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in anthropology, social movement that proclaims the return to power of the natives of a colonized area and the resurgence of native culture, along with the decline of the colonizers. The term has also been used to refer to a widespread attitude in a society of a rejection of alien persons or culture. Nativism occurs within almost all areas of nonindustrial culture known to anthropologists. One of the earliest careful studies of nativism was that of James Mooney (1896), who studied the Ghost Dance among Native Americans of the W United States. In 1943, Ralph Linton published a brief paper on nativistic movements that served to establish the phenomenon as a special topic in anthropological studies of culture change.


See A. Wallace, The Death and Rebirth of the Seneca (1972) and J. Higham, Strangers in the Land (1988).

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  1. (PSYCHOLOGY) the theoretical stance which emphasizes the importance of heredity, the biological underpinnings of human behaviour, rather than the effect of the environment.
  2. the negative orientation of any indigenous population to immigrants. See also NATURE–NURTURE DEBATE.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
The following article is from Conspiracies and Secret Societies. It is a summary of a conspiracy theory, not a statement of fact.


Nativism is dedicated to the proposition that the United States was founded to serve only white Anglo-Saxon Protestants.

Nativism is a defensive, often violent, reaction to unrestricted immigration. In the United States, nativism is an intense form of nationalism that expresses itself in xenophobia (fear of foreigners), anti-Catholicism, and belief in white Anglo-Saxon Protestant supremacy.

In 1848, after a series of European revolutions had rocked the Old World, approximately three million immigrants arrived in the United States. Negative reaction to the influx was intensified among the postcolonial Protestant majority on the East Coast because many of the new arrivals happened to be from Roman Catholic countries.

Secret societies, such as the Order of the Star-Spangled Banner, organized by Charles B. Allen in 1849, had memberships of “Godfearing Protestants,” who were dedicated to ensuring that native-born, non-Catholic Americans would receive preferential treatment in all avenues of social and political society. Members of such secret groups became known as the “Know-Nothings” because none of them would admit knowing anything about the clandestine societies. The Nativists gained strength and some degree of respectability when they went public in 1854 and established the American Party. The new political group was strongly anti-Irish-Catholic and worked for legislation that would require twenty-one years of waiting time before anyone could become a U.S. citizen. The American Party lost its influence when former president Millard Fillmore, the party’s presidential candidate in the election of 1856, was soundly defeated.

Conspiracies and Secret Societies, Second Edition © 2013 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Likewise, court challenges to nativist legislation were largely ineffectual.
In Europe, nativist parties have leveraged their minority status to force draconian immigration policies on centre-right and centre-left politicians who live in constant fear of losing voters to the far right.
By establishing a context for Bonnin within the volatile nativist climate of the Dawes era and by recognizing the palpable countercurrent of the antiassimilationist leftist intellectuals of the period, we can better appreciate the complexity and uniqueness of Bonnin's political work.
Incorporating the phrase "race suicide" ironically, Antin reemphasizes that her main subjects are those whom nativists would reject on a biological basis.
(3) Guided by policy studies drafted by expert commissions and cheered on by organized nativists, the U.S.
Tobar's Translation Nation will certainly rile nativists, whose once-fringe discourse is, in the post-9/11 world, in the main (just tune in to Lou Dobbs Tonight, on CNN, which features a regular segment on immigration that is positively soaked in virulently xenophobic rhetoric.) Tobar ponders what we've lost sight of in the paranoid fog of war, which is only the latest chapter in that greatest of American tales, the negotiation between immigrant and "native" that constructs, deconstructs, and reconstructs our identity as a nation.
The other element of most value in Backfire is its discussion of the "fifth era." Chalmers identifies "a loose, violent white supremacist network of cults, compounds, tax resisters, constitutionalists, churches, racists, nativists, anti-Semites, Nazis, paramilitary training camps, posses, militias, survivalists, bombers, bank robbers, skinheads, and millenialists as well as the bedraggled and depleted legions of Klansmen and Klanswomen" (163-64).
If they aren't, then nativists like Huntington will always be able to find some other "negative" aspect to seize upon, just as their predecessors did with regard to Italians, Irish and Jews.
"Priest" was the leader of an Irish mob known as The Dead Rabbits, while the fearsome Cutting rules the home-grown Nativists, who'd prefer to shoot every immigrant before they set foot on American soil.
The Dead Rabbits and the Nativists are two gangs who rule the poorest neighbourhoods in the Big Apple with an iron fist.
The film begins in the corrupt and crime-riddled streets of the Five Points in lower Manhattan, where two gangs - the Dead Rabbits - filled with Irish Immigrants and led by Priest Vallon (Liam Neeson), regularly fight in bloody battles with Bill the Butcher's (Daniel Day Lewis) racist Nativists, who want the immigrants to go back to where they came from.