Anti-Masonic party

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Anti-Masonic party,

American political organization that rose after the disappearance in W New York state in 1826 of William Morgan. A former Mason, Morgan had written a book purporting to reveal Masonic secrets. The Masons were said, without proof, to have murdered him, and in reaction local organizations arose to refuse support to Masons for public office. In New York state Thurlow WeedWeed, Thurlow
, 1797–1882, American journalist and political leader, b. Cairo, N.Y. After working on various newspapers in W New York, Weed joined the Rochester Telegraph and was influential as a supporter of John Quincy Adams.
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 and William H. SewardSeward, William Henry,
1801–72, American statesman, b. Florida, Orange co., N.Y. Early Career

A graduate (1820) of Union College, he was admitted to the bar in 1822 and established himself as a lawyer in Auburn, N.Y., which he made his lifelong home.
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 attempted unsuccessfully to use the movement, which appealed strongly to the poorer classes, to overthrow Martin Van BurenVan Buren, Martin,
1782–1862, 8th President of the United States (1837–41), b. Kinderhook, Columbia co., N.Y. Early Career

He was reared on his father's farm, was educated at local schools, and after reading law was admitted (1803) to the bar.
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 and the Albany RegencyAlbany Regency,
name given, after 1820, to the leaders of the first political machine, which was developed in New York state by Martin Van Buren. The name derived from the charge that Van Buren's principal supporters, residing in Albany, managed the machine for him while he
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. Anti-Masonry spread from New York to neighboring states and influenced many local and state elections. At Baltimore, in 1831, the Anti-Masons held the first national nominating convention of any party and issued the first written party platform—innovations followed by the older parties. The vote for their presidential candidate, William WirtWirt, William
, 1772–1834, U.S. Attorney General and author, b. Bladensburg, Md. He had little formal schooling but was admitted to the Virginia bar in 1792. His first book was an anonymous collection of sketches called The Letters of a British Spy
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, mostly hurt Henry Clay. Usually the Anti-Masons in national politics acted with the National Republican partyNational Republican party,
in U.S. history, a short-lived political party opposed to Andrew Jackson. In the election of 1828, which Jackson won overwhelmingly, some of the supporters of his opponent, President John Quincy Adams, called themselves National Republicans.
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 in opposition to Jacksonian democracy, and in 1834 they helped to form the Whig partyWhig party,
one of the two major political parties of the United States in the second quarter of the 19th cent. Origins

As a party it did not exist before 1834, but its nucleus was formed in 1824 when the adherents of John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay joined forces
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.

Bibliography

See W. B. Hesseltine, The Rise and Fall of Third Parties (1948); L. Ratner, Antimasonry (1969).