Vogeler’s reasoning was flawed, historically inaccurate

By and


Eric Vogeler, your article comparing anti-illegal immigration fervor to 19th-century Irish persecution left out some big things (“Don’t repeat the mistakes of the past: 19th-century immigrants were treated like today’s ‘illegal aliens,'” April 20).

The fear that U.S. leaders had of Irish immigration was actually fear of the pope’s ability to control American politics through the Irish Catholics. The fears of papal influence may sound funny to us now, but in the mid-1800s the United States was not the dominant world power. Many popes have raised vast armies throughout the centuries and have politically challenged powerful kings, rulers and magistrates.

Although their fears were, in retrospect, unnecessary, they were not unfounded nor were they based in raw bigotry.

Additionally, saying that it was common for employers to have posted in their windows “No Irish Need Apply” is an Irish myth that research debunks. Thorough searches of classified ads of the time provide ONLY ONE such ad published (it was an 1854 want ad in the The New York Times). There is no evidence that such signs were posted in windows.

I’m sorry that your history knowledge is so incomplete, particularly since you believe in its importance.

It should be noted that concerns today regarding open borders are also not unfounded. California is having very serious fiscal problems, and the border states are having severe public health issues. Moreover, drug trafficking across the border is causing problems for America and criminal justice systems are hurting-more than a third of all the inmates in California state penitentiary and federal prisons are illegal immigrants.

And there are numerous historical examples of porous borders aiding in the collapse of very powerful and strong societies, most notably the Roman Empire.

Myths are not history, please learn before you teach-otherwise you’ll end up writing for Newsweek.

Dan HannonGraduate Student, Public Administration