To the editor:

A follow-up to John Dickson's admirable Dec. 18 op-ed essay on Herman Melville and nativism: The Know-Nothing Party of the 1840s and 1850s that he so accurately portrays went on to become a constituent element of none other than the Republican Party.

In fairness, the founding Republicans of Abraham Lincoln's time moved beyond nativism to opposing slavery, expanding opportunities farmers and laborers and establishing rights for African-Americans in the period following the Civil War. One wonders what Lincoln would think of his fellow Republicans if he were alive today.

Michael Feldberg, Middlefield