The Know-Nothing Party Platform

I have now reached the year 1856 in the Bingham biography, which means I am working through some interesting materials on the Know-Nothing (or American) Party, which was a strong nativist and anti-Catholic movement that competed with the Republicans in 1854 and 1856. (Bingham pandered to anti immigrant sentiment off and on throughout his congressional career.)  Some of the planks in the Know-Nothing platform are startling and had credibility because Millard Fillmore, the former President, was the Party’s presidential nominee.  For example:

—  “Americans must rule America, and to this end native-born citizens should be selected for all State, Federal, and municipal offices of government employment, in preference to all others.”

—  “A change in the laws of naturalization, making a continued residence of twenty-one years, of all not heretofore provided for, an indispensable requisite for citizenship hereafter, and excluding all paupers, and persons convicted of crime, from landing upon our shores.”

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2 Responses

  1. A.J. Sutter says:

    Were the various candidates intellectual enough to read this blog, no doubt you would have just introduced a new meme into the 2012 campaign.

  2. Joe says:

    “I hear nothing, I see nothing, I know nothing!”

    — Sgt Schultz