American Parties From The Civil War Essay — страница 2

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in response to attacks on Jay’s Treaty with Britain (1794). Although parties were widely regarded as inimical to free government, and although Washington, Hamilton, and Adams deplored their rise (together with the tendency toward a North versus South and pro-British versus pro-French polarization of political opinion), parties were an established fact by the presidential election of 1796. While Adams was president, the Federalists attempted to stifle dissent by the Alien and Sedition Act (1798). These, however, had the effect of stiffening the opposition at the time when the Federalists themselves were splitting into “High” and “Low” wings over the issue of the XYZ Affair and the ensuing Quasi-War with France. By the election of 1800, therefore, the

Democratic-Republicans gained control of the federal government. The death of Washington in 1799 and of Hamilton in 1804 left the Federalists without a powerful leader, and they seemed unfit at the highly organized and popular politics of the Democratic-Republicans. Although the party continued to have strength in New England, expressing the opposition of commercial interests to the Embargo Act of 1807 and the War of 1812 , it never made a comeback on the national level. After the Hartford Convention of 1815, the Federalists were a dying anachronism. The Republican Party Many believe that the origins of this party grew out of the conflicts about the expansion of slavery into the new Western territories. The passing of the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 provided the motive for

political realignment. That law repealed earlier compromises that did not allowed slavery in the territories. The passing of this act served as the unifying factor for abolitionists and split the Democrats and the Whig party. “Anti-Nebraska” protest meetings spread rapidly through the country. Two such meetings were held in Ripon, Wis., on Feb. 28 and Mar. 20, 1854. These meetings were attended by a group of abolitionist Free Soilers, Democrats, and Whigs. They decided to call themselves Republicans–because they declared to be political descendants of Thomas Jefferson’s Democratic- Republican party. The new party was a success from the beginning. In the 1854 congressional elections, 44 Republicans were elected as a part of the anti-Nebraskan majority in the House of

Representatives. Plus, several Republicans were elected to the Senate and to various state houses. In 1856, at the first Republican national convention, Sen. John C. Fremont was nominated for the presidency but was defeated by Democrat James Buchanan. During the campaign the northern branch of the NOW-NOTHING PARTY split off and endorsed the Republican ticket, making the Republicans the chief antislavery party. Two days after the inauguration of James Buchanan, the Supreme Court handed down the Dred Scott v. Sandford decision, which increased sectional dissension and was exposed by the Republicans. At this time the nation was also gripped by economic chaos. Business blamed tariff reductions, and Republican leaders called for greater tariff protection. The split in the Democratic

party over the issue of slavery continued, and in 1858 the Republicans won control of the House of Representatives for the first time. National Republican Party A short-lived U.S. political party formed to oppose Andrew Jackson in the 1832 presidential election. Favoring high tariffs and a national bank, the party nominated Henry Clay. Clay was badly defeated, and by 1836 the National Republicans had joined with other anti-Jackson forces to form the Whig party. Whig party This party was one of the two dominant political parties in the U.S. during the second quarter of the 19th century. It grew out of the National Republican Party and several smaller groups. Created primarily to oppose Andrew Jackson’s Democratic Party, it was troubled by disagreement from the beginning and was

never able to be a unified, positive party position. Daniel Webster and Henry Clay were its great leaders, representing the Northern Whigs and the Southern Cotton Whigs. In 1840 they were able to unify behind a popular military hero, W. H. Harrison, as a presidential candidate. He was elected but died after only a month in office. His successor, John Tyler, quickly alienated the Whig leaders in Congress and was read out of the party. In 1848, the Whigs elected another military hero, Zachary Taylor. He too died in office but his successor, Millard Fillmore, remained a loyal party man. The party was already disintegrating chiefly over the issue of slavery. The Free-Soil Party and its inheritor, the Republican Party, gained most of the Northern Whigs. The Cotton Whigs went into the