CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- America has a history of resentment against foreign immigrants. In the mid-1800s, the "nativist movement" spurred hatred of arriving Irish Catholics, causing riots and political turmoil. The 2002 movie, "Gangs of New York," told part of the story.
In 1844, Philadelphia Protestant mobs repeatedly burned Catholic homes and churches. Soldiers with cannons arrived to defend the besieged neighborhood. Protestants took cannons from sailing ships at a wharf and fought an artillery duel in Philadelphia streets, killing at least 15 people and wounding others.
The secretive Order of the Star-Spangled Banner was formed to oppose immigrants. Members were called "Know Nothings" because they told questioners they knew nothing about the group. They later went public as the nativist American Party.
Resistance to foreigners continued into the 20th century -- and hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan argued that the only genuine Americans are WASPs (white, Anglo-Saxon Protestants).
Today, this turbulent "white-only" past is being swept away by amazing demographic change. White America is eroding, year after year. Asians, blacks, Hispanics, Pacific islanders and other are climbing relentlessly, and soon will be more than half the population.
The Census Bureau predicts that traditional European whites will slip below 50 percent of the U.S. populace around 2043. Four states -- California, Texas, New Mexico and Hawaii, plus the District of Columbia -- already have reached "minority majority" status. Last year, the number of white babies dropped below half of U.S. births.
This trend has political implications, because minorities generally vote Democratic.
Sociologists predict that whites will continue to wield most wealth and power in America, even after they lose their majority status.
Where is America heading? Keep reading the daily news and watch the culture evolve.