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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 ?
It is not naive to hope that nativism will inevitably fall just as it will inevitably rise, or that immigrants, their communities, and New York City will continue to demonstrate the vital centrality of immigration to the nation.
When virtually all GOP contenders for 2016 signed on to that agenda, Trump exploited an opening for America First nativism and protectionism.
"Our father would never have allowed Ukip to use his music because he would have strongly opposed the party's nativism and thinly disguised bigotry," they said in a statement sent to the newspaper.
Rubio's comments on ''nativism'' counter what President Barack Obama told The Economist in an interview published last August criticizing Republicans' opposition to immigration changes.
Taylor utilizes Pettigrew's work to discuss, specifically in chapters 2 and 3, the use of nativism as a commodity.
He does a great service in providing what he calls the "missing pages" in the prevailing narrative of American history and in reminding today's hostile Catholics of their ancestors' own painful encounters with anti-immigrant nativism. "If we knew them," Gomez writes about today's undocumented immigrants, "we would know that they are a lot like our ancestors were....
e., empiricism and nativism are reviewed and critically evaluated.
It argues that in this period, free African Americans developed a rhetorical language of black nativism, the assertion that birth on American soil and the contribution of one's ancestors to the American nation, had won for African Americans the right to be citizens of the United States.
Nativism as used in this essay is defined as an "intense opposition to an internal minority on the ground of its foreign (i.e., Un-American') connections".
Imposing the illusion of national homogeneity, "homeland" underwrites resurgent nativism and anti-immigrant sentiment.
At the beginning of his book, Mangcu (2008) tackles the complex and difficult issues of racial and cultural identity, nativism and ownership of South Africa in his description of a public scene of conflict and admonishment that ensued when a White woman advocated for a "colored" child.