August 15, 2022
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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.

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...

Inner Emigration

Recently, this writer came across an interesting letter while researching the subject of Catholic immigration into the United States from other countries in the mid-19th century. On April 18, 1856, the Bishop of Pittsburgh, the Rt. Reverend Michael...

Springfield and the Know-Nothing Party

It’s not every day that a comparative handful of people can break up a major political party, but it happened in the 1856 Presidential election, and politicians in Springfield, Massachusetts were largely responsible for it. It all began in the early...

I Believe I Saw the Lady

An air of low comedy somehow hangs over the Know-Nothing movement, despite serious issues being involved. The Know-Nothings were a political party which enjoyed a phenomenal, though brief success in the 1850s. Their guiding belief was a dislike of...

Know-Nothings: A Challenge to Monument History

The Know-Nothings’ involvement in Washington Monument history includes far more than the 1854 theft of the Pope’s stone. The very next year, in fact, the Know-Nothings took over the Washington National Monument Society itself, in a disputed election...

The Pope’s Stone

One of the more vivid stories of the Washington Monument is the theft of the Pope’s Stone in 1854, apparently by members of the anti-Catholic, anti-Papist Know-Nothing Party. It all began with the American nativist movement of the mid-19th century...