Introduction

As the Framers sat down to write the Constitution in 1787, they included a Preamble or an Introduction that established the purpose of the document for the citizens of the United States of America. The Preamble began, “We the People of the United States…” As we discussed in previous chapters, We the Peoplewas a pleasant opening, but also misleading. As you have learned, we the people never meant to include women or African Americans at the time. In fact, leading into the mid 1800’s it still did not in many areas. Your task throughout this lesson will be to identify who We the People includes in this time of great Reform in America.

By 1860, the United States was home to nearly 3 million Irish and German immigrants. While the wealthier, Protestant Germans were able to find a place in the American fabric, poor Irish Catholics were faced with constant discrimination. The attitudes towards the Irish were expressed openly by nativists who felt threatened by the new immigrants. What emerged was a political party which openly discriminated against immigrants: the Know Nothings. In addition, these views were expressed more publicly using media that reached a wider audience. Through newspaper editorials, advertisements, posters, and cartoons Americans were exposed to ethnic stereotypes and exaggerated images that targeted the newly arrived Irish. As newspapers and magazines increased in number and decreased in price, more and more people gained access to these images.

Task

Task Page