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The native American. [volume] : (Washington City [i.e. Washington, D.C.]) 1837-1840
Place of publication:
Washington City [i.e. Washington, D.C.]
Geographic coverage:
  • Washington, District of Columbia  |  View more titles from this: City State
J. Elliot Jr.
Dates of publication:
  • Ceased in 1840?
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 (Aug. 10, 1837)-
  • English
  • Washington (D.C.)--fast--(OCoLC)fst01204505
  • Washington (D.C.)--Newspapers.
  • Also issued on microfilm from the Library of Congress, Photoduplication Service.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Publisher varies.
  • Suspended Aug. 8-25, 1840.
sn 86053569
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The native American. [volume] August 10, 1837 , Image 1


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The Native American

Founded on August 10, 1837, The Native American was a weekly Washington, DC newspaper dedicated to promoting the agenda of the Native American movement, a precursor to the Know-Nothing Party, as noted by F. Emery in his 1937 article "Washington Newspapers" in the Records of the Columbia Historical Society. In this context, "Native American" refers to descendants of white, primarily Protestant, colonists who fought in the American Revolution or lived in the United States from the country's beginning rather than American Indians. Throughout its three years in print, the newspaper underwent a variety of editorial and publisher changes, but it nonetheless remained steadfast in its opposition to lax naturalization laws and the influx of immigrants, many of whom were Catholic.

The Native American was a mouthpiece for the Native American Association of Washington, DC, an association that supported the Native American movement. The movement, led by "nativists," advocated for less foreign influence in society and government and instead called for more "native" American influence. The Native American stated that its primary desire was the repeal of naturalization laws and an extension of the naturalization period to 21 years to ensure that immigrants were fully adapted to the American way of life. According to the August 10, 1837 issue of the newspaper and the Native American Association of Washington, DC, many immigrants were "modern Huns" who were unruly and dangerous and therefore could not make informed decisions about democracy after only a few years free from European oppression. Nativists believed that "our form of government and laws, purchased with the blood and perfected by the wisdom of our father are too sacred and too dear to our hearts to be yielded up without a struggle to strangers whose fathers were with the foe on that great occasion, and whose affections belong to another people."

John Elliot Jr. was the founding publisher of The Native American on August 10, 1837, but his tenure would only last until November 1, 1837. James C. Dunn took over after Elliot, and in April 1840, Joseph Etter became the co-publisher until August of the same year. After a publishing hiatus from August 15 through 29, Etter became the sole publisher in September 1840. During the last few months of the paper, Etter also served as the editor of the newspaper. Additional editors during the paper's tenure included Henry J. Brent and Thomas Dashiell Jones.

After just over three years of publication, The Native American ceased publication on November 28, 1840, when Etter's printing office burned in a fire, as noted in the November 30, 1840 issue of The Sun. Although Etter believed that the fire was purposeful arson, no clear evidence emerged to support this accusation, as reported in the December 2, 1840 issue of the Daily National Intelligencer. After the Native American ceased publication, the August 21, 1841 The New-York Evangelist noted that Etter published The Patriarch, an Evangelical Christian-based paper.

Despite the closing of the newspaper, the Society eventually succeeded in having a few of their political candidates voted into office. They attempted to pass legislation making emigration to the states more difficult and costly, as well as laws that prohibited the "ill, infirm, and criminals" from entering the country. Although much of their legislation did not pass at the time, the nativists' anti-immigration legacy periodically emerges in American politics.

Provided by: Library of Congress, Washington, DC