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Know Nothing Party
The Know Nothing originated in 1849. Know Nothings opposed immigrant and followers of the Catholic Church. At this time, the majority of white Americans followed Protestant faiths. Many of these people feared Catholics because members of this faith followed the teachings of the Pope. The Know-Nothings feared that the Catholics were more loyal to the Pope than to the United States. The Catholics would then place the nation under the Pope's rule. The Know-Nothing Party intended to prevent Catholics and immigrants from being elected to political offices. Its members also hoped to deny these people jobs in the private sector, arguing that the nation's business owners needed to employ true Americans.
Know-Nothings were largely middle and working-class levels. These people feared competition for jobs from immigrants coming to the United States. Critics of this party named it the Know-Nothing Party because it was a covert organization. Its members held a strong allegiance to the party. Know-Nothings responded to questions about their beliefs with, "I know nothing." The Know-Nothing Party adopted the American Party as its official name in 1854. The Know-Nothing Party quickly grew in popularity in the North, where most recent immigrants to the United States resided.