Constitution of the State Council of the American Party of Massachusetts : adopted August 7, 1855
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After a stunning populist landslide in the Massachusetts state election of 1854 brought the American Party (the Know-Nothing Party) to power, members found themselves, because of the secretiveness of their organization, with no clear public statement of party principles. At a meeting in Springfield, Massachusetts, on 7 August 1855, the state council tried to reach a compromise between the nativist (anti-immigrant) and antislavery concerns of party supporters. The meeting produced the "Declaration of Principles" that became known as the "Springfield Platform." These principles appear on pages 2 and 3 of the published Constitution of the State Council of the American Party of Massachusetts displayed here. The divisions within the party proved irreconcilable. The Know-Nothings soon lost their wide popular appeal and the party quickly collapsed, falling from political power in Massachusetts by 1857.