Dynamics of the Party System: Alignment and Realignment of Political Parties in the United States

By James L. Sundquist | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FOUR
Slavery Polarizes the Nation

THERE HAD BEEN agitation against slavery since before the founding of the republic, but the rise of the militant abolitionist movement is usually dated from 1831, when William Lloyd Garrison founded the Liberator. On that basis, the prerealignment period that preceded the first of the three great political upheavals analyzed in this book--the realignment of the 1850s--lasted almost a quarter of a century. The slavery issue cut squarely across the two major parties that existed at the time, the Democrats and the Whigs. Indeed, the schism could be plotted geographically, along the Mason-Dixon line and the Ohio River, which separated the slave states from the free. At each pole, in each region, a political force dedicated above all else to the resolution of the slavery issue took form and grew. For two decades and more, the politics of the nation centered around the struggle between the two polar forces and the moderate centrists who, straddling the Mason-Dixon line and the slavery issue, struggled to hold the parties and the nation together.

The prerealignment period, the subject of this chapter, can be described in three stages. In the first stage, the centrists were in full control of both parties; the antislavery forces, while struggling as a minority in the major parties, also found expression in a new Liberty party. Then the minority began to disrupt the major parties with determined attacks on the centrist leaders, and a more powerful third party, the Free-Soilers, came into being. Finally, in the third stage, the centrists in the Whig party were overwhelmed and the party was literally pulled apart. The realignment was then precipitated.


Ascendancy of the Compromisers

"I am in earnest; I will not equivocate; I will not retreat a single inch, and I will be heard," wrote Garrison in the first issue of the Liberator. There followed a wave of organization. Local abolitionist societies that had been quiescent in the North since that region had outlawed slavery

-50-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Dynamics of the Party System: Alignment and Realignment of Political Parties in the United States
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 466

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.