The Democratic Machine, 1850-1854

By Roy Franklin Nichols | Go to book overview

CHAPTER II
ATTEMPTS TO EVOLVE COSMOS FROM CHAOS

How was order to be brought out of this chaos? There was the party machinery. The head of this organization was the National Democratic Executive Committee. This body consisted of one member from each state appointed for four years by the National Convention on the nomination of the state delegates. This committee was in general charge of the party's national welfare while state affairs were watched over by the state committees and their subordinate county, town and ward managers. This far-reaching organization worked well in the individual states, but not in the nation at large. The 'national committee, because of its scattered membership and the states rights doctrines of the party, did little or nothing. Indeed, it held but one meeting after the campaign of 1848 and then, December 29, 1851--January 1, 1852, contented itself with designating June 1, 1852, and Baltimore as the date and place of the National Convention.1 Plainly this machinery was not sufficient to order the party. Leadership in bringing the Democracy into line must come from some other source--this source was at hand.

In the Senate of the Thirty-first and Thirty-second Congresses the thirty-five Democrats composed a slim majority of the sixty-two Senators. This majority was divided into two groups, the hunkers and the states rights sympathizers. The prominent Senators among the hunkers were Cass of Michigan, Douglas of Illinois, Bright of Indiana, Bradbury

____________________
1
Washington Union, January 3, 1852.

-30-

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