Entries - Time Period: Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood (1803 - 1860) - Starting with K

Know-Nothing Party

aka: American Party
Following the collapse of their party nationally in 1852, many Arkansas Whigs found a new home in the American Party, more popularly known as the Know-Nothings. The Know-Nothings sought to avoid the nation’s impending disunion over slavery and regional divisions by replacing sectional tensions with opposition to Roman Catholics and immigrants, who were presented as potential competitors to “real” Americans for access to jobs and land. First organized through a network of secret fraternal lodges, the Know-Nothings acquired their odd name because their members, sworn to secrecy, were supposed to answer, “I know nothing,” when asked about the party. Although the Know-Nothings did well in the Little Rock (Pulaski County) city elections in 1856, the state’s small Roman Catholic and …