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The Brutal 1855 Murder Of The Real-Life Bill The Butcher

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01/21/2023 10:53 AM
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The Brutal 1855 Murder Of The Real-Life Bill The Butcher

Though some might believe that anti-immigrant factions in the United States are a new phenomenon, history proves that there have been groups that have opposed immigration onto this nation's soil since its beginnings. This fervor was in full swing in the mid-19th century, even inspiring a political party to form and field some electable candidates for national office.

bill poole
bill poole
© Wikimedia Commons

At that time, politics in New York City was dominated by Tammany Hall, a group dedicated to staying in power by building a strong and loyal base of newly arrived immigrants (per Historic Mysteries). The sizable number of Catholics among their ranks didn't sit well with some die-hard Protestants. The Know Nothing Party was formed in response to the large waves of immigrants pouring into the United States, who were able to elect several dozen members to the national Congress. The party capitalized on the bigotry of many Americans and was led in New York by a man named Bill "The Butcher" Poole.

Tammany Hall had elected Irish-American John Morrissey to lead them. He and Poole faced off several times in the early 1850s, beginning with both men being on opposite sides of the 1854 New York mayoral election. Tammany Hall's victory in this race only fueled the hatred between it and Poole's unified No Nothing Party, also known as the Native American Party.

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