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the Knights of the Golden Circle had existed at the South before the Civil War. It was composed of men opposed to the North and anxious for separation. About 1862 this organization took root in the West, its principal object being to hinder the draft of soldiers. It was variously known as Mutual Protection Society, as Circle of Honor, as the Circle, and as Knights of the Mighty Host. The exposure of some of its signs and secrets led the Confederate General Sterling Price to organize in Missouri a new society known as the Corps de Belgique, in honor of the Belgian consul at St. Louis, Charles L. Hunt, who was Price's principal assistant. This organization finally became part of the Order of American Knights, organized by C. L. Vallandingham, of Ohio, and P. C. Wright, of New York. The object of this society was to resist the draft and to encourage desertion among Union soldiers, to aid the Confederates by giving them information and by recruiting for their ranks, and to establish a Northwestern Confederacy. Some of the secrets of the order having been learned by the Federal authorities, it was reorganized in 1864; its new name was Order of the Sons of Liberty, or Knights of the Order of the Sons of Liberty. Its organization was of a military nature; in 1864 the number of its members was estimated at from 350,000 to 800,000, among whom, it is said, was Jefferson Davis; among its Supreme Commanders were Wright and Vallandingham. H. H. Dodd, one of its highest officers, was arrested for conspiracy against the government, but he ultimately escaped punishment. Locally the order was known by different names; in Illinois branches were known as Illini, Peace Organization, Democratic Invincible Club; in Kentucky, as Star Organization, Democratic Reading-room ; in Missouri, as American Organization; in New York, as McClellan Minute Men. With the war, of course, its reason for beirg came to an end.
American Organization. (See American Knights.)
American Party.-1. From the beginning of the government, movements against aliens have been common. In New York City, a center of foreign population, this subject had, from time to time, been agitated, and after a period of success in 1844, it had again sunk out of view. About 1852, when the Whig party was breaking asunder, a secret, oath-bound organization, said to have been called “ The Sons of '76,” or “ The Order of the Star-Spangled Banner," was formed. Those of its members that had not been admitted to the higher degrees were kept in ignorance of the aims and name of the organization, and their constant answer of “I don't know to questions regarding the society gave them the title of “Know-Nothings." All meetings of the party were secret. It carefully avoided the subject of slavery, and attempted to draw the voters that were tired of agitation on that subject, by confining itself to vigorous opposition to Catholics and aliens. Its principle was “Āmericans must rule America.” The first national convention of the party met in February, 1856. The day previous a secret convention of the order had adopted sixteen resolutions abolishing much of the secrecy, demanding the lengthening of the residence necessary to naturalization and condemning Pierce's administration for “reopening sectional agitation by the repeal of the Missouri compromise.” The refusal to consider a resolution regarding the restriction of slavery led to the withdrawal of about fifty “ Anti-Nebraska” or “North" American delegates. Millard Fillmore, of New York, was then nominated for President and Andrew Jackson Donelson for Vice-President. These nominations were endorsed by a Whig convention in September. Fillmore carried but one State, Maryland, while his total popular vote was about 850,000. In 1860 Presidential candidates were again nominated, but under another party name. (See Constitutional Union Party.) After Fillmore's defeat, the party in 1857 carried the State elections in Rhode Island and Maryland, and in 1859 it was still represented by a few members in Congress. The party never had any foothold in the West, its strength lying in the Middle and Southern States. (See Anti-Masonic Parties.)
II. The second party of this name was founded on opposition to secret societies, unlike the first, which had itself been such a society. The name was adopted by the members of the National Christian Association when that body began to mingle in politics Its platform demanded prohibition of the sale of liquor, recognition of the Sabbath, the withdrawal of the charters of secret societies and legislative prohibition of their oaths, arbitration of international disputes, the introduction of the Bible into schools, the restriction of land monopolies, resumption of specie payments, justice to the Indians and a direct popular vote for President and Vice-President. The origin of the party is as follows: The meeting in 1872 in Oberlin, Ohio, of the National Christian Association was adjourned in order to allow a political mass meeting in sympathy with its views to be held. This meeting nominated Charles Francis Adams for President. This organization for political purposes was completed at a convention in Syracuse, New York, in 1874, and the name American party was adopted. A convention at Pittsburgh, June 9, 1875, adopted a platform of the principles above set forth and nominated James B. Walker, of Illinois, for President. In 1880 nominations were again made; in 1884 the nominee, S. C. Pomeroy, withdrew in favor of St. John, the Prohibition candidate, on his assurance that he “stood on every plank of the American platform.” The party is inclined to endorse the Prohibition candidates if these are satisfactory, on the score of the secret society plank.
III. This party was organized by a convention held in Philadelphia September 16–17, 1887. Its platform declares the “present system of immigration and naturalization of foreigners . . . detrimental to the welfare of the United States;" it demands its restriction and regulation so as to make fourteen years' residence a prerequisite of naturalization, and excludes from the benefits of citizenship all anarchists, socialists and other dangerous characters; it demands free schools; condemns alien proprietorship in the soil and grants of land to corporations; demands the establishment of a navy and the construction of fortifications and a judicious system of internal improvements; it reasserts the “American principles of absolute freedom of religious worship and belief,” and “the permanent separation of Church and State," and declares in favor of the enforcement of the Monroe Doctrine. The completion of the organization of the party is going forward rapidly.
American System.-In the debates which resulted in the tariff law of 1824, Henry Clay called his plan of protective duties and internal improvements the “ American system.” The term is usually restricted, however, to denote the policy of protection to home industries by means of duties on imports. (See Tariffs of the United States.)
American Whigs.-In England, before the American Revolution and after it, too, the Whigs were the party that struggled against the extension of the royal prerogative; the Tories upheld it. So it naturally followed that Americans opposing the oppression of Great Britain likewise took the name of Whigs. They were known as American Whigs. The name was first used in New York in 1768. The name Tory was by contrast employed to designate partisans of Great Britain. After the revolution there was thus but one party, the Whigs. The estates of some of the Tories had been confiscated, others had left the country and those that remained were left without a cause. The Whigs soon broke up into factions, the Strong-Government Whigs and the Particularists, and these respectively gave rise to the Federalists and Republicans.
Americans Must Rule America, One of the mottoes of the “Know-Nothings."
Americans, The, Must Light the Lamps of Industry and Economy.—This occurs in a letter of Benjamin Franklin to Charles Thomson, Secretary of Congress for fifteen years. It was written by him in 1765 from London immediately after the passage of the Stamp Act. He was at that time the London agent of Pennsylvania.
Ames, Fisher, was born in Dedham, Massachusetts, April 9, 1758, and died July 4, 1808. He was a lawyer, graduating at Harvard. In politics a Federalist, he served in the House of Representatives from 1789 to 1797, where he held foremost rank as an orator, his best known speech being the one in favor of Jay's treaty.
Amistad Case, The.-In June, 1839, the schooner L’Amistad sailed from Havana for Principe with a number of slaves that had been kidnaped in Africa. The slaves overpowered the whites, and killed all but two. These white men steered the vessel northward instead of to Africa as directed, and soon the vessel was seized and taken into New London, Conn., by Lieutenant Gedney of the United States brig Washington. The Spanish Minister requested the delivery of the slaves to be taken to Cuba for trial. President Van Buren was desirous of granting this request as a matter of comity, but the Anti-Slavery Society procured counsel, and the District Court of the United States decided that even by the Spanish laws the slave trade was illegal, and the negroes were free men. The Circuit Court affirmed this decision, and so, in March, 1841, did the Supreme Court, where John Quincy Adams devoted himself to the cause of the negroes without remuneration. The negroes were sent back to Africa in an American vessel.
Amnesty, Proclamation of. (See Proclamation of Amnesty.)
Anarchy Poles.-A derisive name for Liberty Poles.
Ancient Mariner of the Wabash.—A name applied to Richard W. Thompson, of Indiana, who was Secretary of the Navy under President Hayes.
Annapolis Academy. (See United States Naval Academy.)
Annexations.—The territory of the United States at the commencement of our existence as a nation comprised all our present territory between the Atlantic on the east, the Mississippi on the west, British America on the north and the thirty-first degree of north latitude on the south, with a few slight differences owing to subsequent re-arrangements of boundary lines. There have since been six different additions made to our territory, which have brought it to its present extent.