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. Read more
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. Read more
After the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, William Seward proclaimed to the Senate that “[w]e will engage in competition for the virgin soil of Kansas, and God give the victory to the side which is stronger in numbers as it is in right.” Congressional Globe, 33 Cong., 1 sess., appendix, 769. Rather than settling the issue of slavery in Kansas, the Act made Kansas the figurative and literal battleground for the issue of slavery.
Since the outbreak of the Civil War and continuing to the present day, the role of slavery in splitting America has been hotly debated. One may wonder whether there was merely a correlation between slavery and the Civil War or whether slavery was the cause. Investigating the nuances of the issue of slavery reveals that the Civil War resulted from sectionalism and slavery, which were practically synonymous.
One of the most outspoken Representatives in the House of Representatives, John Quincy Adams, had opposed the declaration of war on Mexico and fought President James Polk’s policies for the duration of his presidency.
In 1842, John Quincy Adams presented to the House of Representatives a petition from 42 residents of Haverhill, Massachusetts, requesting that the Union be dissolved. Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: Transformation of America, 1815-1848, 610. Henry Wise, Congressman from Virginia, “demanded the former president be censured.” Id.
The labor movement gained significant momentum during the 1830s and 1840s, paving the way for future generations of Americans to secure extensive workers’ rights.
“Americanus” [John Stevens, Jr.] I
Daily Advertiser (New York), November 2, 1787
Following are excerpts from John Stevens, Jr.’s article in the Daily Advertiser:
“But, so prone is the spirit of man to party and faction, that even this admirable system will not prevent their mischievous efforts, in a state possessing a ‘small territory.’ Read more
Following the War of 1812, enfranchisement broadened in American society considerably.
Education was not always such a prominent issue in every state and every American community in the way that modern Americans experience. Horace Mann, who was secretary of the Massachusetts State Board of Education in 1837, ensured that all schools would have in common: “tuition-free, tax-supported, meeting statewide standards of curriculum, textbooks, and facilities, staffed with teachers who had been trained in state normal schools, modeled on the French école normale.” Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: Transformation of America, 1815-1848, 453.