Radicals and Immigrants : Senator William H. King's Response to Nativism, 1917-1924
Brigham Young University
When Senator William Henry King took office in 1917, Utah and the nation were apprehensive about the presence of large numbers of foreign born aliens and citizens. Utah's King joined the wartime hysteria and promoted many nativistic policies directed against the foreign born population. During the post-war Red Scare he continued his crusade, concentrating on the suppression of Bolsheviks and the Industrial Workers of the World.
But when Congress passed the Immigration Act of 1924--a nativistic law designed to curtail the immigration of southern and eastern Europeans--King was the bill's only opponent from the West or South. Since anti-radicalism and immigration restriction were both manifestations of nativism, King's position on the two issues appears inconsistent.
This thesis will examine nativism in Utah and the nation and King's response to it. An attempt will be made to identify those factors which influenced King's actions and to explain how his actions were not as inconsistent as they might appear.