When the Know-Nothing governor, Henry Gardner (described as by one observer as a "broken-down, disappointed Whig politician") ordered the disbanding of seven companies of the Massachusetts Volunteer Militia (which had many Irish and immigrant members), Worcester's Jackson Guards was included.
Although it twice elected Know-Nothing George Richardson as mayor, Worcester soon became disenchanted with the movement.
Like the Democratic Party and the Whig Party previously, the Know-Nothing movement broke apart on the burning question of slavery and split into northern and southern segments.
In 1854, the Know-Nothings swept the Whigs into oblivion and captured 99 percent of the state government in one spectacular election.
For a year or two the Know-Nothings were the most powerful third party in American history.
By 1855, by one estimate, the Know-Nothings had 960 of their secret lodges in New York alone.
The Republicans were formed from remnants of the Whig, Free-Soil, Liberty, and Know-Nothing
parties--basically, all the groups that fought against slavery's extension into new states and territories.
The Know-nothing American Party, he says later, "turned out to be an acceptable halfway house for voters moving from the Whigs to the Republicans.
Most people think the Know-Nothings were anti-Catholic bigots -- because they were -- but Brimelow says nothing could be further from the truth.
The Know-nothings," Brimelow concedes "were, however, deeply suspicious of Roman Catholicism -- at a time when enormous Irish Catholic immigration had begun, after the potato famine of 1845.
Then he tells us the Know-nothings were `above all' against slavery.
The American Party, or Know-Nothings, code-named "Sam," plotted its anti-immigrant rise in fraternal lodges one historian called "cocoon(s) of secrecy.
In 1854, the Know-Nothings rode a cunning platform of anti-Catholic nativism and progressive reforms to the largest electoral landslide in Bay State history.
The Know-Nothings amendments prevent more than 100,000 urban families in Massachusetts with children in chronically underperforming districts from receiving scholarship vouchers that would grant them greater school choice.