During the 1840s and 1850s, anti-immigrant feelings grew amongst many native born whites. These “nativists” argued that immigrants caused many of the nationís ills by rejecting “American” work habits, culture, and religion. Along with evangelical reformers, nativists especially objected to the undisciplined and sometimes violent atmosphere of working-class saloons. As indicated in this 1858 engraving of a bar in the Irish Five Points section of New York, reformers’ concerns involved more than the excesses of public drinking. The saloons were the organizing centers for the reformers’ rivals, urban political machines like New York’s Tammany Hall.
Source: Harperís Weekly, November 13, 1858—American Social History Project.