Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States
—In February, 1830, a state convention at Albany, had decided in favor of a national anti-masonic nominating convention, and this decision was confirmed by a national convention, in September, 1830. John Quincy Adams had already lost control of the national republicans, and Clay had begun to develop some of that popularity with the party which afterward made the whigs almost a distinctive Clay party. In the hope of forcing Clay, who was a free-mason, out of the field, the anti-masons held their convention first of the parties, at Baltimore, in September, 1831, and nominated William Wirt, of Maryland, and Amos Ellmaker, of Pennsylvania, as presidential candidates. The national republicans, however, persisted in nominating Clay, and Wirt and Ellmaker received the electoral vote of Vermont alone. The anti-masons made no further effort to act as a distinct national party, and the rise of the whig party soon after absorbed their organization, except in Pennsylvania, where they retained existence in alliance with the whigs until about 1840, and in 1835, through democratic dissensions, succeeded in electing their candidate for governor, Joseph Ritner. But while acting as a part of the whig party, the anti masonic element was sufficiently strong and distinct to force the nomination of Harrison, in 1835 and 1839, instead of Clay. (See
—II. AMERICAN PARTY. In 1868 a national convention, at Pittsburgh, formed the national Christian association, which has held annual meetings since, and now has branches in 14 states. In 1875 this body began political action as the American party. It is opposed to free-masonry as false religion and as false politics, and demands the recognition of God as the author of civil government, and the prohibition of oath-bound secret lodges as acknowledging supreme allegiance to another government than that of the United States. The vote of the party was in 1876 and 1880 included in the few thousand votes classed as "scattering." Its newspaper organ is The Christian Cynosure, published in Chicago, Ill., and its practical leader is president J. Blanchard, of Wheaton College, Illinois.
—See (I.) Creigh's Masonry and Anti-Masonry; 2 Hammond's Political History of New York, 369, 403; H. Brown's Anti-Masonic Excitement, in 1826-9; Ward's Anti-Masonic Review (1828-30); 1 Seward's Writings; Proceedings of the U. S. Anti-Masonic Convention, in Philadelphia, Sept. 11, 1830; Stone's Letters on Anti-Masonry; and earlier authorities under WHIG PARTY; (II.) Christian Cynosure, 1880; Greene's Broken Seal; Gasset's Catalogue of Anti-Masonic Books in Public Libraries.
Return to top