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American Protective Association


AMERICAN PROTECTIVE ASSOCIATION (APA), founded at Clinton, Iowa, in 1887 by attorney Henry F. Bowers, represented anti-Catholic and anticapitalist sentiments during the 1890s. The APA movement grew slowly until the economic unrest of the panic of 1893 fueled its national growth. Unlike the Know-Nothing movement of the 1850s, the APA never formed a distinct political party and it invited foreign-born Americans to join its membership. However, its rapid expansion made it difficult to manage and, in an ill-fated move, the APA attempted to thwart the nomination of presidential candidate William McKinley in 1896. The attempt failed, and the APA's inefficacy became even more apparent when, in March 1897, McKinley's first cabinet appointment was a Catholic judge. Despite declining support, the APA lingered until the death of Henry Bowers in 1911.


Desmond, Humphrey J. The APA Movement. 1912. Reprint, New York: Arno Press, 1969.

Manfra, Jo Ann. "Hometown Politics and the American Protective Association, 1887–1890." The Annals of Iowa 55 (Spring 1996): 138–166.


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