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9 -- Part 2: . Democracy in America
Unable to agree on a consistent national position on slavery, and unable to find another national issue to rally around, the Whigs broke apart.
The Whig coalition drew strength from several earlier parties, including two that harnessed American political paranoia.
The purpose of the party was to destroy the Freemasons.
The American Party was formed by anti- immigrants sentiment.
nativism had already been an influence on the Whig Party, whose members could not fail to notice that urban Irish Catholics tended to support Democrats.
Medieval Europe is thought to have started the international network of social clubs with arcane traditions and rituals as a trade organization for stonemasons.
By the 18th century, it had become a secular order that was committed to the ideals of the Enlightenment.
The social life of men in the new republic's elite was influenced by Freemasonry.
George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Andrew Jackson, and Henry Clay all claimed membership.
The order for African American men was founded by Prince Hall, a free leather worker in Boston.
Many Americans were suspicious of the organization because of its secrecy, elitism, rituals, and secular ideals.
Anti-Masonic suspicion would emerge for the first time as an organized political force in upstate New York in the 19th century.
The disappearance and probable murder of William Morgan triggered this.
The book claimed to reveal the order's secret rituals, and it upset other Freemasons.
There were attempts to prevent the book from being published, including an attempt to burn the press and a conspiracy to have Morgan jailed for alleged debts.
Morgan vanished in September.
He was forced into a carriage by four men.
When a corpse washed up on the shore of Lake Ontario, Morgan's wife and friends claimed that it was his.
Many people were convinced by the Morgan story that Masonry was dangerous.
The publicity surrounding the trials transformed local outrage into a political movement that had significant power in New York and parts of New England.
The movement gave Americans an explanation as to why the republic was controlled by a secret society.
Local anti-Masonic committees in New York decided not to vote for anyone who belonged to the Freemasons.
The Anti-Masonic Declaration of Independence was the basis for the Anti-Masonic Party.
The Anti-Masons won 12 percent of the vote for governor in New York in 1828.
The leaders of the Anti-Masonic Party folded their movement into the Whig Party after a poor showing in the presidential elections.
The Anti-Masonic Party's absorption into the Whig coalition demonstrated the importance of conspiracy theories.
Some of Andrew Jackson's enemies were able to detect a foreign plot in the form of the Bank of the United States because of the Freemasons.
nativists blamed immigrants.
Catholicism may have been the most important foreign threat detected by nativists.
Nativists were horrified as more and more Catholic immigrants arrived in American cities.
The immigrants spoke unfamiliar languages and had different beliefs.
Europe's history of warfare between Catholics and Protestants was remembered by nativists.
They were worried that Catholics would bring religious violence to the United States.
A mob of Protestants attacked a Catholic con vent in Boston in the summer of 1834.
There were rumors that a woman was being held against her will by the nuns.
The men burned the convent to the ground.
A young woman named Rebecca Reed, who had spent time in the convent, published a memoir describing abuses she claimed the nuns had directed toward novices and students.
The Catholic faith was seen by many Protestants as a superstition that made them slaves to the pope in Rome.
They accused catholic priests of preying on young women.
Their ancestors had feared that England would be conquered by Catholicism.
In 1834, the painter and inventor Samuel F. B. Morse warned that European tyrants were planning to send Catholic immigrants to the United States.
The Protestant minister was lecturing in various cities around the same time.
It was racial inequality that exposed American democracy's limits.
State governments had lowered their property requirements to make it easier for poorer men to vote.
Whites were worried that free black men would go to the polls in large numbers.
New laws made racial discrimination the basis of American democracy.
Only two states limited black voting rights during the Revolution.
Almost all states did by that time.
The New York state constitution enfranchised most white male taxpayers but only the richest black men.
In Pennsylvania, black voting was banned completely in the 18th century.
One of the richest people in Philadelphia was excluded from the new Pennsylvania constitution.
James Forten, a free-born sailmaker who had served in the American Revolution, became a wealthy merchant.
He used his wealth and influence to promote the abolition of slavery, and after the constitution he undertook a lawsuit to protect his right to vote.
His voting rights were terminated after he lost.
Andrew Jackson's rise worsened race relations because of the social tensions that had preceded it.
Four hundred thousand free blacks lived in America by the end of the decade.
Riots in American cities during the 1830s were caused by racial and ethnic resentment.
In Philadelphia, thousands of white rioters torched an antislavery meeting house and attacked black churches and homes.
The editor of a newspaper was murdered for defending his printing press.
The popular culture was influenced by 42 racial tensions.
He was copied by many other white entertainers.
They turned cruel stereotypes into one of America's favorite forms of entertainment by borrowing from the work of real black performers.
In the 1830s, some whites joined free black activists in testing racial inequality.
They came from the lower middle class and usually lived in northern cities.
They expected to rise in the world, even though they were not rich.
The Female Anti-Slavery Society in Boston included women whose husbands sold coal, mended clothes, and baked bread, as well as women from wealthy families.
Many slaves were shoemakers in Lynn.
They sold their own handmade goods at antislavery fund-raising fairs and organized boycotts of consumer products that came from slave labor.
The antislavery movement was a way for both men and women to have a say in American life.
The debates about slavery reflected tensions in the society.
Whether American democracy had room for people of different races and religions was the ultimate question.
Some people struggled to make American society more welcoming.
Democrats or Whigs said no.
Content contributions by Christopher Childers, William Cossen, Adam Costanzo, and Nathaniel C. Green were edited by Jonathan Wilfred Wilson.
Ross M. Lence is from Indianapolis, IN.
Andrew Jackson made a statement regarding nullification on December 10, 1832.
The Bank of the United States was vetoed by Andrew Jackson.
Quoted in ibid.
Quoted in ibid.
"Henry Clay to Francis Brooke" was quoted in Michael F.
A Government and a City.
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