THE AMERICAN PARTY, more commonly known as the Know-Nothings, was a nativist political party existing from 1853 to 1856. In that time, the party claimed 1.25 million members and was successful in electing many of its candidates to both state and national office. The party put forth Millard Fillmore as its presidential candidate in the election of 1856. Fillmore pulled in eight electoral votes and 874,534 popular votes.

The party began as a secret society in 1850, known as the Order of the Star Spangled Banner (OSSB), founded in New York City, a hub of immigration. The society's members took an oath of secrecy, agreeing to conceal the party's existence. Members pledged to use their votes to remove political power from immigrants and the politicians ...

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