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Weekly American. [volume] : (Washington, D.C.) 1858-1858
Place of publication:
Washington, D.C.
Geographic coverage:
  • Washington, District of Columbia  |  View more titles from this: City State
C.W. Fenton
Dates of publication:
  • -v. 1, no. 25 (June 12, 1858).
  • Began in 1858.
  • English
  • Washington (D.C.)--fast--(OCoLC)fst01204505
  • Washington (D.C.)--Newspapers.
  • Also issued on microfilm from the Library of Congress, Photoduplication Service.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Description based on: Vol. 1, no. 3 (Jan. 9, 1858).
sn 82014016
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Weekly American. [volume] January 9, 1858 , Image 1


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The American and The Weekly American

The American was published in Washington, DC by C. W. Fenton as the American party's organ from July 31, 1857 until December 31, 1857. The American Party was also known as the Nativists, the American Republican Party, the Native American movement, or the Know-Nothings. The American followed the Daily American Organ and Weekly American Organ newspapers, edited by Vespasian Ellis and Josiah Melvin, respectively, as the party's official publication. Fenton began publishing the American a few months after the Weekly American Organ ceased publication in May 1857. When the American published its first issue, the American Party was already falling out of favor and there had supposedly been an attack on party members when a riot at the voting polls killed many people. The American Party took this incident as a threat to them, even though there was no substantial proof that the victims were affiliated with that party, according to the article "The Riot in Washington" in the June 4, 1857 issue of the Alexandria Gazette. With this event preceding it, the paper took a defensive tone stating that it would be "a paper whose columns will refute the slanders of its enemies, and defend the principles which animate them to perpetual vigilance, and which will certainly lead them to assured and complete triumph," as noted in the article "Ourself" in the July 31, 1857 issue of the American.

The American Party's strong anti-immigrant position was demonstrated by their negative portrayal of all immigrants as troublemakers and "ruffians" who were trying to change America to suit their wants and needs. The American advocated "the paramount rights of native-born citizens," which did not include American Indians, but instead was defined by white, primarily Protestant, immigrants who arrived in the Americas before the Revolutionary War. The paper also claimed that only those who were born in America could vote or run for office, and immigration should be restricted from voting. They believed that because their fathers fought in the Revolutionary War, they should be the only people who were eligible to rule and enjoy the freedoms that America offered.

To keep the American alive, it was reformatted as a weekly paper in January of 1858. The content diversified from the fading American Party and was renamed the Weekly American. Rather than the usual slogan of the Party Organ, "[t]he Perpetuation of American Freedom is our object; American Rights our motto; and the American Party our cognomen," the Weekly American changed its slogan to the broader, "[d]evoted to politics, literature, agriculture, news, and general miscellany," as noted in the January 9, 1858 issue. Even with this rebranding, the paper failed to gain substantial support and ceased publication on June 12, 1858.

Provided by: Library of Congress, Washington, DC