Scorsese went to great lengths to authentically recreate old New York City, building a massive set in Italy that replicated how the city used to look. The attitudes towards Irish immigrants, blacks, the Civil War, and those within and outside of politics were dead on and realistic according to the history of the time. This film portrays a brutal look at the history of America, and one of its most treasured cities. Gangs of New York is also a scary reminder of some of the attitudes some still carry in the present.
Watching Gangs of New York calls to mind the often forgotten challenges Irish immigrants faced once they arrived in the United States; challenges that stands in stark contrast to the glorification of Irish ancestry that occurs in the United States today, especially on St.
In fact, the vast majority of Americans probably do not even realize that 19th century Irish immigrants were degraded by white Protestant Americans of English and German decent. They might even find the language used in the clip above to describe the Irish confusing.
However, 19th century New Yorkers would find the celebration of Irish ancestry today appalling. The majority considered the Irish a drain on society and their neighborhoods cesspools of sinful activity.
To put it simply, they were hated. This long arc of Irish-American history is especially important in the United States today when immigration debates concerning Mexican and Latin Americans dominate headlines.
The anti-immigration rhetoric in our current debates compared to that aimed at the Irish in the 19th century demonstrates that this not a recent phenomenon but rather a continuation — aimed at a different ethnicity. Just as Mexican and Latin Americans are derided by certain segments of American society today, the Irish were denigrated in the 19th century by nativists.
Although political realities are slowly leading to a change in immigration laws, Americans need to remember that anti-immigration sentiments have a long history in the United States and that the debates and arguments of today are not new.
Rather, 21st century Americans selectively forget the vehement anti-Irish sentiments of the 19th and early 20th centuries, and the Irish are not alone. The Italians, Poles, Greeks, and numerous other ethnicities now proudly proclaimed were also once despised.
The Know-Nothings and other nativist factions were supported by white men born in the United States. They often held Protestant religious beliefs and at some point included such men as Presidents Millard Fillmore and Ulysses S.
Although their politics might seem absurd, the Know-Nothings won 75 Congressional seats in The Irish were not the only ethnicity derided by the nativists as they also targeted German Catholics, Slavs, Greeks, and Asians. Nativists believed that these ethnicities were incapable of republicanism because they were Catholic or emigrated from monarchist or authoritarian countries.
The harsh language invoked by nativists begs the question what exactly is American republicanism? Although no formal definition exists, American republicanism rejects aristocracy and inherited political power, and stresses the importance of liberty, independent civic action, and unalienable rights that no majority can remove.
Thus 19th century nativists argued that the Catholics and other immigrants were a threat to the United States because they would support inherited political power like the Pope or a king which would negate Americans unalienable rights, rights granted by God.
While these nativist attitudes proved unfounded, these views were derived from a perverted understanding of reality.
Observing the Irish underclass living in New York City, white Americans witnessed a significant increase in prostitution, alcoholism, opium addiction, child abandonment, infanticide, and crime.
Nativists associated this moral decline with the increased Irish population of New York City, a simple correlation. However, this problem was circuitous. Ethnic and religious discrimination by white Americans made in difficult for Irish immigrants to better themselves. Unable to improve themselves and with little aid from the wealthy of the city, the Irish lived in almost homogenous neighborhoods while their own errant behavior fed discrimination and nativist sentiment.
Nativist sentiments are embodied in the character of the Butcher who regularly derides the Irish. This is one of the main problems the film has in explaining nativism.
The antagonist, the Butcher, hates Amsterdam. Therefore, the Butcher also hates the Irish. There is no discussion of why the Butcher might despise all the Irish, even if Amsterdam did not exist. Thus the tying of nativism to the films plot distorts the issue rather than clarifying why white Americans hated the Irish.
Moreover, the disturbance went from class anger to race riot when the rioters started attacking and killing blacks and destroyed two Protestant churches, abolitionist homes, and a black orphanage.
These targets help to clarify much of the racial and ethnic tensions in 19th New York City. The mostly Irish rioters attacked wealthy white Protestants and blacks because they perceived these groups as perpetuating their poverty and forcing them to fight a war they did not necessarily want to fight.
The Irish targeted wealthy whites for supporting the war while at the same time avoiding the fighting by hiring poor immigrants, some literally walking off the boat, to take their place in the army.
On the other hand blacks were targeted not only because of racism but also because the Irish thought the war was being fought for the blacks, and thus the blacks were responsible for the Irish being drafted into the war.
Why not just let the film play out in the Five Points street fight?This phrase screamed by Bill “the Butcher” Cutting in Martin Scorsese’s film Gangs of New York reveals the nativist sentiment of 19 th century New York City.
Those who recall the movie remember that the Butcher styled himself a true born and bred American with a deep hate of immigrants. Jul 30, · The movie is fictional, but it does capture a bit of New York's essence of this period in American history, especially in the way that it illustrates the discrimination against the Irish immigrants.
Gangs in New York were just as prominent as Chicago’s in the s The laws and prayers of all the major African American gangs are ﬁlled with nationalist rhetoric and Muslim ref- erences.
were easily dismantled by intense police repression dark-skinned Brazilians have fewer opportunities. It is this troubled neighborhood and its people, the beginning of the New York melting pot, that director Martin Scorsese seeks to bring back to life in his major new movie Gangs of New York, a chronicle of gang warfare between Irish immigrants and anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant natives, or “nativists.”.
Welcome to the Gang-Related News Articles page. This page provides a list of articles pertaining to gangs and gang-related activities from various U.S.
and Canadian news sources. A link to the source of each article is provided. The list of articles can be refined and filtered by date and limited to a specific state or Canadian province or territory. Feb 02, · Gangs of New York is a massive achievement and a movie masterpiece that captures one of the worst times in American history: a time that shows us a part of our past.
However, as they say, the past is never far lausannecongress2018.coms: