The people of the United States became increasingly annoyed with the circulation of the large one-cent as early as 1850; so many top mint executives began looking for a change. In 1856, this change arrived, but it was not necessarily legally. Using borrowed designs from Gobrecht’s silver dollar and Longacre’s gold dollar, the relatively new director, James Ross Snowden, pushed for the small cent production. This coin was not only made without consent from neither Congress nor the Secretary of Treasury, but it was also made from blanks containing 88% copper and 12% nickel when only gold and silver were legal tender.
Within the same year, Philadelphia held several important events in its newly called Independence Hall. Two of the most important events of this year were the Republican National Conventions and the “Know-Nothings” Party convention. This party, also known as the American party, did not have much traction in the public eye before the convention and certainly could not keep is after. This particular party had origins as a secret society and was filled with extreme Nativists or anti-immigration believers. As a result of his platform which involved plans for an extension to the naturalization process, ways to keep immigrants out of public office, and code to leave states sovereign in their slavery law decisions, Millard Fillmore won the spot for the party’s presidential nominee. Oddly enough however, Fillmore actually lost several party supporters due to his final campaign point because several supporters were ironically abolitionists or against slavery. Regardless, this “American” party obviously did not hold steadfast after the Republican nominee, Abraham Lincoln, won presidency in 1860.