Free and Accepted Americans
Formed about 1863 as a native American patriotic secret society by William Patton, who became its first president, the first meeting being held in a stable, the second in Convention Hall, New York City.
By 1805 there were fifty-nine Temples of the organization in New York City and Kings County. Later on the society vas absorbed by the Know-nothing Party which flourished in the ten y ears preceding 1860, and did not survive that movement. Its first name was the American Brethren, afterwards the Wide Awakes, but most commonly the Templars Order of the American Star, Free and Accepted Americans. While the style adopted for the name might suggest that some of its founders were members of the Craft, we have no definite information relative to that point (see John Bach McMaster's History of the People of the United States from the Revolution to the Civil War, and the Builder, volume vu, 1921, page 303). The Know- nothing Party to which reference has been made, has also been called the American Party.
The National Council, at a meeting in Philadelphia, February '1, 1556, adopted a platform and a ritual. The latter is claimed to be the one given in American Politics, published in 1882 by Cooper and Fenton, Chicago. The purposes of the Party are stated in the second Article of the Constitution as follows:
The object of this organization shall be to protect every American citizen in the legal and proper exercise of all his civil and religious rights and privileges; to resist the insidious policy of the Church of Rome, and all foreign influence against our republican institutions in all lawful ways, to place in all offices of honor, trust or profit, in the gift of the people, or by appointment, none but native-born Protestant citizens, and to protect, preserve and uphold the Union of these States and the Constitution of the same.
The name, Know-nothing, came from that or an equivalent expression being used by the members in reply to questions concerning the organization.
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