The AMERICAN PROTECTIVE ASSOCIATION (APA) was the largest anti-Catholic secret society in the United States. Established in 1887 by Protestants, the society sought to exert influence by boosting its supporters in political campaigns, particularly those in the Republican Party. The APA was particularly concerned about Roman Catholic influence in the public school system and unfettered Catholic immigration and the growing Catholic control of political establishments in major cities. At its peak in 1896, the organization attained a six-figure membership. But its collapse was rapid with only a small number of members in 1898. APA was finally terminated in 1911 with the death of its founder.
Offering a record book of the APA, Oberlin, PA, Council, 1895 – 1896, 36 pp, 8 x 13 3/4, journal record, which begins with organizing the council and electing officers on March 2, 1895, and continues subsequent minutes of many meetings. “Patriotic speeches were then made by S.S. Page, Jacob Reighart, T.T. Herman and others.”
The group’s strength was in political lobbying. On March 15, 1895, the secretary of the Oberlin Council recorded: “It was decided that petitions, favoring bills now before the Senate, be signed and sent to our Senator, and also that letters be sent him, asking him to support such bills.”
At the next meeting, the secretary was instructed to write to Honorable Robert Smith “congratulating him on his success in pushing through the Garb Bill. Friends [members] Seiders and Shellenburger volunteered to circulate petitions to the Senate asking it to pass the Garb Bill and the Compulsory Education Bill. [The Garb Bill outlawed the wearing of religious clothes in the classroom by teachers, an apparent attempt to prevent religious teachings in schools.] “An act introduced by Friend S.S. Page to open convents and other institutions to Federal inspection was endorsed by the Council.”
People wishing to join the APA were investigated by a committee and many were rejected. One person’s membership was rejected “and his fee of $1.00 was ordered returned.”
In September 1895, a motion was made to procure 500 tracts, Rome and the Ballot Box, six subscriptions to the American citizen “and hand in the bill at the next meeting.”
Very fascinating look at the anti-Catholic fervor in the 19th century.
Backstrap reattached to the spine with archival tape. Pages are clean and intact and writing is very easy to read.
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