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  Anti-Immigration Riots
Category:  Cultural Life, Demographics (immigration, etc.), Human and Social Services
Brief Description:  Massive immigration of the 1840s led to the creation of anti-immigrant "Native American" political factions. These groups started violent riots against immigrants and minorities. The Whig party, which had a stranglehold on St. Louis government for many years, split in 1842 into traditional and anti-immigrant factions. The weakened Whigs led to the rise of the Democratic party, which won the mayorship with a coalition of German and Irish immigrants, as well as the Workingmen´s Party. In 1844, the "Native American" Whigs started a series of riots, beginning with the Jesuit-run Saint Louis University Medical College. A 3,000-strong mob destroyed laboratories, specimens, and furniture at the school. In July 1849, a riot was started when a group of Irish immigrants started heckling a group of volunteer firemen fighting the fire on some steamboats. The firemen outnumbered the Irish, forcing them to retreat, until the Irishmen opened fire on the firemen. Mayor James Barry and the police forced the crowds to disperse and took leaders of both sides to jail. In the streets, the firemen still ounumbered the Irishmen, and they began to destroy Irish saloons, homes, and other businesses using a howitzer. Nativist groups also periodically started small riots on free mulattos and Irish laborers, among others.
Year:  1842
Decade:  1840 - 1849
Beginning Date:    1842
Ending Date:     Jan. 01, 1849



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