Category Archives: Biddeford-Saco

The Year Maine Went Mad – the Know Nothingism of 1854-5

A political realignment. Promises to drain the swamp and put Americans first. Attacks, both verbal and physical, on immigrants and minorities. In 1854 and 1855, Maine, like much of the country, was shaken by the rise of the Know-Nothing movement. Its anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic rhetoric overturned state politics and spilled over into mob violence. For […]

Confronting the Klan in 1920s Maine

The history of Maine’s brief, but intense, association with the Ku Klux Klan is becoming increasingly well-known. Along with a large portion of the country in the early 1920’s, Maine was home to a Klan chapter with a significant membership, which held significant sway over local politics. While the Klan had its beginnings with former […]

Suppressing the Franco Vote: Literacy Tests, Court Challenges & the KKK

“There are 8,000 French Canadians in Biddeford, and they are reputed to be excellent people, peaceable, industrious, frugal, and the only allegation that can be made against them is that the French Canadian men are almost unanimously Democrats.  For being Democrats they are suffering persecution…Every French Canadian who has been naturalized  by the Biddeford court […]