Westward Extension, 1841-1850

By George Pierce Garrison | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVII
THE ELECTION OF 1848 (1847-1848)

I N the midst of the general enthusiasm aroused by the military successes of 1847, and the excitement resulting from the precipitation of the slavery issue, the alignment of parties was begun for the next presidential campaign. To this test the party leaders had been anxiously looking forward, some of them for years. How far their conduct may have been determined by their interpretation of the Delphic hum of the presidential bee it would be hard to say. Polk often complained to the pages of his diary that Buchanan's ambition to be president diminished his usefulness in the cabinet.1 The president thought also that dissatisfaction with his appointments and premature contests to decide who should be his successor had changed the nominal Democratic majority in Congress to a practical Whig majority.2 It was, indeed, the irony of fate

____________________
1
See the entries for December 23, 1847, and February 25, 1848.
2
Polk, MS. Diary, January 22, 1847; cf. Fish, Civil Service and Patronage, 158-161.

-269-

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