24 August, 2006

O’Meara: The Origins of Racial Nationalism in America

Posted by alex in America, Michael O'Meara, real American history, white nationalism, White solutions at 3:40 pm | Permanent Link

Klansmen, Irishmen, and Nativists:
The Origins of Racial Nationalism in America

by Michael O’Meara

The heterogeneity of America’s European population has
always posed a challenge to its national identity.
Only late in the 19th century was this identity
extended to European immigrants assimilated in its
Anglo-Protestant values and, in the 20th century, to
Catholics, whose Church (the “Whore of Babylon”) had
learned to accommodate the Protestant contours of
American life (or what John Murray Cuddihy called its
“civil religion”). From this ethnogenesis, the
original Anglo-Protestant identity of the American
people gradually evolved into a more inclusively
European Christian identity, though one closely tied
to its Anglo-Protestant antecedents. Based on this
heritage, racial nationalists today define America as
a European nation and designate its anti-White elites
as their principal enemy.

It was, though, but in fits and starts that American
Whites acquired an ethnonational identity. What’s
often referred to as American nationalism — the
expansionist slogans of Manifest Destiny, the ideology
of Anglo-Saxonism, the gunboat diplomacy of the
Progressives (McKinley, T. Roosevelt, Wilson) — was
more a chauvinist statism legitimating territorial
expansionism and land speculation than an ideological
offshoot of the country’s racial-historical life
forms. The primordial concerns of the American nation
were thus only tangentially represented in these
imperialist movements associated with the state’s

The first genuinely post-revolutionary expression of
American ethnonationalism (i.e., “nationalism in its
pristine sense”) began, revealingly, with the first
wave of mass immigration, in the late 1830s and in
“the hungry Forties,” as Irish and South German
Catholics reached American shores, affronting
“Anglo-Americans” with their “otherness.” The
“nativists” (native born, White, Protestant Americans)
opposing the new immigrants rejected the crime, public
drunkenness, and pauperism the Irish brought, but
above all the Catholicism of both groups, for “the
Church of Rome” was an anathema to a liberal nation
born of the Reformation and of the struggle against
the Catholic empires of Spain and France. The
nativist response was nevertheless a nuanced one
recognizing the distinctions that culturally separated
Irishmen from Germans. The latter, who began to
outnumber the Irish only in the late 1850s, tended to
be farmers and artisans. That they settled inland,
away from the older coastal settlements, and engaged
in respectable occupations also mitigated nativist
opposition, although nativists opposed the formation
of German-speaking communities, beer-drinking forms of
sociability, and the Germans’ political radicalism.
The Germans nevertheless seemed assimilable, which was
not the case with the Irish. The first expression of
American nativism was thus largely an anti-Irish
movement, for the tribal solidarity of this
unbourgeois people, their aggressive rejection of
Protestant culture, especially as propagated in the
public schools, their whiskey drinking and pre-modern
behavior, and their anti-liberal sympathy for the
slave states (which nativists resented because these
states closed off land for White settlement) were an
offense to the country’s Anglo-Protestant culture.
This anti-Irish sentiment became especially prominent
once the famine ships, with their destitute cargoes,
began arriving.

The Irish, though, offended not simply the Yankees’
religious and behavioral standards, their exploitation
of the political system offended their republican
convictions. Though one of the most afflicted of
Europe’s nations, Erin’s exiles were also one of the
most politically “advanced.” Not only had they a long
history of secret societies (such as the Defenders,
Whiteboys, Ribbonmen, etc.), which had waged an
underground war against English landlords and
Orangemen, in the 1820s, Daniel O’Connell’s Catholic
Association, “the first mass political party in
history,” taught the Irish how to exploit the new
electoral forms of liberal parliamentary politics in
order to throw off England’s Protestant Ascendancy and
its genocidal Penal Laws. In America, the politically
savvy Irish (led by their priests, saloon keepers, and
eloquent rebels) challenged not just Yankee folkways,
but the individualistic tenor of republican
governance. The terrible age of American ethnic
politics begins with the Irish.

From the 1830s through to the late 1850s, nativist
opposition to Catholic, specifically Irish,
immigration took the form of intercommunal strife, the
proliferation of anti-immigrant associations, and,
then in 1854, the establishment of a national
political party — the American party (known as the
“Know-Nothings”) — which, for a time, became a refuge
for abolitionist and free-soil opponents of Southern
slavery who had broken with the Whig party but not yet
affiliated with the newly formed Republican party.
As a movement, the Know Nothings held that
Protestantism was an essential component of American
identity; that Catholicism’s “autocratic” Pope and
Church hierarchy were incompatible with republican
self-rule; that Catholics had acquired undue political
advantage; and that a longer, more thorough process of
naturalization (or Americanization) was necessary for
the acquisition of citizenship. More fundamentally,
it gave expression to the deep reservation which
Anglo-American Protestants had about allowing their
country to be overrun by Catholic immigrants. Like
most future manifestations of American racial
nationalism (though they lacked a genuinely racial
dimension), the Know Nothings were moved by a populist
distrust of the state and the established political
parties, which were seen as indifferent to the
communal and ethnic needs of native Whites.

Within but a year of its founding, the American party
succeeded in electing eight state governors, more than
a hundred Congressmen, the mayors of Boston,
Philadelphia, and Chicago, and thousands of local
officials. Its future looked bright. But the party
fell almost as rapidly as it rose, having been swept
up and then forced off the political stage by powerful
sectional conflicts related to slavery and the
preservation of the Union. Its struggle for an
Anglo-Protestant America in the 1850s nevertheless
represented the first bloom of American nationalism in
its blood-and-soil stage (somewhat earlier than other
European nationalisms, which were still at the liberal
political stage). As such, it resisted a political
system privileging economics over community,
opportunity over belief, and a liberal over a
biocultural understanding of American life. Though
race was not an issue, religion, culture, and an
endogamous sense of community were — issues that are
preeminently ethnonationalist. Nativism became, as
such, the foundation upon which the future defense of
European life in America would be waged — for in
however rudimentary and unfocused a way, it defended
the American nation as an English and Protestant
community of descent, not a political entity based on
an abstract ideological or creedal notion of
nationality opened to all the world.

The racial component of this biocultural definition of
the nation would come into its own in the anti-Chinese
movement that dominated California politics in the
half century following the Gold Rush (1848). As
European immigrants, native Americans, and the first
Chinese made their way to California in this period,
so too did racial conflict — though conflict here was
not between natives and immigrants, but between
Occidentals and Orientals. Against the first Chinese
arrivals and the swarming millions threatening to
follow in their wake, native Americans and European
immigrants discovered their common racial identity.
Almost from the start, they recognized the joint stake
they had in opposing a people which worked at half the
White man’s wage, retained their alien clothes,
customs, and language, practiced a “heathen” religion,
and formed distinct, often self-contained communities
associated with vice and disease. Comprising a fifth
of the California labor force in the 1870s, these
Chinese newcomers, with their low living standards and
servile conditions, were seen as threatening not just
the racial definition of the nation, but the American
way of life and, ultimately, White civilization. In
such a situation, White solidarity became paramount —
which meant that religious differences dividing
Protestant natives and Catholic immigrants in the
antebellum period were superseded in the face of the
Yellow Peril. The Irish, accused of cheapening labor
and introducing foreign elements in the East, were now
welcomed into California nativist ranks — as Whites
facing a common threat — and played a leading role in
spearheading the trade-union, political, and communal
opposition to the Chinese.

The extent of White solidarity in the popular classes
was such that it spurred numerous official and
unofficial measures to restrict Chinese participation
in the economy and in other realms of American life.
Local and state laws, for example, were passed to
limit the types of jobs the Chinese could work, the
land they could own, and the schools their children
could attend, while White, especially Irish,
workingmen not infrequently resorted to violence to
drive them from certain trades and from their
neighborhoods. Then, in the late 1870s, in a period
of economic crisis, a Workingmen’s party, led by an
Irish demagogue, Denis Kearney, was formed in San
Francisco: Its principal slogan was “The Chinese must
go.” Supported by a mass network of “anti-coolie
clubs” and trade unions, the party championed the
cause of Chinese exclusion. The state organization of
the two established national parties, the Democrats
and the Republicans, each, for the sake of appeasing
the pervasive anti-Chinese sentiment the Workingmen
represented, were forced to support its exclusionist
policies. But more than transcending religious
differences, the Chinese exclusion movement took aim
at those large-scale corporate interests (primarily
the railroads), responsible for importing Chinese
contract labor and using it as a leverage against
White workers. In effect, it targeted not just alien,
but native threats to the nation’s bioculture. Its
egalitarian slogan — “We want no slaves or
aristocrats” — was thus not simply an
anti-egalitarian affirmation of the existing racial
hierarchy, but of the right of White men to the
ownership of the land their people had conquered.

The movement’s achievements were momentous. For the
first time, national legislation was passed to prevent
the immigration of non-Whites to the United States and
to prevent those already within its borders from
setting down roots; White workers succeeded in
frustrating capitalist efforts to change the country’s
demographic character; and White racial solidarity
triumphed over religious differences. Racially
consciousness, populist, and at times anti-capitalist,
the anti-Chinese movement of the 1870s (whose spirit,
incidentally, lived on in the national-socialist
novels of Jack London) helped preserve the American
West as a White Lebensraum, representing one of the
brightest historical beacons guiding today’s White

The third great formative influence shaping American
racial nationalism came during the First World War.
The Ku Klux Klan, which emerged after Appomattox to
defend Southern Whites from negro aggression and the
Yankee military occupation, was re-organized in 1915
to address certain changes in American life. Like the
European fascist movements of the interwar period,
this “Second Klan” constituted a mass populist
reaction to the war’s radical cultural/social
dislocations. The war, for example, imbued the
central government with unprecedented powers, enabling
it to encroach on local communities in ways previously
unknown; the recently founded Federal Reserve, in
charge of the money supply, and the growing influence
of Wall Street and the great corporations assumed an
influence in national life that seemed to come at the
expense of independent entrepreneurs and “the little
men.” At the same time, the war effort assaulted the
existing racial, familial, and moral hierarchies.
Blacks in this period acquired a foothold in northern
industries and discharged negro soldiers, “after
having seen Paris,” were no longer willing to tolerate
their caste status. The year 1919 was one of
unprecedented racial violence, as negroes challenged
the existing system of race relations. At the same
time, the middle-class family came under attack.
Suffragettes carried the day with the 18th Amendment,
a “new women,” promoted by advertisers and by
Hollywood, questioned conventional “gender” relations,
divorce rates suddenly shot up, and children were
increasingly exposed to anti-traditionalist
influences. Finally, there was the specter of
Bolshevism, which appealed to the unassimilated
communities of recently arrived Eastern and Southern
European immigrants and assumed a menacing form in the
great industrial conflicts following the war. On
every front, then, it seemed as if small-town, rural,
and middle-class White America was in retreat. But
not before making a last — and, for a generation,
successful — stand in its defense, for within a
decade of its founding, the Klan had rallied 5 million
members to its ranks, penetrating local and national
power-structures as few other anti-liberal movements
in US history.

Comprised of White, native-born, anti-immigrant,
anti-Catholic, and anti Jewish elements, particularly
in the South and the Midwest, this “Second Klan” saw
itself as an “army of Protestant Americans.” As such,
it sought to defend “pure Americanism, old-time
religion, and conventional Protestant morality” —
reviving those religious issues that had earlier
divided Whites along sectarian lines. To this degree,
it was a step back from the anti Chinese movement. It
was nevertheless not the “reactionary” movement that
academic historians make of it, for like its European
counterpart, it was both traditionalist and populist,
favoring measures that were anti-liberal
(anti-cosmopolitan, anti-egalitarian, and preeminently
populist) in spirit but by no means regressive. In
this capacity, it forced the government to close the
border to immigrants, it beat back the Black assault
on White hegemony, it let the wheeler-dealers in
Washington and New York know that their “progressive
policies” would not go unchallenged in the Heartland,
and it acted as a moral bulwark against the permissive
forces of Hollywood and Madison Avenue. Above all, it
upheld a racial standard for White existence. Only in
the late 1920s, after successfully preserving many
traditional areas of American life that might
otherwise had succumbed to the race-mixing modernism
of the postwar “Jazz Age” did the movement finally


The history of American racial nationalism, as
exemplified by the Second Klan, the Chinese exclusion
movement, and the early nativists is a history whose
legacy cannot but inspire Whites to take back the
country they have lost. It thus re-affirms our belief
that we have nothing to gain by allowing our society
and territory to be overrun by alien peoples; that
multiracial communities are unhealthy, conflict-ridden
ones; that multiculturalism, Third World immigration,
and non-White preferences are a threat to our people’s
survival; that separation is the sole viable solution
to what is becoming an increasingly ugly racial
situation; and that divisive sectarian issues (between
Protestants and Catholics, Leftists and Rightists,
modernists and traditionalists, etc.) serve only the
interest of our enemies. Most important of all, the
heritage of American White nationalism summons us to
defend the racial-cultural-civilizational “nation” to
which our people once belonged and which, if regained,
might again distinguish us from the world’s less
favored races.

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  7. 9 Responses to “O’Meara: The Origins of Racial Nationalism in America”

    1. alex Says:

      Great piece – parents, use this to teach your children.

    2. Outis Says:

      Hashwork. One part Yockey, one part Benoist, two parts this and that. Linder statt O’Meara.

    3. New America Says:

      This section is particularly well done.

      “Comprising a fifth of the California labor force in the 1870s, these Chinese newcomers, with their low living standards and servile conditions, were seen as threatening not just the racial definition of the nation, but the American way of life and, ultimately, White civilization. In such a situation, White solidarity became paramount – which meant that religious differences dividing Protestant natives and Catholic immigrants in the antebellum period were superseded in the face of the Yellow Peril.”

      O’Meara goes on to make the exact point I was going to respond with – that the Workingman’s Party was the coherent, organic, biocultural response to this situation, and THAT led to Jack London’s National Socialist alternative system.

      O’Meara also notes the threat to “the American way of Life” in the RACIAL attacks on America, and American culture.

      The idea of the American West as American Lebensraum was quite consistent with London’s vision, as well.

      Historically, it seems, we have managed to form a creative organic solution to the problems, and the possible solutions to the Reconquista from an organic perspective – one Jack London would be quite comfortable with – are reduced to either (1) “run and hide,” or, (2) “organize and DO SOMETHING, in an organic organization.”

      The choice we make will say much about us, and our ability to extend the achievements of our ancestors, in the service of our RACIAL duty, and our RACIAL destiny.

      New America

      An Idea Whose Time Is HERE!

    4. Scipio Americanus Says:

      It truly is amazing how quickly things have changed. 100 years ago, average middle class white voters took to the streets in Canada to put an end to the Yellow Peril just like Americans had done several decades before. Now, Canada has officially apologized for this act of “bigotry” and “racism”. We live in a world gone mad! This is a very good piece of history that needs to be repeated before the Jews and their self-hating white liberal collaborators get a chance to flush it down the memory hole.

      Strength and Honor

    5. Celtic Warrior Says:

      An excellent article helping to sweep away barriers to White unity.

    6. Mati The Estonian Says:

      Now YOU guys need a Third Klan – to rise once again for racial and social values You forefathers once established. Second goal should be start “infiltrate” all local goverments up to state level. Up to this step You must “keep smileing” and JUST rise awaerness race and social values. When You have at least third of House seats (on the DC and local Hills) then its time to start kick asses – first Federal Reserv and AIPAC (and ADL) to cut kikes from money and influence then You can get United States Of America back.
      I now its easier say then do but it’s definitrve MUST if You want white/aryan race to survive. If US falls to kikes then rest of the world will follow – IF You can make a stand then whites all over the world will follow. Only thing we need is a spark. Thanx for guys like Zundel, Irving, Leuchter and others awerness of jewish evel is rising and people are more easily rise to fight …

    7. Olde Dutch Says:

      This article doesn’t even attempt to explain the lack of resistance by White Americans to the flood of jews into the US from the old Russian and Austro-Hungarian Empires.

      Did the jews come in claiming they were Russians, Poles, Hungarians?

    8. Scipio Americanus Says:

      “Did the jews come in claiming they were Russians, Poles, Hungarians?”

      Yes! That is how they did it and why the Jews who were already here in the U.S. lobbied to open up mass immigration from Eastern Europe/Russia. I believe American business’s greed and lust for cheap labor contributed to it greatly. The Jews had one advantage over the Chinese — their skins are white and thus blend in more easily.

      To be fair, I don’t think even the most astute observers were aware of the danger posed by the Jews. Most people at that time regarded them as mere pests and given the slum conditions they came from, with good reason. In the end, we have no one to blame but ourselves. Benjamin Franklin summed it up nicely: “A Republic, if you can keep it!”

      Strength and Honor

    9. N.B. Forrest Says:

      Excellent stuff there. It informs the demoralized that history proves that resistance definintely IS NOT futile. The only difference between then & now that I’d mention is a critical and obvious one: the descendants of the lice-bearded kike ragpickers let in by the industrialist scum now control the bulk of the traditional propaganda machinery (tv, movies, jewspapers)- thereby making the possibility of sparking another populist pro-White racial movement much more difficult.

      Still, considering the internet’s sure & steady weakening of Hyman’s heretofore nearly total brainwashing power, there’s substantial reason for hope.