Early History of the Junior Order U.A.M.
Compiled and Written by James A. Wolfe, September 2005
·“The Know Nothings”
·“Union of Workers”
·“Order United American Mechanics”
·“Senior Order United American Mechanics”
·“Junior Order United American Mechanics”
What’s in a name? History; and Americans cannot hide from the acts of their forefathers, nor should they desire to do so. We cannot be proud of many events in American history, yet they form our history because we are Americans. One purpose of studying and understanding history is so that we do not make those mistakes again.
American Nativism* is a reported period in American history that continued well beyond 1845. Many acts that occurred during this era are shameful at best. It is important for the reader to understand that the Junior Order did not encourage or sponsor these acts.
It is known that a group of American citizens were responsible for grievous acts against Catholics and more specifically Irish Catholics in Philadelphia. One of the first known groups to grow out of the era was “The Know Nothings.” They were formed out of fear and it was a secret organization that continued to encourage defiant actions against individuals whom they believed were a threat to American liberty. Many things fueled those acts, but immigration and the resulting loss of jobs and income were touted as the main causes. Reading accounts of historical facts will provide additional insight to other causes. American Nativist's held a general dislike and fear of the power of the Catholic Church and the resulting influence from the Vatican. While that is part of American history, it is not a part of the Junior Order.
Americans performed countless unlawful acts, not the “Juniors.” The fact that the original “Order” (OUAM) and the Jr. O.U.A.M. grew out of this period of lawlessness is testament to the need of a society in turmoil that required healing.
Americans carry a lot of baggage, some good and some very bad. The burning of churches, murder in the streets, beatings of immigrants, are not topics that individuals frequently discuss, yet it is important for us to understand their influence.
It was the mid-1800's and the Industrial Revolution was moving quite rapidly. Immigrants to America were taking jobs that native Americans felt were rightly theirs, thus the name, American Nativism*. America was changing and a handful of men who feared the changes acted in desperation. Those individuals acted unjustly, and fear and empty bellies made those individuals do desperate and illegal acts. The retaliation added fuel to the fire.
The Junior Order U.A.M. was formed in 1853 with its own agenda and for very specific reasons under the motto of the Order, "Our Country." The result was to begin a period of healing in America to promote the creed of our Order, “Principles, not men.” The Jr. O.U.A.M. organized and its members conducted business legally and ethically. It began as a society of brothers to promote trade among its members, and it flourished. It was restoring order to a society that harbored hatred.
Organizations like the Jr. O.U.A.M. were the saving grace of American society, not the destroyers. We have grown in years and understanding. We have been tempered by time, and for some forgiveness is sometimes difficult. This is not true for the Junior Order member.
The Junior Order was not founded on chaos and destruction, rather because of it. It was out of the chaos and destruction that organizations such as ours grew - to save America. Today we continue to do what we can to preserve America.
Junior’s around America prefer to teach tolerance and not bigotry; kindness not cruelty; benevolence not malevolence; acceptance not rejection; and love not hatred. It doesn't take a very big person to carry a grudge, and we carry no grudges.
It's always important for us to remember that ..."Good judgment often comes from a lot of bad judgment." America has had her share of bad judgment. I pray that we're beyond many of the troublesome periods in America, and we pray for mercy not justice.
I hope this helps you to understand how strongly Junior’s feel about our Order and the fact that we must survive. We cannot and must not fail in sharing our Virtue, Liberty, and Patriotism for those who are willing and want to enjoy it. It is our duty.
There are many organizations in America with similar values and principles - Masons, York Rite, Scottish Rite, BPOE, IBPOE, Moose, VFW, DAV, IOOF, IORM, and many more. We all have similar objectives - helping individuals lead richer and more fulfilling lives.
If you have an interest in Patriotism, send us a note. We’ll try to respond on a timely basis, and we thank you in advance for your time.
* Sean Baker - American Nativism 1830-1845
James A. Wolfe
Jr. Order U.A.M.
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