Public Program, The Irish Atlantic The Rise and Fall of the American Party 12 April 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Peter Drummey, Stephen T. Riley Librarian, Massachusetts Historical Society

The Irish Atlantic Series

Secretive nativist societies began to form in the 1840s in response to large-scale immigration of Irish and German Catholics. By the 1850s, these organizations coalesced into the American Party—commonly referred to as the “Know Nothings” because members would not reveal any information about their movement. The American Party advocated for severe restrictions on immigration and citizenship and in 1854 swept the Massachusetts election, winning all state offices and all but four seats in the legislature. In seven years the state had gone from launching an Irish relief mission with the sailing of the Jamestown to strident nativist sentiment. Peter Drummey will look at the meteoric rise of the American Party as well as its rapid decline with the approach of the Civil War.