Since its founding, displaced peoples have looked to the United States as a beacon of hospitality even as the American project rests upon the further displacement of Indigenous peoples, enslaved Africans, and other migratory laborers. To contextualize the current political discourse of “us” versus “them,” this chapter explores a genealogy of nativism as part and parcel of the country’s settler colonial trajectory. Emerging in the mid-nineteenth century, nativism was understood as an intense opposition to an internal minority based on its foreign connections. While many scholars have explored the link between nativism and nationalism, few have explored nativism’s connections to populism in the United States. Drawing on Ernesto Laclau, I suggest that nativism provides the discursive terrain for American populist nationalism. Put differently, nativism imparts images and vocabularies that constitute the interlocking mechanism between the disparate interests of a populous occupying a large geographic mass by singling out those deemed “other.” By turning to the Black experience, an internal minority that is not a traditional target of nativism but nonetheless an “other,” I theorize the fine line between a nationalism and populism.