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William Wilkins of Pennsylvania.....
Amos Ellmaker of Pennsylvania...
At this election 147 Democrats and 93 Whigs were returned to the House. The Senate stood, 30 Democrats
and 18 Whigs.
At the next Congressional election for representatives, to serve during the last half of Jackson's second term, 144 Democrats and 98 Whigs were returned, the Senate standing 33 Democrats to 19 Whigs.
It may seem a little strange to latter-day Democrats that one of their great apostles should have been so zealous in upholding a protective tariff. But a review of the party's position on that question may seem still more strange.
Jackson's position on both the bank and this question, and his entire administration, solidified the party, and made it apparently invincible.
No doubt this emphatic and significant approval of his policy strengthened him for the great contests he had in hand. We have followed at some length, but by no means exhaustively, his struggle with and overthrow of the National Bank. This had lost him some friends; but he was to lose more, and they of his own section of the country, by his position on the tariff. But for every one so lost he probably gained ten.
The existing duties were highly beneficial to New England, but bore heavily upon the non-manufacturing States of the south. South Carolina threatened to nullify the law or secede from the Union. Jackson, it was said, made a counter and more effective threat: to hang Calhoun, who was an active promoter of nullification; and he swore a mighty oath that "the Union must and shall be preserved!"
The ordinance of nullification was to take effect on
February 1, 1833. On December 16, 1832, the President issued a proclamation to the people of South Carolina, pointing out the folly, danger, and even treason of their action, and declaring his unwavering purpose to execute the law. To show that he did not intend to limit himself to paper bullets, he sent a naval force to occupy Charleston harbor; and he furnished a guard to protect the customs officers in the discharge of their duty. The nullifiers yielded. At the next session of Congress, Mr. Clay reported a Compromise Tariff Bill, which for a time allayed the excitement on that subject.
But the war between the President and the Senate continued. Many of the President's nominations for office were rejected by that body; and an effort was made to limit his power of appointment. This, however, was not as successful as the more recent action of the Senate when Andrew Johnson was President.
Jackson acted very largely upon the principle afterwards promulgated by Marcy" to the victors belong the spoils." There was no civil-service law; and he felt that, in view of the determined and obstinate opposition of his enemies, he should be surrounded by his supporters.
Notwithstanding the continued friction and turbu lence, the country under Jackson's administration was marvellously prosperous. The locomotive had been introduced; coal had been discovered and utilized; newspapers had taken fresh and vigorous life; Bryant, Cooper, Irving, Hawthorne, Poe and Longfellow, Prescott and Bancroft, were founding an American school of literature. Public schools had been everywhere established.
In 1835 the national debt was paid off; and the surplus income of the government was divided amongst the States.
Arkansas was admitted to the Union in 1836, and Michigan in 1837.
Jackson's foreign policy was as vigorous and firm as his domestic policy. Other nations were taught to respect the United States. Legitimate claims, which had been neglected, were paid by France, Portugal, and other nations; and the young Republic held her head high amongst her sister nations. So it is not surprising that the party of Jackson enlisted the enthusiastic support of the masses of the people.
The Whigs seem to have been disheartened by the crushing defeat of 1832; and held no national convention preparatory to the election of 1836. Some of the State legislatures, conforming to a custom of former years, placed candidates in nomination. In this way William Henry Harrison of Ohio, Daniel Webster of Massachusetts, and Willie P. Mangum of North Carolina were named for President, and John Tyler of Virginia, Francis Granger of New York, and John McLean of Ohio were named for Vice-President.
The Whigs in State convention at Albany, New York, February 3, 1836, adopted some resolutions which could scarcely be called articles of political faith, unless adherence to one man and hostility to another could be so construed. One of these resolutions denounced Martin Van Buren, and another eulogized General Harrison, and pledged him their support.
The Democrats of New York declared their belief in the self-evident truths enumerated in the Declaration of Independence; enlarged upon the natural rights of man, and his relations to society and government; and demanded the largest individual freedom consistent with public peace. They also declared their unqualified hostility to paper money, and to the creation of monopolies by legislation.
The National Democratic convention met in Baltimore May 20, 1836, and nominated Jackson's choice, Van Buren, for President; and Richard M. Johnson of
Kentucky for Vice-President. Some of the disaffected Democrats put Hugh L. White, of Tennessee, in nomination.
An attempt was made at this convention to repeal the two thirds rule. In fact, the effort was successful by a small margin of votes; but, upon a reconsideration, the rule was readopted.
The result of the popular vote was:
Van Buren's election did not evoke sufficient State pride to keep his party in line in New York. At the election of 1837 his forces were completely routed upon local issues.
In the same year (1837) the Anti-Masonic party was
1 Electoral votes for Van Buren: Maine, 10; New Hampshire, 7; Rhode Island, 4; Connecticut, 8; New York, 42; Pennsylvania, 30; Virginia, 23; North Carolina, 15; Louisiana, 5; Mississippi, 4; Illinois, 5; Alabama, 7; Missouri, 4; Arkansas, 3; Michigan, 3-total, 170.
For Harrison: Vermont, 7; New Jersey, 8; Delaware, 3; Maryland, 10; Kentucky, 15; Ohio, 21; Indiana, 9-total, 73.
For Daniel Webster: Massachusetts, 14-total, 14.
For Mangum South Carolina, II—total, II.
For Hugh L. White: Georgia, II; Tennessee, 15-total, 26.
galvanized into an appearance of life. Probably in the hope of deluding some of the voters this faction placed the prefix Democratic " before its proper name. A convention was held on September 11th, in Washington. Only five States of the twenty-six were represented, but those who attended were, or declared themselves to be, "last ditch" men. They resolved that "we will persevere in our national and State organizations until secret oath-bound societies shall be prostrated throughout the Union." Thaddeus Stevens was a member of the National committee. As was, in later years, proved upon a wider field of action, he was bold, able, and not overscrupulous in reaching a desired end. His party had elected the governor (Ritner) of Pennsylvania in 1835, but being defeated in their effort to re-elect him in 1838, they sought to secure control of the legislature by excluding Senators and members of the House elected to represent Philadelphia at the session opening in January, 1839. The constituents of these representatives, fired with indignation at the attempted outrage, gathered in Harrisburg to defend their rights. Governor Ritner, a well-meaning German, was panic-stricken, and was easily persuaded to call out the State militia with guns loaded with ball and buckshot. There was intense excitement, and imminent danger of a collision. But the resolute and unwavering stand of the civilians showed that they were not to be overawed or defrauded. At a critical juncture in the proceedings, Thaddeus Stevens, a member of the House, Charles B. Penrose, Speaker of the Senate, and T. H. Burrows, Secretary of the Commonwealth, the leaders of the conspiracy, took fright at the state of affairs they had brought about, escaped through a window from the Senate chamber, and "the Buckshot war" was ended; and so was the Anti-Masonic party.
In this same year (1837) the growing hostility to slavery was manifested by a convention held in Alton, Illinois.