Immigration, Al Smith And The 1928 Election

February 24, 2019

Immigration, Al Smith, And The 1928 Election

by

R.E. Prindle

 

People don’t seem to realize that time and changes pass quickly. What was applicable yesterday will not apply to today or tomorrow. Nothing changes society more rapidly than immigration. While attention is applied to race and religion it might better be applied to manners and mores. Whether you think immigration is good or bad immigration changes reality very quickly while all one’s reactions are predicated on a vanished state of affairs.

The cultural changes, that is manners and mores had been occurring at a rapid rate during the nineteenth century and early twentieth century driven by immigration. By 1921 and 1924 unlimited indiscriminate immigration had been limited to more or less controllable numbers. Nevertheless the damage had been done. While the attempt was made to limit the most different mores and manners by favoring Northern European immigrants it was too late. The two chief groups of immigrants, the Irish and the Jews had acculturated enough to challenge the traditional English and Protestant supremacy.

Thus, led by Al Smith, a Catholic Irishman who surrounded himself with Jews the two nationalities were ready to challenge the Anglo-Protestant majority. Note that the Jews are considered a distinct nationality with their own manners and mores acting in their own interests. He, Al, or they chose the inappropriate moment to challenge the Anglo-Protestant majority as the country was in a period of roaring prosperity, had two presidents, Harding and Coolidge and were to be followed by Herbert Hoover who in the circumstances there was no chance of defeating. And so it was that Herbert Hoover became the last ‘American’ president. Hoover was followed by Roosevelt to whom the Jews transferred their alliance while the Irish were forgotten. Thus the Liberal and Jewish combination have written all histories and distorted the old American contribution to founding the US.

Now, in the 1928 election the Jewish-Irish faction could not accept their loss on any other grounds than the bigotry of Anglo-American voters. In fact, Al Smith was merely a New York City machine politician who, used to campaigning in New York chose as his theme song ‘The Streets of New York’ and spoke with a heavy New York City accent. His manners and mores were those of his home town. To the rest of the country those manners and mores were humorous.

The New York accent alone would have made him unpalatable to the rest of Americans who thought that NYC had an economic stranglehold on America. And then the to thrust The Streets of New York into their faces was sheer folly.

Being Catholic, of course, didn’t help Al with the Protestants but it surely was a charm for the Catholics who were the largest religious denomination in America. But there appears to have been no block voting along religious lines. The Economy ruled.

Whether Al’s Irish background swung the electorate against him is open to conjecture but I would put more weight behind that than the religion. At that point, 1928, there was still a strong antipathy between the Anglos and the Irish. Even in 1956 in my home town the antipathy was noticeable. Apart from Jack Kennedy’s being a Democrat and offensive because of his father’s criminal background his Catholicism and nationality was a factor in my voting against him in 1960. The Irish came over to what they call the New Island in large numbers during the potato famine in Ireland in the eighteen forties and beyond. There was immediately a huge conflict between them and the Anglos in which bloody battles were fought largely aggravated by the Irish. Thus the Irish-English conflict was carried to American shores.

With the Irish came the notion that immigrants rights were superior to nativist rights. Hence the political organization known as the Know Nothing Party that arose to oppose Irish violence was demonized out of existence for its efforts to protect American manners and mores and some kind of control of their destiny. They lost that control as the Irish formed a sort of competing government called Tammany that seized control of NYC and retained it until Jimmy Walker the last Tammany mayor was booted out of the country in the early thirties. It was as though the Irish had control of London.

The Irish were then replaced by the Jews who seized both NYC and New York State. As an immigrant group, the Jews, although the smallest national supplier of immigrants also came as the highest percentage of their nation and thus had equality of numbers with the other national immigrants. There were more Jews in NYC than in any other city of the world. The only place with a higher number was the Russian Pale of the Settlement that covered millions of square acres.

The vast majority of Jews arrived from 1890 to 1914. Like the Irish the Jews created a national enclave, or colony, in NYC. By 1913 they were able to effect a socialist revolution by electing Woodrow Wilson as presidient. This revolution, for such it was, has been unrecognized by Jewish and Liberal historians but the Wilson Administration, turned out in 1920, after a hiatus of the twelve years of the Republican Interregnum would morph into the fully fledged socialist presidency of Franklin Roosevelt beginning in 1932 and ending only with his death in 1945. Thus Roosevelt was the undeclared president for life.

So, Al Smith represented the end of Irish dominance in the affairs of NY and the hope of national dominance in a Jewish-Irish coalition. If that attempt had succeeded immigrants would have seized control of the United States of America. An entire new set of manners and mores would have replaced those of the original settlers. Immigration has adverse consequences like it or not.

While there was a conflict then between the Catholic and Protestant religions and between the English and Irish and Jewish nationalities the election itself was determined on the basis of extreme economic prosperity that Republicans could claim as their own and, indeed, it was called the Coolidge Prosperity after the middle Republican president of the Interregnum- Harding, Coolidge, Hoover.

Then came the deluge. Collectivism replaced Individualism and Socialism replaced Laissez-faire, which had been the system of the nineteenth century Gilded Age. A new set of manners and mores appeared based on an immigrant ideal with its symbol of Ellis Island.

A similar transition is occurring today.

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