The Democratic Machine, 1850-1854

By Roy Franklin Nichols | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII
THE LOCHINVAR OF THE YOUNG DEMOCRACY

CASS aged 69, Buchanan, aged 60, Woodbury aged 62, Butler aged 58, Houston aged 58, Marcy aged 65, had all grown grey in the service of the party; they were veterans of many a campaign and legislative battle and had received many offices as gifts from the hands of a grateful republic. But a new generation was growing up who felt not the quickened heartbeat at the mention of these patriots, and who began to murmur at their continual domination. They had enjoyed too long the spoils of victory; it was time that they were retiring and giving place to younger men. There seemed to be no signs of abdication as 1852 approached, but the seeds of revolt were sown. A new leader appeared out of the west, one who appealed to Young America no longer to yield allegiance to the "Old Fogies". Stephen A. Douglas had established his supremacy in Illinois and had won nation-wide reputation in the halls of Congress and --he was but thirty-eight.

Just when Douglas began to consider himself seriously as a presidential aspirant is not revealed, but in the spring of 1851 his name seems first to have been mentioned, and in that period his first steps were taken as a candidate. There were enormous difficulties in the way. The west had another candidate, Lewis Cass, veteran of presidential campaigns; many felt that Douglas should wait until that Nestor had retired. His youth and the short time during which he had been in politics had prevented his gaining any con

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