December 13, 2019
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John Lockwood

JOHN LOCKWOOD is a park ranger from Washington, D.C. Having spent his past six decades in the nation's capital, he writes with generous assistance from the National Archives and Library of Congress.

The Idea Didn’t Start with Columbus

Recently, I was reading through yet another article about the history of astronomy, and once again encountered a statement that our ancestors thought they lived in a reassuring small universe, with the Earth at its center. Of course, nobody today...

The Narrow Escape of St. Paul’s Cathedral

Even at the height of the Blitz in World War 2, St. Paul’s Cathedral managed to survive intact, the famous “island in a sea of flames.” The aftermath is still visible today, for now St. Paul’s is mostly surrounded by modern postwar buildings, the...

Petitions Against the Pope

During the 1850s, anti-Catholic feeling flourished in the United States, briefly culminating in the formation of the Know-Nothing political party. There were even public protests when the Vatican sent a memorial stone to be placed with the other...

The Know-Somethings

The Know-Nothings were a briefly successful political party in the mid- 1850s, whose political platform had two main planks. One was an attempt to duck the slavery question by leaving the issue to individual territories and states. The other was a...

A Know-Nothing Romance?

The Know-Nothings were a briefly successful political party in the United States in the mid-1850s. They acquired the nickname of Know-Nothings from their secretive habit of saying “I know nothing,” if outsiders asked about their activities. They...

Know-Nothings and the Washington Monument

The Know-Nothings were one of the more curious third-party movements in American history. They briefly flourished in the mid-1850s, but by the late 1850s had broken up and faded away over the slavery issue. Their main goal was to restrict Catholic...

The Know-Nothings and Their Signs

The Know-Nothings were a political party that flourished briefly in the United States during the mid-1850s. Their chief idea was to restrict Catholic immigration. Some Know-Nothings even believed the Pope wanted to take over the country. The Know...

Know-Nothing Initiation Rites

The American or Know-Nothing party was a major political movement in the United States during the 1850s, on the eve of the Civil War. Their chief goal was to prevent Catholic immigration into the country, from places such as Italy and Ireland...

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