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The American/Know Nothing Party was a political party that began and ended in the United States in the 1850s. At first it was a secret organization, and its members answered every question about their group by saying, "I know nothing." Soon, however, they began calling themselves the American party and started winning elections across the country. The members of the American or "Know Nothing" party did not like foreigners, particularly Irish Catholic and German immigrants, because they believed these immigrants were disturbing the economic and political stability of the country. They wanted to restrict immigration and to prevent most immigrants already in the United States from voting. In some parts of the country, fighting took place between immigrants and Know Nothings. The Know Nothing party did not last long, however, and by the late 1850s it had lost most of its power.



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Updated: 29 April 2004, RKB
Comments: speccoll@iupui.edu
URL: http://www.ulib.iupui.edu/special/digproj/circle/AKNparty.html

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