Thursday, November 10, 2011
Walker and "nativity"
How do you understand Walker's use of the term "native"? He uses the word "native" in the following sentence: "The population of 1790 was almost wholly a native and wholly an acclimated population, and for forty years afterwards immigration remained at so low a rate as to be practically of no account; yet the people of the United States increased in numbers more rapidly than has ever elsewhere been known . . ." (417). In reflecting on the effect of immigration on this "native stock," he later writes, "The appearance of vast numbers of men, foreign in birth and often in language, with a poorer standard of living, with habits repellent to our native people, of an industrial grade suited only to the lowest kind of manual labor, was exactly . . . [the] cause" of a population slump among the "native" population (418). What do you make of Walker's theory? Can you see any evidence that such theories persist today?