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Last Best Hope of Earth

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Martin Van Buren

The Election of 1860

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The United States Capitol in 1860. Courtesy: Library of Congress

Every presidential election is consequential, but the Election of 1860 would play a significant role in whether the United States would remain one nation. The division of the North and South on the issue of slavery threatened to cause a secession of the South. The result of the election would determine whether that threat would materialize and cause a Second American Revolution. Continue reading “The Election of 1860”

The Evolving Political Parties of the 1850s

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Panoramic View of Washington, DC in 1856. Courtesy: E. Sachse & Co.

The Democratic Party and Whig Party were the dominant political parties from the early 1830s up until the mid-1850s. Both were institutions in national politics despite not having a coherent national organization by cobbling together a diverse group of states to win elections. While the Democrats had a more populist agenda, the Whigs were more focused on pursuing industrialization and development of the country. See David Potter, The Impending Crisis: America Before the Civil War, 1848-1861, 226. While the Democratic Party would survive to the present day, the Whig Party would not survive the mid-1850s, not as a result of its own ineptness but because of the changing political landscape of that era. Continue reading “The Evolving Political Parties of the 1850s”

A Deadlocked and Destructive Congress

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The United States Capitol in 1848. Unknown Photographer, credit Library of Congress.

During President James Polk’s administration, Congress grappled with resolving sectional tension arising out of whether slavery would be extended to newly acquired land from Mexico as well as the Oregon territory. Congress did not resolve that sectional tension but exacerbated it in what may have been one of the most deadlocked and destructive Congresses in American history. Continue reading “A Deadlocked and Destructive Congress”

Election of 1848: Whig Victory

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The White House in 1848. Credit: Library of Congress.

On November 7, 1848, Americans went to the polls to choose between Martin Van Buren, Zachary Taylor, and Lewis Cass.

Continue reading “Election of 1848: Whig Victory”

Election of 1848: The Barnburners

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A Political Cartoon Regarding the Barnburners.

Approaching the Election of 1848, President James Polk did not have unanimous support amongst Democrats. In fact, quite the opposite.

Continue reading “Election of 1848: The Barnburners”

The Whig Revolution

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The County Election. By: George Caleb Bingham.

With the Mexican-American War well underway, the midterm elections in 1846-47 were bound to be consequential.

Continue reading “The Whig Revolution”

The Deadliest War in American History

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Winfield Scott. By: Robert Walter Weir.

President James Polk, at the outbreak of the Mexican-American War, was concerned about the ramifications of a significant, drawn-out conflict. He was aware that a Whig military hero could emerge, just as William Henry Harrison had. See Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: Transformation of America, 1815-1848, 750.

Continue reading “The Deadliest War in American History”

Election of 1844: The Conventions

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James Knox Polk. By: George P.A. Healy.

The Election of 1844 was one of the most momentous in American history.

Continue reading “Election of 1844: The Conventions”

The Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842

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Daniel Webster.

Daniel Webster, the Secretary of State under President John Tyler, brought a breadth of experience and dignity to the office, but he also brought “a different perspective on Anglo-American relations.” Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: Transformation of America, 1815-1848, 672.

Continue reading “The Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842”

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