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"native American"

I'm elderly and recall that the expression "native American" use to mean anyone born in America, as opposed to having been born elsewhere and then moving to America. I don't recall it as an expression of strong significance as it is today in its current meaning, but rather being just the simple placement of "native" in front of "American" to form a short phrase that meant "born in America." I'd like to find some occurrences of the phrase in old books, newspapers, anything that I can give online links to, if anyone reading this would know of some examples or have good ideas for searching for examples. Thanks!


  • Have you tried the OED?

    A1. (a) In early use: a member of any of the native Indian peoples of the Americas or West Indies; cf. American n. 1. (b) Chiefly in later use: = North American Indian n.

    A2. A member of a nationalist political party in the United States, prominent during the 1840s, characterized by hostility towards immigrants and Roman Catholics. Cf. nativism n. 1a. Now hist.

    Examples for sense A2 are:

    1844 Republican Sentinel (Richmond, Va.) 13 July 3/5 The riot was caused by a branch of the Native Americans—‘the very dregs of society, bent upon..the annihilation of the Roman Catholics’.
    1886 B. P. Poore Perley's Reminisc. I. 500 The Native Americans and the Republicans flattered themselves that the Democratic party had been reduced to a mere association of men.
    1911 Federal Immigration Legislation ii. 12 in Rep. Immigration Comm. (U.S. Congr.) As a consequence of the sudden and great increase of foreign immigration..between 1848 and 1850, the old dread of the foreigner was revived, and in the early fifties the Native Americans again became active.
    1952 Jrnl. Southern Hist. 18 548 Few other students of the Native American movement could be found who would agree with his judgment.
    1978 Jrnl. Amer. Hist. 64 959 In no other northern state did the Native American or Know-Nothing party achieve such phenomenal, if short-lived, success as in Massachusetts.
    1994 T. Anbinder Nativism & Slavery iii. 59 The Native Americans were the surviving remnant of the Pennsylvania American Republican party of the 1840s. Unlike the Know Nothings, the Native Americans operated as an open political party.

  • Thank you, OED's page was helpful. I also found some help here:

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