Who Were the Locofocos? October 23 2014

Back in the 1800s, various political parties emerged and disappeared that we just don't hear much about these days. The Locofocos, who appear on this elaborate political history chart, were one of them.

Originally called the Equal Rights Party, the Locofocos were a radical wing of the democratic party. The name Locofoco came from the kind of matches that radicals used one evening in New York to light candles so they could continue meeting after Tammany Hall regulars tried to kick them out by turning off the gaslights.

As you can see, Locofocos opposed paper money. They also opposed state banks, monopolies, and, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, "any financial policies that seemed to them antidemocratic and conducive to special privilege."

So the next time your friends (or enemies, or frenemies) rail about monopolies, feel free to let them know they are in good historical company!