New Acquisition: Nativism and Slavery: The Northern Know Nothings & the Politics of the 1850's

My copy of Tyler Anbinder’s Nativism and Slavery: The Northern Know Nothings & the Politics of the 1850’s finally arrived yesterday. One of my readers recommended it as one of the best resources on the Know Nothings Party which I’ve just finished a series of posts on. Can’t wait to dig in. ISBN13: 9780195089226 ISBN10: […]

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On Know Nothings and Secret Societies – 6

With the election of 1854, a stunning demonstration of the Know Nothings’ magnetic appeal, nativism became a new American rage. Know Nothing candy, Know Nothing tea, and Know Nothing toothpicks were marketed, buses and stagecoaches received the charmed name, the clipper ship Know Nothing was launched in New York. Books appeared with “KN” on the […]

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On Know Nothings and Secret Societies – 3

In the spring of 1850, another nativist fraternity, The Order of the Star Spangled Banner (OSSB) was founded in New York City by Charles B. Allen, a thirty-four-year-old commercial agent born and educated in Massachusetts. (1)  At first a simple “local fellowship numbering no more than three dozen men, there was little to distinguish their […]

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On Know Nothings and Secret Societies – 2

In the 1830s and 1840s, Americans had rediscovered a fascination with fraternalism discarded earlier in the century “when anti-Masonry led to public suspicion of secret societies.” (1)  This was the era of the Odd Fellows, the Foresters, the Good Fellows and the Druids, the Red Men and the Heptasops. (2) James McPherson marks the beginning of […]

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On Know Nothings and Secret Societies – 1

Bits of white paper strewn across a prearranged site announced the meeting of the brotherhood. Held at night, in keeping with the secrecy that shrouded its early years, the sessions of the local chapters of the Order of the Star Spangled Banner were open only to initiates and those about to join them in the […]

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