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Who I Would Have Supported For President—1824-1852

This is the second entry of my Who I Would Have Supported For President series. The first part covered 1788-1820. This entry will consider 1824-1852.

In these years, I would have been looking for support of abolition, an active federal government that unified the country with roads and canals, and just treatment of Native Americans.

1824 marked a turning point away from the so-called Era of Good Feelings of almost non-existent political competition for the White House, and the awarding of electoral votes by state legislatures. What replaced these things was much greater partisanship, and the awarding of electoral votes based on the legitimacy of the popular vote.

Here is how I would have voted 1824-1852—

1824—This election might have been the first time I would have been very enthusiastic for my pick. Secretary of State John Quincy Adams  was an advocate of internal improvements and a foe of slavery.

Adams won the race in the House of Representatives in what’s termed the “Corrupt Bargain.” Campaign rival Henry Clay of Kentucky gave Adams his support after no candidate won an Electoral Vote majority on Election Day. Adams later appointed Clay as his Secretary of State. This enraged Andrew Jackson of Tennessee who had won the most popular votes in the four-way race of 1824.

Adams was at one time a man of the future in his views and policies, while also a man of the past as a son of John Adams and a former Federalist.

1828—I would have supported President Adams for reelection. Sadly, he never had a chance. Andrew Jackson was the easy winner. This was a triumph of the average man and as such a kind of progress. It was also a victory for small and inadequate government in the expanding nation, for the interests of slaveholders and, for many Native Americans, a death sentence.

1832—With hesitation, I would have backed Henry Clay against Jackson. Though President Jackson would have scored some points for his slapping down of John Calhoun (above) and South Carolina in the Nullification Crisis. This was an assertion of national government at the expense of states rights. It was not, however, a blow against slavery. Clay was a champion of more helpful and active federal government with his “American System.” He offered little on the other issues I would have liked to have seen addressed. Jackson won the election.

1836—There was little to be be glad about in 1836. Vice President Martin Van Buren of New York offered, somewhat implausibly , more Jacksonian empowerment of the everyman. The Whig opposition was divided between three regional candidates in the hope of denying Van Buren an Electoral College win and forcing the election into the House.  It was an ineffective strategy that offered little hope. Van Buren won. ( Van Buren was both a political organizer and thinker who played a large role in the development of political parties in the United States. He is worth further study.)

1840—This election offered the choice of another term for the states rights Democrat Van Buren, or accepting the notion that Whig William Henry Harrison (Tomb below. I’ve been there many times.) of Ohio was for common back woodsman. The Panic of 1837 left Van Buren vulnerable and he lost. Since in an effort to keep Southern support Whigs had done nothing on slavery,  I would not have been with Harrison.

1844— This election would be first time I’d have the chance to support a third-party candidate in protest of the inaction of the two major parties on slavery. Liberty Party nominee James Birney of New York would have won my vote over both Democrat James K. Polk of Tennessee and Whig Henry Clay. Birney ended up with 2.3% of the vote.

Some might have argued that Polk’s support for the annexation of Texas and extension of slavery this implied should have been reason enough to vote for Clay. Clay opposed annexation. But by this point I would have had been more than tired of waiting on slavery.

Polk won the election and started the unnesscary Mexican-American War. Would I have been wiser to have gone with Clay? These type questions would extend all the way up to Ralph Nader’s day.

1848—Again I would have voted on the issue of slavery. Martin Van Buren, of all people, was the nominee of the Free Soil Party. His running mate was Charles Francis Adams of Massachusetts. Adams was the son of J.Q. Adams.

Van Buren was on whatever side of the a question that would keep him in the political game. I’m sure I would seen him for what he was. Yet by 1848 slavery was the only question left. ( Indian Removal should have been on the same level. But it was not.)

Whig Zachary Taylor of Louisiana won the election. The Free Soil ticket won 10%.

The Liberty party was better on slavery that the Free Soil party. I would have been disappointed by the step backwards. The Liberty party was for abolition while Free Soilers focused on stopping the expansion of slavery.

1852—By 1852 the nation was dividing strongly along sectional lines. The Compromise of 1850 was the leading issue. But whatever side of the Compromise you were on in the conventional sense, you still supporting slavery. Abolition was not on the table for the major parties.

I would have voted for Free Soil candidate John Hale of New Hampshire. Mr. Hale won just under 5%. The winner was Democrat Franklin Pierce of New Hampshire. Mr. Pierce was a terrible President.

What Hath God Wrought–The Transformation of America, 1815-1848is a Pulitzer Prize winning account of most of the period covered in this post.

David Leip’s Atlas of U.S Presidential Elections is a great source to see how the people voted in the elections referenced above.

(Slavery was the biggest issue in the United States in 1852.)

Next up will be my picks for President 1856-1876.

October 20, 2008 Posted by | Who I Would Have Supported For President | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

I Signed Up For Obama Text Message—A First Use Of Telegraph Was Coverage Of 1844 Democratic Convention

I signed up to get the text message from the Obama campaign that will announce his Vice Presidential selection. I did so after reading today about use of the telegraph at the 1844 Democratic Convention in the book What Hath God Wrought—The Transformation America, 1815-1848. This book, by Daniel Walker Howe, is the most recent winner of the Pulitzer Prize for history.

The 1844 Democratic Convention was held in Baltimore and nominated James K. Polk of Tennessee for President and George M. Dallas of Pennsylvania for Vice President. Dallas, Texas is named after Mr. Dallas.  

Here is information about the 1844 Election. Mr. Polk and Mr. Dallas won the election over Henry Clay of Kentucky.

The telegraph was invented by Samuel F.B. Morse and was first demonstrated in 1844.  

From the book— “ within a few days of the initial demonstration…Morse was keeping members of Congress in Washington abreast of developments at the Democratic National Convention in Baltimore as they happened….The first practical application of Morse’s invention—to report a political party convention—was no accident. The formation of mass political parties, their organization on local, state and national levels, the application of government patronage to knit them together, their espousal of rival political programs, and the ability to command the attention of the public all combined to give this period in American history its distinctive politicized quality. The rise of mass parties has often been traced to extending the franchise…to include virtually all white males. However, no parties with mass following could have come into existence without a revolution in communication. …Newspapers quickly enlisted the telegraph in their quest to gather and distribute information….”  

It’s silly I suppose to have signed up for the text message. Yet reading about first political use of a new type of communication in 1844, made me want to be part of the first mass political use of a relatively new form of communication in 2008.

Here is information about the telegraph and the history of the telegraph.

August 19, 2008 Posted by | Books, Campaign 2008, History, Political History, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Texas Liberal Plans & Goals For 2008—To Be A Genuine Alternative


Texas Liberal has many plans and goals for 2008.

I’ll continue with topics I posted on in 2007 and add new subjects for 2008.

With this an election year, I’ll be making posts about not just the ongoing campaign, but also about political history.

All events have context. History is about putting current events in context.   

I’ll be discussing questions of political science and political philosophy.

To take their fullest form, events require the substance provided by what some might term “abstractions.” 

In 2008, I’ll continue taking up questions of relationships and interactions with others and trying to draw the link between the personal and the private.

Relationships, like current events, always have a broader context.

In 2007, I made many posts about Colonial American history. In 2008, a focus will be American history from  Washington through Polk—1789-1849.  This will be in addition to more recent political history for the 2008 Election.

I’ll continue to write about marine mammals and sea life. ( The drawing is of a modern whale ancestor called a Kutchicetus. )

I’ll work hard to find good pictures and drawings to accompany posts.

A goal for 2008 will be to link more often to blogs far away from my home city of Houston that are doing interesting work.    

There’s a whole world out there.

Texas Liberal is a political blog located in Texas—It’s not a Texas politics blog.  

I have many reference books and other books I’ll draw upon in the new year.

I’ll be using Congressional Quarterly’s Guide To U.S. Elections, S.E. Finer’s History of Government from Earliest Times, The 2008 Almanac of American Politics, The Historical Atlas of Political Parties in the United States Congress 1789-1989 by Kenneth C. Martis,   30,000 Years of Art by Phaidon Press ( To help with picture selection and art-related posts) and The National Audubon Society Guide to Marine Mammals of the World.

(If you have a question about American political history, I might have the answer. Please feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at the address provided at the end of this post.)  

A more general reading list that will be reflected in the blog will include Vernon L. Parrington’s The Romantic Revolution in America 1800-1860, What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America 1815-1848 by Daniel Walker Howe , Revolutionary Characters by Gordon S. Wood,  and James K. Polk and the Expansionist Impulse by Sam Haynes.

I’ll also be reading Carl Zimmer’s At The Water’s Edge about the evolution of marine mammals.

To the extent possible, I’ll post every day. We’ll see how that goes.

In 2008, I’ll try to offer an alternative voice to the increasing mainstreaming of some political blogs.  

Some political blogs have in many respects become adjuncts of one or the other major political parties.

It is difficult to seek mainstream power and influence, and then not become or be part of the mainstream.

In the end, I think it’s up to blog readers, rather than blog owners or groups of blogs, to define what the so-called netroots really are.  

I’ll start the year by linking to Reporter’s Without Borders Handbook For Bloggers And Cyber-Dissidents.   

Good luck in 2008 and thanks for reading. Please consider forwarding the link to somebody else. A blog grows one reader at a time.

I can be e-mailed at naa six-one-eight AT att.net   

January 2, 2008 Posted by | Art, Blogging, Books, Campaign 2008, History, Political History, Politics, Relationships, Sea Life, Welcome To TexasLiberal | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment