AY nal/sis o/
rhe 'exas KNow AothiHis
RALPH A. WOOSTER
THE SUMMER ELECTIONS OF 1855 MARKED THE APPEARANCE
of a new political party destined to disturb the tranquil-
ity of Texas politics and to force the state's Democrats
out of their lethargy in order to maintain their political suprema-
cy in the state. This new party, officially designated the Native
American Party but more commonly known as the Know Noth-
ings, was pledged to halt the rising influence of persons of for-
eign birth in political and economic affairs. The party originated
in the East but made deep inroads in the South in the early
1850's and in many areas replaced the Whig Party as the major
opposition to Democratic control.1 Capitalizing on resentment
to the increasing numbers of foreigners in Texas, Know Nothing
candidates first won local elections in Austin and Galveston.2
With the local successes of 1854 and early 1855 behind them,
leaders of the Texas Know Nothings met in secret sessions at
Washingtn-oon-the-Brazos in June, 1855, for the purpose of
electing officers and adopting resolutions as to party beliefs and
principles. At the same meeting the party announced a slate
of candidates for the coming state elections. Heading the ticket
as candidate for governor was Lieutenant Governor David C.
'See W. Darrell Overdyke, The Know-Nothing Party in the South (Baton Rouge,
1950). The American Party was particularly powerful in Louisiana; see Overdyke,
"History of the American Party in Louisiana," Louisiana Historical Quarterly, XV
(October, 1932), 581-588, XVI (January-October, 1933), 84-91, 256-277, 409-426,
608-627; Leon Cyprian Soule, The Know Nothing Party in New Orleans: A Re-
appraisal (Baton Rouge, 1961); Robert C. Reinders, "The Louisiana American
Party and the Catholic Church," Mid-America, XXIX (October, 1958), 218-228;
and Edith Chalin Follett, "The History of the Know Nothing Party in Louisiana"
(unpublished M. A. thesis, Tulane University, 191o).
2Litha Crews, "The Know Nothing Party in Texas" (unpublished M. A. thesis,
University of Texas, 1925), 66-68; Earl W. Fornell, The Galveston Era (Austin,
1961), 268-271; and Anna Irene Sandbo, "Beginnings of the Secession Movement in
Texas," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, XVIII (July, 1914), 49-51.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 70, July 1966 - April, 1967. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101199/. Accessed November 20, 2014.