Perley's Reminiscences of Sixty Years in the National Metropolis - Vol. 1

By Ben: Perley Poore | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XL.
EXCITING PRESIDENTIAL CONTEST.

DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES FOR THE PRESIDENCY-- JAMES BUCHANAN--
STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS--DELEGATES TO THE CINCINNATI CONVENTION
--THE STRUGGLE--THE DISORGANIZED DEMOCRACY UNITED--OPPOSI-
TION NOMINATIONS--THE REPUBLICAN CONVENTION--ELECTION OF
MR. BUCHANAN--COUNTING THE VOTES.

AS the time for the Presidential election of 1856 approached, the Democrats, thoroughly alarmed by the situation, determined to make a last struggle for Southern supremacy, and Washington was agitated by the friends of the prominent candidates for the Democratic nomination for months before the National Convention at Cincinnati.

President Pierce earnestly desired a renomination, and had distributed "executive patronage" over the country in a way which he hoped would secure him a majority of the delegates. He had done all in his power to promote the interests of the South, but success had not crowned his efforts, and he was ungratefully dropped, as Daniel Webster had been before him.

James Buchanan, then in the sixty-fifth year of his age, had started in public life as a Federalist, and in 1819 had united in a call for a public meeting to protest against the admission of Missouri as a slave State. But he had become converted to pro-slavery Democracy, and although he had been defeated three times in Democratic Conventions as a candidate for the

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