04/21/16 6:00am

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In May 1854, Congress passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act, allowing both states to choose if they wanted to allow slavery within their borders. This measure allowed for the growth of the Know-Nothing Party, or the American Party, throughout the country.

The party was strongly pro-slavery and against immigration, Roman Catholics and the Irish. By the time of the 1856 presidential election, however, it had lost a majority of its support.

The Know-Nothings’ popularity seemed to fade even sooner in Wading River. READ