As I look forward to transitioning this blog from garlic to life and travel, here’s some information about a political party that had its convention in Philadelphia in 1856. (I discovered this while researching a story on where to eat and drink in Philadelphia and Cleveland during the Democratic and Republican National Conventions for Wine Enthusiast — I’ll post a link when it’s finished and published).
In the late 1850’s, the American Whig party fell apart as members took opposite sides on the issue of slavery. While some former Whigs like Abraham Lincoln joined the newly formed Republican Party, others joined an anti-immigrant nativist party that became as the “Know-Nothings” since members refused to discuss their beliefs or party affiliation with outsiders.
The Know-Nothing party goal was to “purify” American politics by limiting the influence of immigrants and Catholics. The Know-Nothings fared poorly in the 1856 election and soon disappeared as a force in American politics. Let’s hope that in 2016, Donald Trump and his Know-Nothings follow suit.