their
importation could be turned from this to
other colonies”
• “They will soon out number us, that all the
advantages we have will not in My Opinion
be able to preserve our language, and
even our Government will become
Benjamin Franklin on the issue of
• Franklin’s apprehensions with the German
settlers were not based solely on their
invasive culture. His concerns had a
deeper underpinning.
• Two year’s earlier in 1751 Franklin had
written an essay on “Observations
Concerning the Increase of Mankind.”
Benjamin Franklin on the issue of
• Many have considered this essay to be the
most important written by an American
during the eighteenth century.
• In this essay, with sophisticated use of
“social science” data, Franklin presented
his argument for America to be maintained
entirely as an Anglo-Saxon society.
Benjamin Franklin on the issue of
• He argued “That the Number of purely
white People in the World is proportionably
[sic] very small”
• “All Africa is black or tawny. Asia chiefly
tawny. America (exclusive of the new
Comers) wholly so.”
Benjamin Franklin on the issue of
• “And in Europe, the Spaniards, Italians,
French, Russians and Swedes, are
generally of what we call a swarthy
• “As are the Germans also, the Saxons
only excepted, who with the English, make
the principal Body of White People on the
Face of the Earth.”
Benjamin Franklin on the issue of
• Franklin continued with his vision of preventing
the darkening of the North American Colonies.
• “Why increase the Sons of Africa, by Planting
them in America, where we have so fair an
Opportunity, by excluding all Blacks and
Tawneys [sic], of increasing the lovely White and
• “But perhaps I am partial to the complexion of
my Country, for such Kind of Partiality is natural
to Mankind.”
Summary of Franklin’s Statements
• The above is one of the earliest
recollections of anti immigration
sentiments directed at a specific group of
settlers in the North American English
• Franklin’s vision for America had given
nativist and racist anti immigration
sentiments a lucid and sensible voice of
Help Wanted
No Irish Need Apply
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A song book of No Irish Need Apply
Newspaper Advertisement with NINA
No Irish Need Apply
Nativist Sentiments Blaming the
Irish and the Germans for Stealing
the Ballots
The most recently discovered Wild Beast
Irish-American Dynamite Skunk
Bred in the United States
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Harper’s Weekly Journal of Civilization
Scientific Proof of Irish being related to
Harper’s Weekly Journal of Civilization
“Equal Burdens”
Creation of the Public School
• The public school system was created as
a response to a huge influx of poor nonProtestant immigrants.
• Between 1821 and 1850 about 2.5 million
Europeans emigrated to the United States.
• Over one million were Irish Catholics
Backlash to Catholic immigration
Nativist reactions included:
Burning of Catholic buildings
Viewing Catholics as loyal to the Pope
Seeing Catholic youths, who were trained
by the nuns and priests, as furnishing “the
majority of our criminals”
Backlash to Catholic immigration
• The increased in the Catholic population
naturally created more Catholic schools
• Many Protestants felt that they had to take
action to advert the rise of Catholic
• Horace Mann came to the aid of his
Backlash to Catholic immigration
• Mann believed that control of the spread of
Catholicism could be cleverly instituted
through a Public School System
• Mann wanted to teach the sons and
daughters of the Catholic Irish immigrant
Protestant Ethics
Backlash to Catholic immigration
• Under the direction of Mann
Massachusetts created the first Public
School System by the taxing the wealth of
property owners to offer free education to
the poor Irish children
• Mann saw public education as a means of
social discipline
Backlash to Catholic immigration
• The wealthy resisted until Mann asked “Do
you want the Irish Children to grow and
behave the same as their parents”
• Mann’s idea was that schools could turn
potential rowdies and revolutionaries into
law-abiding citizens
Backlash to Catholic immigration
• Besides the “three Rs” of reading, writing
and arithmetic, Massachusetts’ Public
School System taught students the merits
of Protestant ethics
• Industry
• Punctuality
• Sobriety
• Frugality
After the Civil War Irish were finally accepted
by our nation as White
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After we use them we discard them
• After contributing to the completion of the
Transcontinental Railroad Chinese were
seen as a threat to our way of life.
Anti Chinese Bill
“The White Labor destroyer”
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Chinese Must Go: A Farce in Four Acts.
San Francisco
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The Anti Chinese Wall
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Welcome to all!
U.S. Ark of Refuge
Free land, education, speech, ballot, lunch
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Welcome to the Pearly Gates
Unless you are a poor Russian Jew
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The dregs of European sewers
Italy, Russia, and Germany
The Lesser Whites
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By 1903
Immigration was a National Menace
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The Unrestricted Dumping-Ground
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Swindlers at Castle Garden
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Role of Castle Garden
• Throughout the period of mass
immigration, New York City was the
principal point of immigrant
disembarkation. For 35 years this was
Castle Garden on the Island of Manhattan.
• Swindlers at Castle Garden was one of the
principal arguments for the development of
Ellis Island in 1892.
Control of our Immigrants
• The number of unwanted immigrants from non
English speaking areas—Lesser Whites—led
to the passing of the 1917 Literacy Act in an
attempt to curb their flow.
• In 1918 the Brownsville Station was created in
Texas with the Mounted Guards to stem the flow
of illegal Chinese Immigrants.
• Later on the Mounted Guards were incorporated
to the INS with the creation of the Border Patrol
in 1924 to slow the flow of Mexican Nationals to
an already depressed agricultural area.
Adult Education
• At the same time that our Nation was attempting
to curb the flow of these unwanted immigrants,
Adult Education appeared to assured the
acculturation of the newly arriving migrants.
• Historically Education has played a primary role
during peak periods of immigration to our nation,
and hopefully will never retreat from this
hallowed responsibility.
Last Words
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We Don’t like Them: Why Do We Have to Teach Them?