The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990 Page: 418
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
can as baseball and roasted peanuts. Bennett's study, which is richly in-
formed by current thinking from the social and behavioral sciences as
well as the latest historical research, is much needed. It provides a gen-
eral history of the antialien, antisubversive mentality in American life,
which, though mainly associated with the extreme political right, has
too often assumed a place on the agendas and platforms of majority
Bennett's focus is on movements such as the Know Nothing, the
American Protective Association, the Ku Klux Klan, the John Birch So-
ciety, and the Moral Majority. These are movements, Bennett writes,
"which constitute the party of fear." Not only have they "inspired fear
among those they have defined as enemies," but they have also been
rooted in the fear that America was somehow "threatened by powerful
and conspiratorial adversaries" (p. 13). These organizations have at-
tracted followers by pledging "to defend America and its values from
the un-American people [and] un-American ideologies ... seen as
menacing it" (p. 12).
The Party of Fear is divided into two sections. Part i assesses the activi-
ties of the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century nativists and the reasons
for the growth of their crusades against "alien" people and an "alien"
church. Bennett examines the anti-Catholicism that English colonists
carried with them to America and transformed into a form of nativism
that proved to be long-lived. His discussion of the American Party and
the virulent reaction against immigrants in the antebellum era is out-
standing. Part 2 opens with a discussion of the revival of nativist frater-
nities in post-Civil War America that culminated with the rise in the
192os of the modern Klan, which Bennett claims was traditional nativ-
ism's last stand.
Bennett argues that the Red Scare of 1919 signaled a deepening con-
cern with a crusade of a different kind, one against alien ideolo-
gies. Bennett explains that American society underwent fundamental
changes in the period between the world wars as a result of the rise of
the city as the nation's dominant cultural force; the New Deal's political
empowerment of ethnics, Jews, and Catholics; and the end of un-
limited immigration and the effects of years of assimilation. These and
other interrelated developments, such as the widely published findings
of social scientists that destroyed the myth that intelligence was related
biologically to nationality, guaranteed the end of nativism as a viable
political dynamic. By the end of World War II, the fear of an "alien"
idea, communism, replaced the old fear of alien people. "Disloyal
Americans," Bennett states, "now were identified not by religion or eth-
nicity but only by their dangerous, un-American views" (p. 285). Ben-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990, periodical, 1990; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101213/m1/474/: accessed November 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.