The American Protective Association was one of several American organizations created to counter the growing presence and influence of Roman Catholic immigrants in the United States. Its purpose was to protect the United States from the Catholic Church, which it viewed as a foreign organization with international designs.
Between the end of the Civil War (1861-1865) and World War I (1914-1918), approximately 25 million immigrants came to the United States. Many of these immigrants were working-class Roman Catholics who settled in the cities of the North. The presence of these immigrants and their growing economic and political influence resulted in a Protestant nativism that based its appeal primarily on conservative political values designed to appeal to the common person.
The American Protective Association (APA) was the largest anti-Catholic organization in the United States during the late nineteenth century. It was founded in Clinton, Iowa, on March 13, 1887, by attorney
Unlike the Know-Nothing Party movement of the first half of the nineteenth century, the APA did not form a political party. Rather, it focused on working through the Republican Party. The APA’s greatest success occurred in school board and municipal elections in the Midwest. It promoted anti-Catholicism by distributing forged documents designed to promote fear of Catholics among local citizens. Before elections, it circulated lists of candidates marked C for Catholic, c for Catholic sympathizer, and P for Protestant.
The American Protective Association’s greatest national success occurred in 1893 and 1894 as it capitalized on the fear of Catholic success in national and local elections. It also began to publish
Bennett, David H. The Party of Fear: From Nativist Movements to the New Right in American History. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1988. Kinzer, Donald L. An Episode in Anti-Catholicism: The American Protective Association. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1964. Lipset, Seymour Martin, and Earl Rabb. The Politics of Unreason: Right-Wing Extremism in America, 1790-1970. New York: Harper & Row, 1970.
History of immigration, 1783-1891
History of immigration after 1891
Ku Klux Klan
Religions of immigrants