The Whig Party in the South

By Arthur Charles Cole | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII.
THE PROBLEM OF REORGANIZATION, 1851-1852.

Political parties in the South were in a badly disorganized condition when the time arrived for the beginning of a new presidential campaign. In most of the states of the lower South, party lines were nearly obliterated and elsewhere many deficiencies in organization were evident. The southern movement and the attempt to check it had almost completed the disorganizing process for which the earlier forms of the slavery agitation had laid such firm foundations. Considerable had been accomplished toward bringing about the much-talked-of sectional unity, but sectionalism or southern nationalism, though a steadily increasing force, was still largely negative in character and conditions were as yet unripe for any really constructive work. Accordingly, a basis existed within both parties for a response to the demand for a reorganization which would enable them to marshal their forces for the national contest in 1852.

The Democratic party was the first to act. Even in Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi, the Democrats soon discovered that "in preaching disunion under the cloak of Southern Rights" they were likely to lose all chances of office and became disposed to return to old party issues.1 They began to gather in the stray sheep, to inveigle the Union Democrats back into the party fold.

____________________
1
National Intelligencer, April 18; cf. Natchez Courier, Sept. 16; Montgomery Alabama Journal, Oct. 28, 30, Nov. 1, 1851.

-212-

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