The Democratic Machine, 1850-1854

By Roy Franklin Nichols | Go to book overview
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FOREWORD
HISTORY AND THE WAYS OF POLITICIANS

POLITICIANS have their "trade psychology"; they are in the business of carrying elections and running governmental enterprises, "selling" candidates and platforms. Like other entrepreneurs, their chief aim is success--success that means the wielding of power. The gaining and retaining of power and the satisfaction of vanity secured from occupying public place become their outstanding characteristics, and to obtain the satisfaction of these desires they bend their energies. Some are scrupulous, some are not; some are high-minded, many think they are; some strive for principles, some for graft, but the majority for the satisfaction of success. This political psychology has had its effect upon history. The politician's place in our national development can be understood only in the light of a knowledge of these dominant traits. The history of the Democratic party during the interlude between the sectional struggles of 1850 and 1854 presents an excellent field for the study of the genus politician. In those days public opinion was generally apathetic and the politicians plied their trade with little interference. As most of the leading Democrats of this period were prominent in the strife which led to secession and civil war, the study which follows is an introduction to the part played by the Democratic party in the years from 1854 to 1860.

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